Layering Disney Cricut Images

I love my Disney Cricut cartridges and the images that I can create with them, but I will admit that sometimes all of those different layers get hard to figure out.  I recently saw a post in which someone was directing people to start with the Shadow cut when creating and layering your Disney Cricut images.  I disagree with that.  Just like any other Cricut cartridge, the shadow cut is used to create a shadow behind the finished layered image you are creating.

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So this blog post is dedicated to taking a DETAILED look at one image on the Disney Mickey and Friends Cricut cartridge, but these same guidelines apply to any other Disney image you cut with your Cricut.  Theses examples were all cut with the Cricut Expression machine.

To start off, let’s look at the difference between the base cut, the base cut with the shift button on, and the shadow cut.  I will admit, when you are looking at them all cut out of black paper, they look very similar.  Let’s take a look at them before we even take them off the mat.  I cut all of these images at 3″

layering Disney images

The first cut is the Mickey base.  You can see the outline of the details of his face and clothing.  I personally like to use this cut as my base for all of my Disney images since it gives me those guides to help me line up my layers more easily.

The second cut is the Mickey base with the shift cut.  It is exactly the same size as the first cut, and the only difference is that there are not the internal guideline cuts to help you place your layers.

So the difference between the Mickey base cut and the Mickey shift base cut are the internal guidelines.

The third cut is the Mickey Shadow cut.  You can see that this one is slightly larger than the first two, and that is because it is made to be a shadow underneath one of the first two base images.

layering Disney images

To show you even further that the shadow cut is really supposed to be the piece to go under the base cut, and not the piece that you place the layers on, I have cut the shadow a second time out of a light grey cardstock and placed it under the black base.  See how there is a small outline of the grey showing.

Using the wrong cut for your base can really mess up how the different layers fit onto the cut.  It might not be as noticeable with a smaller cut . . . but if you are making a large cut, the overall proportions will be off.

To cut the layers for Mickey, I will leave the Cricut set to cut at 3″, and the Cricut will know to size all of the layers so that the fit correctly on my 3″ base cut.

***Make sure to leave the Real Dial Size button OFF***

When the Real Dial Size button is turned off, the Cricut will automatically size the layers to fit the base cut.


Another Disney Cricut cutting tip I have is to choose the papers that you are going to use and load them all onto your mat at once before you start to cut your layers.  This way you can arrow over to the start of each color, then cut the layer for that color . . . then just arrow over to the start of the next color.  This saves you from loading and unloading the mat several times, and it also will help to hold all of the layers in place while you are building the cuts.  I used to load and unload my mat with each color and I lost a lot of small pieces, like eyes, that way.


Now I can start to place the layers on all of the base cuts.  For the really small pieces, I use a pin to poke the cut and hold it until I can drop it into place.

layering Disney images

Once if the reasons that I like to use the base cut that includes the outline guidelines is that when I add the layers I can use my Zig Two Way glue pen and color in the area for each layer, and then place the layer on top of that.  The light guidelines really help me to place my layers in exactly the right place.

After the layers are all in place, here is what the same three cuts from the first photo look like/

The first is the Mickey base with the light guidelines inside of it.

The second is the Mickey base with no guidelines inside of it. and a shadow cut behind it.

The third is the one that I would say is wrong, using the shadow cut as the base for the image.

layering Disney images

Either one of the first two cuts would be the correct way to layer a Disney Cricut image.  The difference between the first and the second one is a personal choice of if you want the guidelines or not.

Just in case it is not really clear, I put the first cut and the third cut from the image above right next to each other.

layering Disney images

I think now that they are RIGHT next to each other you can really see that the cut on the far right, which is using the shadow cut as the base of the image, is NOT the best choice.  Mickey’s tail is too fat in the cut on the right, and pants do not fit properly.  Everything just seems a little “off” with this cut.

I hope that this has helped you with all of your Disney Cricut images!  Just remember to use the base cut as your starting image . . . that is why it is called the base cut.  The choice of using the base cut with the internal guidelines is up to you.  Then leave your Cricut set at that same size when you cut all of the layers to make them fit perfectly.  And finally, use the shadow cut as a shadow behind the base cut.

Happy crafting!


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4 Responses

  1. Good tutorial, Shawn. Now with Design Space, the shadow cuts are usually crossed out when the image opens (Disney or otherwise) and people forget to open the shadow before resizing the image when it's the intent to use a shadow.

  2. I love cricut! Thanks for sharing your link with us

  3. Do you leave "real dial size" on or off? I'm having trouble getting it to cut all the other pieces to be the right size against my base image at 11"

    1. Make sure you leave the "real dial size" OFF. When you have this turned on, it will scale all of the different layers up to the size you have the dial set to cut at, so in your example ALL of your different layers would be cut at 11" tall. When the real dial size is OFF the Cricut will automatically scale each layer to fit a base cut.

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