I don’t know about you but when I first got my Cricut machine I felt very overwhelmed! I Googled, I Pinterested, I YouTubed, I spent hours upon hours trying to learn everything I could about how to make all the amazing items I saw online. I ended up feeling lost and confused. Now that I’ve had my Cricut for a while and finally have a craft room set up, see this post for a tour of my craft room, I decided it was time to help others and share what I know in a way that makes sense to me. Hopefully, it will make sense to you as well! I host live online courses, click here to view all courses available. Sometimes having something to read and reference back to will help as well, this is why most Mondays will be Cricut 101 Monday! I will post helpful information pertaining to learning how to use the Cricut. I am going to focus on specific techniques while my other crafting related posts will be specific projects. I’m not sure how many Cricut 101 posts there will be and there will be a live class that mostly matches up with the posts (some classes will be broken down into multiple blog posts.) The blog posts will not include practice designs. If you have a technique you are wanting to learn how to do let me know!
This post is going to cover the basic materials you can cut with any Cricut machine. I’m going to go through the most common materials, this is not an exhaustive list of materials (the Explore Air 2 cuts over 100 materials and the Maker cuts over 250!)
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission, this will not cost you any more)!
Cardstock – Probably one of the most commonly used materials, you can make some amazing projects using card stock. Design Space also has a lot of amazing card projects. One thing to keep in mind when buying cardstock is whether it is solid core or white core. The easiest way to make sure it is a solid core is to look at the edges when you purchase it – if the edges of the paper are the same color as the paper then it is solid core, if the edges are white it is a white core. This is especially important if you are making rolled flowers, as the edge of the paper is the top of the flower.
Solid Core White Core
Vinyl – The type of vinyl will depend on what you are planning to do with it. Below I will go through the most common types of vinyl.
Temporary or removable vinyl (Oracal 631) – matte finish and lighter adhesive, remove fairly easily – outdoor life Oracal 3 years, Cricut 1 year.
Permanent vinyl (Oracal 651) – glossy finish, stronger adhesive, more difficult to remove – Outdoor life Oracal 6 years black and white, 4 years colored, Cricut at last 3 years.
*All times are approximate and will depend on the material in which they are placed and the environment in which they are displayed.*
When using the above vinyl types the design only needs to be mirrored if you are placing it on the underside of something, for example inside the glass of a frame or shadow box.
Less common but higher quality outdoor vinyl: Oracal 751C and 951 cast vinyl. These types of vinyl use the same adhesive as the Oracal 651 however the vinyl itself is a higher quality. These types of vinyl will provide the highest durability outdoors and can be placed in corrugations and on rivets. Oracal 951 is a tiny bit thicker than the 751C, it also comes in more color options. The outdoor life for these types of vinyl are as follows:
- 8 years (black/white)
- 7 years (transparent / coloured)
- 5 years (metallic)
- 3 years (gold L, brilliant blue L)
Iron-on or HTV (heat transfer vinyl) – Iron-on vinyl requires heat to activate the adhesive. This vinyl can be used on a variety of blanks, the most common one would probably be fabric. When using this vinyl make sure you check with the manufacturer for their heat guide. Cricut heat guide can be found here. I love using Siser HTV, their heat guide can be found here. Most iron-on vinyl comes already on a transfer sheet, you will place the transfer sheet (shiny side) down on the mat to cut the vinyl. This means you are weeding the vinyl off the transfer sheet then turning it upside down to apply it to the blank, because of this you must mirror the image!
Infusible Ink – This is Cricut’s version of sublimation printing. Just like sublimation printing, you must use a blank that is high count polyester. I believe 65% poly is the minimum recommended (higher is better), using a blank that does not have high enough polyester count can cause the design to fade quickly (even after just 1 wash.) Infusible Ink comes in 2 forms, rolls (like vinyl) or pen/markers. For the rolls you will use them just like HTV, you must MIRROR your design!! The colors will brighten to look like the package after heating. For the pens/markers, you draw with the Cricut on laser printer paper. Again you must MIRROR your image so if you wish to use a hand-drawn image you will have to draw it, upload it into Design Space then have the Cricut draw it mirrored.
Those are the most common materials used, of course, there are TONS more materials you can cut with the Cricut. Is there a specific material you want to learn more about?
Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter to get notified when any new classes are announced. I’m always looking for more courses to help you out, let me know if you have any requests! I am also thinking about doing a weekly project course where I take your recommendations on projects and do a live craft time where we can all make that project (this one would be a larger class so one on one instruction would be limited but I would answer questions and go step by step on how to make the project.) Any thoughts?