What is a Cricut Printer?
A Cricut printer is more of a home cutting machine rather than a traditional printer. It uses a small blade to cut designs out of paper, vinyl, fabric, wood, leather and other materials. It can also do simple printing using a marker as well. Cricut printers are used mainly for crafting projects. You can print complex vinyl stickers, cut-out cards, iron-on designs for t-shirts and sweatshirts, and more.
There are a wide variety of projects you can do with the printer. You can make cards, stickers, iron-on decals, and much more.
Materials for Projects
Unfortunately, some of the materials for the projects are not cheap and you will have to either buy the material yourself or pay the school to use their material. Talk with Mr. Didier if you need materials.
Different materials that can be used include:
- Paper. You can cut patterns out of regular paper or thicker card stock. This is a good place to start if you have never used a Cricut before. You can make cards, decorations, and more can be made from paper. Paper projects and ideas.
- Vinyl. Vinyl is used to create stickers and decals. It is either a single color or a pattern. To print multi-color patterns you need to cut from different sheets of vinyl. You can then transfer the vinyl to notebooks, cups, water bottles, or other surfaces.
- Printable vinyl sticker sheets. In order to do full color stickers and decals, you need to use printable sticker sheets. You print your design using an inkjet or laserjet printer and then cut them using the Cricut. You can also put a clear vinyl over them to make them more durable.
- Iron-on vinyl (HTV). Iron-on vinyl or Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is used to put your designs on clothing, bags, or anything made of fabric. Once you cut out your design, you use an iron or heat press to get the material to adhere to your fabric.
- Single color or pattern vinyl is like vinyl stickers but will stick to fabric. It is often only a single color or pattern (stripes, camo, etc). To do multiple color designs you need to cut your design out of different colors of vinyl.
- Printable sheets. Like printable stickers, you print your design onto them using an inkjet or laserjet printer. You then iron the sheet onto the fabric.
- Fabric. The Cricut will also cut fabric like cotton, flannel, polyester and more.
- Wood. The Cricut can cut thin wood sheets like balsa wood. It cannot cut a 2×4 or any real piece of lumber.
- Dye sublimation. Dye sublimation, like HTV, is used to put your design onto fabric, but it uses a different process. HTV leaves the vinyl attached to the fabric after ironing. When you iron a dye sublimation sheet, the ink transfers from the sheet to the fabric. The ink becomes part of the fabric instead of a sheet glued to the top of the fabric. Dye sublimation requires special dye sublimation ink and printers that we do not have, so we cannot do dye sublimation at this point.
Software and Other Requirments for Projects
Cricut projects have some specific requirements for printing.
Vector based images. Cricut printers can only print using vector based graphics. They cannot print bitmap graphics like a regular printer. Bitmap graphics are photographs in formats such as jpg, gif, and tiff. Bitmap images are created using Photoshop, Paint, Gimp, and other image editing software. Vector images are made out of curves and objects, not photos. They are created with different software like Illustrator or Cricut Design Space.
Cricut Design Space. This is the only software that can communicate with the printer, so it required to send your projects to the printer. You can use a school computer for this or you can load it on your phone. I am working on getting it to run on your Chromebooks. Design Space is a vector graphics based program. We will normally physically connect the printer the printing device as Bluetooth will get too difficult with many devices trying to use it.
SVG files. Cricut printers can only print SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) images. The Cricut software can convert jpg and other images to this format, but it often does some strange things to the images in the process.
Other useful software:
- Adobe Illustrator. This is great software to create your own custom images for printing. You can use a school computer for this or you can load it onto your home computer as well. As a student at LAHS, you can install the Adobe Products for free.