Personalized Holiday Gift Using Handwriting with the Cricut Joy

There is something distinctive about handwriting. Handwriting is very personal and in a world where everything is typed and texted, those personal connections are becoming a lost art. Finding something written by someone close to you who has since passed, can immediately tug at your heart.  You can identify the loops of the letters or the scrawled cursive to the one who created it. Creating a personalized gift with someone's handwriting creates the ultimate gift to give this holiday season. I'm going to show you how you can take a handwritten note, a recipe, or a signature and create a keepsake gift using the Cricut Joy

personalized gifts using handwriting

Personalized Holiday Gift Using Handwriting with the Cricut Joy 

personalized gifts using handwriting and cricut joy

There are a lot of gifts you could make using handwriting. You don't need much more than a signature {love, mom} to create something, anything, all you need is creativity.

For this project, I'm using my favorite small but mighty cutting tool, the Cricut Joy

cricut joy cutting material

I mean, this thing can do small intricate projects and tackle the big projects like creating vinyl flamingo wallpaper for a whole wall!

The Cricut Joy has an option to create just about anything using the trace feature. 

When my childhood friend lost her teenage son in a car accident, I used a handwritten note that her son had given her the year prior for Christmas and created a pillow using iron-on vinyl. 

handwritten note turned into a keepsake pillow

Here's how you take your handwritten item and create a keepsake!

personalized gift using handwriting and the cricut joy cutting machine

Select New Project. At the bottom left of the Cricut design space, you'll see the option to upload.

By this point, you've already identified the recipe or the note or the signature you want to use for your project. The best way to manipulate this is to scan the document in and save it as a .jpg, though you can also use .png or .svg {plus more!}

You can also take a picture of your image using your smartphone and send it to yourself via e-mail. Then right-click it, download, and save it. That's it! 

I'm using this recipe from my husband's late grandmother.

family pesto recipe

With your selected image in hand, now you are ready to create!

Upload your image on the create screen. Drag and drop or select browse, find your file, and upload.

Next, you'll have the option to select simple, moderately complex, and complex. 

recipe trace image

Handwritten items are often complex. 

Select complex.

crop feature on cricut

Use the crop tool to crop out anything unnecessary. Often times you'll need to get rid of anything on the edges of your image. This could be the line of the paper on the side, any drawn images around artistic stationary or recipes, or maybe you just want a small sentiment taken from a larger note.

For me with this recipe, I wanted to get rid of the green line on the edge and the decorative lemons at the top. I wasn't able to get rid of the lemons just yet, because I would have ended up cropping out part of the recipe. But stay tuned. Cropping out anything you don't want will make your job easier in the long run then the other pieces will just support you as you create the image that you will ultimately cut. 

personalized handwritten gift

The next tool in your toolbox is the erase tool to erase anything large you no longer want. 

I used the erase tool to get rid of the lemons in the corner. You can make the erase tool larger or smaller and the lemon removal required a big eraser! 

preview feature on cricut

Preview will help you see what you hadn't seen before and where you need to spend time erasing around your cut lines

Often old recipes will have smudges from food on them. These will come up as small specks on the preview. Use your small erase tool to help clean those up.

You'll want to continue to clean up your image using the various tools so that in the end, you are left with only black lines that you want to cut or print. Anything that is white will not be cut. Using the select and erase tool and using the cursor to select the area will help create the cut image you want.

select and erase tool cricut

Pay special attention to loops in letters that often get missed. If you want them cut out, make sure the checkered background is highlighted inside.

Continue to use the tools in your toolbox, clicking often between preview and hide preview to help you get your image cleaned up. 

print and cut image

Once the image looks how you want it to be cut, save as a cut image. You can also save it as a print and cut image depending on what material you are using to create your keepsake. 

I wanted to use vinyl so I chose to save as a cut image.

Now that your image is saved, you can insert the image into the design space.

Adjust the size. Remember, if you change the aspect ratio too much the handwriting may also change. 

Add any images you think would make it look better. Because I left a big gap from the recipe cards decorative lemons, I decided to add a little flourish image where the gap was.

Group your images {select all} and select attach so it will all cut on one mat in the Cricut Joy.

Don't miss the attach option. This seems intuitive, but it's not. And if you are like me, you'll spend far too long wondering why it wants to cut on multiple mats. 

You can cut without a mat when you use your Cricut Joy, but with these intricate letters, I want to make sure I don't miss any loops, dots, or commas.

cricut joy cutting mat

You are also going to want to make sure you have a sharp blade. If you've been using it for a while or for projects that might dull it {like paper projects} you might want to change it before you cut out anything as intricate as letters. You can get a new blade for your Cricut Joy here.

Not going to lie, weeding this was kind of a beast. 

cutting vinyl with cricut joy

Some tips for weeding intricate designs

Reverse weed any intricate design

Turn over the image and use a scraper tool to help add pressure to make sure anything you want to stay stuck to the backing, stays stuck. This step is called burnishing. If you don't have this basic tool set, you need it. 

Start in small spaces as you pull off the vinyl. 

weeding cricut joy design

With reverse weeding, you want to leave your cut image on the backing and pull away any of the negative space.

Cut away extra material when you aren't using it. 

Use the weeding tool to remove any small vinyl pieces. This is especially important on those looped letters.

Need more tips on how to use vinyl like a pro? Check out this post!

Once you have weeded your image, use the Cricut Transfer Tape. There are a few things you have to buy that are specifically for your Cricut Joy. The transfer tape isn't one of them. You can buy this and cut it down to any size you need. 

cricut transfer tape

Burnish your transfer tape on your cut vinyl image. I like to do this on the front and the back. Again, you need these tools. You could probably get away with this. It's one of my first purchases outside of my cutting machine that I bought.

using vinyl with cutting machine

Once you've made sure everything is transferred onto your transfer tape, use the grid to help line it up carefully on the item you are transferring your vinyl to.

I was using a vintage stoneware bowl to transfer the recipe. Vinyl is not food safe, so plan accordingly! I wiped down the inside of the bowl with some rubbing alcohol to make sure it was clean. 

using vinyl on a project

You could use Cricut Joy Smart Iron-On and transfer a handwritten recipe to a decorative tea towel as an alternative. You could also transfer a recipe to a wooden frame using Smart Vinyl and display it in your kitchen or dining area. 

personalized holiday gift using cricut joy and handwriting

Here is my secret for getting vinyl to stick to a canvas.

personalized holiday gift cricut joy

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creating a personalized handwritten gift using the cricut joy

There are lots of possibilities to make a personalized handwriting project your own and keep the personality and spirit of the author alive. Let me know if you have any questions! I can't wait to see what you create!

disclaimer: this post may have affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing through them, I may receive a small commission. These small purchases help me to continue to keep writing content and creating at Rachel Teodoro. Thank you!

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