cricut tips and hacks

Don’t limit yourself

The great thing about Cricut is that it provides you with limitless opportunities and an excellent machine that helps you bring your designs to life. Don’t limit yourself when you design with Cricut. Instead, go as far as your mind can take you.

Use synchronized colors to save time and money.

This is a great tool when you have designs that are either a composite of multiple images or inherently contains different hues of the same color. Instead of using 5 different shades of the same color, you can synchronize the colors so you need to use only one colored sheet. To do this, simply click on the “Color Sync” tab on the “Layers Panel” on the top right corner of the screen. Then drag and drop desired layer(s) of the design to your target color layer and the moved layer will immediately be modified to have the same color as the target color.

Use the “Hide” tool to selectively cut images from the Canvas.

When you are looking to turn your imagination into a work of art, you may want to view and take inspirations from multiple images while you work on your design. But once you obtain your desired design you would not want to cut every other image on your canvas. This is where the “Hide” tool comes in handy, so you do not need to delete the images on the Canvas to avoid cutting them along with your project design. To hide the image, you just need to click on the “eye” symbol next to those specific image layers on the “Layers Panel”. The hidden images will not be deleted from the Canvas but would not appear on the cutting mat when you click the “Make It” button to cut your project.

 

 

The power of the “Pattern” tool.

You can use your own uploaded images to be used as pattern fill for your designs. Moreover, you will also be able to edit the image pattern and the patterns that already exist within the “Design Space” application to create your own unique and customized patterns. The “Edit Pattern” window allows you to adjust the resolution and positioning of the pattern on your design and much more. (Remember, to use the “Pattern” feature you must use the “Print then Cut” approach for your project, with access to a printer).

Utilize the standard “keyboard shortcuts”.

The “Design Space” application does have all the required tools and to allow you to edit the images and fonts but if you prefer to use your keyboard shortcuts to quickly edit the image, the “Design Space” application will support that. Some of the keyboard shortcuts you can use include: “Copy (Control + C)”; “Paste (Control + V)”; “Delete (Delete key)”; “Copy (Control + Z)”.

Change the position of the design on the cutting Mat.

When you are ready to cut your design and click on the “Make It” button, you will notice that your design will be aligned on the top left corner of the mat. Now, if you are using material that was previously cut at its top left corner, you can simply drag and move the image on the “Design Space” mat to meet the positioning of your cutting material. You will be able to cut the image anywhere on the mat by moving the design on that specific position on the mat.

Moving design from one mat to the another.

Yes! You can not only move the design over the mat itself, you can also move the design from one mat to another by simply clicking on the three dots (…) on top of the mat and select “Move to another mat”. You will then view a pop-up window where you can select from the existing mats for your project to be used as the new mat for your selected design.

Save cut materials as Favorites for quick access.

Instead of spending time filtering and searching for your cut material on the “Design Space” application over and over, just save your frequently used material by clicking on the star next to the “Cricut” logo on the “Design Space” application to save them under the “Favorites” tab next to the default “All Materials” tab.

You can store the most frequently used cut materials on the “Cricut Maker”.

Unlike the “Cricut Explore” series which has dial settings for a variety of commonly used cut materials, the “Cricut Maker” requires you to use a “Custom Materials” menu within the “Design Space” application that can be accessed using the button on the machine bearing “Cricut” logo, since there is no dial to choose the material you want to cut.

Choose to repeat the cut of the same mat or skip a mat from being cut altogether.

By following the instructions on the “Design Space” and feeding the right color and size of the material to the machine, you will be able to get your design perfectly cut. You can change the order in which the mats are cut, repeat the cut of your desired mat and even skip cutting a mat, if needed. You can do this easily by simply clicking on and selecting the mat you would like to cut.

You can edit the cut settings your materials.

You might notice that even when you have selected the default settings to cut the desired material, the material may not cut as desired. To help with this, “Design Space” allows you to adjust the cut settings for all the materials such as the depth of the cut, the cutting blade and the number of the passes to be made by the “Cricut” device. Since this may not be as intuitive to most beginners, here’s a step by step walkthrough of this process:

Clean your cutting mat

If you would like to prolong the life of your cutting mats, it is important to clean them every now and then (if not after each use). You can just wipe the mat with baby wipes or use other wet wipes that do not contain any alcohol and are fragrance free. This will ensure that there is not residual build up from cardstock and vinyl and other such materials and from accumulating dust and lint.

Carefully remove the materials off the cutting mat

It is highly recommended to use appropriate tools to remove the material from the mat. But it is equally important to pay attention to how you are peeling the design from the mat. To prevent the material from getting damaged, it is better to peel the mat away from the design by turning the mat upside down and bending a corner of the material. Then you can slip in the spatula to remove the project easily and with no damage.

IKEA Grocery Bag Holders as Material Organizers

You will find that IKEA’s grocery bag holders/dispensers are designed in such a way that they will beautifully hold several rolls of Cricut materials each! These cost only $2.99 each at IKEA, are safe for your walls, and will keep your materials aesthetically displayed, while keeping them safe from wrinkling, crinkling, or worse!

No matter how cluttered your desk space gets, those rolls will always be perfectly safe up there on the wall!

Pegboard Tool Storage

You will notice that one of the more handy features of the proprietary tools that Cricut offers is that they all have little holes on the ends of their handles! This makes them perfect candidates for pegboard storage! I’m sure the brilliant minds at Cricut know this and intended this.

Simply hanging a pegboard over your workspace can keep all your tools readily available, but it can also help prolong the life of your tools! Keeping your tools in a box that gets moved regularly can cause the tools to bump into each other, dulling their points or chipping their handles. Hanging your tools above your workstation ensures you’ll be able to find what you need at all times, your tools will stay pristine for longer, and you’ll be able to look at your pretty tools at all times!

Remove Debris with a Lint Roller

This one sounds obvious, but it’s a lifesaver. Taking a lint roller to your Cricut mats can save you a lot of trouble, and can keep the grip strong on your mats. Over time, you will find that paper and fabric fibers, glitter, dust, and debris get stuck to the grip on your mats. This torpedoes the grip strength in no time flat! Since Cricut strongly urges against cleaning your mats, it is imperative that you realize that you do this at your own risk. However, a large number of Cricut crafters have said that this little tip has saved them from having to buy a new mat for an extra couple weeks at least.

Since this is against Cricut’s suggestion, it is important that you hold off on trying it until it seems like you mat may be near the end of its grip life, when you would be replacing it anyway. This is so that if you find these hacks don’t work, or they do damage, you will have needed to buy a new one soon anyway!

This works with lint rollers from the dollar store, or from the dollar section at Target, so don’t feel like you need to go above and beyond for this tip!

Wash Your Mats with Warm Water and a Mild Soap

Since Cricut strongly urges against cleaning your mats, it is imperative that you realize that you do this at your own risk. However, a large number of Cricut crafters have said that this little tip has saved them from having to buy a new mat for an extra couple weeks at least.

Since this is against Cricut’s suggestion, it is important that you hold off on trying it until it seems like you mat may be near the end of its grip life, when you would be replacing it anyway. This is so that if you find these hacks don’t work, or they do damage, you will have needed to buy a new one soon anyway!

This hack is best done with very mildly warm water (too hot could ruin your mat!), a mild soap like Dawn, Fairy Liquid, Palmolive, or Dial, and a gentle sponge. Run the water over your mat, give a little drizzle of soap and let sit for a couple of minutes. Once it has set for a moment, give it a little rubdown and you should see some of the marks on your mat from debris and material leavings disappear.

Once you’ve completely rinsed all the soap from your mat, pat dry with a paper towel or a dishtowel that won’t leave fibers behind. No need to get it completely dry, just set it out in your dish rack or face up on a towel to air dry. You should notice some of the grip coming back to your mat after this!

Leave Your Explore on Custom

On the Explore models of the Cricut, you will find that you need to specify what type of material your machine is cutting. This tells the machine how hard it needs to work to get those precise cuts for you.

It is a very common problem among the Cricut community, to leave your machine on the wrong setting, forget to change it, and have a project that doesn’t come out exactly as you expected because of it. The solution for this is a simple habit!

Once you’ve completed your project, no matter what it is, set your dial to “Custom.” This will mean your machine will prompt you to select the type of materials you’re using during each job! This will mean that you’ll never cut leather on the vinyl setting every again.

Flip Your Canvas

Painting canvases, or canvas that is mounted on a wooden frame, has a great big hollow spot in the middle. This is due to the fabric being stretched over an open wooden frame. Putting pressure on your canvas from the top side could stretch your canvas, or it could just mean inadequate, and uneven pressure being applied from the front of your designs.

In order to adhere your designs to your canvas, you will need to change your method! Once you have your design on your transfer tape, position it where you want it on the canvas. Tack it down as best you can in a couple of spaces, then flip your canvas face down onto your work surface, or your mat. Whichever surface makes you the most comfortable, go with that.

Once you have your canvas flipped, you’re going to burnish, just the same way you always would—with your scraper. Only this time, you’re going to be rubbing down the back of the canvas, putting pressure on your vinyl design from behind. This will give you even pressure and adequate burnishing on that design, helping it to stick to your canvas.

Once you’re confident you’ve burnished it, you can flip it back over and remove the transfer tape from the front! See the next hack to help you with removing the transfer tape smoothly!

Roll Your Transfer Tape

Sometimes, you will find that a surface is more apt to let a design stick to the transfer tape when you’re trying to remove it. The best tip I’ve found for getting around this is by using the XL Scraper tool from Cricut. Peel up the first corner of your design and place the XL Scraper, round side up, right at the fold of the tape you’re removing.

As you remove the tape, continue to push the XL Scraper into the crease of your transfer tape as it’s being pulled up. This will help encourage the letters and lines of your design to stay put on your surface as you remove the transfer tape!

If it’s a rough or porous surface, you should bank on needing to use this method to remove your transfer tape. It will make your life a lot easier.

Use Heat to Encourage Sticking

If you’re using a porous material such as slate, wood, or canvas and your vinyl doesn’t quite seem like it’s going to stay where it should, get out your trusty hair dryer or heat gun!

Bear in mind, you are not going to want to put a high heat on this, and you’re not going to want to do this for a very long time. You want to use a gentle hand when applying heat, keep the gun a reasonable distance from your surface, and don’t linger on it too long.

We just want to give that adhesive a little bit of extra grip, we don’t want to melt the vinyl or damage our crafting surface!

Whip Out the Hair Straightener

If you’re making a small iron-on project for a uniquely shaped item, you may want to use your hair straightener! Consider for a moment if you were applying an iron-on decal to the tummy of a small teddy bear. Rather than risking scorching the fur, or melting his little eyes, you could clamp it in your hair straightener for just a few seconds and bingo! He’s ready for the party!

Use Parchment Paper Instead of Teflon Sheets

If you don’t have a Teflon sheet, or if you are simply without one for a moment, you can temporarily use parchment paper to act as the buffer between your iron-on designs and the heat source. Use caution when you use this method and be sure that you’re not putting so much heat on the paper that it would cause burning! This is one of those in-a-pinch tips that can get you through a tough spot and shouldn’t be used as any sort of long-term measure.

Put Water in That Glass

If you’re lining up a decal on a clear or transparent drinking vessel, put some water in it! Make sure that there’s no water or condensation on the outside of the vessel that would impede your design sticking to the surface! Using the line of the water, you can tell if the design on the front of your cup is level or not!

Invert Your Pens

If you have pens or markers for your Cricut, store them upside down, so all the ink is stored toward the tip! This will keep the tips of your pens from drying out, will help your pens to last longer, will eliminate prep time before projects, and will give you cleaner lines on the drawings your Cricut makes for you!

Give Crayola a Try

Members of the Cricut community have said that they’ve found Crayola markers (the thin kind) to be a suitable, if not preferable, replacement for their Cricut pens! You can get more of a variety in color, without the prohibitive cost or design options, and you can try to see what works best for the types of projects you want to put together!

Use Rubber Pen Grips

If you make one slice down the side of a silicone pen grip (the cylindrical kind, not the curvy ones), you can use this as a buffer around your favorite types of pens so they’ll fit in clamp A. This is not a tip that is guaranteed to work right off the bat, so you’ll need to pick a pen you love, pick a grip, and try it out a few times to see what really works best for you, your machine, and your projects!

In a Pinch, Use a Hair tie

If you find that you have a pen you would like to use with clamp A, but you don’t have a pencil grip on hand, wrap a hair tie around the grip area a few times and try that on for size!

You may need to try a couple of different times to get the fit exactly right, but this will often do the trick for keeping a non-Cricut pen in place in clamp A!

Pigeonhole Your Strong Grip Transfer Tape

Cricut has a Strong Grip transfer tape that truly lives up to its name. However, because of how strong the grip is, it can cause stretching or tearing on more delicate materials. That is why we are recommending you only use the Cricut Strong Grip Transfer Tape on glittery vinyl.

It’s got the grip to hang onto all that rough glitter, but it won’t hurt your designs. Other transfer tapes seem to have a hard time sticking to that glittery surface, but the glitter vinyl and Cricut’s Strong Grip Transfer Tape seem to be a match made in heaven!

 

Weaken Your Transfer Tape

If the transfer tape you have feels a little bit too sticky at first, stick it on the leg of your jeans, or on a clean piece of fabric just a couple of times. This will dial back on how sticky the tape is and will make it simpler for you to unstick it from your more delicate projects!

Washi Setting for Intricate Designs

If you’re making a very intricate or delicate design on vinyl, you might find that your blade isn’t being quite as delicate as it needs to be for the task at hand. If this is the case, use the “Washi Tape” or “Washi Sheet” setting for your cuts. This should get you those delicate results you’re looking for. Don’t forget to reverse weed your more delicate projects to keep those fine and intricate lines intact!

Strong Grip Lint Roller

If you have a pink mat (meant specifically for fabric) that has a good deal of fibers left stuck to it, this could cause your mat to lose stick at a much faster rate than you may have otherwise been anticipating. If this is the case, take some of that Strong Grip Transfer Tape and stick it right down on that mat. Peel it up and you might find that those fibers come up off the mat. You may do this several times per sheet of transfer tape to help prolong the life of your pink Cricut mats after using them for something like felt, flannel, or wool!

Remove Bubbles in Your Vinyl Designs

If you find that you’ve got bubbles in your vinyl, roll the rounded back of the scraper over the design to push them toward the outer edges. For very stubborn air bubbles, you may find that you need to use a fine blade for popping the bubbles and smooth them down with your finger or scraping tool. The rubber roller is also a good help in situations such as these!

Give Your Transfer Tape a Good Rubdown

Before removing the transfer tape from your design, give your design a very thorough rubdown with your scraper to ensure that you’ve pushed all the air out from under the design. This is easier to achieve over the transfer tape, than it is on the bare vinyl!

Remove Your Transfer Tape at an Angle

Removing your transfer tape at an angle can help to eliminate and minimize bubbling under your vinyl designs. The way in which you do this is by peeling up one corner of your transfer tape and pulling diagonally, toward the opposite corner. When using this method, you can also use your XL Scraper to keep your letters down, as described in one of the tips above. This will help keep your letters on even ground when negative pressure is applied while removing the transfer tape!

Iron-On Material Works Great with Wood

Thanks to the strong adhesive that is activated with iron-on material, it bonds very well with wood surfaces! If you’re looking to put a vinyl design onto a wooden surface, but you’re having trouble getting it to stick, try the design with iron-on and see how that bonds! You might find that this is your new favorite method to use.

A word of caution with this method, be sure that the iron never comes in direct contact with the wooden surface, or you could end up damaging the wood through moisture or scorching! Keep your Teflon sheets handy and iron on in bursts if you need to!

Don’t Remove Your Design from the Mat Before Weeding

A common practice among new crafters is to remove the vinyl from the Cricut mat before starting the weeding process. However, weeding on the mat is far easier. With the grip from the mat keeping your project firmly in place, it’s like having an extra set of hands when doing the hardest part of your project! Don’t underestimate the power of your mat! Do yourself a huge favor and weed on the mat!

Use a Lint Roller to Weed Your Cardstock

When you have a cardstock design on your mat that has just been cut, weeding it can take a little bit of extra time. However, if you use a lint roller, the cardstock excess will stick to the lint roller. With practice, this method can cut your weeding time in half with all of your cardstock projects!

In a Pinch, Use a Fork

If you find yourself in the middle of a project and you can’t find your weeding tool or if your weeding tool has broken, a fork can be an unlikely substitute! This mostly works on vinyl, and toothpicks are another suitable replacement that you might find to be more effective! Try a couple of other implements and see what works best for you in your crafting!

Save Your Old Gift Card

If you don’t have your scraper or burnishing tool handy, using an old or leftover gift card is a great standing! The flat edges, and small shape are very helpful for smoothing down edges, working out bubbles, scraping up stuck edges, working in creases or crevices, and everything your scraping tool is good for! Don’t get me wrong, the Cricut scraping tool is worth its weight in gold, and then some. It is an ideal tool for all its various purposes, but in a pinch, a gift card should get the job done with a little more finesse and elbow grease!

Use Fabric Barrier for Your Iron-Ons

When ironing on a decal that you’ve made, using a Teflon sheet is usual. This helps to diffuse and evenly distribute the heat so there’s no scorching from the iron on the decal. However, this same effect can be achieved if you use regular cotton fabric and keep the iron moving.

Don’t allow the iron to come to rest on the decal, because too much heat could get through. Utilizing this method can help you to achieve your ironed-on result with little to no damage in the event that you don’t have a Teflon sheet on hand for your craft!

Using a cotton fabric in place of Teflon can be a temporary measure until you decide if iron-on is something you’ll work with regularly! Once you’re committed to that craft, then you can spend the money on a Teflon sheet!

Pump Up the Pressure

As your blades begin to lose their sharp edge, you can increase the pressure in your Cricut settings to get the most out of your blades before re-sharpening or replacing them! This is a great way to ensure you’re using your blades to their fullest capacity before removing or replacing them!

Add a Placeholder Shape in Design Space

Once you’ve begun to gather scraps of the materials from your projects, you will find it’s not as simple to line up your materials on your mat. You might end up with some wonky shapes, or some shapes that just aren’t the width you’re accustomed to having on your mat. The best way to make sure your current design will fit on the piece you have is to line it up in the corner of the mat you intend to use for your project.

Once you have it on the mat, use the measurements to tell you how big the piece is. Make a blank square in Cricut Design Space that is roughly the size of the piece you have on your mat. The Design Space has dimensions in it that can easily be adjusted to what you need.

Once you have that shape in the Design Space, just use it as a scale for your project to ensure that what you have will fit on the materials available to you!

Heat Makes Vinyl Easier to Remove

If you’ve applied a vinyl decal to a surface, but it didn’t quite come out the way you wanted it to, don’t panic. With a heat gun or a hairdryer, you can loosen the adhesive enough that you can remove the decal or reposition it.

Be warned that the removal process might not be as gentle on the decal, so don’t depend on being able to reapply it. But hey, stranger things have happened, right? In the world of crafting, nothing is impossible!

You Can Reuse Transfer Tape

If you’re careful and store your transfer tape with the carrier sheet or protective backing, you can reuse good transfer tape up to seven times before the adhesive is no longer strong enough to carry over your projects! Throwing out your transfer tape after one use will cost you a lot of money, and you’ll just get sick of driving to the craft store over and over again! Find a brand of transfer tape you like, stock up, and take as long to get through each piece as you possibly can!

This is the ultimate tip for getting your money’s worth with a material you absolutely cannot live without as a Cricut crafter!

Mind the Cap

When your Cricut pens or other type of pen is in use in accessory clamp A, put the cap on the back of the pen so you don’t lose it! With crafting projects that involve so many small, losable parts, it’s best to wrangle any and all accessories you can, as you go!

 

Get More Accessories

I mean mats, blades, and inks. I’m not even kidding. The more you have of these items, the better. There are tools that can help you repair your mat for sale on the Cricut website, but if you are just starting out, and you are still learning about materials and pressures, chances are you’re going to ruin a mat or two. The same goes for the blades. If you practice as much as you should with your machine to get the hang of it, you have to buy extra blades. Rips in your projects become more frequent when you have a blunt blade. This is something that you want to avoid. So, when purchasing your very first Cricut, make sure to add the said items to your cart as well. There’s nothing as bad as running out of materials while you’re in the middle of a project.

 Buy Cricut Tools, Basic Set

This is another additional purchase, but one I believe you can’t go without. The purchase includes scissors, tweezers, weeder, scraper, and spatula – all of which are great to handle those delicate, fine-detailed projects, as well as the big, simple ones. Such tools are universal and can be purchased at the Cricut store or on Amazon.

you might have noticed that the mat is sticky. If you don’t already own one, well, now you know. The point is that the alcohol gets rid of the stickiness and leaves you with just a plain old mat. If the material won’t stick to it, the paper, vinyl, and others will all move around while the blade is trying to cut through, and it will end in a disaster.

So, your best bet will be to use non-alcoholic wipes. Baby wipes are perfect for this. Just scrub down your mat with it when you feel like it is getting a bit iffy, and you’re good to go.

 Don’t Be Lazy

Test those projects first! Testing is key to mastering the Cricut even when you feel like you’ve already gotten the hang of it. It never hurts to assess your projects before doing the final cut or print. It might seem tedious, and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m very lazy where things that consume my time are concerned, but this really is a useful tip. Test before you cut. Make it a habit of yours. It should come without a thought. It might just save you a lot of time and material too. Instead of doing the whole project at once, do a small element of it first. If it doesn’t work, you won’t need to wait for it to finish before you can fix the settings and cut the new design. It will also save you the pain of losing the material you wanted to use for the project itself.

Try Different Markers

Don’t feel limited by the Cricut markers. That’s right! When you are using your Cricut machine to write or draw on your project, any marker that will fit will work perfectly. Not only are there cheaper options but the colors and variety of styles are virtually endless. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can only use the markers from the Cricut brand. Even though they are of better quality and actually made for the machine, you are not limited to using them. Just make sure your markers fit.

 Double-Check the Settings

Just like the testers, this is annoying, but you have to make sure that all of your settings are correct and that you have selected the right material option. If you are not using the Cricut Design Space, this is easy to forget. When you utilize the software, there is a broad selection of tools to choose from. However, when you are only using a cartridge, the materials are limited. Still, regardless of which set-up you wish to handle the design, you should check your settings twice. If you are feeling paranoid check them again just to be sure. It’s easy to ruin a mat by not doing so. Trust me, I have lost more than one mat because of forgetting to inspect the setting of my machine.

 Keep Your Blades in a Good Condition

As I have said before, buy extra blades. Preferably, get one for every material that you are going to cut. In the list of materials that are available to add to your Cricut purchase, you may see different kinds of blades available. Make sure that you have the correct edge for a particular item and that it is sharp at all times. A dull blade is never a good thing, and it will ruin your project as easily as a sharp one will cut it perfectly.

 Extend Your Markers’ Shelf Life

Keep your markers upside down with the cap-covered tip facing down when you are not using them. This will ensure that they stay nice and inky for the longest period of time. Do not leave them in your Cricut when you are not using them. Secure the cap and put them away afterward.

 Peel the Mat Away

Avoid your paper curling by peeling the mat away from the paper and not the other way around. Did you wonder why I told you to do this when you were doing your project? This is the reason. Peeling the mat away from the paper will definitely ensure that your paper – or whatever material you are using – from curling.