Did you know that you can make dog tags, both the human and animal versions using your Cricut Maker machine? You can, I am not just talking adding vinyl that will eventually peel off or get eaten by the dog (or cat or it might peel off from wear and tear. Using the Cricut Engraving tool you can permanently put your fur baby or really anything you want on all sorts of metal objects.
In this tutorial I am going to tell you just how you can do this step by step with additional tips and tricks that I have learned along the way. By the time you are done reading this you will not only be a pro at making dog tags but also at engraving several different types of metal surfaces.
As always before you dive into the project making you will need to make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials. Having them together ahead of time avoids stopping in the middle of a project to run and buy or order and wait for the items to come in. One headache avoided at a time.
Here is a list of the materials you will need along with links (some affiliates) to the tools and materials that I use on this project and others.
That should cover everything you need to get this project done. Now onto the fun parts!
You would think that designing a dog tag would be simple, it can be or it can be crazy complicated, totally up to you. However, I would recommend for the purpose of your first project that you go with something pretty simple. If it is for a fur baby you can do the name, owners name and contact number maybe a simple heart or paw print too. Simple but still tasteful and personal. If it is for a human then you have a bit more room to work with, I like simplicity, one or two words can mean so much.
This is the I decided to use, our Yorkie, Snickers recently passed away and I was making keychains for the kiddos to carry with them. I uploaded this into one of my apps “VectorQ” and played with it until I had an outline I liked. Then I uploaded that into Design Space and selected “cut ”.
You will want to open up Cricut Design Space and there is a template in there but I feel like the sizing is always off. Before I start designing I will measure the area I have to work with. If you got the set I did and are using the bone shaped tag you will measure the area inside the bone not including the sides. See below for a better example.
Once you have that measured go to your Design Space and click on “shapes” then the square. Unlock the square by clicking the lock key at the top or on the bottom left corner and make it the exact dimensions of your blank. This will be the BEST way to make sure your design fits perfectly onto your blank. I have tried other templates and tricks but this one has been the only one that has been successful and works every time.
Once you have your “template you are ready to to choose a font and/or s for your tag. First thing is you will want to make sure you have the “draw” function enabled. Then type out your words and scroll through your fonts. I have a few recommendations or tips if you will. Stray away from thick fonts, typically these will end up being outlines and not filled letters. You need to make sure you have a “writing” font selected. This will create a nice and smooth engraving, unless you want it outlined like sports lettering.
When you are done designing you will get ready to make your project. Select make it in the top right corner and center your design like I did below. This is the best way for me to make sure I am spot on the center of the tag.
Now that you have your font and/or designed you are ready to set up your mat for engraving. This is where the tape comes into play. You will need to tape around the entire tag but make sure to leave the area you will be engraving onto, if you get a little tape over the area don’t stress over it. Try not to cover it though, any area that has the tape and get engraved over wont be as deep of an engraving.
*** TIP *** It is way easier to align the tag on your mat at an intersection. If I am only doing one tag, I will put the design in the middle of the mat at the 6 and 6 mark. This will make it much easier to make the perfect engraving and align your design in the middle. Thus, giving a better opportunity for near perfection. Remember in the crafting world we don’t aim for perfect, we aim for unique.
Now that you have your tag aligned and taped you are ready to load the mat into your Cricut And select your material.Depending on the blanks you purchased you will need to set your pressure. I typically stick to the “stainless steel” setting, it has good pressure. Now you can go ahead as you normally would on any other project and press the go button.
Wait for it to finish the first pass and DO NOT UNLOAD the mat, don’t touch that button. Take a look at the engraving and dee if it to your liking, for me I like to do at least two passes if not more. If it is NOT to your liking hit the go button, NOT the load button. Repeat this until you get the desired depth. Then you can unload the mat and remove your tag.
You will want to wipe off the metal shavings with a cloth or paper towel. Then take the acrylic paint marker and cover the engraving with it. Liberally cover it, like you should not be able to see the engraving too much. Let it sit to dry for 2-3 minutes at minimum.
This is usually where I step away and start on something else or grab a drink and come back. After the paint has dried you will wipe the excess paint off with a DRY cloth, you will need to rub a tad aggressively but you don’t want to wet the towel, it will get into the letters and they are ready to get wet yet. After a couple days you can get it wet.
Now you have a completed dog tag, it may look a bit crazy and nowhere near perfect for the first one but you will get it, just keep trying! No giving up, just keep swimming as Dory would say. You can use these same techniques and tips for all types of engraving. Now you can make charms, bracelets, rings and so much more!
Be sure to check out some other nifty functional craft ideas through our other posts here on Craft-ILY as well as checking out some videos on DIY and How To’s over on YouTube. Look for “Crafting Unedited” or just click the name in blue to see!
Hi! I’m Cierra and I’m a craftaholic! I’ve been crafting for a few years now and it’s honestly become my zen. I love crafting, fitness, spending time with my family and friends doing whatever the day allows, peacocks (hence the logo), the beach and adrenaline – give me all the roller coasters and fast cars!
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Hi! I’m Cierra and I’m a craftaholic! I have been crafting for several years and love helping others understand and learn the complexity of the industry and everything there is to know about how to use materials, where to purchase them, what not to do and most importantly how to have fun with it.
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How to Engrave Metal with the Cricut Maker Engraving Tool
This step is optional, but it’s really helpful to have a template of what you’re engraving so you can properly size it. I’ve made an engraving template of the projects I engraved in this tutorial, but you can also just use the Shape tool in Cricut to make circles, ovals, squares, and rectangles in the shape of your engraving blank.
If you want to use the free engraving template I used in this tutorial, you can download it from my free resource library. It is available as an SVG for your Cricut, as well as a PDF, PNG, and DXF. Just go to the library, search for Design #155 and upload the file to your design software. If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG file to Cricut Design Space, or you’re having issues (such as getting a message that says “unsupported file”), please watch my free training series, SVGs Made Simple. It will help you SO much!
Here’s what my engraving template file looks like uploaded to Cricut Design Space:
Tip: My template doesn’t include all possible engraving blanks, of course, but I tried to include as many popular shapes as I could think of. If you engraving blank is a similar shape but a different size, first Ungroup the template with the Ungroup button. Then select the one that is similar and change the W and H at the top of the screen to match the size of your blank! Now you have a template for YOUR blank.
Step 4: Center Your Design On Your Mat Preview
Once your design is ready, click the green Make It button in the upper right. The next screen is the Mat Preview screen, and this is very important to our technique. Make sure you click, hold, and drag your design to the exact center of the mat preview. You can find the exact center of the mat preview where the 6″ x 6″ lines meet in the middle.
I like to move my engraving design to the center point, then zoom in so I can see it better and make sure it is centered right on those two lines!
When you feel like you have it centered, click the green Continue button. Then click the Browse All Materials link and choose the appropriate metal.
Tip: If you’re using copper, just pick “Brass” instead.
Note: If you cannot select these metals, it means you forgot to hide your template OR you forgot to change your design’s linetype to Engrave. Go back and fix that before continuing.
This is a good time to put your engraving tip in your Maker, too!
Every pet owner wants to personalize their dog tags. Did you know that you don’t need to custom order the tags or pay someone a huge fee to do it for you? You can make your own personalized dog tags yourself with Cricut.
Engraving the tags is easy. You can use any font that you like to suit your dog’s personality!
Custom etching dog tags is easy with just a couple tools. Here are the instructions for how to engrave dog tags with Cricut.
How do I engrave with my Cricut maker?
How do you engrave dog tags at home?
Can Cricut Air 2 engrave dog tags?