Category Archives: Organization

A Kid-Friendly Command Center

I always think it’s interesting to see which projects I feel compelled to tackle first when we move into a new space. While I certainly have my mind on prettier and more exciting decisions, time and time again I usually end up tackling the function and flow of a space first. And without fail, that usually means assembling some sort of “drop zone” somewhere in the house. I’m not sure if it’s just become habit when we move into a new home, or I simply find myself craving a way to tackle the piles of stuff that don’t yet have homes…but I’ve done it each and every time (check out our North Carolina and Kansas versions!) This time around, our “command center” looks a bit different, as it’s tailor made for Henry and his things!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Usually our command centers are setup right inside the front door. In this home however, I’ve been craving less stuff out in the open, meaning more stuff is moved to their proper homes and we’re relying on less open storage systems. I have been using the main coat closet down on the main level to tackle most bags and shoes; however, it quickly became apparent that some of Henry’s stuff was having a hard time finding a good and proper home. So…I setup a little command center just for him in his room. Come on in and take a look!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Henry has always done really, really well with hooks. We’ve had them in all of his bedrooms, and by the time we had moved out of our Kanas house, he was getting really good at hanging things up (jackets, bath towel, hats) rather than just throwing them on the floor. Without any hooks in his new room, things were ending up…you guessed it…right on the floor. Add to that the artwork coming home from school and the Lego creations that have been building up at rapid speed lately, and all his bedroom surfaces were cluttered. By re-purposing items we already had, I was able to make a super cute and functional kid-friendly command center to catch his things!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Let me clear all the stuff off and show you what all we have here…

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

This mini command center is comprised of three items: a bulletin board, a picture ledge, and a set of hooks. The ledge was mounted directly under the bulletin board so it looked like a single piece, and the hooks were installed just below to complete the whole arrangement.

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

As I said, we already had everything you see here from previous homes. They were just given a new paint job and/or purpose to meet a new need in this home! Those of you that have been reading the blog for a while probably recognize all of the elements.

The dot bulletin board was one of the first projects I made in Kansas, and it hung in Henry’s room the entire year…

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

The hooks were a clearance find at IKEA last summer. In our last home, they were painted bright colors and hung in our entryway

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

To adapt them for this new space, I just removed all the colored pegs, spray painted them black, and re-assembled the whole piece!

Lastly, the picture ledge was from waaaaaay back in early versions of my North Carolina craft room where they held art and supplies…

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

And then held my mom’s artwork in our Kansas kitchen…

Simple updates and affordable accessories transform this bland and boring rental kitchen into a fun and functional space to dine, cook, and entertain!

To make it work with the bulletin board and hooks, we cut the 6 foot picture ledge down to size with a circular saw (the benefits of making things out of real wood!), sanded down the rough edges, and gave it a new coat of white paint!

Hung all together, we got some things out of the garage and created a great drop zone for Henry!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Instead of dropping everything in our entryway each day, Henry and I head straight upstairs where we empty his backpack and hang up his latest schoolwork on the bulletin board. Any papers for me come back down and get placed in our Schoolwork and Activities Binder.

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

His rotation of hats, various bags for soccer, gymnastics, and school, and bath towel all get hung on the hooks. When temps get a little cooler, I hope sweatshirts and sweaters will land here too!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Henry has been really, really into his Legos lately and has been wanting to display them after they are built. However, leaving them on his dressers meant they were often knocked off (and therefor broken) on a very regular basis. When I discovered most of his Lego vehicles fit the ledge perfectly, it became an obvious addition. He pulls these down to play with almost daily, but during clean up time, we now have a safe place to put them!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

I assembled this whole little setup while Henry was at school one day, and he was pretty excited when he walked into his room and saw it! Not only do I love that it gives us some dedicated places for the things that most often land on the floor, but also fills up this blank section of wall quite nicely!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

Oh!!! And for those of you who saw our awesome new DIY Chore Chart last week and were wondering where it ended up “for real,” here you go! After rotating it around the house for a week or so, we realized it was most convenient in his bedroom. After clearing off a shelf he could reach, I used some command strips to stick the frame to the bookcase to keep it from falling over. At bed each night, he can easily move up the magnets for any chores he’s completed; and on Sunday nights before we say prayers, we add up his magnets and pay him his allowance!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

This kid-friendly command center marks the first “project” I’ve tackled in our new home…I even got to pull out some paint and a paint brush…if only for a few minutes…and got back to one of my favorite hobbies (painting furniture). Here’s hoping it continues to be a functional and useful spot for Henry (and us!) as we continue to figure out how we use and live in this house!

A bulletin board, picture ledge, and set of hooks come together to make the perfect drop zone for any kid space!

I hope you guys are having a great week! My computer hard drive “crashed” yesterday, so I will be spending today at the Apple Genius Bar (hopefully) getting it fixed. Cross your fingers for me that it’s nothing too catastrophic (or expensive!), and I am able to get back to work without skipping a beat! Coming up next week: the next iteration of the Cricut Explore for Home Decor series and a “new” version of  my monthly recap! See you then!

Megan Signature

FREE Printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Ever since I launched The Organization Toolbox and started asking for suggestions, there have been many requests for some sort of printable chore chart for kids. I really, really wanted to make one for you all, but I was having a hard time figuring out a useful system that also lent itself to a “printable” format. As such, the “Chore Chart” sat on my idea list for a good long time and simmered in the back of my brain. Well…fast forward to these last two months when Henry learned the connection between helping around the house, earning money, and being able to spend that money on whatever he wanted. Suddenly, he was asking for jobs to do (in order to earn money, of course), and Greg and I were left scrambling to identify chores, track the chores, and pay him (consistently!) for the things he did do. After brainstorming and playing around with options as a family (seriously, this was a group effort!), we came up with an adorable, fun, and super user-friendly chore chart that we are ALL loving!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Right now, I am over on I Heart Organizing sharing all the details on our new Chore Chart system, including how it works and how to make one yourself! I’m telling you friends, this little system has changed the way Henry helps around the house and has saved our sanity on “pay day.” This system might look complicated to make from the onset, but don’t you fret – it can come together in an afternoon because I did all the hard work for you!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Yep – those are Chore Chart Stickers (that look a lot like my Planner Stickers…which is where I got the idea!). I’ve come up with 36 different “symbols” that would work for a variety of chores and ages and designed them to fit AVERY 6450 1″ round labels. I also included a sheet of blank stickers, so you can add any words or symbols that you want/need on your family chart! And as usual, I am sharing the files with you for FREE!

Printable Chore Chart Stickers - 5 pages, 9 colors, 36 chores, and a full page of blanks! Printable Chore Chart Stickers - 5 pages, 9 colors, 36 chores, and a full page of blanks!

If you would like your own copy of these Printable Chore Chart Stickers, I have them available for download over in The Organization Toolbox right now! If you already have my password, hop on over and grab your copy, then come back to see how to print them out!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and The Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox!

(Pssst – if you’re already a subscriber, the password was delivered in your final welcome email, as well as the latest newsletter! If you just subscribed but didn’t receive the final password email, please check your Spam/Trash folders! The password is case sensitive…please use ALL CAPS!)

Already have access? Visit the Organization Toolbox HERE to access your FREE Printable Chore Chart Stickers!

I wanted this chore chart project to be as quick and easy as possible (for me and for you!), so I designed the whole project to essentially be peel, stick, go! Once you’ve downloaded your files, simply print them out onto AVERY 6450 labels

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

…and peel away the paper backing to reveal a bunch of bright, fun, and colorful Chore Chart stickers.

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

Then, hop on over to I Heart Organizing to see how I transformed the stickers into magnets…

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

…and assembled an easy-to-use Chore Chart board that our entire family is loving!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

You guys know I have a history for coming up with pretty and fun organizing systems, but then sometimes discover (after they hit the blog, of course) that they didn’t really quite work out as intended. Well, friends. After 2+ weeks of using this system, I can say this one is truly a winner. Henry is responding SO well to moving his magnets as he completes his chores, and Greg and I are loving having a simple-to-use system to determine payment and hold him accountable. Oh…and all the extra help around the house is pretty wonderful too!

Making a fun and easy-to-use chore chart for your kiddos is now even easier using these FREE printable Chore Chart Stickers!

I do hope you’ll pop over to I Heart Organizing to see how this system works and how easy it comes together. If you coming over to visit from Jen’s site, welcome!! I’m so glad you’re here, and I hope you’ll stay and have a look around!

And with that, I’m signing off for the week! See you back here next week (on my regular posting days: Tues/Thurs) with some quick back-to-school crafts and a first look at Henry’s new “command center.”! See you then!

Megan Signature

P.S. Want even more stickers? Make sure you check out my Planner Stickers too!

FREE Ready-to-Print Planner Stickers

Organize This: Back-to-School Paperwork

Raise your hand if school paperwork has started trickling in and you’ve already accumulated a nice pile on your counter, command center, desk or nightstand? Me, me, me! Well…that was until I took an hour or so this past weekend to get a system in order to deal with it all! Henry has been in school just over two weeks now, and the PTA, club, and class info (and artwork!) has been coming home since the first day. Not only was it piling up pretty fast, but I found myself anxious that I would lose track of some of the notices and forms that required action in the near future. We’ve used wall pouches, mail sorters, and a bulletin board in the past, all with varying degrees of success. Lately, however, I’ve been craving a more streamlined and out-of-sight way to organize and store most things, but especially the never-ending flow of school-related papers. As such, I’m giving a binder system a try this year, and thought I’d give you a quick tour of our Back-to-School Paperwork Binder in case you too need a system ASAP!

*affiliate links used

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

When I say “paperwork,” I am mostly referring to administrative- and logistical-type papers that come home from school and sports practices. While I do plan to eventually store “favorite” school work and art projects in this binder too, right now, they are still landing here:

Dotted Bulletin Board

I’ll show you our new setup in Henry’s room in the coming weeks…but the star of his mini command center, the bulletin board, is still going strong. My plan is to display the “latest and greatest” here, and then as new/more stuff comes home, it will either be thrown out or transferred to the binder.

Okay…speaking of the binder, here is how I have mine organized. We have sections for SCHOOL (anything school-wide related) | D8 (this is his class #, so this is where we will store anything class specific) | PTA | SOCCER | SCHOOL WORK (favorite projects and work will eventually land here after their stint on the bulletin board).

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

Lately, I’ve been trying VERY hard to use what I have on hand for projects, so I took a few extra minutes to make my own tabbed binder dividers rather than run out to the store. Not only are these really easy to make, but the extra splash of color and whimsy certainly makes the binder more fun to use!

How to Make Your Own Tabbed Binder Dividers

To make your own tabbed binder dividers, start with some 12×12 cardstock in the color/patterns of your choice. I stuck with primary colors for this school-themed binder!

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

Next, use an e-cutter (if you have one), to cut out the divider pages. Mine measure 9×11″ with a 2x2x0.75″ tab on each one. These weren’t images I bought. I simply welded a large rectangle and tiny rectangle together to make the divider shapes. Even if you don’t have an e-cutter, you can easily cut these shapes with a scissors. Just be sure your tabs move down the page with each divider.

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

I can’t resist the urge to make cute labels when I have the opportunity, and these couldn’t be any easier. I simply printed out labels on white label tape with my label maker

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

…and then used matching super-skinny washi tape (similar) to add a colorful border to each white label. The easiest and quickest way to do this is stretch the label and tape beyond the edges of the tab. Then flip it over and trim the excess with a small scissors.

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

The last step is to add holes to each divider. I like to make my holes a little stronger by reinforcing the edge with some clear packing tape. Simply fold a length of packing tape around the bottom edge of the divider and trim the excess off the ends…

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

Then use a 3-hole punch to add the holes. The packing tape will make the edges and holes a little more durable once in the binder.

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

And literally in about 15 minutes, using all items I had on hand, I had a colorful and snazzy set of tabbed binder dividers ready for our Back-to-School Binder!

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

Ready-to-Print Binder Cover & Spine

Before I set to work sorting out papers and filling up the binder, I wanted to add a cute cover to the clear pocket front so that the whole family would know where papers go! I designed a cover (that matches the Kids Travel Sticker Book) and printed the cover and spine out onto photo paper.

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

I then used some scrapbook paper to fill up the rest of the large binder cover and add a bit more color. Totally not necessary, but little things like this make me smile!

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

I didn’t set out to design this to share, but it occurred to me that you all might like the binder cover and spine as well so I went ahead and uploaded it to The Organization Toolbox for you!  It’s ready-to-print just as you see it above. If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox!

(Pssst – If you just subscribed but didn’t receive the final password email, please check your Spam/Trash folders! The password is in case sensitive…please use ALL CAPS!)

Already have access? Visit the Organization Toolbox HERE to access your the School Paperwork Binder Cover and Spine!

With the decorative and functional elements of my binder in place, I set to work sorting out our papers and filing it up. I started with a 3-hole puncher inserted into the front so I will always have one handy. Now I have no excuse to make more piles or just stuff papers into the front of the binder. A quick punch and papers can be filed right away!

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

Next, I sorted all of our papers into the correct categories, trashing what was already out-of-date or unnecessary…

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

…and each paper was punched and put behind the right tab.

Are you already drowning in all the papers and forms that come home at the start of a new school year? Use this easy method to get them all in order!

In just about an hour, even with making my own tabbed dividers, I had a snazzy, functional, and easy system for dealing with our Back-to-School paperwork. This binder now sits right near where we empty Henry’s backpack every day. As papers come out, artwork goes on his bulletin board, trash goes right into the trash, and anything that is important gets punched and filed right away. Fingers crossed I’ve found the right system for keeping important papers easily in reach but out of sight this year. I’ll keep you posted on how it works out for us!

Organize This

My Organize This series is all about (relatively) simple and quick organizing projects that make a big difference in your day-to-day life. These aren’t intended to be large organizational overhauls, but rather quick sessions you can accomplish in an afternoon or weekend! This Back-to-School Paperwork project took just an hour but has made a huge difference in our paper piles! Catch up on other projects in this series by clicking on the pictures below:

Organize This Bakeware-013 Organize This Printer Station-01 Organize This Recipes-001 Organize This: Recycling Storage Solutions for a Skinny Pantry Organize This: Thread Organize This: Laundry Supplies Untitled-1-16 Small Toy Storage Bags-001 Organize This: Fabric Organize This: Batteries Organize This: Your Gym Bag Organize Your Cleaning Supplies with these simple & colorful DIY cleaning kits! Get your Lego kits organized and labeled with this simple organizing project! Never loose a manual or piece again! Is your purse a black hole you can't find anything in? Check out my solutions for creating order in this most used item of the day!

I’ve been feeling a little sad and overwhelmed about the state of our house recently, so quick, easy and colorful organization projects like this one go a long way in helping me feel more normal and settled. I hope you found some ideas here that you can use and implement in your own life and home!

Making your own tabbed binder dividers is quick and easy! This tutorial shows you how!

A quick announcement before I close out for the week!

Next week, I’ll be popping in on some off days for some external deadlines I need to meet. My Rustic Wheelbarrow for The Home Depot project will hit the blog on Monday at 1PM EST. I think you guys will love what I came up with, so don’t miss it. AND…I have a long-awaited Chore Chart printable going live next week, so be sure to come back regularly!

Hope you all have a great weekend! See you back here Monday!

Megan Signature

FREE Household Label Cut Files!

Before I dive into today’s organization freebie, I have to take a moment to thank you all for the tremendous outpouring of love and support in response to the news I shared last Thursday! That was one of the hardest posts I have ever written…and I was honestly SO nervous about publishing it. I spent a good hour lying in bed wide awake the morning it went live, too scared and nervous to look at my phone to see the reaction. The amount of genuine joy, love, and empathy for our little family was incredible and overwhelming…making this part of our journey even more special! Thank you for sharing in our joy and for taking the time to send along prayers and well wishes! We can’t wait to share this next chapter with you all!

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

Okay! As promised, I am checking in really quick with those household label cut files I promised last week. I pinky-swear promise I am not trying to milk this project and drag it out, but when I lumped everything into one post, it was way too long. So, this is just a quick little announcement that these files are now uploaded for you in The Organization Toolbox…and while I’m at it, I’ll share a quick tutorial on how to use them!

*affiliate links used

Make the most of every inch you have in your linen closet by using these smart and savvy storage solutions for table linens, batteries, medicine, towels, blankets and more!

For those of you looking for a super easy, no-fancy-machine-required, “print and cut” option for these exact same labels, I refer you to this post HERE. All of the labels you see in this post are available in PDF format in 6 different colors. All you have to do is print them off your home computer/printer, cut them out and apply them wherever you need them!

Printable Linen Closet Labels

However, if you are a bit like me and want to be able to cut these labels from paper or vinyl in any size and color you’d like, this is the tutorial for you! As you can see, instead of using the print-and-cut versions in my linen closet, I chose to cut the labels from gold vinyl and put them on chipboard rounds.

Use chipboard rounds and vinyl letters to labels linen closet baskets!

To save you the trouble and headache of designing similar labels yourself, I am sharing both the PNG and SVG versions of these 36 labels! For those of you with e-cutter machines and software, feel free to import the SVG files and get cutting right away (no image editing necessary)! If you prefer to work with PNG files (for e-cutter machines or even to edit and use them in other ways), I have those for you too! (Psssst – if you need help working with PNG files in Cricut Design Space, check out this step-by-step tutorial HERE!). 

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

If you would like these Household Label Cut Files, I have them ALL available for FREE download over in The Organization Toolbox right now! Hop on over and grab your files, then come back to see how I used them!

If you need access to my Organization Toolbox, simply subscribe to THIHM Newsletter below and the Organization Toolbox Password will be delivered straight to your inbox (along with a free gift!)!

(Pssst – if you’re already a subscriber, the password was delivered in the June newsletter! If you just subscribed but didn’t receive the final password email, please check your Spam/Trash folders! Please use ALL CAPS!)

Already have access? Visit the Organization Toolbox HERE to access your free Household Labels Cut Files!

Once you have the files downloaded to your computer, import them to your e-cutter design software and clean up the files as necessary (if you are using Cricut Design Space, use THIS tutorial.) Once the cut files are uploaded and cleaned up, you can add them to a new project and customize them for your needs.

Start by sizing them according to your preference…

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

…then cut them from either vinyl or paper.

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Next, weed out the images to prepare them for transfer using THESE tricks…

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

…and then transfer the vinyl labels to your final label surface using transfer paper.

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

The last step is to fasten your custom labels to whatever it is you’re labeling. In my case, I used brass paper fasteners to attach the chipboard rounds to my baskets!

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

When I first shared these labels in PDF format months ago, I realized there were limits to their usability since PDFs can’t be easily modified. For those of you that wanted to change their size, shape or color, you were kinda out of luck. I knew there would be some (including myself!) who would really love to have these in a more usable format (like PNGs or SVGs) to be able to truly customize them for your home and use them with e-cutter machines. With just a bit more work, I was able to transform these files into formats that allow them to be used in a variety of ways! I hope you find them helpful; and if you do use them for projects/labeling your own home, be sure to let me know how it turned out!!!

Later this week, I’m going to be closing out the month with a huge THIHM Around the Web round-up…sharing all sorts of posts and projects that have hit the web this summer. Then starting next week, I’m sharing the first glimpses of our new house with our stuff in it (eek) and revealing the first few projects we’ve tackled in this home! Thanks for bearing with me during this month of news and transition…see you back here Thursday!

Megan Signature

Cricut Explore for Home Decor | Part 3: Importing Your Own Images

While we get settled into our new house (which is painfully taking longer than normal!), I want to pick back up with my Using the Cricut Explore for Home Decor series by sharing a tutorial for one of my favorite Explore function and uses: importing your own images! (By the way, you can catch up on this series here: Intro | The Essentials | Working with Vinyl). Part of the reason I am “Team Cricut” is because I love their vast collection of images (including trademarked images) in the Design Space library. And even though I have a Design Space subscription (which I personally think is worth every penny and talk more about HERE), I still find there are times when I just can’t find the “right” image for my project. It’s instances like these that instead of settling for one of Cricut’s images, I import something I make myself or find via Google images…and in a few simple steps, it can be sized and cut however I want. This process is easier than you might think, and I’m going to walk you through it today!

*affiliate links used

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

As an example for this tutorial, I am going to use the linen closet labels I made for our previous linen closet. You all might remember that I made and offered linen closet labels as a free printable a while back. But when I was putting my own linen closet together, I didn’t want to use printed versions (mainly because my baskets were white). Instead, I imported the same images and words into my e-cutter software (Cricut’s Design Space) and cut them from gold vinyl. The results were simple, easy-to-read and descriptive labels for our linen closet!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Finding Images to Cut

So let’s say you want to cut something you create yourself (like your own hand lettering) or something that wouldn’t be commonly found in an image library (like school/work/team logos or an image you find online). If you have a JPEG (or a PNG is even better!), you can most likely turn it into a pretty clean cut file. I will preface this tutorial by saying that I have the most experience  with and best luck importing and cutting relatively simple and clean images. I find these by searching Google Images using words such as “clipart,” “icon,” and “symbol” (for example, I would search “light bulb clipart” to find a simple light bulb image).  I then look for images that already have a clear background (here is an example), are a single color, and have good resolution. Once I find a good contender, I save it to my desktop and then open it Cricut Design Space.

Importing and Cutting Images with a Transparent Background

When you are creating and/or looking for images to cut, it is easiest to use PNG images, which often already have a transparent background. How do you know the background is transparent? You will usually see little boxes or lines in the background indicating it doesn’t have a solid background color (here is an example). Once you have a PNG with transparent background downloaded to your computer, open up a New Project in Cricut Design Space. Over on the lefthand column, click the button that says “Upload Images.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Once you click that button, you will be given the option to select Image or Pattern Fill. Select “Image.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

You will notice that you have the option to upload several file types: .jpg, .png, .gif, .bmp, .svg and .dxf. To upload your file, select “Browse.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

From there, find your downloaded file on your computer and select “Open.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

You will notice right away why importing PNG files is so easy…the background is already cleared away, leaving a pretty clear cut path. Once the image populates on the left-hand box, pick the right “type” of image it is. If you stick to single color images like I try to do, pick “Simple Image.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

From here, you can clean up the image. You can erase any parts of the image you don’t want cut or clean up any fuzzy details. You can use the “Preview” button on the bottom center of the screen to see how the file will be cut. Because this image already had a clear background and good resolution, I just hit “Continue.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Here is the most important step if you are uploading an image TO BE CUT. Make sure you select the right-hand button that says “Save as a Cut Image.” Sometimes that box takes a second to show your file, but it will usually pop up eventually. I also suggest you label your uploaded images so they remain easy to find even after hundreds of uploads!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

After you hit “Continue,” you will be taken back to the “Upload Image” screen, but this time you should see your newly-uploaded image in the Library below. Select your image and click the green “Insert Image” button.

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Once inserted into your project, you can re-size, color, edit out areas even more, and use it in conjunction with other images and files just as you would one of Cricut’s pre-made images!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

And as you can see, the precision at which this imported image was cut is perfect!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Importing and Cutting Images with a Solid Background

Admittedly, sometimes finding the right images with a transparent background is near impossible. Thankfully, editing out a solid background to reveal a clean and perfect cut path is also pretty easy!

Just as before, navigate to the “Upload Image” tab on the left of your screen in Design Space, select “Upload Image,” “Browse” for your file and click open. This time, I chose a JPEG file that had a solid white background, but still had pretty good resolution, a single color, and really clean lines. As such, I selected “Simple Image.”

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Unlike last time, notice this image doesn’t have the blue/white checkered background (indicating it’s transparent). If we were to preview this image, it would essentially cut the outside perimeter square and none of the first aid kit or words.

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

To clean up the image, play with the the three tools on the upper left toolbar. With the middle “wand” selected, work through your image clicking on any area that you would like to be transparent. Use the zoom buttons on the right if you need to get in close to clean up tiny details. And just like before, be sure to use the “Preview” button to make sure the image is fully cleaned up. This handy button will show you if you’ve forgotten to weed out the insides of letters of if you have a strange border that still needs cleaning up!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Cleaning up your image, depending on how complicated it is, can take a bit of time. But once you do, the process moving forward is exactly the same. Be sure to “Save as a Cut Image,” name your file, and then “Save” it to your library.

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

Once inserted into your project, you can size it, edit it, and color it specifically for your project!

One of the best features of the Cricut Explore is that you don't have to buy every image you want to cut! This tutorial shows you exactly how to import and cut your own images!

With my images imported, I cut them all from vinyl and used THESE tips for transferring them over to my wooden rounds.

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!

And with just those few easy steps, I had a slew of coordinated labels for our linen closet…all made from images I found via Google instead of paying for them through Cricut!

Use chipboard rounds and vinyl letters to labels linen closet baskets!

Cutting your own images is one of the BEST features of the Cricut Explore (at least in my opinion!). Being able to import any file you have or find and cut it with perfect precision truly allows you to make ANYTHING for your home, for gifts, and more! I still think having a Design Space subscription (which gives you access to thousands of images) is worth it, but also having the ability to import whatever you want keeps you from having to pay for even more cut files when what you want isn’t available!

Cricut Explore for Home Decor Series!

I realize there are so many great Cricut Explore tutorials and resources available on the web…many of which I use. But there are also some other tricks and tips I’ve picked up along the way that I can’t wait to share with you guys. If there is something you want me to cover, be sure to leave me a comment! Otherwise, be sure to check out all the posts in this series by clicking on the images below:

A Cricut Explore can be used for SO much more than paper crafts! Check out these awesome 30 home decor projects that you can make with a Cricut Explore! Are you ready to use your Cricut Explore to make home decor? This post breaks down the essentials you need to get started! Are you ready to use your Cricut Explore to make vinyl decor, labels and more? This post breaks down everything you need to know about working with vinyl! Attaching Images to one another is one of the easiest yet most misunderstood functions when using the Cricut Explore. This tutorial explains whey, how, and why to use to perfect your projects!

Part of the reason I was able to put my labels together so quickly is that I was able to save all of my label images (that I shared here) into high-res PNG files. After putting this post together, it occurred to me that you all might like to have those files too (since you can’t really upload the PDF files I already shared into Design Space), so look for these (and more!) cut files coming next week! Up next on Thursday though, I’m sharing a very special announcement you won’t want to miss! See you then!

Megan Signature

Pssssst – I now have these Household Label Cut Files uploaded and ready for you – and they are FREE! Get access to these 36 PNG or SVG files by clicking the photo below!

Make your own unique labels for everything In your home with these 36 FREE cut files for e-cutter machines!