Using Cricut to Cut Fabric

A quick disclaimer: Read your Cricut Manual Thoroughly, and know what your machine is capable of before attempting anything I list here.

Here it is! The much-awaited “How to cut fabric with your Cricut” Tutorial! Today, I’m going to make a set of pillowcases for our bed. In part, because I wanted a simple project to show the method, in part because I’m hoping that labeling our pillows will keep Mr. Moore from stealing my pillow before I get to bed, and in part because pillowcases were only $5 for a set at Ross (but I didn’t notice until after I ran them through the wash that they were a mis-matched set)!

Enough reasons? Okay… let’s get going!

First, you’ll want to get your supplies together. You’ll want your fabric (light weight fabrics work best), some HeatNBond (or other iron-on adhesive), your Cricut machine, Cricut Tools (if you don’t have these, have a craft knife and an old credit card or store discount card handy), a clean cutting mat for the Cricut (new is best), a new Cricut Blade (doesn’t need to be a deep-cut blade, but it MUST be new!), Cricut Cartridge (I’m using George and Basic Shapes), a rotary cutter or scissors, and a set of small pointy scissors.

Start by ironing on your adhesive to the back of your fabric. Then, cut the fabric into 6.5″ widths. If you have the larger machine, obviously cut it larger. My machine has mats that fit a 6×12 piece of paper, so I cut the fabric into 6.5″ widths to have a little overhang. DO NOT cut the strip into 12 inch lengths, leave your pieces long.

Next, take the paper off of the back. Trust me… you want to do this. If you don’t you’ll end up with little paper shreds all over your Cricut Mat, and you’ll want to throw out the mat.

Use the U-shaped “ice scraper” tool to press the fabric onto the cutting mat (If you don’t have this tool, a credit card or plastic store discount card will work). Push hard. Get out all the lumps, and make sure that the fabric is sticking to the mat VERY well. You will have some overhang. Make sure that this overhang is at the bottom end of the mat.

Another VERY important step. Change the blade in your machine. We all know that nothing dulls a blade faster than cutting paper (unless you have a particularly inventive child), so we want a fresh blade to cut the fabric with. Be careful not to cut or poke yourself with either the old or new blades. Dispose of the old blade carefully.
Note, before replacing the blade, you may want to make a test sample of what you are cutting out of paper, to make sure that you are cutting it the right size. Once you’ve determined the right size using scrap paper, you can replace the blade.

Set the dials on your machine. The dials on the left side should both be at 5. The top dial determines the cutting speed… we want the blade to zip over the fabric as quickly as possible. The bottom dial is the cutting pressure/depth. Having this all the way up to 5 will wear out the cutting mat faster, but I like to be on the safe side, so I keep mine at 5. While you’re checking dials, check the dial on the right to make sure you have the right cutting size. My letters were 2.5″ tall… you’ll want smaller letters if your name is much longer.
Once you have all your dials set, insert the fabric covered mat, and let the Cricut cut away! Once it is done, peel away the fabric, and you should see your design. Peel with care, there may be a thread or two that did not cut all the way through, just cut those with your scissors or craft knife as you go. If you had a lot of problems, check the pressure and speed dials, and make sure that you used a fresh blade.

Now, trim your overhang bit, and re-”scrape” it onto the cutting mat. Doing it this way rather than cutting your fabric to 12″ lengths can save you precious inches – that can spell the difference between a design fitting or not fitting!

Check all of your cut pieces. Some may have caught a “snag,” and you will want to re-cut that piece. I cut 15 pieces and only had one piece I needed to re-cut. The tip of the scissors points out where my fabric snagged.

Lay out your letters onto the pillowcases. You’ll notice that one set is upside down. You’ll see why on the finished product.

(oh! you  can see my wittle toes at the bottom of the pic!)

Once you have the letters spaced the way you want, iron them down.

Then sew them on. I used a simple zig-zag at the edges.

Now, insert your pillows, and prop them on your bed! And, while you wait for your family to notice how crafty you’ve been, take a picture, upload it, and leave a link in the comments below!

You can use this technique for all kinds of projects, and with all kinds of Cricut designs. Here is one that I cut for a Baby Shower mini-quilt (Cartridge is the Designer’s Calendar):

Enjoy finding different ways to use this technique, and please share them with me – I’d love to hear how it works for you!

Expect Moore… but not for a little while… I’m off to the doc!

CM

Serenity Now Crafty Cutter Party

Comments

  1. What an awesome tutorial (and amazing results)!!! I am sooo gonna have to give this a try!

    Thanks for sharing all of the tips and details!!!

    HUGS!

  2. Bookmarking this…my Cricut will be arriving this week!

  3. Thanks for sharing. Can you reuse the new blade for fabric in the future or should it be brand new every time?

  4. Thanks for the info. I have been wanting to do this.

  5. Kim
    As long as you don’t use the blade on paper, you can keep using it for fabric until you notice it getting dull, then you can “demote” it to paper, or toss it.
    Using it for paper will dull it very quickly, which is why you want to use a fresh blade for fabric.

  6. WOW! Thanks for this tutorial! i have wanted to buy the Cricut to use on fabric… I just was not sure how well it would work! Thanks for your nice comments re: the SYTYC.. If your looking for boy crafts have you seen dana at made or made by Rae? They had an awesome celebrate the BOY month full of crafts! I have a link to them on my blog!
    Thanks again!
    Carrie

  7. Cutting fabric was the main reason I bought my Cricut, but I haven’t figured out a good way to do it. I can’t thank you enough for this tutorial. Now maybe my husband won’t think we blew our money on a machine I’ll never use :)

  8. well i bought my machine just to use for fabric ..opened it up and there was no directions on fabric use but i tried it anyways and it worked but my mat would not restick after that… i got frustrated and returned it to the store..yeah i know no patience huh… well looks lik i will go back and spend the money again to re buy it and try all over agin…thanks…. and please let me know how to make the mat reusable for more than one fabric use… thanks Thai

  9. To use the mat multiple times, I take it into the bathroom, and scrub it with hand soap and a soft toothbrush. This helps get the fibers out of all the little cracks in the mat. Make sure to rise all the soap off very well, and then let it air dry. Once it is completely dry, it should be nice and sticky again. :)

  10. Saw you at Serenity Now.

    Love how your pillows turned out!

  11. Thanks for the tutorial. I tried to cut fabric once with my cricut but it was a major fail…probably because I didn’t add the iron on backing. I will have to try it again soon!

  12. Awesome tutorial!! I had several people email me asking about Cricut/Fabric and I sent them to this link.

    My only question would be if using “non-Cricut” materials– ie. Heat ‘n Bond or something like that would void a Cricut’s warranty if a problem arose. But it looks like you have had no problems…I LOVE the pillowcase idea. Happy to read that Cricut can cut fabric too…I still have mine and some fun cartridges–will have to try this out!

    Thanks so much for joining my Crafty Cutter party. :) Have fun finding some crafty inspiration, and I hope you’ll visit me at Serenity Now again soon. :) I have a new Silhouette project up today! :)

  13. Hi, again! Just wanted to let you know I featured this post today. :) You can grab my “Featured On” button for your blog if you want. :)

  14. Thank you for the great tips! I’ve been wanting to try cutting fabric but was nervous about doing it.

    When you use a new cutting mat do you still ‘prep’ it? I was advised by a friend to unsticky by patting my hands all over it some before using for the first time.

  15. I had been wondering about this! Now I don’t have to experiment and can just use your tutorial!!! thanks!

  16. Thanks for the tutorial…..you make it look easy~peasy!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    What cricut cartridge did you use? Looking for one with a nice bold font.

  18. I have been wondering how this was done and have not found anything that describes what to do. Thanks so much for sharing this tenique!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    What do you set your blade pressure at?

  20. You have to play with it… but I think I set it at 3… :)

  21. Great tutorial. I haven’t tried it yet but I am going to. I just wanted to mention that I save all my worn out blades for “embossing” use. They don’t take up much space and having a couple extra around just in case never hurts.

  22. Wow! What a great idea. I am just starting to sew and am already a scrapbooker. I have been looking at ideas of sewing projects, but was afraid to try anything with detailed pieces because I didn’t think I could cut it well by hand. I am getting my cricut out RIGHT NOW to try this! So excited. Thank you very much for sharing!!

  23. I’ve been nervous about cutting fabric with my Cricut but this doesn’t look too hard. Thanks for the tutorial!

  24. Amy Brooks says:

    I’ve been trying to cut fabric all afternoon. I added fusable web to my fabric and had the blade pressue set to 6 with a speed of 5. Any suggestions? It pulls the fabric and barely cuts. Frustrated…
    Thanks

    • Yes – set both dials all the way up – as fast and as hard as possible.

      Iron the fusible to the back, and remove the paper. Of all the fusibles I’ve used, Heat n Bond Ultra works the best. It gives a super-slick surface on the back that sticks really well to the mat.

      If you have an old mat and/or an old blade, replace them. A blade that has cut paper (even a couple times) will be more dull. And if the mat is older, the fabric won’t stick to it very well, so it will pull up.

      Make sure that you adhere the fabric to the mat REALLY well. You can use the Cricut scraper tool to really push down the fabric (in a squeegee-like motion), or you can use the side of a credit card or gift card.

      These tips should help you get better cuts. Even when I had everything “perfect”, cutting fabric is tricky, and I’d have a couple spots I’d need to clip with scissors. But, it was better than cutting it all out by hand!

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