Cricut Engraving: How to fill in images with a Cricut Explore Machine

Updated: Feb 8



Picture this: You own a Cricut Explore machine. You want to try engraving with that machine, but unfortunately the Explore line says it doesn't have the ability to engrave. Lucky for you, you've just bought the Zoom Precision Engraving Tool which now allows you to engrave to your heart's desire! However, as you start to play around with your tool, you realize that the Cricut design space will only let you outline your engravings, rather than filling the entire image in.


Sound familiar?


If so, you're not alone. This was my exact experience! My Zoom Precision Tip has been so fun to have; and it gave me the ability to engrave without having to buy a completely new machine! And that was so exciting. But once I learned how to fill in each image with my Zoom Precision Tip, it was a complete game changer.


So, if you're like me, and you are hoping to fill in your Cricut designs, you are in luck! Keep reading to learn of not one, but two simple ways that you can make this happen!


Materials used for this project:

Option 1: The Slice Method

With this method, you'll simply be slicing your image over hundreds of tiny cut lines. So if you zoom out it looks like one solid image, but if you zoom in, you'd see many teeny tiny lines. This option might sound complicated and time consuming, but if you follow these simple steps, I promise it will be a breeze! (And If you're a visual person, like me, feel free to watch the steps above in this short video. )

  1. Click here to open a pre-made line template. (Using this link will save you from having to create each individual cut line)

  2. Click "Edit a Copy"

  3. Select "Save As" and save this template to your library. Then open the template to your canvas.

  4. Upload your image to the project and drag your image to overlay the line template. (Hint - I like to change the color of my image and make sure it's brought to the front so that it stands out against the lines.)

  5. Rotate the box of lines just slightly so that they're not perfectly horizontal or vertical over your image

  6. Highlight both your image, and the box of lines, and then change the size. (It doesn't matter what you change it to, but you'll want to later decrease it by the same amount. To make it easy, I usually multiply by 10 and increase the size by that amount. (That way I know to divide the size by 10 to return it to the regular size.)

  7. Highlight both images and select "Slice"(Hint - if your "slice" button is not letting you click on it, it could be because you have more than two images selected. If this is the case, remove the box of lines and weld the rest of your image into "1" before continuing).

  8. You should have lots of layers at this point. Remove everything but one of the "Basic Cut" slice result

  9. Take your Basic Cut slice result and divide the size by 10 to return it to its regular size and to ensure that it will fit within your 5 x 7" metal sheet

  10. Select "Make it" and you're ready to engrave

  11. Just a few pointers with engraving:

A. Always secure your metal sheet with double sided tape

B. If you're using a Cricut Explore machine, do NOT select "engraving" as the operation type. Select "cut"

C. Make sure your material is set to the heaviest cardstock and increase your pressure for best results



Option 2: Using the Silhouette Studio


This option provides a more thorough engraving and allows you to work with more line types. To do this, you'll need to design your image in the Silhouette Studio, export it as an SVG, and then upload it into the Cricut Design Space. ***This option requires you have the business edition.*** If you do, follow the steps below! (And click here for the video walkthrough).

  1. Open the Silhouette Studio

  2. Click "File" —> "Open" and select the image you want to add

  3. Open the trace panel on the right hand side (kind of looks like a little toast icon)

  4. Click “Select Trace Area”

  5. Highlight your entire image

  6. Click “Trace and Detach”

  7. Remove the unwanted background by right clicking on the image you'd like to remove, and selecting "delete". Or you can just move the unwanted background to the side of your mat. As long as it's off the mat, it will not cut.

  8. Open the "Line Effects" panel on the right hand side (looks like scribbles)

  9. Highlight your entire engraveable image again

  10. Select a sketching pattern. I prefer the spiral effect.

  11. Reduce the spacing as low as it will allow you to go

  12. Highlight your entire engravable image again

  13. Select "File" —> "Save selection" —> "Save to Hard Drive"

  14. Change the format to SVG. (Again, you will not have the option to select SVG if you have not paid for Silhouette Business. (~$90 subscription)

  15. Open Cricut Design Space

  16. Select “Upload” on the left hand side

  17. Select “Upload Image” —> "Browse"

  18. Click on your downloaded SVG file from wherever you saved it —> select “upload” (This make take a few minutes since the file is so large)

  19. Once your image is in the Cricut design studio, highlight your entire image and click “Attach”

  20. Ensure your operation type is set to “Basic Cut” and resize the image to fit your material.

  21. Select “Make it” —> Change your material to the heaviest cardstock option and increase the pressure. (Moving from the design space to the mat and from the mat to cutting may take a bit of time because the file is so big. Just be patient :)


The funnest thing I realized with this project? Expo markers work and erase seamlessly on the Metal Engraving Sheets by Zoom Precision Tools!! That's what I used to update the number of days left on this cute advent. So excuse me while I go make countdowns like this for my Disneyland trip, my family's birthdays, and every other holiday! :)



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