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Personalize and Decorate Lunch Box Sets – Back to School Cricut Craft

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This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cricut. All opinions are 100% mine.

Decorate lunch box sets with water bottles for a fun back to school Cricut craft! You can also make these Cricut shirt ideas for back to school if you prefer. This post contains affiliate links and is sponsored by Cricut.


Decorate lunch boxes hero collage

Whatever back to school will look like this year, it’s going to be a new experience – for everyone.

Y is starting preschool and M is going to second grade. We are fortunate to be among the lucky few who are (hopefully) getting full-time in-person learning. Since March-June’s distance learning took such a heavy toll our our kids and our family, we are infinitely thankful for this, and pray that everything goes smoothly.

But even for those of us with in-person learning will be experiencing new things.

For some it’s alternating days in-school and at home.

For others it’s mask-wearing and plexiglass around desks.

And unfortunately, we may even have to experience periods of new cancellations and quarantines.

With all this in mind, I wanted to make something special for the boys for the new school year. I went to a local variety store and found some fantastic bento-style lunch boxes, as well as water bottles to match. I let the boys choose the themes that they want to decorate lunch box sets using our Cricut Joy.

Y insisted on ” lots of fishies and a turtle” – since any creature that moves is cool – but water creatures are next-level.

M gave me a bit more creative license if it fit somehow with science. So we chose a space theme, with a rocket water bottle and a lunch box with alien eyes. He happened to be wearing his “humans aren’t real” shirt we made with our Cricut Maker last week! So fitting!

Assembling our lunch boxes and water bottles was so easy! We used the Cricut Joy since the cuts were small, we can then use Smart Vinyl (no mat, fewer steps!) and we could all gather around the dining room table and turn it into a big back-to-school family crafting session.

But you can use any current Cricut cutting machine to decorate lunch box sets! Pull out your Maker or your Explore Air 2 if you prefer.

I love how we were able to turn something simple into something special that really piques my kids’ interests and makes it perfect for them. Who needs fancy supplies when you can update blank ones?

Permanent vinyl is a must for durability for this project and to keep our lunch box sets durable.

All images were found in Design Space and are free to use with your Access subscription. There were no alien eyes, only alien images. That allows me to teach you a cool Design Space trick called contouring, which allows you to use only part of an image.

So without waiting any longer, I am thrilled to teach you how to decorate lunch box sets with your Cricut Joy (or other machine) for a cool back to school craft!

Supplies needed to decorate lunch box sets

How to decorate lunch box sets

How to set up your project in design space

1. Images

Create a new project and click on “Images.

2. Search & Insert

Search for the image you want and click on it. Then click “insert images”. Repeat for all your images that you plan to use.

3. Contour

Only do this step if you’re using part of the image – such as the alien eyes! Select your image and click “contour” on the bottom of the layers panel.

4. Hide all and select

Hide all contours and then go back and select only the eye parts – or the parts you’re using. You may need to zoom out a little (bottom left corner of the contour preview) to make sure you have the right shapes selected. When you’re done, just click the x in the top right corner to exit the contour window.

5. Colors

Make sure to set everything to the colors you want them to be. The exact shade doesn’t really matter. Just make sure that you have the general color in place so you know which vinyl to cut, and so that anything that’s the same color is the same in Design Space (and different colors are different…)

6. Attach to keep placement

The fish were made from one image duplicated and placed somewhat intentionally haphazardly. I wanted to make sure to keep the placement, so I wanted to cut them in formation and place them all as-is. To do this, I selected each color individually (all the bottom/dark blue fish first and then all the light blue/top fish) and hit “attach”. Resize all your elements so that they fit your lunch boxes and water bottles.

Cutting instructions

1. Make it

When your project is good to go, hit “make it”. If you’re using your Cricut Joy, you’ll be prompted to choose a mat mode for your project. When using Smart Vinyl, choose “without mat”.

2. Just watch!

Load your material, hit “go” on your screen and watch it cut! I just skipped a few steps that I need to do with regular vinyl – making the Joy + Smart Vinyl combo a MUST for anything that can use it!

Assembling your lunch boxes and water bottles

1. Weed

Remove the negative space (the outline and parts you’re not using) from your vinyl. You can use the TruControl knife to help you trim it piecemeal and make it easier.

2. Transfer Tape

Cut a piece of transfer tape a little larger than the piece that you’re transferring. Use regular transfer tape for most vinyl. Use StrongGrip Transfer Tape for textured vinyl, such as the Shimmer used in this project. Place it neatly on your design, using the scraper tool to adhere it well and remove air bubbles. Pay special attention to the corners of your vinyl design.

3. Peel

Carefully peel your transfer tape with the design attached from the white backing that your vinyl came on.

4. Place

Gently place it on your lunch box or water bottle, making sure you have your placement right before sticking it on.

5. Adhere

Use your scraper, once again, to stick your design onto your base. Pay special attention to corners and remove any air bubbles.

6. Peel

Slowly peel off your transfer tape, making sure your design is sticking to your surface, and helping it with the scraper as you need.

7. Layers

For designs with more than one color, I like to first place one layer right onto the vinyl backing of the bottom layer. That way I can place my design onto my base as one unit.

That’s it! I hope you got a little inspiration to decorate lunch box sets for your own kids to celebrate an epic return to school.

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