One of the reasons that you bought a Cricut machine is because of its amazing versatility and ability to cut loads of different materials. Once you’ve practiced cutting on some cheaper materials like paper, you probably want to get stuck into trying something new.
Vinyl is also a superb material to cut with Cricut machines and can be used for so many beautiful projects – stickers, decals for walls and windows, signs, and more! You can stick it to most smooth surfaces – so, let your imagination go wild!
But how do you actually cut vinyl on a Cricut?
You will need to use your StandardGrip mat for cutting vinyl, and it’s great if you also have the Basic Tool Set or Essential Tool Set to hand. And of course, you will need some vinyl to cut, as well as some transfer tape to apply your vinyl, both of which you can get from Cricut directly, or from any good craft store.
The vinyl has two layers – the paper layer that keeps it in place when it’s being cut, and the actual sticky-backed vinyl layer which you will apply to your project.
- Create your project in Design Space, either from scratch or using one of the many great designs in Design Space. You could also try a Make It Now project. If you don’t know what you should make, Cricut has some vinyl project tutorials on its YouTube channel and website.
- Place your vinyl onto your mat with the paper side sticking to your mat. Load the mat into your Cricut using the Load/Unload button. For vinyl, you need to make sure you are using the fine point blade, so don’t forget to check that before you try to cut!
- If you are using a Cricut Explore Air 2, you can set the SmartSet dial on the machine to vinyl. If you’re using the Cricut Maker or Cricut Joy, go to the material setting on Design Space and select vinyl. Your machine is really clever – it will cut the vinyl but not the paper. And that’s one of the reasons why we love it!
- Click go and your Cricut will get busy cutting!
- Once your Cricut has finished cutting, carefully peel off the surrounding vinyl from your cut design.
- Next you need to do some weeding. No, not in the garden! Weeding is where you carefully remove leftover or negative vinyl that stayed on the paper. This is where it’s really handy if you have a Weeding tool (which comes in the Basic and Essential Tool Kits), because you need to be careful that you don’t remove your cut image from the paper. Another tool that could help you get even more accuracy here is the BrightPad, which is a lit surface that you can do your weeding on.
Hoorray, the vinyl is cut! How do you get the vinyl onto the surface?
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- Completely clean and dry whatever surface you are going to stick your design onto so that you don’t get any dust or lumps and bumps underneath the vinyl.
- Put a mark on the surface where you’re going to stick the vinyl. You don’t want to spend time creating and cutting a gorgeous design only to have it not stuck on straight!
- To get your design onto your surface, and to make sure your image goes on straight, use transfer tape. Take the backing off the transfer tape and place it carefully on your vinyl design using the handy grid to get it in the right place.
- Smooth down the tape, getting rid of any air bubbles. Another tool can help you here – the Cricut Scraper.
- Peel off the backing layer of the vinyl and your vinyl will stay in place on the transfer tape.
- Put the transfer tape and vinyl design on your chosen surface. Don’t forget to use the grid on the transfer tape to help you get it in the right place.
- Push down on the vinyl and transfer tape, starting in the middle and moving outwards. This is another time to use that handy scraper – keep those air bubbles away!
- Now it’s time to reveal the vinyl! Carefully peel off the transfer tape from your surface. The trick here is don’t treat it like a band-aid! You need to go slowly and inch it from side to side to make sure you don’t pull any of your vinyl off the surface.
If you’ve followed these steps carefully, you can give yourself some kudos for creating your first (of what will no doubt be many!) beautiful vinyl design using your Cricut. Next you could get even more creative and try doing some double layer designs!