Crafting with Cricut for Dummies

Let me preface this post, by stating that while it is a humorous post (mostly making fun of myself), there are tips that may save you some time, money and frustration.

Additionally, this post was originally written (by myself) in September 2016. As of this date, the canvases we created are still proudly displayed in my friends’ kitchen so I guess we didn’t mess up too much!

Alas, on to the post…

I have had a Cricut machine for some time now, but had never used it. In all honesty, it intimidated me (it still does!) but a friend and I decided to have a craft night and try our hand at it (mind you, neither of us ever using one in our life.)

If you have never used a Cricut machine before, here are some of the (very silly and humorous) things you should know…

Crafting with Cricuits for Dummies

Crafting with Cricut for Dummies

(Note: I am the dummy)

1. Cricut’s design space (the place on their website where you design what you are going to cut) uses Flash so be sure that you either have it downloaded or that it is active. If not, you will have to download and or activate it. (It is a free “thing” so no worry about having to pay for it. But we didn’t realize we needed it and had to install it before we could move forward.)

2. Oh, I guess I should mention before step 1; when you get to Cricut Design Space, a video pops up. There is an X – a big X – in the upper right hand corner that you can click to exit out of the video and go to the actual design space. It isn’t the X that you would click on to close the window, but it is in the Cricut website to close out the video. (I say this because we missed it a couple of times.)

3. Know what images you are doing and have them prepared. We spent a lot of time trying to find the images we want before we finally said forget it and found what we wanted on Etsy. Fortunately, we were able to find what we needed at a great price, already formatted for what we needed, on Etsy. You can make your own things inside the design space or you can upload files of images. Just know what you want to do and be prepared. It will save you time (and a headache) when you sit down to do it.

Sip Me Baby

4. Save yourself some vinyl – weld the image together BEFORE you cut. (Yes, we accidentally made that mistake for our first cut. It tried to cut on two separate pages. Waste.)

5. Again, save yourself some vinyl. If you are using a roll of vinyl instead of a precut sheet of vinyl (I highly recommend a precut sheet) bring a paper cutter and cut out the size you need with a paper cutter. (A) We can’t cut a straight line with a scissors to save our lives. (B) The cut with the scissors was not clean by any mean. (C) We wasted – in my opinion – a lot of vinyl because of this.

6. Make sure everything is set properly before cutting. Again, save yourself some vinyl. After not welding the first image and messing up that cut; something went wonky on the machine. (I think someone bumped something which put the settings off.) Our second cut didn’t actually cut all the way through the vinyl so that was wasted vinyl #2.

7. Make sure you use enough vinyl for the project. Yes, we made that mistake too. (Well, not we, me.) I cut out a piece and thought I was good, but remember #5 on how our scissor lines weren’t even, straight, or clean? Yeah, I ended up with not enough covering a space so it cut my mat (not all the way through, the mat is fine) but we had to cut more vinyl to re-cut that sentence that it missed.

8. I have now been told that vinyl onto canvas is one of the harder projects so if you intend on making a project where you are putting vinyl onto canvas; allow yourself plenty of time and patience. You’re going to need both. Getting the vinyl to stick to the canvas takes time and patience (and in our case, two people.)

They See Me Rollin

9. Glitter vinyl is a pain in the rear. I don’t know if our glitter vinyl was just being a pain or if all glitter vinyl is this way (I was told some are a pain and some aren’t) but our glitter vinyl would not transfer onto our transfer tape easily… at all… we ended up throwing away 3 canvas worth of designs because we could not get the glitter off of the paper and on to the transfer tape.

10. We were told AFTER the fact, to not Modge Podge over the vinyl as it will cause it to peel. (Oops!)

11. Everything is sticky as… a word I won’t say because it’s a cuss word. Seriously. Like, I get it, you need sticky to make everything stick but when I say everything is sticky – there are no words to describe the sticky. For real. I had stuff sticking to me. We had vinyl sticking to vinyl. We had transfer tape stuck to transfer tape. It was a hot mess.

12. If you have animals; I highly suggest finding a place that your animals have never been to craft with cricut. My friend has a golden retriever and as much as I love her dog – I think I brought half of her home with me just on my cutting mat! There was hair everywhere in the insanely sticky stuff!

13. Long nails help. Or I suppose if you had some of the actual tools necessary, that might help too! We had a scraper and that was it. We didn’t have the weeding tool (which honestly, we didn’t really need) but when it comes to pulling off the vinyl from the transfer tape to make it stick to the canvas, long nails were required. (If there is a Cricut tool for this, I am not aware and please tell me what it is so I can get one!)

14. When it’s all said and done, you will have a beautiful art piece and feel so accomplished and proud of yourself that you won’t be able to wait to try your hand at new things!

Whip It

The plan was to make 6 canvas pieces for my friend to hang in her kitchen at her new home (in another state, but that’s a whole other blog post!)

She bought white, 12 x 12 canvas and painted them a teal blue color to match some dishes she had purchased. She purchased white vinyl for the lettering and designs.

If you recall #9, three designs got tossed out so we only ended up with three of six canvas, but the really did turn out amazing and I can’t wait to try more!

Hopefully, if you are new to cutting vinyl with a machine, my adventure can help you out. If you are experienced (and laughing at me which is totally fine – I would be too) what tips and tricks do you have for me? Because seriously, I need them!


  1. Marie

    February 6, 2020 at 8:21 am

    Did you mean to say “Weld” or “Attach”?

    1. Leila

      February 6, 2020 at 11:15 am

      I don’t recall 100%, but pretty sure it’s weld – you “weld” all the parts of it together so it comes out as one piece versus a million little pieces that you then have to figure out where they go.

  2. Kala Mangal

    May 24, 2020 at 4:31 pm

    My circuit machine won’t cut?

    1. Leila

      May 29, 2020 at 4:40 pm

      Is there a blade in the machine? And do you have the settings on so it is cutting deep enough? This past weekend, when cutting glitter vinyl, I found that putting the setting between iron on vinyl and card stock was the best setting.

  3. Michelle Robinett

    June 14, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    I do not know how to use the transfer tape. Some of the vinyl I bought came with it and some didn’t. Can you help?

    1. Leila

      July 5, 2020 at 4:21 pm

      So after you cut the vinyl, you will want to “weed it” (pull out the pieces that you are not transferring onto your project). You then use the transfer tape to transfer the vinyl to your project. You will want to lay the transfer tape/paper to the vinyl that you just cut out and weeded. When you lift up the tape, the vinyl should adhere to it – all in one piece – so you can move the entire cut out to your project. Stick the tape with the vinyl onto your project. Ensuring that the vinyl sticks to the project, you will remove the transfer tape. This may take time and patience because the vinyl will still try to stick to the transfer tape, but if you continue to push it down, apply pressure to the vinyl, it will eventually adhere to your project and release the transfer tape. I hope that helps!

  4. Alexis

    August 29, 2020 at 9:27 am

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips! I bought a Sillhouette Cameo without doing a bunch of research before hand and this guide has been very helpful to start

    1. Leila

      January 6, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      I am glad it has been helpful! I still refer back to it when I pull my Cricut out! Needless to say, I have not used it enough and it is NOT like riding a bike!

  5. Jacqueline

    January 4, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    Just a helpful tip on transfer tape …. Yoy can different strengths of adhesive some are light and go to heavy. I too am fairly new with cricut cutting and have found the vinyl comes off the light adhesive transfer tape onto your project MUCH easier. Not sure why they have different levels of adhesive so if anyone has any input it would be much appreciated. Thanks for the blog your tips were extremely helpful.

    1. Leila

      January 6, 2021 at 1:50 pm

      I did not know that!! Thanks for sharing!!

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