Cricut print then cut troubleshooting bleed

Cricut Print then Cut Troubleshooting

I get a lot of questions from people about some of the errors and problems that they have with their Cricut Print then Cut projects, so I thought I would share my Cricut Print then Cut troubleshooting tips with you.

First, make sure you understand the difference between a Cut only project and Print then Cut project in Cricut Design Space. If you are unclear about the difference, click HERE before going any further.

New A4 Print then Cut Settings

In May of 2022 some Cricut owners started to see the addition of the A4 size as a choice for the Print the Cut feature in Cricut Design Space. If you are experiencing issues with your Print then Cut projects check under Settings and verify that 8.5×11 is selected. Then, in the preview screen, again verify that 8.5 x11 is selected. We have read that some had to switch to A4 then back to US standard.

If you are still experiencing issues from this most recent Cricut update, you can always go back to the beta version of Design Space from the link HERE.

Print then Cut Issues 2022

I am making a whole new topic for this one! Around March of 2022, some Cricut owners started to discover that the preview of their Print then Cut projects looked “off”. Sometimes the images and designs seemed to be split up or only show part of the image. Some crafters found that the preview was messed up, but the actual print came out just fine. I would encourage to to actually print out the design to determine if this glitch will really impact the outcome of your project.

As of this time, there is no known fix for this issue. Cricut is aware of it and the Cricut Community has been told that they are working on this issue.

Print then Cut Size Limit

Cricut Design Space has a smaller image size limitation for the Print then Cut projects. The largest Print then Cut image you can do is 9.25 x 6.75. This is because the project needs to be printed from your home printer, and there has to be room for the black Registration Marks around the outside of the image.

The Cricut will then scan the registration mark to know where to place the cut for your project. If you ever get the error that your image is too large, check to make sure it fits inside a 9.25 x 6.75 space.

Here is a little Cricut hack for the Print then Cut size limit. You can slice your image into sections, as long as each section fits within the 9.25 x 6.75 size limit. Then when you make your project you can seam the pieces back together. This works much better on an image you uploaded and saved as a Print then Cut image, or a Print then Cut image created by Cricut. If you have a layered image and then use Flatten to change it into a Print then Cut image you might need to slice it by layers.

Failure to Detect Senor Marks

When you go to cut your Cricut Print then Cut project, the Cricut has to scan the registration marks in order to know where to start cutting. The registration marks are the black line or box around your printed image. If the Cricut cannot detect this registration mark you will get the Failure to Detect error.

Here are some of the recommended Cricut Print Cut troubleshooting items for this error.

  1. Make sure that the registration mark is fully filled in. If it is not, you can go over it with a black marker.
  2. Print your image on white or very light colored material/paper. The sensor is trying to pick up the color contrast between the registration mark and the paper. (Exception: The Cricut Maker can do print then cut on colored paper)
  3. On some models of Cricut machines, using glossy or shiny paper will make it harder for the Cricut to read the registration marks. Try using paper with a matte finish.
  4. Sometimes the amount of light in the room can make it harder for the Cricut to read the registration marks. Some things that people have tried to adjust this is to turn off the lights in the room. This allows the scanning light that comes from the Cricut to appear brighter on the paper. Another tip is to shine a flashlight over the scanning light, This is basically another way to make the scanning light shine brighter. One last tip is that you can close the lid of your Cricut machine.

Cricut cut line offset from the image

If your Cricut is cutting the shape perfectly, but it is just not lined up with the image this is a calibration issue. It is pretty easy to tell when the calibration is off since you have a perfect cut, but it is either slightly above or to the side of where you wanted it to cut.

To fix this, while in Cricut Design Space click on the three lines in the upper left corner of the canvas. A list of choices will pull down from there. Find the one for calibration. From there, the Cricut will prompt you on the directions to follow.

UpperLeft

Design Looks Thick or Bold

Have you ever printed out your Print then Cut design and it printed a lot thicker or bolder than you expected? This is because you had the bleed turned on when you printed.

First, I think we should talk about what bleed is. In terms of a Cricut Print then Cut project, the bleed is the extension of the outline of the image.

Pretend your image is drawn with chalk on paper. If you took your finger and rubbed it on the outer edge of that chalk image it would become fatter and thicker. You would be extending the color out, almost feathering the color out from the actual image. This is what bleed does. It extends the color of the outer most portion of your image.

Now you might ask why would I want this? Because it gives you a bigger area for cutting. Let’s use my example of an image drawn with chalk again. If you do not extend that outer most edge of color, you have to be very careful while you are cutting so that you trim that image right on the line. If you are even slightly off, you will see some of the white of the paper. But if you feather that color out, now you could cut right in the middle of that area of color you extended. If you are off a little bit, no one will notice since there will not be an obvious white area.

I think a visual is the BEST way to explain this, so let’s look at the same image printed with both the bleed on and the bleed off in the next section.

Bleed On or Bleed Off?

For this Cricut Print Cut troubleshooting demonstration I am going to print the exact same image twice. Once with the bleed on, and once with the bleed off. The top image in the following picture has the bleed on. The lower image has the bleed off.

Cricut print then cut bleed on or off

The one with the bleed on looks a lot fatter and thicker. But let’s compare the two after they are cut. See how the one with the bleed on is cutting inside the colors area in the image below?

Cricut print then cut bleed on

The one with the bleed off is cutting right along the edge of the image, as you can see by the picture below.

Cricut print then cut bleed off

They are both actually being cut in the same place, it is just that the COLOR is extended in the one with the bleed on.

Once you remove the two of them from the cutting mat let’s see if you can tell which one had the bleed on and which one had the bleed off.

print then cut bleed on bleed off

Can you tell which one had bleed on?

The top thanks is the cut that had the bleed turned on. The lower one had the bleed turned off. I actually like the way the one with the bleed on turned out better, because you don’t see that thin white line of the paper it was printed on around parts of the image. Below are some close up images. The first one is the bleed on, and the second is the bleed off.

Turning Bleed On and Off

So now that I explained what bleed is, and how the image looks different when you print it but once you cut it they do not look that different, let me show you were the bleed on and off setting is in Design Space.

After you hit Make It for a Print the Cut project you will see a preview screen that looks like this. This is where the bleed on/off option is. I circled it out in blue in the image below.

print then cut bleed on

Print then Cut Tags with Text

I saved the best Cricut Print Cut troubleshooting tip for last. This is the thing that I see the MOST people struggling with when it comes to using their Cricut for Print then Cut projects. Typically I see this when someone is trying to make a product care tags. They print out a design and the words in the design look thick or bold. They get all worried that they did something wrong, and post a picture like the one below to a Cricut Facebook group asking how to fix this.

PrintThenCutCareTag WRONG closeup

Most people will tell them to turn off the bleed before they print their image. This is not the right answer!

The Bleed is not the problem

Remember, we already talked about how the bleed will show you where the Cricut is going to cut. So in this example the project is set up to cut out all of the words inside of the care instructions tag. So this is not a case where you want to turn the bleed off. What you really want to do is tell the Cricut to cut in a different area. You want to tell it to just cut the care tag shape. I did a short tutorial on this HERE, but I am going to go into a lot more detail here, and use the example of the care instruction tags.

Remember, this is a Print then Cut project. There are two parts to that.

  • Part One: The print
  • Part Two: The cut

So first, let’s tell the Cricut what part we want it to cut, the tag shape. Now, it does not matter if that tag shape is a heart, a coffee mug, a shirt or a label. What is important is that the tag shape is a solid shape. Look at it in Design Space. Can you see the gridlines of the Design Space canvas through the shape like in the image below? If you answered yes, then the shape is not solid.

cricut print then cut set up the wrong way

So many people will set up there Cricut Print then Cut projects like the picture above. But remember that the Cricut is going to cut every place it sees a black line. Now we will look a the RIGHT way to set up your project.

Make sure your shape is solid

You need to make the tag a solid shape. To do this, click on the image and use Contour. This will open up a new screen, and you can click the Hide All Contours button to quickly and easily make this image a solid shape.

If you are going to print this on white paper change the color of the tag shape to white. By doing this it will not print the image of this shape, since our printers do not print white. It will only cut the shape.

Now you can click on the Text button, type up the text for your care tag and place it over the top of the solid shape. I also like to use my Align button to make sure my text is centered inside my tag. Then select the shape and the text and click Flatten. This will flatten the words to the solid shape. It will now print just the words, and cut just the shape. Your images should look like the ones in the picture below.

print then cut care tag

If you printed this image with the bleed on, the outer most part of the image (where the Cricut will cut) is the white shape so you would not see the bleed. Let me show you. You can see in the print screen preview below that it is going to print all of the words, but we do not see any of the tag shapes. Remember, they are white so we do not see them when they print. I also have the bleed on for this print just to show you again that the bleed is not the problem . . . it is that the tag was not a solid shape.

print then cut bleed on

Once I print this out it will look like the picture below. The words are nice and clear. We do not see any of the tag shapes.

print then cut

When we cut this with the Cricut is when we see the tag shapes.

print then cut care tag

Cricut Print then Cut Project Ideas

I have included links below to some of my print then cut projects for you.


Notes from Another Cricut User

I had another Cricut user reach out to me to share their tips and tricks for resolving alignment issues when trying to print then cut for a full sheet of stickers. It is important to note that this is a hack so that you are technically not using the Cricut software for the print then cut process, but rather printing a design and working out the alignment through proper placement on the Cricut cutting mat.

You can read more on this topic HERE.


If you found this helpful, you should join my Teach Me Cricut Design Space Facebook Group. You can ask me questions and I will share all of my best tips and tricks with you.

I also have a lot of great resources on my Classes page of this website including my Teach Me Cricut Design Space Online Course. In this course I take you step by step through how to use every button and function in Design Space. I have compiled the most frequently asked Cricut questions along with the answers to those questions into one online course. This is my most in depth and detailed Cricut resource ever! It contains over two years worth of Cricut knowledge and research in one course!

38 Responses

  1. My problem is that while the image looks good on DS, it comes out of the printer turned sideways. No other programs I use EVER did this to my printed project. Help…?

    1. I am not sure why Design Space will rotate some images. It might be trying to conserve on the amount of paper that it is printing on. I have been able to use some sheets of paper twice by rotating the sheet and doing a second print.

  2. I am having a hard time with a particular font, it is printing all the letters accept one out properly. The “O” is disappearing when it is printed out, the rest are fine….. I have no clue how to fix this….can you help!

  3. My issue is not with the cut, it’s after the cut. My machine scans and cuts perfectly, asks me to remove the project from the machine and then I get a message telling me that if I want to continue, I need to connect my machine as it continues to try to connect. It just printed and cut while connected and now it can’t connect?! I finally have to go to the main menu and click on HOME, at which point it asks me if I want to cancel the cut…the cut I just made!

    1. So you DO get it to cut? Hmmm . . . I have never seen that error before, but if I did get the project to cut I would not worry about it too much. It could just be a software glitch that will go away with the next update.

  4. I am having a problem with my Print Then Cut image not coming off my printer in color. I cannot, for the life of me, figure out how to change this. I feel like I have looked at all settings. I am at a loss here. Any suggestions??

    1. When you click on the button to print the image, there should be a setting to use your Printer settings, and then you can verify that the printer is set to print in color and not black and white.

  5. I am having an issue with my bleed option. When on, the cut line is not bled… but the image is like double-visioned. When off… it doesn’t do that. Any ideas??

  6. Hi, I’ve been having an issue with Print then Cut, I’m onto my 4th replacement Explore 3 & I cannot get it to cut. After loading the mat the machine will freeze for 4 minutes, once it finally scans it will then freeze for another 4 minutes. When & if it begins the cut, it cuts my 6 labels on top of each other in the far top left corner & outside the calibration lines. I have calibrated my machine, which was another issue that took 2 hours to do. Can you help? Cricut can’t!

        1. Did you ever find a fix to your problem? I’m experiencing that now as well. Takes forever to scan and then cuts above the black box in upper right hand corner, super squished down in size.

  7. Hello! I am having trouble with my print and cut for my Maker.
    I did the calibration and it was pretty spot on!
    Then when I printed out my project (12 round stickers), it print fine BUT cut off.
    The top left circle cut was absolutely perfect, but then as you look down the page, the cut was more and more off of the circle (the bottom right circle was cut too far to one side).
    Is there a reason it didn’t cut them equally since the top left one was perfect and then was more off for each one as it went down the page? So confused!

    1. This is commonly called “drifting” in the Cricut world when the first item cuts perfect, but then the cut seems to drift off as it goes along.

      Have you tried uninstalling Design Space and reinstalling it?

  8. I’m going bonkers trying to figure this out. I’ve chatted with Cricut 3 times and have made no real progress. My wife does resin work and asked me to give her some pictures of pets that she could put into pieces of resin. I took them and using a photo editor made small pictures that when cut out would work in her molds. So now I have a PNG file that has a number of discrete circles. I take that file to the library and print it. It looks like I intended it to. I go back to my computer and without changing the shape or location of each of those circles,made them into solid colored circles with the expectation that my “maker” will cut them out. Wa Lah, it does BUT it apparently shifts them before it cuts them out. It consistently makes the cut down and to the right of the desired position. Like a quarter to half inch off.

    They are printed on standard printer paper. I’m using the fine point blade. I’ve updated the firmware. I’ve updated Design Space. I calibrated the machine. It was cutting very close to desired. I tried a one pixel wide line to form a box to tell it “where” the circles were. That didn’t help. I tried half inch square boxes to use in the corners as registration marks – even though there is only one layer. That seemed to help in that the cuts were 3/16 or there abouts, off the mark.

    I’m going bonkers with this. It seems like it is such a simple problem.

    Any helpful suggestions would be appreciated.

    J

    1. Are you printing them through Design Space so that you get the registration marks, or are you printing them from another program and then just trying to get the cuts to align to where you printed (without registration marks)

  9. I am trying to print and cut stickers. At first it was breaking everything up in preview, but it sorts itself. When it prints the stickers out, it’s a thin line around them instead of the thicker black line used to sense the cuts. And my cricut doesn’t recognize it because the sensor line is now printing too thing. I have the bleed on.

  10. YOU ARE A LIFE SAVOR!!! I literally went through idk how many fonts couldn’t figure out why my letters were more bold when going to print! It’s the bleed! Thank youuuuuuu!!!!

    1. You are very welcome! But remember, if your letters are thicker and bold when you print, that means the Cricut is going to CUT EACH LETTER. If that is not what you want, then you need to put a solid shape behind all of the letters, flatten the letters to that shape and then the Cricut will print the letters and just cut the shape.

  11. Hello,

    Hoping you can help- When I print, the black boarder registration marks do not print. On the preview prior to sending to printer everything looks perfect. I did a test print (after wasting 3 sticker vinyl papers) with regular printer paper and it still would not print the top portion of the boarder line. Any ideas of what I am doing wrong? I have calibrated, played around with moving the print in the preview, switched images around, resized everything and still I can’t get it to print properly.

  12. Hi Shawn, I am having an issue with the print portion. I made sure the image (a wreath with a saying in the centre) is the correct size. Everything looked good, but when I said Make it, it showed up on my printer a wavy multi coloured lines. What am Wrong. It is so frustrating and costing me t shirt lab
    Bels.

    1. This is a common glitch going on right now. The preview will look off, but when you actually print it will come out just fine.
      If you are having issues with the actual print, then I would start with checking your print settings and make sure to pick high quality.

  13. I’m hoping you can help me. When I go to print my “print and cut” image, it is cutting off the top of the registration mark so I don’t have a complete box around my image. This has only started since the last update. I have my settings on Letter Size. I’ve changed it to A4 and still the same results. I have tried going back to the Beta version from your link but it didn’t change anything.

    1. This could be due to a glitch in the update. I am sorry to hear you are having issues with this process. Sometimes these resolve themselves with the next update.

  14. Hi, I hope you can help me. I bought a cricut not long ago and I’m still trying to figure out how it works. On the first print and cut project I did everything went well except the alignment of the cut, so after some research I decided to do a calibration. After the calibration I made some test cuts and everything was perfect. Later when I tried to do a real project the cricut starts reading the crop marks and after some time it stops and starts flashing the red on/off light.
    I’m just having problems with printing and cutting. When I just want to cut something everything works fine. I’ve tried several things and different types of paper but nothing seems to work.
    Do you know any tip that can help me?
    Thank you.

    1. I do know that a lot of people seem to be experiencing print then cut issues right now. Which machine do you have? Are you using a mat or glossy paper?

  15. I’m hoping you can help me. I am making a basic sticker for canning jars. I start with a white circle and add in my words and an image. Then I flatten the project and make multiple copies. When I go to print, all the colors look like I want, but when I print, the color comes out in one different color. I thought maybe I was running out of ink, so I made a label all in black and white. It printed a purple color, but the box printed in black. I don’t know why this is happening. Help!

    1. There have been a LOT of glitches going on right now with the Cricut Print then Cut process. You might have to contact Cricut to have them help you resolve this one.

  16. Great article. I’m going to save this article and reference when I see comments telling others to turn off bleed to solve their issue, when it is a design issue.

  17. I am trying to do print and cut, and for some reason I keep having a border appear on what needs to be cut, how do I get rid of the shape border but then still have it cut that shape. thanks!

    1. That sounds like you might have the bleed turned on, and that is making a border around your image. If you want to make sure you have a white border around your image you can go back to where you were designing it, add a THIN white offset and then flatten the entire design to that white offset piece.

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