10 Reasons Why I Choose Cricut Vinyl for My Projects
Which vinyl brand is the best for Cricut machines is a “hot topic” among Cricut and Silhouette crafters. Everyone, including myself, has their reasons and opinions about which type of vinyl they reach for and why. While much of it depends on the kind of project you’re making, there is also a lot to be said about ease of use, variety, and longevity. Today, I’m breaking down exactly why I prefer to use Cricut vinyl for my projects and highlighting some important things to consider when picking adhesive vinyl for your next make!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. I only work with brands and products I fully support and that make sense for my home, my family, and this blog. All opinions are 100% my own.
The 2 Vinyl Brands I Use With My Cricut Machines
Ages ago, when I got my very first Cricut machine and started cutting out really basic vinyl decals, there was pretty much one vinyl brand “on the scene”: Oracal.
Oracal vinyl was primarily known in the commercial outdoor signs industry; but it then became popular among e-cutter crafters because the vinyls were easy to cut, really easy to transfer, and incredibly long-lasting. Both Oracal’s 631 (removable vinyl) and 651 (permanent vinyl) lines create vibrant, long-lasting vinyl decals; and I still have many rolls on my craft shelves to this day!
But in recent years, I actually find myself reaching for Cricut brand vinyl more and more. Once given a bad rap for poor quality and too-high prices, Cricut’s extensive line of products have become my go-to for home decor, small crafts, gifts, and more. Here’s why…
Why I Choose Cricut Vinyl
1 – Bubble Free Cutting & Application
My biggest complaint with Oracal vinyl is how difficult it is to lay perfectly smooth and flat, both on the cutting mat and on my final project. I usually have to rely on all the tricks to get it smooth (e.g., brayer, scraper, water, etc).
However, I never have wrinkle or bubble issues with Cricut brand vinyl. In fact, one of the very first projects I did when Cricut released their new Premium Vinyl formula was to wrap some decorative boxes. I have never seen vinyl go down so smoothy onto a flat surface…not a bubble in sight!
Whether it’s getting the vinyl to lay flat on the mat (prior to cutting) or after application, I personally find Cricut’s vinyl formula much less prone to those nuisance bubbles and wrinkles.
2 – Smart Materials
The innovation of “Smart Materials” was a serious game changer, especially for someone like me who crafts a lot and crafts for work. Smart Materials don’t have to be trimmed down and loaded onto a mat; they instead feed directly into the cutting machine. This not only saves serious time when you just need a project done, but it also (more importantly) reduces restrictions on size. With a mat, you can only cut as big as 11.5×23.5″. However, using Cricut’s Smart Vinyl, you can cut designs up to 144.”
No other brand makes vinyl (or iron on/HTV) compatible with the “smart” technology found on the Cricut Joy, Cricut Explore 3, and Cricut Maker 3 machines. So when I need a project done fast or I want to cut a really big design (without having to rely on the Off the Mat technique), Cricut brand vinyl is the clear choice here!
3 – Fuss-Free Settings
Both Cricut’s machines and their materials undergo rigorous testing to ensure their compatibility. This means that when you use a Cricut-brand material and choose that product from the Materials menu (within Cricut Design Space), you will get a perfect cut…the first time and every time.
When using other brands of vinyl, you will often have to experiment with cut pressure in order to get that same perfectly-clean cut. This not only leads to poor cuts and wasted material, but frustration and loss of time.
Cricut’s continuous testing and refinement of the software, hardware, and materials ensure their products are cut with perfection. Weeding out designs is quick and easy…no experimentation needed on your part!
4 – Long-Lasting Results
I don’t tend to make items that get a ton of wear-and-tear (e.g., car decals, mugs). But I can say, without a doubt, that everything I’ve made with Cricut brand vinyl has lasted as long as I needed it to. From wall decals and floor stickers to basic vinyl labels and party decor, I’ve never had my Cricut vinyl decals fall off, wrinkle, or peel up. I am usually ready for a change far sooner than my decal wears out!
5 – Innovative Materials
I don’t know about you, but every time I check Cricut’s website…which is often…they have a fun new material to try! From writable vinyls and stencil material, to dry-erase vinyl, chalkboard vinyl, glow-in-the dark vinyl, window cling vinyl (static cling vinyl), and more, Cricut is constantly innovating new and different products to help bring any creative vision to life.
6 – Writability
As a self-proclaimed, unabashed lover of all things labeling, one of my favorite products is Cricut’s Smart Label. No other brand makes a “writable vinyl,” where the Cricut writes directly onto the vinyl to make ready-to-stick labels in one simple step.
Their smudge-free formula is exactly how I made my most popular labels ever; and I am beyond excited this product is now available in white, clear, and black!
7 – Soooooo Many Varieties of Cricut Brand Vinyl
Without a doubt, Cricut has the widest variety of colors, sheens, textures, and even patterns than any other vinyl brand. If you have a very specific look in mind for your project, you will most likely be able to create it using Cricut’s materials.
Cricut’s wide range of hues, including several shades of each color, ensures you’ll be able to find the right shade for your project. Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? Be sure to check across all the vinyl varieties, as color options change based on size (e.g., Cricut Joy versus Cricut Maker) and adhesion (e.g., removable adhesive vinyl versus permanent adhesive vinyl).
Ready to add some sparkle to your projects? Cricut’s glitter vinyl is now called “Shimmer”; it comes in a variety of colors and in both “Smart” and standard rolls.
Foil and Holographic Vinyl
These super-shiny vinyls add a reflective quality to your projects and are available in several colors, gloss finish, matte finish, as well as patterns.
Cricut has a very wide selection of patterned vinyls that cut just as flawlessly as standard vinyl but can add some whimsical designs to your projects. There is also an extensive collection of trademarked design (e.g., Star Wars, Disney, Marvel), which you won’t find anywhere else!
Cricut has recently released a whole line of color changing vinyls! These are as easy to work with as they are mesmerizing and are the perfect touch to every table water bottles as well as special occasion items!
8 – Size-Perfect Samplers
As much as we tend to think that “bigger is better,” I’m not sure that sentiment applies to vinyl. Sure, if you want to make a really big project, the long rolls of Smart Vinyl are incredibly convenient, as are the “bulk” rolls of standard material.
But when it comes to most “everyday” vinyl projects, you don’t need a lot of material. Consider your average water bottle decal, keychain label, planner sticker, or phone case design. All of these things require mere inches of vinyl. Which is why I love Cricut’s samplers so very much.
Most of Cricut’s samplers include 3-6 sheets of 12×12″ vinyl. This not only gives you a variety of colors to choose from for your project, but it is also likely just enough for whatever you’re making.
Cricut’s samplers are a great way to build your vinyl stash, experiment with all the colors/textures, and make a lot of awesome projects without buying loads of long rolls that are hard to store and you likely won’t use up!
9 – Cost
Inch to inch, Cricut’s vinyl is priced competitively with other popular brands available on Amazon and craft commerce websites. If you have a Cricut Access membership and buy vinyl directly from Cricut, you’ll get an additional 10% off your purchase, which ultimately makes Cricut’s vinyls the most cost-effective choice!
10 – Availability
Last but not least, one of my very favorite aspects of Cricut’s line of vinyls is that I can easily get it pretty much anywhere. So if I run out or get a crazy idea that I want to make right away, I can walk into Michaels, JoAnn Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, Target, and even Walmart and find a wide selection of materials to choose from. No other vinyl brand is so extensively carried in stores; and the no-shipping and no-waiting is a serious life-saver for this last-minute crafter!
The One Thing I Don’t Love About Cricut Vinyl
In the spirit of transparency, let’s chat about the one main thing I don’t love about Cricut brand vinyl: it can be difficult to transfer. Yes, Cricut’s vinyl cuts beautifully and weeds easily. I can cut really long designs all at once, and the variety is endless. But getting transfer tape to pick it up off the paper backing (in order to move it to my final project) can take some serious patience.
Here are some things that can help when transferring your designs:
- Rub vigorously with a scraper in all directions for longer than you think is necessary. Then, flip the vinyl over and rub the backside as well.
- Use a hair dryer to gently heat the vinyl in order to get it to release from the paper backing.
- Flip the vinyl+transfer tape combo so that the paper backing is facing up. Peel the paper backing away from the transfer tape (instead of the other way around).
- When working with Shimmer vinyl, be sure you are using Strong-Grip Transfer Tape; and if you’re re-using transfer tape from previous projects, a fresh cut will produce better adhesion.
If you need more help working with transfer tape and vinyl, see here: How to Layer Vinyl on Cricut Projects | 4 Easy Methods
With some practice, you’ll get the hang of transferring Cricut brand vinyl. And when you do, I think you’ll be thrilled with the final result!
Okay – so tell me! What brand do you consider the best vinyl? Do you experiment with lots of different types of vinyl or stick to a few tried-and-true favorites? If you have questions about Cricut brand vinyl or anything I have here, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll help as best I can!