How to Make Fabric Die Cuts with Your Cricut

The most recent issue (September 8, 2008 - Volume 120) of the Cricut Chirp e-mail newsletter featured a baby quilt embellished with fabric die cut letters cut from the ZooBalloo cartridge.  The quilter who submitted the project used her Cricut to cut scrap paper, which she then used as a pattern to cut the fabric for her quilt. 

Using your machine to cut patterns to use for quilting appliques is a great idea!  However, did you know that you can use your machine to cut the fabric directly?  An older issue of the Chirp newsletter featured this Q&A:

Q. Help! I'm new at this and need some tips. I was hoping to be able to cut fabric shapes to appliqué on my granddaughter’s clothes. When I tried it, my material just bunched up, it won't stay stuck to the mat.

A. Basic guidelines are that the material (paper or otherwise) needs to be stiff and firm enough for the Cricut blade to drag through it. So a more stretchy fabric would probably not work, unless it had Wonder-Under or something to keep it in place.

If you are not familiar with Wonder-Under, it is a paper-backed adhesive fusible web, one of many brands of fusible web on the market.  Apply it with an iron to the wrong side of your fabric, and you will then have a stiff piece of material that your machine should be able to cut.  I am guessing that the ladies over at Cricut suggested the Wonder-Under brand because it is very easy to work with.  After fusing (usually to another piece of fabric), it leaves the material soft and flexible, and can be either washed in your machine or dry cleaned.

Have you tried this method for cutting fabric, or do you have a tip for anyone out there wanting to use their Cricut machine to make fabric die cuts?  We love to hear from you, so please leave a comment below...

Comments

  1. I have spent the better part of today trying to cut fabric with my new Deep Cut Blade. I used Wonder Under as well as Heat n’ Bond and the fabric kept bunching up. I tried all the different settings for depth, pressure and speed. Can anyone help me with this? I used a brand new blade, cutting mat and fabric and still cannot get a decent cut. Any tips would really be appreciated. Thanks.

  2. Hi Valery,

    How frustrating! I’m not sure what is causing the problem. Could you let me know what type of fabric you are cutting, and I will look into it…

  3. Hi Valery
    There is an article in this month’s Quilter’s Newsletter magazine about cutting fabric with the Cricut — it is a very detailed article with pictures. I haven’t tried it yet, because of the Holidays.
    Linda

  4. Is this available online or do you have to find that magazine in the stores? I am very interested in getting this information so I can cut fabric also. Please let me know if you can

    Thanks,

  5. I have also been trying to cut fabric with my cricut. I used a brand new blade and mat. All the machine has done is bunch up the material It is like the wonder under backing doesn’t stick to the mat and just pulls loose. I have tried various blade depths, pressures and speeds. I also looked at the quilters newsletter and couldn’t locate the article. Any help would be appreciated.

  6. I have been over at the Cricut message boards trying to find a solution. Someone there did provide more information regarding the article in the Quilter’s Newsletter. Here’s her direct quote:

    “I am also learning to quilt and get Quilters Newsletter and in the Dec/Jan 2009 issue they talk about using the Cricut Personal Cutter (pg 60) for cutting out shapes for applique. Here is what they suggest for cutting material: Fabric should be as stiff as cardstock in order to work in the machine (using undiluted Sta-Flo liquid starch). They also attached fusible web (Steam-A-Seam) using manufacturers directions. Removing the backing they adhere to the mat, and using a new needle set the speed to 4, depth to 5, and pressure to 4. Remove the fabric with the spatula being careful to avoid fraying the fabric.

    The web address is quiltersnewsletter.com. I have not checked the website lately but they do post part of the magazine on site.”

    For anyone who wants to follow this thread over at the Cricut message board, here’s the link: http://www.cricut.com/messageboard/tm.aspx?m=3582005

    I hope this helps!

  7. Jaine Deare says:

    Hello to all the quilters out there trying to use the Cricut to cut out appliques!!
    I have spent DAYS trying to cut out appliques with this machine!!!! Yesterday I was at the store (WM) and took a second look at the new markers for the CriCut. I spent the $16.00 and bought them. Well get out your sizzors or Exacto knife! This has been the best way I have found to make an applique!!! NO bunching in my machine! I simply inserted the marker in to my machine, put my fabric on the sticky side (with heatbond on the back side)
    paperside UP selected the letters or shape and printed it on to the heat bond paper.
    Now all I have to do is cut it out my self!!!
    I know this defeats the purpose of having the machine cut it out for you, however cutting fabric with the machine has been a ROYAL pain!
    You can also use this technique with heat bond only. I put it bond side on the sticky paper side up and printed on it, then iron it to the fabric and cut it out yourself.

  8. Irma Tchamourian says:

    Why not just use the wonder under to cut out the applique patterns, then iron onto your fabric the applique pieces then cut them out manually – when you are done all you will need to do is just iron on your applique and stitch around it. It seems faster to do this then to spray stiffener, wait for that to dry, then iron on the wonder under and try to fight it under the cricut and having to buy new blades and get frustrated with it bunching up. Just a suggestion?

  9. Here’s a great YouTube tutorial that I found. I haven’t tried it yet, I need to go buy some steam-a-seam and painters tape, but I think it looks like it should work great! Hopefully this helps!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JEsYz9lBc7w

  10. Helen Porter says:

    Did you find the informaiton? My mom has a Circut, and I ironed some fabric fusing material(not sure which brand, we placed the fabric side down and went for it, it did kind of tear some of the paper backing off, but it worked great. Thanks Helen

  11. Yes – painters tape is the solution! It works very well. BUT – you need to keep the pressure high and the speed SLOW or it will pull at the fabric.

  12. For those who have tried it, with the fabric. How does it work if you want to cut out alphabet letters? if your putting the paper of the adhesive up are the letters being cut backwards? I’m picking up my Cricut this afternoon, most of my use for it will be for fabric, especialy letters. I’m new with this and haven’t yet tasted this mechine, Someone told me that it works well with the havy duty wonderunder adhesive double side. can be found in Joanns fabric store SKU# 02467058.
    Can someone answer my questions, and i hope that this infor. helps.
    thank you

  13. Amanda G says:

    Ladies I use the SCAL (sure cuts a lot) program and I can flip things to have them cut off my cricut and fabric too I put the fabric side down and have the wonder under on top and does alot better but you have to use the blue painters tape put ur blade on 6 your speed on slow for it to work but this program is alot better then the cricut software and you do not have to use a cartiage

  14. I just got my cricut today and naturally, since I’ve been handcutting my letters for two years, I tried it with fabric. NO PROBLEM. I ironed the fabric onto Heat Bond lite fusible webbing and put the blade setting at four, the pressure at high and the speed low.

  15. Hi Mary,

    I’m glad it worked for you right away! It’s one of those things that sometimes takes a little experimenting, just because of the different fabric fibers and types of fusible web, not to mention all the different Cricut settings.

  16. Another great trick I picked up on another board — use liquid spray starch and starch cotton fabrics until they are very stiff and paper-like. I used concentrated StayFlo and did not dilute at all. This is a cheaper solution than heat bond and you can conserve fabric using the same methods you do for paper. Not so with the fusible heat bonds. For some reason, heat bond doesn’t work when I re-use uncut portions of fabric.

  17. Thanks for the idea Mary – I will have to give it a try!

  18. instead of stitching around my letters or numbers on the tops I applique I use scribbles around them to help the edges stay put. Also I use heat n bond NO SEW. And if you try to sew anyway youll soon find out why it says no sew. :) Only because I dont always have time to sew around and am not very good at it. So far I havent had any complaints on the tops I have sold. And on my kids tops I have washed and dried with no problems if i didnt put an edge around my applique. Besides how cool is it to be a little boy with glow in the dark outline.
    Just an idea if your making tops.

  19. I used 100% cotton, prewashed, Heavy Heat and Bond, Med pressure, 5 or 6 needle level, and pick a design that isn’t tiny….(that might be the problem). Cut’s like butter. Once used a lighter Heat and Bond it did bunch up even with a larger design. So, try that. Hope it helps. I slowly sew around my cuts with a zig zag stitch.

  20. How do you arrange the fabric and steam to seam so that the letters do not get cut out backwards? I am trying to applique a word and I cannot figure out how to get the letters right side up so I can iron them on correctly.

  21. I am thinking about buying a cricut machine only to do appliques. what is the machine I should by and about how much should I expect to spend on this machine?

  22. BK from what i can see you need to flip the letters on the circut to come out right. Hope this helps. I just got my new cricut and havent used it yet. but did watch the video. Jody

  23. I have been cutting fabric for two years with my Cricut. I use Heat and Bond Lite, put the paper side down on the mat. I usually wait until the fabric is cool, so that the fabric is really fused to the backing. I use a regular blade, set the needle on 4 o5 depending on the fabric. I use a 4 pressure setting and a 4 sped setting. I can cut beautiful appliqué and letters with most fabric. I use only 100% cotton fabric. Recently I used Stem a Seam 2 and it works ok, and with Steam a Seam 2 Lite, I had to put the fabric side down on the mat. Steam a Seam is lighter in weight and does not adhere to the backing paper as well. I think the mats are better than they were 2 years ago as the fabric sticks more. I also have some suggestions on my website. Sharon

  24. I was wondering why you are taking the paper backing off of the fabric before you cut it? I used the double-sided iron on Heat and Bond, but left the paper backing on, placing the fabric against the mat. I was cutting out silver lame for a project for my daughter for show choir. It worked perfectly. I removed the paper backing just before ironing it onto a fabric headband that I had made. I loved it.

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