This post and photos may contain Amazon or other affiliate links. If you purchase something through any link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you. Any supplies used may be given to me free of charge, however, all projects and opinions are my own.
Looking for the basics on how to use Cricut vinyl? Well, you are in the right place! This tutorial is on how to use adhesive vinyl with your Cricut machine. If you are looking for instructions on how to use heat transfer vinyl or iron-on, you can head here to see those directions. Perhaps you are just beginning or are struggling with your machine. Don’t worry! We have you covered with step-by-step instructions as well as a video tutorial. Just keep reading to see how to use vinyl with your Cricut machine.
How to Use Cricut Vinyl
I know a lot of you love your Cricut how-to videos! Well, if you are team video, I have everything you need to know about using vinyl below.
Can’t watch the video or missed some of the steps? No problem! We have the details below for you as well!
Types of Adhesive Vinyl
There are so many types and brands of adhesive vinyl. It is hard to keep them all straight! You can find vinyl in the following types:
- Plain colors
- and so much more!
When picking vinyl, you also want to consider whether you need permanent or temporary. Why are there two versions? Permanent should be used anywhere that you don’t want your design to come off or outdoors where it will be subject to extreme conditions. Temporary can be used indoors for applications where you might want to change your decor later. So, for an outdoor sign, use permanent adhesive vinyl. For a wall decal in your bedroom, pick the temporary adhesive vinyl.
You might be wondering which is my favorite. I generally use the Cricut brand. You can find the entire line from Cricut here. I will say that you should definitely shop around and see which brand is your favorite. Try a few different ones. Compare the quality and the price and I am sure you will come away with a winner.
Which Mat to Use with Vinyl
You will also need a mat to cut your vinyl with your Cricut. I like to use the blue mat as a general rule but a green mat will work as well. If you have any issues getting your vinyl to stick to the mat, try a stronger grip. You can also use a brayer to roll the material onto the mat for more adhesion. You might also try our mat washing instructions if your mat has seen better days.
How to Put Adhesive Vinyl on the Mat
You will want to put the vinyl face up on your mat and press it down well. In this case, I am using a piece that is 12 x 24 along with a 12 x 12 mat. If you have a roll of vinyl, you can adhere to just the 12×12 area and leave the rest hanging off the edge of your mat.
Is a Mat Required with a Cricut?
With some other machines, when cutting vinyl, you do not have to use a cutting mat at all. That is not the case with the Cricut. You always need to use a cutting mat when cutting vinyl or any material with your Cricut machine. That does mean that you are limited to a 12 x 24 area as that is currently the largest mat.
How to Cut Vinyl on a Cricut
Vinyl can be cut with either a Cricut Maker or any of the Cricut Explore series. You will use the fine point blade to cut. On the Explore series, you can set your dial to vinyl for cutting or on custom and pick from the list in Cricut Design Space. For the Maker, you will pick from the list automatically. Just pick the type of adhesive vinyl you are using and follow the prompts to cut your mat. NOTE: Always set to custom on the Explore series for specialty vinyl like glitter as the vinyl setting will not cut all the way through.
How to Weed Cricut Vinyl
Now that you have your vinyl cut, it is time to learn how to use Cricut vinyl. First, you will need to weed away all of the excess from around your design as well as things like the centers of letters. For this task, there are a wide variety of hooks and tweezers available. You will just need to find your favorite tools and work with those as there is no right or wrong here. You can find a weeding kit here to get you started.
I also like to use a scraper when working with all types of vinyl. This helps you to really get the vinyl to adhere to your surface as well as the transfer tape. What is transfer tape? We are going to cover that shortly so keep reading.
Then you can use your tools to start weeding away the parts you do not want from your design. Pull away the outside pieces as well as the centers of letters. Use the tools to help you pick and lift all of those small bits. Have trouble with weeding and seeing those lines? See our post on the Cricut BrightPad because it will help!
What is Transfer Tape?
Transfer tape will help you lift your design from the backing paper and apply it exactly as it is laid out to your surface. You might also hear it referenced as a transfer paper. There are actually two different types:
- Regular – for most applications
- Strong grip – used for glitter vinyl and any other vinyl that is hard to lift
Those are the types but what brand is best? There are sooo many opinions on this one. I generally default to Cricut transfer tape but some people do not like it at all. Again, I will suggest that you play around with a few brands and find one that works well for you. I personally think this is one of those things where every crafter will have a different opinion.
How to Use Transfer Tape
You can’t really learn how to use Cricut vinyl without learning how to use transfer tape. Now that you have your design weeded and your transfer tape ready, it is time to make the magic happen!
- Cut a piece of transfer tape a little larger than your design.
- Peel the tape back from the backing paper. (NOTE: Transfer tape is reusable so save this backing paper and apply the tape to it when you’re done. Keep the tape for a few more uses before discarding.)
- Press the transfer tape to the front of your design. Use the scraper to go over this a few times and make sure it is down well.
- I like to turn my piece over and remove the backing paper but you can lift the transfer tape if you would like. You want your design to stay on the tape cleanly. If it is not, press down again and go over with the scraper. Then try to lift again.
- Take the tape with the vinyl adhered to your project and position correctly.
- Then press the vinyl down well. Once again, go over it with your scraper to get it adhered well.
- Peel back the transfer tape and your design should stay on your surface. If it does not stay, replace the tape and use the scraper again. Then peel back once more to reveal your finished creation.
So, now that you have mastered one color, what about more? I have a post about how to layer vinyl with a super-easy trick that you don’t want to miss! Once you are ready to take your projects to the next level, you will want to start layering and adding all of the colors to your designs.
Surfaces to Use with Adhesive Vinyl
You will need to grab some surfaces from the craft store to go with your vinyl projects. But which ones work with vinyl? There are so many! You can find a few of those listed below and I am linking to posts that share tips and tricks for each of those materials.
- Basically, anything that is not fabric or textured will work!
Projects Using Vinyl
Now that you know how to use Cricut vinyl, it is time to get started on some projects. I have a few ideas that you can start with!
- Christmas Tree SVG for an Outdoor Pallet Sign
- Mason Jar Soap Dispenser
- Tic Tac Toe Board Game
- Fairy Nightlight Mason Jar
- How to Make an Epoxy Tumbler
- Wedding Memorial Frame
- Printable Labels with Cricut for Organization
- DIY Grandma Gift for Spring
- Mason Jar Tissue Holder
- Dinosaur Wall Art
- Family Photo Frame
- Mason Jar Bathroom Organizer
So, now that you know how to use Cricut vinyl, what will you make? Be sure to join our Facebook group and share your creations!
New to Cricut?
Sign up for our email list here to download the Beginner's Guide to Cricut Design Space for FREE today!
Sign up to get the guide emailed to you!