Estimated reading time: 9 minutes
Cut vinyl written tutorial
This first part of the Beginner’s Guide To Cricut encourages you to become familiar with Cricut Design Space. By following a worked example of choosing designs, altering their size and carrying out some basic editing, you’ll be exploring the basic tools in the application.
Getting onto the software and experimenting is how we learn to get the best out of our Cricut and Design Space.
You’re ready to get started creating your first designs using your Cricut?
Great. So am I.
Cut vinyl video tutorial
To access the cut vinyl video tutorial click this link and it will take you straight to the page.
For the cut vinyl written tutorial – read on
We will follow the KISS principle.
Keep It Simple Stupid.
Not that either of us is stupid.
It’s always better to start with the easy stuff to build up confidence ready to tackle more complex crafts later.
With that in mind, over time, we’ll learn to amend designs to suit our needs and start to tackle more challenging crafts.
Working together, we’ll learn how to use different types of vinyl, starting today with permanent vinyl then moving seamlessly (well, almost) to iron-on and window cling.
The Beginner’s Guide to Cricut – part 1
On that basis, we start with permanent vinyl applied to a mug.
It’s almost the end of January as I write this, and February is only a week away.
February means Valentine’s Day, so it’s no surprise that the designs I chose from within Cricut Design Space for this example are valentines themed.
It’s time to create a cut vinyl design!
I love working with cut vinyl
I love working with cut vinyl because it gives me the chance to indulge in one of those restful tasks that are totally absorbing and satisfying.
You guessed it, I’m talking about weeding vinyl.
Weeding cut vinyl is one of those love/hate things.
Some people find it tedious.
Not me. I love weeding as it’s then that you begin to see the image appear in front of your eyes. For that reason, I think you’ll learn to love it too.
Tools & Materials
In addition to your Cricut, cutting mat and Cricut Design Space.
- Vinyl weeding tool
- Brayer (optional)
- Roller cutter or scissors
- Premium vinyl
- Transfer tape
- Mug or cup to apply your design to
- Rubbing alcohol and lint-free cloth
HINT. Choosing a mug with straight sides will make it easier to apply your design to it.
How to make your design and apply it to your mug
Step 1 – Open Cricut Design Space and, from the Home page select ‘New’ to open a new project.
Step 2 – Select ‘Images’ from the left-hand menu. There are over 100,000 images to choose from. To reduce the number of results – use the search box to find the type of image you want.
I searched on valentine.
Step 3 – To refine the search even further, click on the + symbol beside ‘Operation Type’ and choose ‘cut only’.
As we’re producing a cut-vinyl image, we’re only interested in images suitable for cutting.
Now scroll through the images clicking on any you like. Your chosen images will appear as a thumbnail at the bottom of the page.
Step 4 – When you have your images selected, click on ‘Insert images’, and you’ll be taken back to your canvas. Remember, it’s a good idea to save your project regularly, so you don’t lose your work. Do that using the Save button at the top of the page to give your project a name.
Step 5 – Your images will be grouped, so click anywhere on the blank canvas to remove the box around them and you can separate the images and begin to whittle them down to the one you will cut.
Step 6 – Use the Layers panel on the screen’s right to help you decide on an image.
Some images will have multiple layers, such as the ‘for my husband’ image above.
This image has two layers, which isn’t a lot, but that means it will cut in two layers that need to be applied separately to the mug. As we’re just getting started that may be too complicated for this project.
The hearts ‘be mine’ image appears complicated too. The layers panel shows that there are 4 layers. However, ungrouping the layers and keeping only that layer with the hearts and Be Mine words gives us quite a nice image to put on our mug.
To remove the unwanted layers from the image, you can click the ‘eye’ beside the layer to hide it. Alternatively, delete the layer using the ‘X’ at the top left corner of the image.
Step 7 – Now you’ve decided on the image you want to use, you may need to resize it to be sure it will fit your mug. You can also change the colour to see how it will look when it’s cut out.
To resize an image and keep it in proportion, use the resize tool on the image’s bottom right corner. If you don’t want to keep the proportions, click the lock button on the bottom left corner of the image and change the size as you want.
To make your image a specific size go to the top of the canvas and type in the width and height, you want your image to be in the W & H boxes.
Remember: if you want to change the proportions, you will need to click the W & H boxes’ lock symbol.
To change an image’s colour, click on the box beside the ‘Cut’ under ‘Line type’ in the top menu. Choose the colour you want from the drop-down material colours box or choose Advanced for more options.
Step 8 – You’re ready to cut your image!
Click on the ‘Make It’ button at the top right of the canvas and Cricut Design Space will take you to the page showing your mat or mats. For the project shown in the video, I used three images—two for cutting from black vinyl and one for red vinyl.
A little piece of information for you on the ‘file’ Design Space sends to your Cricut
To make your cut image, or draw your card or whatever craft you are making, Cricut Design Space uses files in the format .svg.
That’s Scalable Vector Graphics file.
Remember that, as in the future you may want to find free files to upload to your Cricut to give you more wonderful things to make.
Next – Click ‘Continue’.
Step 9 – You need to tell your Cricut what material it will be cutting. You can do this by clicking on Browse All Materials and then Vinyl to bring up the full list of vinyl you can cut on your particular machine.
The thing to remember here is that I’m using the Cricut Maker. All the materials I can use are listed within this section of Cricut Design Space.
If you are using the Cricut Explore, you will select the material you are using on your Cricut. If you select ‘Custom’ on your Explore dial, you will select the exact material on this screen within Design Space.
Step 10 – Your Cricut will now tell you what tools you need to load in your Cricut. For vinyl, it will be the fine-point blade in clamp B.
Now you can pretty much forget about Design Space as it’s over to your Cricut to cut out your design.
Step 11 – Place a piece of vinyl sufficient to create your design onto your cutting mat.
Feed the cutting mat into the machine by pressing the arrow button that will be flashing telling you your Cricut is ready to start your project.
When the ‘Cricut’ button lights up, press it, and the cutting operation will start. Once cutting is finished, the arrow button will light up again, press it, and the mat will unload.
Peel your vinyl off the mat.
The fun part
Step 12 – It’s time to weed your image. Now that your Cricut has cut out your image, you need to ‘weed’ off any vinyl that isn’t part of your image. Seeing your design appear is really satisfying.
Step 13 – Once your image has been weeded, it’s ready to be transferred to your mug.
Apply transfer tape over the image sticky side down.
Transfer tape is reusable, which is great news when materials can cost a lot of money when you’re just getting started.
To put your image onto the transfer tape, it’s a good idea to use the spreader shaped tool that comes as part of the Cricut Basic Tool Kit.
Once you’ve made sure the design has attached to the transfer tape, peel off the vinyl backing leaving just the design.
You can throw the vinyl backing in the bin.
Before putting your cut image on your mug, clean the mug’s surface to remove any grease or fingerprints. A clean surface makes the vinyl adhere better and will give your image a longer life.
I used rubbing alcohol and a lint-free cloth to clean my mug.
And you’re done!
Your mug is decorated and looking fantastic.
And best of all? You’ve created your first craft using your Cricut and Cricut Design Space.
The possibilities for creating beautiful gifts, cards and home decor pieces are endless.
Together, we’ll move on to create things we design ourselves. And we’ll learn how to use the free .svg files that Cricut creators produce.
The Beginner’s Guide To Cricut
You can quickly find other pages within this Beginner’s Guide using the links below.