pkay oldam cricut designs
Pkay Oldham loves to see what Cricut members do with her designs. “It blows my mind to see how people interpret my designs and see the cool ways they use them.”

Cricut Contributing Artists Program 

Pkay Oldham always dreamed of selling her graphic designs, so when Cricut asked her to become a contributing artist for the company’s Design Space™, she jumped at the chance. Oldham is one of more than 100 artists accepted into Cricut’s new Contributing Artists Program, which launched in May as a way to grow and enhance the thousands of images offered in the Cricut Design Space® app. 

“I love designing and I was looking for a way to sell my digital designs but didn’t know if I wanted to go through an e-commerce company or build my own website,” says Oldham, who became a CAP beta tester in February and also has an Etsy shop. “I just knew I wanted to get my digital art in front of more people, so the invitation to join the program came at the perfect time.”

“Growing the Cricut design library has been a priority since launching Cricut Design Space in 2014,” says Monica McGhie, Senior Global Product Manager, Content, and one of the architects of the CAP. “In the process of evolving the library, the idea for the Contributing Artists Program was born.” More than half of the CAP artists currently enrolled live outside of the United States, McGhie says, which “allows Design Space to better reflect the diverse ideas and interests of that community.”  

Cricut still has in-house designers, who are not part of the CAP. CAP artists are designated by a purple icon and paid monthly according to how many of their designs are purchased, either by users with an all-access subscription or those who purchase individual designs. There are free designs in Design Space, and many of those for purchase are 99 cents, with some higher priced options. 

Contract information is confidential, but CAP artists receive a monthly royalty on usage by Access subscribers “as determined by measuring use of their images compared to all other Cricut Access artwork,” and a 50% royalty on a la carte purchases, according to the Cricut Artist Portal. CAP members are told their rate when they are accepted into the program and are paid through Stripe (which may have transaction charges when moving funds into a bank account). They also have access to “artist-only webinars, contests, discounts and more.” 

Pkay Oldham
chasing sunsets design
catching rays design
Pkay Oldham, who was a CAP beta tester, says being in the program has pushed her creatively to step out of her comfort zone and put her work before more eyes.

Working Through The Initial Snags

As with any new launch, there were some initial snags, but McGhie says Cricut aims to “equip artists and members with the best tools to create.” For instance, the company is working to improve the analytics dashboard to include more information about how many times an image is used so artists can better understand what consumers are buying, and design to those needs.

“Our team continues to look at how we can improve software and the overall experience, and our relationship with our community allows us to listen to what is needed and understand what we should focus on,” McGhie says.

Other priorities, she adds, include speeding up the submission approval process so designs go live in Design Space “as quickly as possible while still ensuring a high-quality experience for all community members.” Currently, the CAP only accepts single-image SVGs, but Cricut is exploring other formats. Artists still own their designs, which can only be used in the Cricut space, and can sell their art elsewhere. However, once your design appears in Design Space, it lives there forever and cannot be removed. That is because Cricut’s Angel Policy allows members to create projects to sell and so may need to access those designs again. We reached out to nearly two dozen CAP participants to get their first-hand experiences, but only a few responded, and some did not want to be quoted by name.

For Oldham, being a CAP artist has been “fun and insightful,” and she finds the contract fair, although she admits she has no comparisons. “We control how many designs we want to upload in a day, week, or month,” says Oldham, who can also be found on Instagram @projectchickco, “so if you want to (earn), you have to put in the work and create designs.”Others, who have more experience selling their designs, did have some quibbles about the payments. 

curt jensen
curt jensen
Curt Jensen worked as in-house designer for Cricuit in the early days of the company. He now is part of Cricut’s Contributing Artist Program, which launched in May 2022.

Initial Experiences From Designers

Curt Jensen worked as a Cricut in-house designer before joining a scrapbook-related business designing physical paper and stickers (a very different skill than designing cut files). He  then started his own business, Cut Paste Celebrate, designing printables and cut files, and  occasionally freelanced for Cricut before joining the CAP as a beta tester.

“I’ve always loved using my Cricut,” says Jensen. Being in the program has brought him more Instagram (@cutpastecreate) followers and added to his income, he says, although he’s not sure if it has drawn more customers to his website. 

“I was not making a lot from my own cut files, so I’m making more now as part of the Cricut family,” he says. “They have wider audience.”

Jensen likes being in the CAP, but thinks the pay structure is too low, which “has been a thorn in my side.” However, he says, he feels Cricut is listening to artists’ feedback. “I work for myself so dedicating time to design art for Cricut takes time away from what I could be designing for my own business,” he explains.

jennifer starr
jennifer starr designs
Jennifer Starr finds that being in the CAP has rejuvenated her creative drive and inspired her to expand her creative style.

When Jennifer Starr saw the call for artists on the Cricut Facebook page, “I applied immediately,” and was accepted in July.  After the first month participating, Starr says, “I enjoyed it so much I decided to readjust my business goals to give the CAP a larger priority in my workflow. “One of the biggest benefits is that I have direct access to the people I am designing for,” adds Starr, who also sells her designs on Etsy and can be found on Instagram @starr_design. “Through the Facebook Cricut-Official page I can share my projects and designs with crafters and receive immediate feedback. I enjoy seeing how crafters use my art for their creations. You can’t gain that kind of knowledge through Etsy, or most other platforms. The CAP has proven to be invaluable to my creative process and has sparked my creative drive.”

The analytics show “what is popular and trending in my designs, allowing me to adjust my direction as necessary.”

Another designer, who asked not to be identified, found the early analytics unreliable, making it difficult to understand what was being paid per cut. 

Designing For Cut Files

There is a definite learning curve for designing cut files, Jensen notes. Before applying to the CAP, know how you want your artwork to cut and design it to cut that way, he advises. “Don’t send artwork that is not ready to go,” he adds. “As an artist, you’ll be happier if you design it 100 percent the way you want it and don’t leave it up to somebody else to finish. Also, check your files after they are submitted to Design Space to make sure you are happy with how they uploaded. Starr agrees that knowing ahead of time how your designs will cut “saves time on the backend and prevents design changes or possible rejection of the art.”

If you want to sell your designs, but also sell your own creations, such as stickers, t-shirts, totes, prints, etc., “be selective about what you create to sell digitally,” suggests Oldham, who now creates two types of digital designs: one for products sold on Etsy and another for art sold through Design Space. 

curt jensen halloween design
curt jensen design
Left/top: Jensen’s early experience as a Cricut in-house designer have him great insight into how to create cut files specifically for this platform. Right/bottom: Creating designs and creating SVG cut files are very different, Starr says, and advises interested artists to understand how designs will cut.

“Separating the two has given me much peace of mind. Designing is my passion and before joining the program I went back and forth on whether or not to sell my designs. I didn’t know how I felt about people buying my work and using it to create products. My designs are special to me, and I’ve been protective of them. After careful consideration, I decided I can have separate design styles, which allows me to sell some, and protect the designs I create for my own brand and my Etsy shop.”

 “Creating designs and creating SVG designs to be cut are somewhat different worlds,” Starr adds. “Not all designs will translate well to cutting on a Cricut or any cutting machine, but for artists with SVG knowledge, this is a great fit.”

Cricut evaluates applications based on several things, including: technical ability (will it translate to Cricut cutting machines? Is it scalable?); design aesthetic (use of color, spacing, and typography); and visual clarity (i.e., a cat needs to look like a cat).


Here are some other submission tips:

  • First and foremost, read through the tips on Cricut’s website.
  • When submitting the application, have a link to your portfolio (or public Instagram) and three SVG files ready to upload. (Currently, Cricut is only accepting SVG files.)
  • Do not use YouTube as a portfolio.
  • Make sure your portfolio showcases your original artwork. 
  • Make sure SVGs you submit match the style of your portfolio.
  • Avoid extremely thin lines, use no more than six colors, and outline all fonts, paths, and strokes.
  • Know how you want your artwork to cut and design it to cut that way. 
  • Don’t send artwork that is not ready to go. 
  • Do not submit art inspired by or similar to licensed content (i.e., Disney, Marvel, etc.).
  • Do not submit projects, only artwork.
Roberta G. Wax

Roberta G. Wax


Roberta Wax is an award-winning journalist and imperfect crafter. A former news reporter, her freelance articles and projects have appeared in a variety of newspapers and magazines, from the Los Angeles Times and Emmy magazine to Cloth Paper Scissors, Somerset Studio, Craftideas, Belle Armoire, etc. She has also designed for craft companies. Although she has no art background she was a crafty Girl Scout leader. www.creativeunblock.com

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