I’ve become a little obsessed with using my Cricut Explore to cut vinyl as of late. I’ve only cut vinyl once using my Cricut Expression 2, but since getting my Cricut Explore last fall, I finally got around to cutting vinyl this past week and it is seriously SO easy. I wanted to share with you some useful tips and how to cut vinyl with Cricut Explore machines.
First off, can I just say that I love my Cricut Explore machine. Last fall I decided to sell my Expression 2 and purchase the new Explore so I could make my own designs, and I am SO glad I did. I got a killer deal on my Explore over Black Friday at Joann Fabrics– at only $150, that was a bargain. The price isn’t quite that low anymore seeing that deal was for Black Friday, but I found this deal on Amazon that comes in pretty darn close! I’ll be sure to send you any updates if I see it any lower so be sure to subcribe to our newsletter (at the top of the page or on the sidebar) so you don’t miss it. If you’re in the market for a personal cutting machine, you’ll have to take a look at the Explore. I thought learning to cut vinyl with the Cricut was going to be hard, but it’s not!
How to Cut Vinyl with Cricut Explore Machine
You can really use any brand of vinyl sheets and transfer tape. I really like using the Brookie brand from Joann Fabrics because it’s a good quality and comes at an affordable price. It comes in 12″x 24″ sheets which I love because I usually only need it for smaller projects. Another place I’ve been dying to try is Expressions Vinyl in Shelley, Idaho. (Yes, I just gave a shout out to my Idaho peeps) Their vinyl is even cheaper and it’s the exact vinyl that Cricut sells. Next time I’m up I’m headed over to check it out. As for transfer paper, I have also used contact paper as transfer tape but it doesn’t work quite as well, but you could give it a try if you’re in a bind.
Using the Cricut Explore to cut Vinyl is really easy. If this is your first time using your Cricut Explore to cut vinyl, I’m making it super easy with my screenshots.
- First you’ll need to open the Cricut Design Space.
- Once you’ve signed in, click the blue tile that says “Create New Project”.
- Next you’ll upload your image by clicking the gray “Upload Image” button on the left hand icon menu. Click the blue “Upload Image” button on the left once more. If you already have your image uploaded to the Design Space, skip down to step 6.
- Click the blue “Browse” button to find and “Insert” the image you want to cut. Once your image is loaded, click the button that matches your image type. Is it simple, moderately complex or complex? The image I’m using in this screenshot is a simple image, so I’d click simple image. Then click the green “Next” button in the bottom right corner.
- Next step is the select and erase portion. Use your mouse to click on any areas you want cut out. You can click on blank spaces or on the lines in your art. In the screenshot below you can see I clicked on the area outside of the girl. It is marked with the blue and white checked pattern. If I were to cut it like this, the dress, face, shoes and hands would be solid. The face wouldn’t show the mouth or eyes. You can always click the blue “Preview” button at the bottom to see what it would look like cut out. When you’re finished, click the green “Continue” button in the bottom right. Save it as a cut image.
- Now you will see that the image you uploaded is available. Click on the image and then click the green “Insert Images” button on the bottom right.
- Once your image is inserted on to the Cricut virtual cutting mat, you can make the image larger or smaller using the bottom right blue arrow. Make sure to click SHIFT on your keyboard while changing the size or your image will not stay proportionate. Tip: Move the image to the top left of your mat to save space on you vinyl sheet. If you want to make more than one of these images you can also copy and paste on the mat.
- When the image is ready for cutting, click the green “GO” button on the top. Click the “GO” button again on the bottom right.
- Next choose your settings. Choose your connection to the Explore. I’m using a USB, so I’ll click that. Change the dial on your cricut to Vinyl. I only use “Vinyl +” for thick/heavy duty vinyl. Then click “GO”.
- Push the blinking LOAD CRICUT button on your machine. Load the mat with vinyl on it and then click the blinking CRICUT GO button.
Small and thin or intricate fonts don’t cut too well. Try to keep your font size to 3/4″ tall. Once you’ve learned how to cut vinyl with Cricut, the next step is applying or transferring your vinyl. Click here to learn how to apply vinyl.