Friday, June 29, 2012

Using Imagine Art cartridges in the Cricut Expression

Last week I received an email from a lovely lady called Suzanne. Suzanne has a Cricut Expression and recently purchased an Imagine Art cartridge not realising that she couldn't use it in her machine.

Before she put it up for sale on eBay she emailed me to ask if there was any way she could use that cartridge.

My immediate thought was that as there's no Imagine slot in the the Expression, the answer would be no. But then I thought about it a bit more and realised there is a way.... by using Cricut Craft Room!!

First, you will need a friend who will let you link the Imagine cartridge to your account using their Imagine or Expression2. (Make sure you're logged into your account, not there's!!)

Once you've accomplished that all you need to do is connect your Expression to your computer, create your design using the linked Imagine cartridge and send it off to cut!

This should also work with the Cricut Personal, Create and Mini. (I haven't tried them but I see no reason why it won't work.)

Don't have a friend with an Imagine or E2? All is not lost. This will also work with the Digital Imagine cartridges that you can purchase from

Surely it can't be that easy???? Well... there are a couple of things to keep in mind.
  • As the Expression doesn't have any printing capabilities you will only be able to cut the images from the cart. For the same reason you can't use the Imsgine Colors and Patterns carts.
  • You will need to edit the images before you cut them as they are made up of multiple layers. For example this image from the Best Friends cartridge looks like this in CCR when the Imagine is selected as the default machine:

And like this if the Expression is chosen:

If you were to cut the image as it appears above this is what you'll get:

A jumbled mess of useless body parts! That's because every single line in the image is cut. To get a useful cut of the image here's what you need to do.

Select the image on the mat and click the Edit Group button

The Combine/Separate buttons will appear in the right corner of the screen. Click the Separate button.

Now your image will look like this:

Click the Exit button (or press Esc) to go back to the mat screen.

Now when you cut your project, each of the five layers will cut separately. At the moment they are automatically grouped. To move the individual pieces around on the mat click the Ungroup button on the toolbar. You can then space each piece out on the mat allowing you to load your mat with different colours of cardstock.

Remember, if you want to resize the image once you've ungrouped it, you will need to select all the pieces by using Ctrl A (Cmd A) or select Edit, Select All. Then use the resize handle to increase or decrease the size of all the pieces at the same time.

As you can see from the image above, you will lose the facial features of the image as those parts are only printed. Time to break out those Peachy Keen stamps you've got stashed in your drawer!

Play around with the different Imagine cartridges in CCR before you start purchasing them. Some images will work better than others.

Here's another example:

An image from the JT Imagine cart as it would print:

That image when the layers have been separated (still with the Imagine selected as the default machine):

And how it looks when the Expression is selected as the default machine:

So if you're one of those cartridge collectors that has accidentally purchased an Imagine Art cartridge, all is not lost! Have fun experimenting. 


Gina Greenawalt

What a great idea! I might have to try this out this weekend!


I thought imagine carts could be cut with the E2 for sure , but my E2 will not cut images from mmy imagine carts whether through ccr ir straight from machine! Any ideas or suggestions? Have you actually cut with the E2 with the imagine cart?! TIA!
(Nanapuddin2u at gmail dot com)

In My Craft Room

Great tips!!


@nanapuddin: I'm cutting from an Imagine Art cartridge with my E2 right now! (I always double/triple check before I say yes!!) Are you using an Imagine Art cartridge? Not an Imagine Colors & Patterns cartridge? And is your E2 up to date? Latest version numbers are 0079:0040:0240 and you should have the latest version of Cricut Sync installed before you update. That version number is 2.1.12.


One thing I'm wondering about though ... I believe you are limited to access your Craft Room account from ONLY TWO computers. So if I try to sign in on a friend's computer, won't I know be limited to using her computer or mine?? and thereby limit any access to a laptop or other computer?? Cheryl G in Maine


Thanks for the great information! This is so helpful as a good friend of mine just starting out in the Cricut world made the same mistake. Now I can help her out!


Wow, this is so helpful!



@Cheryl G: Yes, you are correct that you can only access the Desktop (cutting and linking) version from two computers. So if you need to link a cart using a friends E2 or Imagine, you will either have to take your computer to them (easy if you have a laptop, a bit more awkward if you don't) or they will need to bring their Cricut to you. :)


Can anything be cut with the cricut? Ie : picture downloaded from a coloring book?


@Rachel: All Cricuts are strictly cartridge based cutters only. Therefore they can only cut images found on the Cricut cartridges.


Hi I just got a gypsy and dont really know much about it but i believe the gypsy can now work with the imagine? am i correct?
And if so, would i be able to use the images from the imagine cartridge to cut on my expression using the gypsy?
(I don't know anyone that has an imagine machine and the cart that im speaking of is actually on its way to me)
YOur advice is greatly appreciated



There are two applications on the Gypsy (once you have updated it.) The regular Gypsy application and the Imagine Application.

I believe you can use your Imagine carts using the Gypsy app, but some carts don't work with the Imagine App (which you need to use if you want to flood fill your images.)

Provocraft have been advised which carts don't work (sorry, I don't have a list) but so far the problem hasn't been fixed.


This is awesome, thanks.

Donovan Bailey

Awesome blog layout! The overall look of your web site is excellent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article.

Archangel Baw

Brilliant! and so helpful. Thank you so much for posting this.


WOW!!! I truly have to try this. I want to get the imagine cart Word of Mouth but only have an expression.


Great instructions Narelle. Havent used cricut craftroom at all. But since now the G can be linked to it - Exploring. Scared to update my Imagine but will try that too

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