How to Use the Cricut Ink Cartridges

I can't tell you how many times I have been at the store, picked up the Cricut ink cartridges, then put them back down.  I wasn't quite sure what they did or even how to use them!  However, I recently discovered that I was missing out...

The Cricut color markers can be used in several ways.  My favorite way to use them is to outline die cuts, but you can also used them to draw details or even make your own patterned paper (that coordinates with your cutouts, or course!).  Here's a quick tutorial if you are wanting to experiment with them:

1.  Remove the green blade assembly and load the markers into its place.  Make sure you remove the marker cap prior to loading!

2.  Adjust the speed and pressure.  I find that a speed of 3 and pressure of 2 works well most of the time.  However, you may want to play with this depending on (a) the type of material you are drawing on; and (b) the desired thickness of the drawing.

3.  Place your paper on the mat, making certain that it is lined up with the top right corner.  Then, load into your machine.

4.  Select the images you want to draw and press "Cut".  Instead of cutting, your machine will draw the selected images.

Now, if you want to go back and cut the outlined images, do the following:

5.  Give the ink sufficient time to dry to avoid smearing.

6.  Do NOT unload the paper or turn off the machine.  Carefully remove the marker and reload the blade assembly.

7.  Reset the speed and pressure on your machine to cut the selected material.

8.  Press the "Load Paper" button.  That's right - you never unloaded the paper, but this will take you back to the beginning where you started your drawing.

9.  Press the "Repeat Last" button, then "Cut".

Let the machine do its thing - when it's finished, you should have a die cut with a colorful outline!

If you have any questions or would like to discuss your projects using the Cricut ink cartridges, I would love to hear them.  Just leave a comment below...


  1. Tiffney Hughes says:

    Help! I have a Cricut Expression, and I know there are tons of projects it can be used for but I don’t know what those projects are. Do you have any suggestions, ideas, websites ANYTHING to shed some light on what all I can use my Cricut for? Thanks!

  2. Hi Tiffney,

    Thanks for the question! My answer got a little too wordy, so instead of commenting here, I created a new post. Check it out and let me know if it helps…

  3. sally tankersley says:

    I am new at all this and could sure use some advice. How do I get the machine to go all across the page so I can write more words on one line. I did it the first time, must have been by mistake cause I can’t do it again. Appreciate any help. Sally

  4. sally tankersley says:

    How do I get the ink cartridge to go across the page so I can get more letters on one line. Thanks for the help. Sally

  5. Hi Sally,

    Are you unloading the paper and then reloading it? If so, press “Load Last” instead of “Load Paper” when reloading. This will take you back to the point on the paper where you made the last letter.

    If you have an eight-way directional blade on your machine, you can also use the blade navigation buttons to get you where you need to be.

    Hope this helps!

  6. I see that you can do an outline but how about creating a colorful disney character or sesame street character? Have you tried a multicolor image?

  7. Christine Reynolds says:

    I would like to know how to create a verse for greeting cards using the Cricut Expressions and the ink cartridge. I adjusted for the paper size (set paper size), used the Center Point button, then started to write the verse (using Plantin SchoolBook). I had set the size as 1/4″ as well. Cricut Expressions would not let me type in more than the following: “Accpet my greetin” before popping up with the message “too many characters”. I have had my CE for about 2 weeks, and I am enjoying the process. I have found many sites that have been helpful, but have not quite figured out how to get help with this new challenge.

  8. From an earlier post: I see that you can do an outline but how about creating a colorful disney character or sesame street character? Have you tried a multicolor image?” I would like an answer to this, as well as I have seem images from a link somewhere that the paperdolls had freckles, was this done with the ink cartridges?

  9. I am interested in how to do the disney characters with
    color. Please advise. I love your site!!

  10. I have the expression and just got the ink. I am wanting to write something in the middle of a square that I cut out. Can you help me understand how to do this?


  11. Scrapbooker says:

    I’ve had that same problem. I hate learning new things some times!

  12. Informative and useful post, i like the content of this article. Nice quick tutorials.

  13. Regarding the use of ink cartridge in cricut and blades.

    I did draw with the ink but when I went to actually cut (after replace ink with the blade) the load matt was not an option. It only said unload matt. So I unloaded the matt and then reloaded it. The project I was working on was through my gypsy so I even tried the cricut key pad where the load matt button was but did not work. Any suggestions. Also I had the settings as suggested, but the words skipped part of the letters and did not draw all the lines. I had to draw them in my hand!!! thanks for any help. Joan

  14. John Langser says:

    This is pretty cool, my wife showed me how to use them.

  15. But I think this article might explain it a little better.. I will be quiet about that.

  16. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!, i have a cricut expression in the uk and need to know what ink cartridges to get? i have seen the pen things but can i load it to do an outline then load another colour to colour it in then cut it? Also where can i get them from? i have been on the cricut website but when i get buying it in the dropdown bit for shipping it only offers canada or us, Are there any sites i can buy from and any i can get instructions in how to use the inks and some ideas?
    Many thanks
    a very stressed lucy.

  17. Hi Lucy,

    Unfortunately, I’m U.S.-based, so I’m not sure what is available in the UK. You may want to try sending an email to Cricut customer support ( to see if they can provide you with the name of suppliers in your area…

  18. Hi I’m new to all this I bought the Cricut mini the newest to their line. I didn’t see where there was a place for ink since eveything is done on the computer does that mean I will be using my printer to print from? and help would be great thanks

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