Make printable die cut blanks

March 5, 2010 at 7:40 pm 30 comments

I have been experimenting with using transfer tape as a carrier to make pre-cut blanks for printing. It is great for printing on odd-shaped cards, for making Avery-compatible blanks and, I’m sure, for other stuff I haven’t thought of yet.

To do this with 12 x 12 stock, here are the (very) general steps. Put tape on the back of your paper, load it onto the mat tape side down and kiss-cut your design along with an 8.5 x 11 rectangle surrounding it which will be the outer edge of your printer page. Remove the new page (with diecuts and tape intact) and use it to develop or verify a matching print template. When you are satisfied with the print design, load the sheet of die cut blanks into the printer and print. Peel the printed die cut off of the tape backing.

An odd-shaped design from Wild Card:

Page of Doodlecharms bus shapes made to print on with Avery business card templates:

The process is a little more labor intensive up front than other methods of cut and print, but less so for subsequent runs any time in the future. Accuracy is excellent this way because you take advantage of the tight tolerances of your printer and eliminate the sloppy tolerances of the Cricut. You do need commercial transfer tape because contact paper or painters tape can damage your paper. I had success with both clear and paper transfer tape and was able to reuse it several times.

You may be wondering if this will work with a Xyron to make die cut printable stickers. Well, possibly, but the backing on the Xyron sheets is too slippery to stick to the mat so you’d have to tape it down. You would also have to recut the rectangle after you remove it from the mat to trim off the backing that extends beyond the page boundary. Guess you could cut it in 2 passes, with kiss cut settings for the design and again with cut through settings for the page boundary.

Entry filed under: Computer Crafts, Cricut, Digital Scrapbooking. Tags: , , , .

Some tools for Wordle lovers Which vinyl do I need?

30 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gardenwife  |  March 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    You come up with such practical and helpful ideas. Thanks for sharing them with all of us!

  • 2. Cheryl M  |  March 5, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Brilliant! I have been looking for a better way to do this. This method would work particularly well on my greeting cards, I think. I’ll give it a try this weekend.


  • 3. Crazycurl  |  March 6, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t understand what this transfer tape is. Can you link to somwhere ot can be purchased?

    • 4. Kay  |  March 7, 2010 at 2:43 pm

      You can get Cricut Transfer Tape where Cricut vinyl is sold, but it is very expensive. I get mine in rolls from
      Clear Tape
      Paper Tape

      • 5. Gardenwife  |  March 7, 2010 at 3:02 pm

        I ran across this product. It sound interesting, especially since it’s reusable. That would be a big plus.

      • 6. Kay  |  March 7, 2010 at 9:26 pm

        Thanks for your comment, but the stuff I use is also reusable and 1/4 of the cost. See the links in my earlier comment.

      • 7. Gardenwife  |  March 7, 2010 at 9:28 pm

        I didn’t see that the one you mentioned was reusable. Cool.

      • 8. Gardenwife  |  March 7, 2010 at 3:03 pm

        Oops — I forgot to post the link!

  • 9. Jo-Anne  |  March 6, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    What settings do you use to get the Kiss cut??
    and also?? when you printed the words onto the bus did you do that right from inkscape ???

    • 10. Kay  |  March 7, 2010 at 2:26 pm

      I tested first and the settings for the kiss cut ended up being the same as I use for that cardstock alone. (Medium Speed, High Pressure and blade at 5) I cut the buses in CDS and I printed from PrintMaster, but you can use any program that supports Avery labels.
      When I use Inkscape, I just put my cutlines on one layer and my printing on another and turn off the print layer when I save the file for import into SCAL/MTC. I still have to do some trial and error because the Cricut does not cut very accurately.

  • 11. Ohhh Snap  |  March 8, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Another wonderful technique. TFS. I have a Beautiful Blogger award for you on my blog.

  • 12. Cathy  |  March 8, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    Good thinking! I used to print on shapes this way back before I had a cutter but I never thought of using the transfer tape instead of temp gluing onto paper. Thanks for sharing!

  • 13. rorysnonna  |  March 8, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    You amaze me. I learn so much from you. Thanks as always.

  • 14. carolyn  |  March 11, 2010 at 7:13 am

    Would you be able to to a video showing how you did this?

  • 15. Jo-Anne  |  March 13, 2010 at 10:43 pm

    I think a video would be awonderful idea.. I’m still having a hard time at grasping the concept of how you did this…

  • 16. Theresa  |  March 13, 2010 at 10:54 pm

    i’m lost. i don’t understand how to print on it.

    • 17. Kay  |  March 14, 2010 at 1:17 pm

      You load it into your printer like any other piece of paper and print on it. If you look closely at the photo of the page in the printer you can see the die cut lines. The exact steps for positioning the print on the paper depend on the software you are using.

      • 18. Theresa  |  March 14, 2010 at 5:42 pm

        I guess that is my question. How would my software know my shape? Sorry, i know this would probably be to long to explain it to me. Let’s say my cut is with DS or even SCAL and my printing comes out of word. How does word know the shape.? I am sure this is gonna be a “DUH” moment but i am not seeing it. I usually need a visual. Thanks , Theresa

      • 19. Kay  |  March 14, 2010 at 7:28 pm

        You have to tell your software where to print just like you do when you are printing on preprinted paper, forms, etc. You can do this a number of ways:
        -use a template such as Avery labels (in that case you design the cutfile to the known specs of the Avery layout, like I did with the school bus example)
        -measure with a ruler and use the rulers on the screen in word, etc. to make a matching layout. Using text boxes in Word allows you to easily move things around.
        -import a screen shot from CDS/SCAL/MTC into your print software and use that to show you where to put the text, then delete/hide it before printing
        -same as above but with a scan of your cutout
        -Use Inkscape or Adobe Illustrator and put the cut line on one layer and printing on another. Import cut layer into SCAL or MTC.
        Any of these takes some trial and error. You can pick the technique that suits you best.

      • 20. Theresa  |  March 15, 2010 at 1:19 am

        Kay, see comment 17. Thank you Thank you !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 21. Theresa  |  March 15, 2010 at 1:15 am

    THAT is EXACTLY what i was needing to know. Thank you so very much for taking the time w/ me.

  • 22. Denise  |  June 12, 2010 at 11:48 am

    I’m just starting to use vinyl I made some name cut outs for my grand childrens walls and I used painters tape as transfer tape way to sticky It was horrible I saw mentioned exac tac and rolls from are these products real sticky also I want something that is very easy to use! Thanks for your help

    • 23. Kay  |  June 12, 2010 at 11:59 am

      Painters tape or contact paper are fine if you are only doing a few things. The secret is to “desticky” them by pressing them against a clean t-shirt first. But commercial transfer tape can’t be beat for doing a lot of vinyl and for preparing cuts to ship or sell. Clear is more expensive but easier to work with for vinyl because you can see through it. I like R-Tape AT60.
      For the purposes of this post, something like EnduraMask works fine. It is like wide masking tape but with less stick.

      • 24. Denise  |  June 12, 2010 at 12:06 pm

        Thanks I have a few small things and the tape was fine but I need something that I can use for a larger project and that I can send off to my daughters. I’m going to order some of the R-Tape AT60

      • 25. Denise  |  June 12, 2010 at 12:09 pm

        Sorry one more question. does this have a backing on it like transfer paper?

      • 26. Kay  |  June 12, 2010 at 5:24 pm

        No, it comes on a roll like tape.

  • 27. Denise  |  June 19, 2010 at 5:23 pm

    Kay- Thanks so much I ordered this and it is AWESOME.. worked very nicly except on two things I cut to deep and the vinyl backing came with the letter but other than that it was great. I think I should use 2 depth instead of 3 on my Cricut Thanks again well worth the money and I think it will take me forever to use 100 yards :)

    • 28. Kay  |  June 20, 2010 at 2:30 pm

      Great to hear, Denise! I use 2 for depth on vinyl also. It really varies by machine.

  • 29. labelit  |  February 15, 2011 at 7:07 am

    Another wonderful technique. TFS. I have a Beautiful Blogger award for you on my blog.Thanks

  • 30. Die Cuts  |  March 24, 2011 at 10:06 pm

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us. Of course, what a great site and informative posts, I will bookmark this site. Keep doing your great job and always gain my support. Thank you for sharing this beautiful article.


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