How To Make Stickers Using Cricut Explore Air 2 + Canva

You don’t need to be a pro artist to make cute stickers for your bullet journal. Even if you can’t draw, you can use simple graphic design to make stickers. Personally, I make stickers for personal use and sale in Canva. I have the Pro version, but you can also use the free version!

In this blog post, I’ll be covering how to make sticker sheets and flakes using the Cricut Explore Air 2. I can’t speak to other types of Cricut machines, since I don’t own them, but I know the steps are very similar to those for the Explore Air 2 in terms of software and settings.

Many sticker artists prefer the Silhouette Cameo to the Cricut Explore. However, I love my Cricut Explore because of its precision cutting and easy-to-use design software! It’s up to you which one you prefer, but this tutorial will exclusively cover making stickers with the Cricut Explore Air 2.

Canva Copyright Rules

First thing’s first: let’s talk about the boring legal stuff. Namely, when you’re using graphic design software like Canva that uses clipart, you need to be aware of what the legal uses are for that art.

With Canva, you are granted a one design use license every time you download an image file. With a free account, you will need to pay for a separate license for any Pro media used in each design when you download. However, if you pay $15 per month for a Pro account, you can use Pro media as much as you want without any additional charges.

Legally, you can create and even sell artwork featuring Canva stock designs! This includes stickers and sticker sheets. But, you must alter the clipart in some way for the sale of the images to be legal. The way I interpret this is that you can combine clipart and/or text to create stickers, but you can’t just copy and paste their clipart into your sticker sheet.

The one thing you can’t do with Canva is create templates. So, you can’t sell a “sticker-making template” in Canva, for example, for users to create their own sticker sheets. You can only create your own stickers and sticker sheets for use.

Designing Bullet Journal Stickers In Canva

You can design bullet journal stickers in Canva to make for yourself or even to sell! I like to create stickers with a central theme for creating spreads. However, you can make stickers however you see fit! Here’s how.

Canva is a free design software that can be accessed online at You’ll just need an account, either free or Pro, to save your designs. Once you log in, you’ll need to create a canvas in the size you want your stickers or sticker sheets to be. Personally, I like standardized sizes, so I make all my sticker sheets 4″x6″.

With the canvas, you can play around to make cute stickers however you want. You can combine text with cute backgrounds to make functional stickers, or make decorative stickers using shapes and clipart. Experimentation is the best way to decide your personal style and what you like.

The most important feature for creating stickers in Canva is the Elements tab. Elements is where you’ll find shapes, frames (for images) and clipart. Some cute ways to make stickers include adding images to frames (i.e. a heart-shaped image), or adding clipart to shapes (i.e. circles with symbols, numbers, or letters inside). Other helpful elements include Text and Photos.

Above all else, the most important step for creating stickers in Canva is to save them correctly. Once you have your sticker or sticker sheet laid out the way you want it, you need to save it as a .png file. You can do this by clicking “Download” and making sure the file type is listed as “.Png.”

You’ll also want to make sure you click the checkbox next to “Transparent Background” when you export. This ensures you get stickers that are cut to the border, instead of getting one big white box, when you print and cut in Cricut.

Making Sticker Flakes With The Cricut Explore Air 2

Making sticker flakes, also known as die cut stickers, with the Cricut Explore Air 2 is the easiest way to make stickers. This is because you don’t need to deal with creating a separate background for the sticker sheets or worry about the stickers fitting on your sheet.

At this point, you should have already exported your sticker as a .png with a transparent background from Canva. The next step is to open the Cricut Design Space program in your computer. (This is the free program that comes with your Cricut. If you haven’t downloaded it yet, there are directions in the box for downloading Design Space and setting it up properly. Follow those and you’ll be just fine!)

Once you’ve opened Design Space, create a new project and give it a name. Go to “Upload” and select the file for your first sticker. Once it’s uploaded, you’ll need to choose a complexity level. Most people recommend choosing the highest level of complexity, called “Complex,” to ensure no little details are missed. You’ll also want to make sure you select it as a “Print Then Cut” file

After these steps, you can add the stickers to the canvas and resize them (if needed). Repeat these steps for as many stickers as you want to cut right now. Then, when you’re ready to print and cut, click the “Make It” button at the upper right-hand corner of your Design Space application.

This is the part where you’ll want to set up your printer and Cricut Explore Air 2. You can use Bluetooth to connect to the Cricut machine, but I usually use my USB cable (I’ve had wonky connections to Bluetooth in the past). Verify the preview looks the way you want it and then click “Continue.”

Usually, I print using the System Dialog so I can change the printer settings if need be (for example, to switch paper types or select higher-quality printing). You’ll also want to make sure that the “Add Bleed” button is set to green. This way, Cricut will add wiggle room for printing.

After printing, hit the “Open” button on the Cricut and set the dial on your Cricut Explore Air 2 to “Cardstock” so that it will cut all the way through the sticker paper. (Other Cricut models may have different settings.) You can then move on to setting up your mat! Align the sticker paper with the guides on the mat so that it’s in the top-left corner. Then, feed it into the Cricut and hit the “Load” button (the one with the double-arrow). It should be flashing.

After the paper loads, the C-shaped “Start” button will start flashing. Hit that and watch as the Cricut goes through the magical cutting process! When it’s done, the double-arrowed “Load” button will start flashing again. Hit it to unload your mat. Carefully, you can then use tools or your fingers to peel your sticker flakes off the sticky mat.

And voila! You’ve got die-cut stickers for your bullet journal.

Making Sticker Sheets With The Cricut Explore Air 2

Now, let’s talk about how to make sticker sheets, or kiss-cut stickers. This is a little more advanced, so stick with me! Most of the steps are the same, so I will only go over the ones that are different.

The first thing you’ll need to do is make sure you make a background for your sticker sheet. I usually make mine 4″x6″. If you’re selling your sticker sheets, I recommend adding your logo and a product number to the top of the sheet. IMPORTANT: Do not download the background as a transparent file!

Then, resize your sticker sheet so it’s small enough to fit on the sheet below the logo. You will want to download this sheet as a transparent .png. Upload both these files to a new project in the Cricut Design Space application. Make sure you add the background layer to the canvas first and size it the way you want before layering the sticker sheet layer over it.

The next step is the most important to make sure your file is cut correctly! Select BOTH the background and the stickers at the same time, and in the right-hand panel, click the “Attach” button. You do NOT need to group the layers — just click “Attach!” That will make sure your sticker sheet is cut the right way.

After that crucial step, follow all the same steps for printing and cutting your Cricut project, except make sure you set the dial to “Vinyl” instead of “Cardstock.” This ensures the Cricut doesn’t cut all the way through the paper, giving you kiss-cut instead of die-cut stickers.

Your Cricut may not cut all the way through your sticker paper around the border of the sticker sheet, so you’ll need to follow the guidelines with scissors or an X-Acto knife. If you’re interested in playing around with your Cricut, I’m told you can also try copying the background four or five times to get it to cut through the paper. However, I’ve never tried this personally, so I can’t give guidance on how well that works.

Tips For Making Stickers With A Cricut

  1. Store your mats in the plastic they came in. The Cricut mats are designed to have a light sticky coating so your material will adhere to it. Unfortunately, other things — like pet hair and dirt — will also stick. Over time this can make the mats dirty and keep material from sticking, so make sure to store your mats in the plastic they came in (or another safe place) to keep them clean and sticky.
  2. Do a test cut before mass printing stickers or sticker sheets. Planning to print dozens of stickers or sticker sheets to sell on Etsy? Do a test “Print Then Cut” on plain paper first to ensure your settings are correct and there are no mis-cuts. In my experience, it’s much better to learn that you messed up before you use 20 sheets of expensive sticker paper!
  3. Don’t buy the Cricut sticker paper. First of all, the Cricut-brand sticker paper is overpriced — you can get the exact same thing for much less money on Amazon! Secondly, it’s not good for kiss-cut stickers. This is because the paper is cardstock-thickness, so it won’t cut the way you expect on the Vinyl setting. For bullet journal sticker sheets, I prefer a thinner sticker paper like the Avery or Koala brands.
  4. Print and cut one piece of paper at a time. I will be the first to admit that this is a HUGE pain when you’re looking to make, say, 50 sticker sheets at once! But, printing and cutting a single piece of paper at a time minimizes the number of errors made by the Cricut machine. For this reason, if you can fit two or more sticker sheets on a single piece of paper, I highly recommend doing so. This means you can make multiple sheets at a time instead of just one.
  5. If you’re selling stickers, save the mess-ups! Last but not least, don’t waste your fancy sticker paper by throwing away mis-cut or mis-print sticker sheets. If they are for personal use, then fine — but if you are looking to turn a profit off selling sticker sheets, I highly recommend saving them and selling them at a discount as “Oops!” stickers instead. This reduces the amount of waste and maximizes the profit made by your sticker business.

Reviewing Aesthetic Stationery Trends

What’s your stationery aesthetic? Whether you were originally hooked on stationery by studyblr or by bullet journal Instagram,.you have probably heard the names of some stationery items repeated over and over again.

Brands like Zebra, Stabilo, and Kokuyo are favorites in the aesthetic stationery community for a reason, yet they often come with a high price tag. So, is it worth spending money on these aesthetic stationery finds?

I’m a big believer in quality, not popularity, when it comes to stationery. In this post, I review some of the most popular stationery products in the aesthetic bujo and studyblr/studygram communities online to give you the real scoop on what these items are like.

Zebra Mildliners

15ct Dual-tip Creative Marker - Zebra Mildliner : Target

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros: Zebra Mildliners are dual-ended pens that come with a thick end (like a traditional highlighter) and a thin end (like a thick felt-tip marker). This makes them easy to use for multiple purposes, such as highlighting and coloring in doodles or drawings.

Cons: While the markers are highly pigmented, they occasionally bleed through the page. Certain colors, like pink and yellow, are more fluorescent than subdued or “mild.” They may smudge or pick up black spots from pen.

Worth it? Yes. Despite their shortcomings, Zebra Mildliners are a must-have in your stationery toolkit.

Stabilo Boss Highlighters Stabilo BOSS Original Highlighter, Pastels - 6-color Set:  Office Products

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros: The Stabilo Boss Highlighters are richly colored and do not pick up black smudges from pen the way that Zebra Mildliners do. Their colors are more truly pastel and less fluorescent. They rarely bleed through.

Cons: The Stabilo Boss Highlighters are traditional single-ended highlighters, so there is no felt-tip end to use as a marker for coloring.

Worth it? Yes. Don’t pass over the Stabilo Boss Highlighters during your next stationery haul.

Tombow Dual Brush Pens

Dual Brush Pen Art Markers 10-Pack | Pastel | Brush Markers | Tombow

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros: These dual-ended markers have a brush end for hand-lettering and a fineliner end for drawing or coloring. This makes them an incredibly versatile pen that comes in a rainbow of colors.

Cons: The fine-tipped end runs out of ink quicker than the brush end. They are on the pricier side compared to other, similar pens you can buy at your favorite stationery store.

Worth it? Yes. The Tombow Dual Brush Pens changed the way I bullet journal for the better.

Kokuyo Gloo Stick

Kokuyo Gloo Glue Stick - Disappearing Blue - Large | JetPens

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Pros: The Kokuyo Gloo Stick is tackier than other glue sticks, meaning that once you stick something down…it’s going to stay there. Unlike Elmer’s, it doesn’t leave a colored residue (even though the stick is blue) on the page.

Cons: The Kokuyo Gloo Stick has a medicinal smell I can only describe as smelling like hospital hand soap. (If you have spent a lot of time at the doctor’s office, then you know what I’m talking about.) The flat, square end of the Gloo Stick is actually kind of difficult to spread onto the page.

Worth it? No. For $4, I would stick to Elmer’s Craft Bond, which comes in a multi-pack, is tackier than regular glue, and will last you longer.

Kokuyo Stapleless Stapler

Kokuyo Japan Harinacs Stapleless Stapler Compact alpha (up to 5 papers)

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Pros: The Kokuyo Stapleless Stapler is small and compact, great for taking with you on the go. Because it doesn’t require staples, you never need to worry about running out or wasting them.

Cons: The paper tab that’s created by the stapler holds, but it doesn’t look very neat, meaning it wouldn’t be appropriate for passing in assignments. It also only staples up to five pages at a time, which isn’t very many.

Worth it? No. If you are a student who needs to staple thick papers in a neat fashion, I would stick to an ordinary stapler.

Pilot FriXion Ball Pen

Pilot FriXion Ball Knock Design Series Block Check Gel Pen - 0.5 mm - Black  Ink - Soft Blue Body | JetPens

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐

Pros: The selling point of the Pilot FriXion Ball Pen is that it is erasable with friction. The “eraser” on the end won’t run out like a normal one. They are also very pretty pens that come in a variety of pastel colors.

Cons: The ink used in these pens can smudge or disappear at very high temperatures, meaning you need to be careful using these for important documents. The pens do sometimes skip while writing and the ink doesn’t go on smoothly, though it does erase well. Even though it erases completely, you can still see the outline of what you’ve written on the paper — if you write with a lot of pressure like I do.

Worth it? Yes, under certain circumstances. I think if you are a student and enjoy writing in pen, this is worth it for taking class notes, since using correction fluid can take up way too much time and make you fall behind on lecture notes. Because they erase, they’re good for rough-draft or quickly written notes. But for everyday or legal uses, this is not the pen for you.

Sakura Pigma Micron Pens

Sakura Pigma Micron pen ink marker felt tip pen, Archival pigment ink pens,  line-width fine

Star rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Pros: The Sakura Pigma Micron Pens have an extremely fine felt tip, which can be difficult to find in a pen. Unlike other fineliners, however, the tip is still pointed like that of a ballpoint pen. They are comfortable to write with and great for using in your bullet journal.

Cons: These pens occasionally skip. The felt tip is extremely fine, which can make it difficult to write with control if you do not have practice using them.

Worth it? Yes. If you keep a bullet journal, the Sakura Pigma Micron Pens are definitely worth the investment.

How to Start a Bullet Journal in 2021

What’s your New Year’s resolution? Me, I’m not sure I believe in New Year’s resolutions — but I do believe in goals. One of my goals for 2021 is to keep up with my bullet journaling, especially when it comes to my Instagram (@journalwithhaley) and my Youtube channel of the same name.

If you’re someone who is goal-oriented with a mile-long to-do list, then a bullet journal might be just the thing for you. I started bullet journaling because it was the perfect way to combine my interest in art with my love for planning. But despite what you see on Instagram, there are many ways to bullet journal: you don’t need to be a collage artist or an influencer to get and stay organized.

Some people are fans of the fuctional bullet journal, lovingly referred to as “ugly bullet journaling.” Others, such as me, prefer the more elaborate spreads featured on Instagram and Pinterest. Whatever your cup of tea, bullet journaling can serve an important purpose in your life by helping you keep track of your appointments, habits, and goals. (I like to think of the bujo as a planner on steroids!)

Bullet journaling doesn’t need to be complicated, but there are a few things you should know before you dive into it. Firstly, you’re going to want to stock up on supplies. Below, I’ll talk about some of my favorites — and then walk you through the process of setting up your first bujo.

Bullet Journal Supplies for Beginners

Before you start bullet journaling in earnest, you’re going to need a few supplies to help you get started.

Bullet Journal

The bullet journal itself is the most important ingredient in the recipe for bujo success. What’s most important is finding a bullet journal that suits your personal tastes and style. If you aren’t happy with your bujo, you aren’t going to want to use it as often. The best thing you can do to get and stay organized is to choose a bullet journal you love — even if it means shelling out a few extra dollars for a higher-quality product.

A favorite in the bullet journaling community, and my personal pick, is the Leuchtturm 1917 dotted journal. This is a great bullet journal for pros and beginners alike because it’s already equipped with page numbers and a table of contents to help you keep track of your spreads. It also comes in a variety of colors to help you express your bright personality!

Some people prefer lined or gridded pages, but I am a fan of dotted because they let you draw neat lines without adding too much clutter to the page (or requiring a ruler). However, my favorite thing about the Leuchtturm is the quality of the paper. It’s neither too thick or too thin, and your fineliners and mildliners won’t bleed through to the next page.


Most people prefer to use pen (vs. pencil) in their bullet journals — and many bujo fanatics have strong opinions about their favorites. It can feel like listening to a foreign language if you aren’t familiar with the vocabulary. Here are some different types of pens you’ll want to know (and get your hands on) while bullet journaling:

  • Pigma Micron pens. A black artist’s pen is a must-have for any bullet journaler. Pigma Micron pens, made by Sakura, are fine-tipped artist’s pens perfect for drawing — or bullet journaing. The ink used in these pens is known for being incredibly long-lasting and pigmented.
  • Mildliners. Zebras Mildliners are pastel dual-tipped highlighters that won’t bleed through paper and aren’t as harsh on the eye as your typical neon school highlighters. They have a thick end and a thin end, making them perfect for detail work in your bujo.
  • Sarasa Clip pens. Zebra Sarasa Clip pens are extra-fine pointed gel pens that come in a rich variety of colors. The Milk set, made up of pretty pastels, is a favorite of bullet journalers the world over. If you can only choose one, go for the white, which is great for adding highlights to your hand-lettering.
  • Staedtler Triplus fineliners. Fineliners are extra-fine felt-tip pens used for adult coloring or bullet journaling to create incredible artwork and colorful accents. The extraordinarily fine tip of the Staetler Triplus fineliners allows for rich detail work in your bujo.
  • Pilot FriXion pens. Using pen makes many people nervous, since it cannot be erased. Enter the Pilot FiXion pen. Its innovative ink disappears with friction, allowing for the world’s first “erasable” gel pen. These are perfect for new bullet-journalers who worry about making mistakes, or for filling in your tasks and other items that might need to be changed in your spreads.

Washi Tape

Washi is a traditional handmade paper from Japan that has since been turned into decorative tape. One of the hallmarks of washi tape is its thin and delicate nature. Because of the lightweight texture of washi tape, it can easily be hand-torn to use as an accent in your bujo spreads.

You can find washi tape in thick or thin, and solid and printed, varieties. Every bullet journaler wants a diverse collection of washi to ensure that no two pages are exactly alike. Etsy is my favorite place for decorative, printed washi tape, while Aliexpress is a great place to find thin, pastel solids for accenting your everyday spreads.


Stickers are the flair that makes every bullet journaler’s style unique. They allow you to easily theme your bujo pages, without needing to sketch out every detail. While some people, like myself, occasionally like to draw in their journals, the ultimate purpose of the bujo is functionality. Thus, there always comes a time when you want cute pages without expending a lot of energy — hence why stickers come in handy!

There are so many great places to find cute and unique bullet journal stickers. I like to support small artists on Etsy whenever possible, but you can also find stickers at your local craft store or online at retailers like Amazon or Aliexpress. If you’re on a budget, you can also create your own stickers by sketching or printing free clipart on adhesive paper, which can be bought for $10-15 at Amazon and most craft stores.


Other useful (and optional) tools to keep on hand for use in your bullet journal include:

  • Ruler. Dot journals allow you to connect lines freehanded, but rulers can still be helpful for neatness’ sake.
  • Compass. If you don’t feel comfortable hand-drawing circles, a compass can come in handy.
  • Scissors. Cutting up bits and pieces to glue into your bujo adds your own unique touch.
  • Glue sticks. Glue allows you to save ticket stubs and other memorabilia in your bujo. I like Elmer’s Craft Bond.
  • Scrapbook paper. Sometimes, you want a more interesting backdrop than plain dotted paper.
  • Stamps. Stamps can either be decorative or functional, preventing you from needing to freehand details.

How to Start a Bullet Journal

Once you’ve gathered your materials, you’re ready to get organized. If this is your first bullet journal, here are the steps you should follow to set up your bujo for 2021:

1. Create an index.

Some journals, like the Leuchtturm 1917, come with an index already made, but others require you to draw your own. An index is basically a table of contents for your bullet journal. Feel free to make it as functional or creative as you like. Check out the examples below for inspiration!

2. Optional: Create a key.

If you use symbols in your bullet journal, you may want to create a key to remember what they mean. The original bullet journal system had its own set of symbols with their own prescribed meanings, but many people are making it their own with color-coding and additional details. Others, like me, don’t use symbols at all and skip creating the key altogether! Below, you can see what the OG symbols and their meanings were:

3. Optional: Create a future log.

A future log is essentially a master calendar for 2021. Some people like to add lines where they can make note of important future events, such as birthdays and vacations. Personally, I usually don’t include one in my bullet journal. Because I also use a regular paper planner and Google Calendar in addition to my bujo, I don’t really need it. However, if you’re someone who’s constantly planning ahead and wants to rely exclusively on their bullet journal for planning, I highly recommend it!

Creating a future log can be time-consuming and frustrating. If you’re hand-drawing and numbering every month, it can take hours to get it exactly right. Plus, pen is an unforgiving medium. To make it easier on you, I would consider using a stamp or printable to create your future log. You can also check out the layout ideas below for inspiration.

4. Create a monthly cover page.

Here is where bullet journaling starts to get fun! After setting up your bullet journal for the year, your next step is to get ready for the month ahead. This typically starts with a cover page, which can be as simple or as creative as you like. The design is completely up to you! Some people choose to theme their cover pages and coordinate their weekly or daily spreads with the cover page, while others prefer a minimal style.

5. Create daily or weekly spreads.

Whether you prefer a daily or weekly planner layout, your next task is to set up your monthly pages the way you like. Some people choose to set up their bujo for the entire month at once, while others like to go one week at a time. For me, Sundays are my bullet journaling day, when I set up my weekly spread for the week ahead. As with anything else in bullet journaling, it’s up to you. Just remember that this is the area where you’ll be listing tasks and events for the week, so be sure to leave at least a little bit of blank space while you’re decorating! Check out the spreads below for inspiration.

6. Optional: Create collections.

If you’re ready to stop there, then go right ahead. Remember, this is YOUR bullet journal, and you make the rules! (Taylor Swift reference slightly intended.) But if you’re looking to get more creative or add more functional pages for tracking habits, logging your reading, categorizing your mood, or anything under the sun, that’s where collections come in. “Collections” is the name given to these miscellaneous pages that each serve their own purpose. Some people create collections for memories, like ticket stubs or polaroids, while others use them for further tracking and planning. Keep on scrolling for some examples of collections that might serve a purpose in your life.

7. Update your index.

Anytime you add a new page (or set of pages) to your bullet journal, don’t forget to go back to your index and update it! (Depending on your bullet journal’s style, you might need to go in and add page numbers by hand, too.) This is an ongoing task, but it’s essential to organizing your bujo and staying on top of your life in 2021.

Tips for New Bullet Journalers

  1. Don’t worry about it being perfect or looking like what you see on Instagram. Everyone’s bullet journal is unique — and everyone has messed up pages they’d rather hide from the universe. As Bob Ross said, there are no mistakes; just happy little accidents 🙂
  2. That being said, there are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned for fixing mistakes — namely, covering them up! A strip of washi tape or a strategically-placed sticker can help you hide a smudge or scribbled-out word in style.
  3. If you aren’t confident using pen, try drawing in pencil first and going over the lines in pen. Eventually, this will help you become more confident in your ability to draw freehandedly using pen!
  4. Use the dot grid as guidelines to help keep your handwriting neat and straight. If you’re using a blank journal, I recommend using a ruler to align your handwriting so it stays even.
  5. Resist the temptation to over-decorate your bullet journal pages. As much as I love stickers and washi tape, I’ve occasionally impacted the functionality of my journal by failing to leave myself enough blank space for tasks, events, and to-dos!
  6. Make your bullet journal your own. You don’t need to follow the exact rules of the so-called “bullet journaling method,” or create every page you see in your favorite IG-er’s journal.
  7. Learn from previous months’ layouts. If something about your past spreads hindered you from using your journal or finding it helpful, try changing it this month, until you find one that works for you. Bullet journaling is supposed to help you stay organized — and the minute it stops doing that is the minute to start reflecting on why.
  8. Last but not least, take the pressure out of bullet journaling. Keeping up with a bujo can be exhausting, especially if you feel the need to make every spread pretty and perfect. Not only should you forget about perfection, but you should also feel free to take breaks or choose more minimalistic layouts on weeks when you’re too busy or stressed for an elaborate journal spread. Remember: bullet journaling is here to help YOU!