Everything you need to know about vinyl

5 July 2022

Vinyl is one of our maker’s favourite materials to cut with! You can personalise many different surfaces with it and create beautiful decals.

If you’ve never used vinyl before or want to learn some best practices when making with it, you’ve come to the right place.

What is the difference between vinyl and Smart Vinyl? 

Cricut Smart Materials are consumables that are designed to feed directly into your Cricut Maker™ 3 or Cricut Explore™ 3 machine without a mat. There are also Smart Materials for Cricut Joy™ that are specifically for this machine too. Vinyl that is not labeled as ‘Smart Vinyl’ cannot be fed through the machine without a cutting mat.

Find out more about Smart Materials here.

Permanent vs removable vinyl

Permanent vinyl is ideal for projects that need to weather the storm, from mailboxes to mugs, to outdoor signage and more. It’s a water-resistant and UV-resistant film with an adhesive that can last for up to 3 years. 

Removable vinyl makes every project a dream. It lies flat on your cutting mat without tunneling or bubbling. You’ll weed with ease and apply with awe. Even complex designs effortlessly lift from the carrier sheet for a perfect application. Apply to almost any surface. For ultimate flexibility, Premium Vinyl Removable stays removable for up to two years without residue.

What tools are best to use when making with vinyl?

Bar your Cricut machine and vinyl material, you may also need a StandardGrip cutting mat if using a vinyl offcut or non Smart Vinyl.

You will need to have a weeding tool. This is used after cutting to lift away the parts you don’t need and reveal your beautiful image. You can see how the weeding tool works in this video. You can purchase a Basic Tool Set that is perfect for beginners and has all the essential tools to begin making with a variety of materials. You can see all the tool sets here.

You will also need a scraper tool (which comes in the Basic Tool Set) and Transfer Tape. These go hand in hand for transferring your design over without any creases or bubbles. Cricut Transfer Tape was specifically designed to make transferring vinyl designs to project surfaces a cinch. The clear film with grid makes it simple to position your design right where you want it.

Combine this with the scraper tool for helping transfer your image from the vinyl backing onto the tape. We use the scraper tool to apply pressure to help with the transfer and ensure there are no lumps or creases.

Find out how to apply Transfer Tape here

Find all the instructions needed for cutting vinyl here.

Cricut essential tool set

What does the term ‘kiss cut’ mean?

A kiss cut is a cut that only goes through the material, and leaves the liner intact. This is applicable for adhesive-backed materials like vinyl, iron-on, washi sheet, etc.

Cricut vinyl weeding

What is the best way to weed small vinyl cuts?

Start in the centre removing all the unwanted pieces and work your way outwards. By doing this the outer layer helps keep your cut image on the backing and reduces the chance of moving the image around when removing pieces.

If I use permanent vinyl, are my mugs/glassware dishwasher friendly?

 To ensure that your amazing new project looks great wash-after-wash, follow these easy instructions. 

  • Ensure that your vinyl project is applied to a dishwasher-safe surface. Consult the manufacturer for details. 
  • Ensure that the project surface is clean — free from dirt, oils, and glue residue from stickers or price tags. 
  • Make sure the project surface is completely dry before vinyl application. Allow to air dry or use a lint-free cloth. 
  • When applying your vinyl design, make sure it is free of bubbles or folds – these defects can cause the vinyl to lift after washing. 
  • Allow project to sit for 24–48 hours. Dishwashing prior to this may reduce performance of the vinyl. 
  • Wash on the top rack only. 
  • Avoid extra cycle options such as heated drying cycles, sanitize, and steam cycles. 
  • Liquid, powder, and “pod” detergents are safe to use. 

Permanent vinyl Mug project

It’s my first vinyl cut! Where can I find instructions for how to do it?

You can find written instructions on the Cricut Help Centre here. You can also head to Cricut Learn, a great place for beginners to learn all about their machine, materials and give you the confidence to start making through online videos and free workshops.

Help resources

Cricut Learn is a great place online for learning about materials, your machine, Design Space tips and more. There are even workshops you can book onto. Find Cricut Learn here.

Cricut Help Centre is also a great place to search for information quickly. Find the help centre online here.

If you need more support with your Cricut products you can call Member Care.

Our social media channels are a great place to find inspiration. Search @Cricut_UK on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok to find us. Want to be featured? Make sure to tag @cricut_uk in your makes on social media.