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Happy Valentines - Cricut Metal Etching Heart Decor

Updated: Nov 22, 2022

Believe it or not, before this project I had never tried engraving soft aluminum sheets before. But now I’m hooked!! So warning, if you’ve never engraved on soft aluminum, this project might make you addicted! Here’s to the first of many projects featuring my new favorite engrave-able material!

I’ve split this project into two parts. If you’re wanting to walk through how to set up your design space from scratch, you’ll want to start with part 1 and work your way through the entire project. If you’re wanting to use the pre-made template provided, here, then go ahead and skip to part 2!

Either way, here are the materials I used for this Valentine decoration:

-Cricut Maker (Could use other similar


(Soft Aluminum)

-Colored Cardstock (I used glitter

cardstock that I bought by the page

at Hobby Lobby)

***Disclosure: Zoom Precision Blog is supported by its audience. When you purchase through recommended links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

PART 1 - The Setup

Alrighty, starting with Part 1, you should have a blank slate on your Cricut design studio.

To begin, go ahead and add a rectangle to your space. To add a rectangle, click

"shapes” on the left tool bar. Insert a “square” and then resize it to be a Rectangle. Resize the square by selecting the image and clicking on the lock in the bottom left hand corner.

Once it’s unlocked you’ll be able to resize by dragging the arrows in the bottom right hand corner or adjusting to be the exact size. I'll be putting my final design in a 5x7" picture frame, so I will be resizing to match those dimensions. You can also change the dimensions directly at the top of your toolbar.

Next, we'll add the hearts that we'll be engraving on our aluminum. To do this, go to "shapes" again but select "heart" this time.

Tip: Make sure that the lock in the bottom left hand corner is locked now! This way, the dimensions of your heart won't accidentally shift.)

For a 5x7" piece of etching sheet, I made each heart 1.074" x 1.016" to allow for 4 rows of 5 hearts each. (Of course, feel free to make each heart smaller and add as many as you want!)

Important: Do not set the machine to “engrave” these hearts. You want everything to be set as “cut”. (You might be wondering why.. well, for a Cricut Explore Air or Air 2, your machine will tell you that it can't engrave. And for a Cricut Maker, your machine will say it doesn't recognize this tool and will not allow you to engrave. But if you set the machine to cut and then alter the material type, it will work beautifully!)

Tip: Once you figure out the size of heart that you want, copy and paste each one to save time from having to resize every single heart. You can do that by highlighting the heart, clicking “Command C” and then “Command V” if you’re on a Mac / and “Control C” and then “Control V” on a PC.

Copy and paste the hearts so that you have 20 hearts in the grid. Copy one extra heart, that is not part of the grid, to set aside for later.

After you’ve copied and pasted enough hearts, and lined them up just as you want them, we need to group and attach them so that they cut in that exact spacing.

One thing to note, the 5x7 rectangle we inserted earlier will be used to help us with spacing and alignment on our Cricut mat, but we don’t want to actually cut it out. So before you group all of the hearts, be sure to move the rectangle away from your hearts. You can do that be selecting the 5x7 rectangle and simply dragging and dropping it away from the hearts. At this point you can then highlight all of the hearts in the grid, select “Group” and then “Attach”.

Tip: Make sure that you don’t accidentally include the one extra heart. Only group and attach the hearts in the 5x7 grid.

The “Extra heart” is going to be cut from paper and turned into a magnet to add a little 3D dimension to our Valentine decor. I’m choosing to add 3 3D hearts, but you can make as many as you want! Select the “Extra Heart”, and copy and paste for as many paper hearts as you want.

Select each paper heart and make sure that you change the color so that the paper hearts are a DIFFERENT color than the engraved hearts. You can do this by clicking on the heart that you want to change colors. On the top of your toolbar there should be a section that says “Operation”. Under “Operation”, it should say “Basic Cut”. To the right of “Basic Cut”, there is a little square box. Select that box and choose the color for your poppet heart. Just make sure it is a different color than your engraved hearts!

That’s it for setup! Pretty easy, eh?! Now it's time to create!

Part 2 - The Creation

First things, first: if you’re using my template, make sure that you’ve updated the type of machine you’re using to match your machine type BEFORE sending it to cut. Otherwise you’ll have to backtrack. You can do this by clicking on "Maker" right next to "Make it" and selecting your machine type. If you're using a Maker and it already says "Maker", no need to change anything.

Also, before we are ready to go, we need to set up our Zoom Precision Tool and our mat.


Choose which tip you want to use and insert it into your adapter. For this project, I'd recommend the regular or blunt tip since we're not doing any intricate or detailed cuts. Open clamp B on your Cricut machine and remove your current blade or tool. Replace with the Zoom engraving tool. Close Clamp. It should look like this:


Next, place your Metal Stippling Sheet on your Cricut Mat. I always like to place my material on the 1 down, 1 over mark so that It is easy to align on the virtual mat. It should look like this:

Tip: When engraving, I like to give a little extra support to ensure that my matierals don’t slide around. To do that, I back the metal sheet with double sided tape. For this thin of metal, I wouldn't recommend too much tape or else it will be tricky to pull off without bending the metal. One piece should do the trick!

Okay, back to the studio:

After you select “Make It” it will split everything into 3 mats. (1 for your rectangle, 1 for your heart engravings, and 1 for your paper hearts.) To help with alignment, move your rectangle to the same mat as your engraving hearts. (You can do that by clicking on the 3 dots in the top left hand corner of the image, select “Move Image” and then move it to the same mat as your heart grid.)

Once they’re on the same mat, move the rectangle so that it perfectly aligns with where your metal sheet is aligned on the mat. This then allows you to center your heart grid exactly over the 5x7 rectangle, ensuring that the hearts will engrave right where you want them to.

Once everything is aligned, we’re going to “hide” the rectangle so that it doesn’t actually try to cut it. You can do this by clicking on those same 3 dots on the top left hand corner of the image and selecting “Hide Selected”.

Now your virtual mat should look like this:

Click Continue! This part is important! MAKE SURE you set the material to “Heavy Cardstock”. The studio will tell you to “Load Fine-Point Blade in Clamp B” but you need to keep your precision tool loaded in Clamp B.

Load your mat and you're good to go!

After the engraving, I like to use the double sided tape to remove any excess engraving pieces.

Next, it’s time to cut out our paper hearts! Be sure to remove the Zoom tool from clamp B at this point, and replace with your regular blade. Oh and don't forget to update the material to whatever type of paper you’re using.

Once you have your paper hearts, place them on whichever engraved hearts you please, I chose the following 3 and used magnetic tape on the back to allow me the flexibility to switch out with other colors in the future:

Ta-Da! All finished! Insert your metal sheet in a picture frame and your Valentine engraving is all finished. :) Happy Crafting!

***Disclosure: Zoom Precision Blog is supported by its audience. When you purchase through recommended links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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