How to Place Vinyl on a Cricut Mat

A Cricut mat is one of the most important tools of your Cricut arsenal. It’s also one of the most expensive. Since you’ve already spent good money on this vital piece of equipment, it’s essential to protect it and make sure that you use it to its fullest potential. This includes learning how to place vinyl on a Cricut mat so that your projects come out looking picture perfect.

Download & Upload Your Design

Once you have found your design of choice, you can download the file. Save it in an easy-to-find location, like your desktop. Some users even make a folder specifically for their DIY projects, so they don’t lose track of their designs. Cricut machines will only support the following file types:

  • SVG
  • PNG
  • JPG
  • DXF
  • GIF
  • BMP

Once you have downloaded your design, you can upload it to your Cricut Design Space account. In Design Space, you can size, crop, or overlap your design. Once your design is ready to go, it is time to place your vinyl on your Cricut mat. 

TIP: If you are using a design already in Design Space, you do not need to download or save anything to your computer; you can place the design straight onto your Canvas and continue with sizing, cropping, or overlapping. Remember that while the use of Design Space is free, you will need to pay per design or subscribe to Design Space to obtain permission to use Cricut’s designs. 

Place Your Vinyl

You will often use vinyl for things such as stickers or simple craft signs. However, the process of placing vinyl will be the same for other Cricut materials such as iron-on transfer. 

1. Choose Your Cricut mat.

Make sure you use the correct type of mat for your project. There are four types of mats: LightGrip or blue mat for lightweight materials like paper, StandardGrip or green mat for medium-weight materials like cardstock, StrongGrip or purple mat for heavyweight materials like poster board, FabricGrip or pink mat for fabrics.

2. Place Your Vinyl

For simple permanent vinyl, we will use a StandardGrip mat. Cut your vinyl to size; for example, if your design is 4×4, you will want your piece of vinyl to be at least 4.5×4.5. Once you have the correct sizing cut out, you can place the vinyl on your mat.

Follow the printed guidelines to ensure that your vinyl is straight and even. Once you have it placed, firmly press down on the vinyl, and press out any air bubbles. You can use a Cricut tool called a Brayer, a small roller that you can use to adhere the vinyl to your mat. 

TIP: You do not need a Brayer to complete a successful vinyl placement, but it sure does help. You really could grab your kitchen rolling pin; thanks, Betty Crocker!

3. Load Your Mat into Your Circut Machine & Cut

Once your vinyl is on your Cricut mat, you can load the mat into your machine and cut your design. 

4. Unload Your Mat & Remove Your Design

Once your design is finished cutting and you are happy with the cuts, you can remove your vinyl from your mat.

TIP: Turn your mat upside down (vinyl side down) and slightly bend your Circut mat, a corner of your vinyl should easily pop up, and you can peel it off your mat without making the design curl. 

5. Weed Your Design & Place Transfer Tape

Those unfamiliar with Cricut may assume that “weeding your design” is something totally groovy and unrelated to crafting. But we assure you, weeding your design is necessary and sometimes fun or relaxing. 

Weeding is the process of removing the excess vinyl, leaving you with your design. To get your vinyl off its backing, you must use transfer tape. Again cut the appropriate size you need for your design. Then peel the backing off and, with care, place it on your design. Use your brayer tool to smooth any bumps or bubbles out. You want your transfer tape to go down smoother than even the vinyl. 

6. Finishing Your Project

Once you have successfully placed the transfer tape, you can put your design on your crafting base/object. If you made a vinyl sticker, clean your car window, then place the design down on the glass. Smooth out any bubbles, again. Once you are happy with the vinyl placement, you can peel off the transfer tape leaving your vinyl design on your car window. 

Final Thoughts

Don’t stress if your cuts do not turn out the way you want them to. Cut another piece of vinyl and lay it down on your mat again. Rember to follow the guidelines on the mat itself and remove any bubbles or wrinkles. The smoother you can get your vinyl, the better your cut. 

Practice makes perfect, and even the best DIYers struggle with laying down their vinyl.