My Top 10 Cricut Tips
Every new season marks the beginning of a whole new crafting period, and with it, a series of wonderful creations! But as crafters know all too well, it also can often bring a little frustration when projects don’t go as planned. My top ten tips should help you save a little time and money for your Cricut projects – and fewer mishaps!
Tip #1: Cutting Small Letters on Vinyl
We’ve all been there, you’ve created the perfect text for your blank – and when you run the Cricut for a cut you stand back in horror as you see the tiny letters lifting off of the vinyl, essentially ruining your decal.
Fear not! This is almost always fixable with some setting adjustments. Change your material type to “Washi Sheet” and select “more” on the pressure. Of course, there are limits to how small Cricut can cut. Don’t even attempt to cut anything that is too close to your blade size or smaller – as this will not cut at all and leave you with a jumbled mess. Using this tip will save you a lot of wasted vinyl!
Tip #2: Reverse Weeding
After your successful cut using the aforementioned tip #1, weeding those images or texts can seem daunting. Reverse weeding to the rescue! Instead of weeding the excess vinyl off of the backing and adding your transfer tape as you normally would, you will reverse this process. Once the cut is complete, remove the vinyl from the mat and add the transfer tape over the entire unweeded decal and burnish. Flip it over, remove the backing, and then start removing the excess vinyl. Go slowly as a precaution as it is quite sticky, but your tiny letters or images will be stuck to the transfer tape and ready to be applied to your blank or surface! This method of weeding is especially helpful for images with a lot of small details too.
Tip #3: Masking Tape for Vinyl Scraps
This one is all about time-saving with ease. Simply wrap a strip of masking tape around your hand as you are weeding, and when you have any excess vinyl to discard just stick it on your hand! I find this tip so much easier to weed effectively and efficiently, plus it helps to ensure fewer stray pieces get stuck on things that they shouldn’t!
Tip #4: Dollar Store Blanks
This is a big money saver! You can get a lot of your blanks and fantastic ideas from the good old dollar store! Picture frames, shadow boxes, cardstock, glasses, tumblers…the list goes on! Some stores even sell a few must-haves like Mod Podge, acrylic paints, wood panels, and embellishments. You can really save a lot of money, whether it’s for honing your skills or for a final work of art. Have fun shopping!
Tip #5: Learn Inkscape
This is a tip that I recommend all Cricut crafters take some initial time to learn. Inkscape is a program that allows you to make your own SVG files…for free! I rarely use Design Space for script fonts anymore…if ever. Inkscape maintains the natural spacing of your fonts so you no longer have the need to mess around with letter spacing in Design Space, which saves you tons of time. Using the character map allows you to include the fancy glyphs that are included with many fonts. The best part, you get to save your design as an SVG to use over and over again. Learning the program does take a little time initially, but once you get the basics down you save so much more time overall!
Tip #6: Use a Heat Gun on Wood
Adding permanent vinyl to wood can create a beautifulend project, but have you ever wished you could paint your vinyl design on? I am the first one to admit that I am not a painter by any means. However, I found a trick that allows me to apply my vinyl and give it a faux painted effect. Heat gun! After you have stained and brushed one coat of finish over your wood, apply your vinyl as per your usual method. Then, once it is all transferred, grab your heat gun. On the lowest setting quickly wave the heat over your decal and then press down firmly with your thumb. This can get quite hot so you can use a silicone mitt to prevent burning your fingers. Instant faux paint!
Tip #7: Applying Vinyl Straight
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things in the world to a Cricut crafter is decal alignment on your blank. It is so disheartening when all of the hard work that goes into designing, cutting, and weeding ends up on your blank completely crooked – ruining the finished look entirely! A simple fix to this? Use masking tape and a ruler! Grab your ruler and measure to the center from each side. Then with your masking tape, lay it down to create a straight line. Now you have a guide for placing your decal. When you do place your decal, only remove the transfer tape bit by bit until you reach the tape so that you can peel it off. Voila! Straight every time. Now, this may not work for every blank, but it’s the method I use when placing decals on glass, acrylic, or wood signs.
Tip #8: Sharpen and Clean your Blade with Tinfoil
This is a quick tip that I use before every single cut to ensure that my blade is clean and sharp every time. Grab a sheet of tinfoil and make a ball out of it. Then remove your blade housing, and gently push on the release button, just enough to reveal the blade. Poke it in and out of your tinfoil ball. Be careful though – the blade is extremely sharp! This helps to remove any tiny pieces of vinyl that may be stuck on it and sharpens it a little at the same time. No more bunched-up vinyl during a cut! Remember though, your blades will need replacing every once in a while.
Tip #9: Protect your HTV with Parchment
A lot of people simply use the mask that comes with HTV and are fine with that, but when it comes to layering, we need to ensure we don’t burn the layers that were put on first. Teflon sheets work well, but oftentimes they can leave a “fiber” mark on our vinyl. While this may not be an issue on a t-shirt, it definitely is an issue on heat-sensitive items such as acrylic. Instead of using teflon, which can actually leave the fiber marks in the acrylic itself, use parchment paper! Just remember to keep your heat lower than 425 degrees as that is the maximum temperature allowance for parchment paper.
Tip #10: Wall Decals Not Sticking? Blow Dryer and a Tennis Ball!
I learned this one a little later in the game but I wish I knew about it sooner! I am continuously making decals for my daughter’s bedroom walls; and before I discovered this little trick, I was continuously burnishing them as well! Once you apply the decal, grab your blow dryer and a tennis ball. On the low heat setting, quickly blow a little heat over the decal and then use the tennis ball to burnish. The heat helps it stick better and the tennis ball burnishes more effectively in getting the vinyl to stick to the tiny textures of a wall.
Hopefully, these tips will help you this spring and summer with all of your Cricut crafting projects! I know they’ll help me!
Keep on Crafting!