Are you cursing or huffing and puffing at your Cricut machine’s inability to cut your project correctly? If you answered “yes,” you might be suffering from your Cricut not cutting in the right place.
You are not alone in pursuing a perfect Cricut cut, as this is a common problem for even the most seasoned Cricut DIYers. With patience, this article, and maybe a can of Diet Coke, you can fix a Cricut that is not cutting in the right place.
Common Cricut Cutting Issues
When your Cricut machine isn’t cutting properly, you need to check the following items as these are the most common reasons for your Cricut not cutting in the right place:
- Adjust Your Text and Image Sizes & Their Location on Your Cutting Mat
- Adjust Your Chosen Material & Pressure
- Inspect Your Cutting Mat
- Inspect Your Blade
- Clean Your Machine
- Recalibrate Your Machine
- Reset Your Machine
1. Adjust Your Text and Image Sizes & Their Location on Your Cutting Mat
Many times, when your Cricut machine is not cutting exactly where you want it to, it is because you have set up your text or image sizes incorrectly. Changing the size settings on Design Space will adjust how your machine cuts your chosen material.
When checking the sizing of your text and images, check the location of your design on the mat too. There will be a border on the Design Space software and your cutting mat, which designates where the machine can make cuts. The machine will make all cuts inside the outermost border. A simple placement adjustment can make all the difference when cutting materials.
2. Adjust Your Chosen Material & Pressure
If you are like me, you probably forget to turn your materials dial from vinyl to cardstock before the cut begins. Total beginner move, but it happens. So first, make sure your material dial is set to the correct type of material you are working with.
Next, in Design Space, you can adjust the pressure your Cricut uses to cut your chosen material. Glitter cardstock will need a 270 cut pressure, two passes, and a fine-point blade. (And that is only if you are using a Cricut Maker 3, it will be different for other machines.)
Phew, that is a lot to check to make sure your Cricut cuts correctly.
3. Inspect Your Cutting Mat
Your cutting mat is probably one of your favorite Cricut tools, but they can be finicky little buggers. If your Cricut is not cutting in the right place, your cutting mat is a great place to check for issues. First, simply try reloading your mat.
If it loads and unloads correctly, peel your material off and inspect your cutting mat. Remove any built-up material, remove lint or dust, and always check your mat’s “stickiness.” Cricut Help says,
- “Remove large debris with tweezers.
- Avoid scraping the mat. Scraping will push material debris deeper into the adhesive.
- Wash the mat as follows:
- Keep the mat flat, supported by a firm surface, and place it in the sink.
- Run lukewarm water over the mat. Use a plastic, hard-bristled brush to gently scrub in a circular motion until the entire surface of the mat has been cleaned.
- Pat dry with a paper towel.
- Let mat air dry completely for the stickiness to return.”
Cricut mats should be cleaned every three to four cuts, and maybe more often, depending on the material you cut.
Once your mat is clean, reapply your preferred material. Ensure it lines up correctly, is smoothed out, and does not lift from your cutting mat.
4. Inspect Your Blade
Before assuming that your machine is ready to put out to pasture, ensure your blade is clean and installed correctly. But before we talk about cleaning and installing your blade, make sure you are using the correct blade for your desired project and Cricut machine.
The most common Cricut blades and their uses are:
- Deep Cut: Craft foam, leather, corrugated paper
- Rotary: Cuts cotton, denim, felt, silk, lycra
- Knife: Balsa, basswood, chipboard
- Bonded Fabric: Cuts bonded silk, polyester, denim, felt, burlap
- Fine Point: (Most commonly used and works for all Cricut machines) Paper, vinyl, cardstock, washi tape
Now that you have the right blade, gently remove and inspect it. Remove any debris such as previously cut material or dust bunnies with your tweezers. Replace your blade and make sure it is clipped securely in place.
If you have cleaned your blade and it is installed properly, and you are still having issues with your Cricut not cutting in the right place, it may be time to replace it.
5. Clean Your Machine
If your craft room looks like a small bomb went off, it might be good to clean your Cricut machine and its components. I don’t think I’ve ever cleaned my machine, but do as I say, not as I do.
Before you begin cleaning, unplug your machine from a power source.
- Start with wiping your machine down; baby wipes are fantastic for cleaning and super gentle on your machine’s plastic housing.
- Next, remove any built-up material with a soft, clean cloth. Some crafters prefer canned air and a small brush to remove debris.
- You may see grease near the gears that move your mat and blade, but it is normal and supposed to be there. Do not remove it.
You may find that cleaning your machine more often will allow it to function and cut projects in the right place. Now, excuse me while I go clean my machine.
6. Recalibrate Your Machine
All Cricut machines are properly calibrated when purchased, but at times they will need to be recalibrated. To recalibrate your Cricut outlines the following steps:
- “Sign in to Design Space and select the account menu (☰).
- Select “Calibration.”
- Select “Print Then Cut” from the pop-up menu.
- Select your desired printer, then select “Print.”
- Place your newly printed calibration sheet onto your cutting mat, and position it in the top left corner of the mat. Select “Continue.”
- Make sure your Cricut machine is on and paired to your Design Space.
- On the next screen, select your machine from the drop-down menu, select the appropriate material setting, load the mat into your machine, and press the flashing “Go” button.
- Your machine will begin to scan the sheet for calibration markings. Next, it will cut around the small square near the center of the sheet. Without unloading the mat, look at the cut to see if it touches the printed line all the way around.
- If it does, select “Yes” in Design Space, then “Continue” to proceed to the next step.
- The machine will begin the calibration cuts along the top and side of the page. Once done, and without unloading the mat, look closely at the lines along the top and side of the page. Some will not touch the printed lines, and others will.
- Design Space will ask you to select which number and letter cuts are closest to the center of the printed lines. Select the “Top” then “Right” drop-downs to indicate the line number or letter with cuts closest to the center of the line.
- When you are done, select “Continue.”
- The machine will then perform a confirmation cut around the large rectangle on the sheet. Unload the mat, remove the calibration sheet, and respond to the final question in Design Space when it is done.
- If you are happy with the cut, select “Yes,” then “Continue” to proceed to the final calibration screen.
- If you select “No,” Cricut will guide you through the calibration process again.
- Select “Save & Close” to save your calibration settings.”
7. Reset Your Machine
Your Cricut machine and Design Space have to speak to one another to function. Ensure your software is up-to-date, and your machine’s firmware is current. If your Cricut uses Bluetooth to communicate, you may need to pair your machine to your computer or mobile device.
When all else fails, it’s time to reset this bad boy. Power off your Cricut and unplug it from your power source. Wait until your machine cools down before plugging it in and powering it on. You may wish to close and exit your Design Space software too.
The ideas we’ve outlined can help you troubleshoot your specific Cricut cutting issue, but if you still need help, Cricut offers excellent customer support to walk you through additional ideas. May the DIY gods be in your favor; happy crafting!