Looking for information about the Cricut Maker debossing and engraving tips, including how to use them and ideas for projects? I’m sharing all of the details about these new Cricut Maker QuickSwap tools! This post originally appeared on by Brittany Goldwyn and was sponsored by Cricut.
Cricut Maker Debossing and Engraving Tips: How to Use Them
Hey gang, today I’m sharing a suuuper detailed post about the new Cricut Maker debossing and engraving tips! I’m excited to finally carve out some time to do a few projects with these to test them out. And I’m even more excited to get all of the details about the projects out there to you.
What are the Cricut Maker QuickSwap Tools?
The Cricut Maker QuickSwap tools all fit in the QuickSwap Housing. That means you only have to have one drive housing for all of the QuickSwap blades. And changing blades is super quick and easy. This is especially helpful if you’re working on a project that includes multiple different QuickSwap blades.
The debossing tip and engraving tip are just two of the four newer QuickSwap tools. The other two are the perforation blade and the wavy blade, and the single and double scoring wheels are two of the original QuickSwap tools.
That means you can use the QuickSwap housing for all of these tools. You can’t use the QuickSwap housing for any other tools, including the rotary blade, the knife blade, the regular fine-point blades, and others. Cricut plans to expand the suite of QuickSwap tools in the future.
You also can’t use the QuickSwap tools on the Explore models—only the Maker. They are heavier duty tools, so they require the power and the drive mechanism that is built into the Cricut Maker’s Adaptive Tool System.
Cricut Maker debossing and engraving tips: How do I know which tool is which?
The packaging is a good place to look, but if you take your tools out of their packaging to store them and throw away the packaging…it’s harder! The tools themselves are very small, so they aren’t labeled with their names.
However, each tip has an etched number that can help you identify which tool you’re using:
- Scoring Wheel: 01
- Double Scoring Wheel: 02
- Perforation Blade: 11
- Debossing Tip: 21
- Wavy Blade: 31
- Engraving Tip: 41
I want to cover all of the QuickSwap tools eventually, but…time. 🙂 So today I’ll be focusing on the Cricut Maker debossing and engraving tips. But first let’s cover some basics about the differences between debossing, embossing, and engraving.
Debossing, embossing, and engraving: What are the Differences?
Let’s chat about some of the differences between debossing, embossing, and engraving. You might be wondering what’s what and which blade you need for your project. Debossing and embossing are techniques used to either create a raised or depressed design in a material.
Debossed designs and text are depressed down into a material. Embossed designs and text are raised. When I think of embossed designs, I think of fancy stationary and invitations.
The Cricut debossing tip, well, debosses. That means that you can use it to create recessed/depressed designs in materials. It’s a very classic look achieved by pushing a smooth ball down onto a material to create the depression, creating a dimensional look. More on the materials you can use in a bit, but there are a bunch.
Engraving is similar to debossing in that it also creates a recession in a material. However, unlike debossing, engraving does not push material down.
Engraving actually removes material using a sharp tip. That’s exactly what the engraving tip does—it slowly cuts a design out of your material. Wild, right?
Want more Cricut? Check out my super detailed guide to using the Cricut Maker Knife Blade, how to slice text in Cricut Design Space, my EasyPress 2 guide, and my tutorial for the new EasyPress Mini and using iron-on with wood!
All about the Cricut Maker Debossing Tip
Let’s chat about the debossing tip first. You can use it to create detailed depressions in a variety of materials. Cricut has tested the tip with a bunch of materials, including foil cardstock, coated paper, faux leather, vellum, glitter paper, basswood, heavy cardstock, shimmer paper, foil kraft board, and more. You can view a full list of compatible materials here.
Some project ideas for the Cricut Maker debossing tip include wedding cards, thank you cards, monogrammed this-that-or-the-other, gift boxes, tags, and more. Oh, and while debossing traditionally requires a folder technique—this tip does not.
Creating a Debossing Tip Project in Design Space
Telling your machine to use the debossing tip is easy. All Cricut tools are based on the linetype you select in Design Space. So, when you select the debossing linetype on your project in Design Space, you computer communicates this to your machine.
Your computer will prompt you when you need to switch tools if your project has multiple line types. To ensure your Cricut debosses exactly where you want it to, you can use the attach tool in design space to fix your debossing design in place on any cut layer.
If you’re debossing precut items, you can drag the designs around accordingly on the project preview screen (after you click Make It in Design Space).
In Design Space, some materials will be grayed out for debossing. That means that they aren’t compatible with the debossing linetype. Also, remember to always choose a mat based on your material, not your blade. So, for example, if you’re using basswood as your material, use a StrongGrip mat.
The debossing process does not need multiple passes—only one. So while it’s faster than the knife blade, for example, your total project time can vary depending on the size and detail of your design. Don’t worry if your machine stops mid-design and lifts the tool to spin for a bit. That’s just to protect your tool and mitigate wear on it.
Custom Design Space settings and fast mode are not currently available for the debossing tip. However, it does not need to be calibrated before using it, so one less step. Note that the debossing tip’s roller ball doesn’t protrude much. Therefore, thicker materials might receive an impression from the housing. Do a test to see.
Cricut Maker Debossing Tip Project Idea: Monogrammed Envelope Closure Stickers
I’m putting my debossing tip to work making monogrammed envelope closure stickers. Because sometimes I do send thank you notes the old-fashioned way, and when I do, I want to be a little extra on the outside.
Step 1: Create base shape
The first step is to open Design Space and create a base shape. I chose a Hexagon. Set the “Linetype” to “Cut.” That’s because you won’t be debossing this line. This is the main shape of the sticker.
Step 2: Add inner border for debossing tip
Next create a slightly smaller hexagon shape and place it inside of the main hexagon. The Linetype will default to “Cut.” When you revise it to “Deboss,” the shape will change a bit. It will no longer have a fill and the border will thicken a bit.
Step 3: Add Monogram for debossing tip
Next add a letter for the monogram. I used “M” for our last name and revised the Linetype to “Deboss.” Revise the font type as necessary until you get something you’ll like the look of debossed.
Note: While revising the font type, make sure the Linetype doesn’t switch back to “Cut.” If it does, just revise it to “Deboss.”
Step 4: Group and Attach, and make it!
In the layers panel, make sure to “group” and “attach” the three different design elements on each sticker. If you don’t do this, they’ll rearrange themselves when you go to make the design.
Click make it to move to the preparation screen. Rearrange the stickers as necessary. I did a few using a scrap of vinyl I had. Once you click continue, Design Space will prompt you to load the debossing tip in clamp B.
Finished Cricut Maker Debossing Tip Envelope Stickers
And here are the lovely little debossed envelope closure stickers! The debossing is subtle, and I’m interested in seeing how it looks on different materials. Just what I was going for for this project, though. What do you think?
All about the Cricut Maker Engraving Tip
The Cricut Maker’s engraving tip is a fabulous way to add personalized text to projects, create monograms, draw decorative designs, and engrave your favorite quotes. You can view a full list of compatible materials here on Cricut’s website, but a few I’m excited about are aluminum, metallic leather, glitter cardstock, and aluminum.
Cricut actually now has their own small aluminum crafting sheets, and I’m dying to get my hands on some to try them out! You can view a full list of compatible materials here. Materials that Cricut hasn’t tested with the engraving tip will be grayed out in Design Space.
Preparing for an Engraving Tip Project
As with the debossing tip, you tell your machine to engrave by using the engrave linetype in Design Space. If your project has more than one linetype, your computer will prompt you to change blades as necessary. It goes without saying that a tip that cuts will be sharp, so handle the engraving tip with care with loading and unloading.
To prepare your material for cutting, Cricut recommends taping your material down to the mat while—much like you have to do with the knife blade. However, make sure not to tape over the engraving area or you’ll get engraved tape.
Make sure you position your material on your mat to that the tape doesn’t pass under the rummer rollers near the mat guides. You can double check placement on the Design Space project preview screen and move the design accordingly.
Remember to always choose a mat based on your material, not your blade/tip. So, for example. I’ll be using a StrongGrip mat for my tutorial because I’m working with acrylic. And speaking of mats, there are a couple of extra small prep steps you need to take when working with the engraving tip.
You should also move the white star wheels on the roller bar all the way to the right if you’re working with thicker materials (like basswood or chipboard, for example). Thicker materials should never be wider than 11” for this reason. If you don’t do this, you might end up with star wheel track marks on your material.
Note: If you’re working with tooling leather, dampen the side you’ll engrave before loading the material. Just use a wet cloth or sponge. This will help you get the cleanest results.
What happens while my Maker is using the Engraving Tip?
Much to my surprise, the engraving tip does not require multiple passes! Yay for less time. I thought for sure it would be like the knife blade, but I guess not. Therefore, it’s quicker. However, the speed with which your machine can create your project depends on the size and intricacy of the design you’re engraving in your base material.
Like the debossing tip, the engraving tip will also stop mid-project and rotate for a bit to mitigate wear. When your project is done and your machine stops completely, unload your project. Use a fine-grit sandpaper (360–600) to gently sand rough areas as necessary. A polishing cloth works too, but I don’t have any of those.
Be careful—the engraving process can leave small fragments of your material behind. If you were engraving metal, they can be sharp. You can use a lint roller or tape to remove the fragments, or you can just go dump them in the trash. Remove debris from your machine using a cloth. Do not try to “blow” debris out by blowing into the machine.
Cricut Maker Engraving Tip Project Idea: Award Plaque
Alright, now that we know all about the Cricut Maker engraving tip, let’s see it in action! I’m making a cute little “Cat of the Month” engraved piece just for fun. My sister-in-law used to award a Cat of the Month award to her cats. She had two and alternated the award each month.
We’ll be giving the Cat of the Month award to Blanche every month. Henry hasn’t yet proven he deserves it yet, what with waking us up at 4:30 in the morning when he’s bored and all. Yes, I’m insane.
Step 1: Create the design for engraving
First I created a square that was slightly smaller than the 4″ x 4″ Cricut aluminum piece. Then I added a cat shape that I uploaded myself. I also added text to say “CAT OF THE MONTH AWARD.” I rolled through quite a few font styles to find one that I liked the most for an engraving project.
After settling on a cute chunky font, I revised the Linetypes for everything in the design from “Cut” to “Engrave.” The font below that is solid black is set to a Cut linetype. The one without a fill is set to an Engrave linetype.
Step 2: Group and Attach
Next I grouped and attached all elements in the design to one another. If you don’t do this, all of the elements will rearrange themselves when you go to make the project.
Step 3: Position and Make it!
Step 4: Clean off Debris from Engraving Tip
I actually used the leftover painter’s tape from the mat to pull off the majority of the debris I’d created while engraving. For the rest, I just carefully brushed it off using a cloth.
I have to admit that this didn’t engrave as deep as I thought it would based on the photo on the front of the Cricut aluminum sheets package. So I’d be very interested in seeing how this tool works on some of the other materials Cricut suggests (like faux leather!).