**How to Cut Fabric With the Cricut Explore: This post contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking through my links. I only recommend products that I love. Thank for reading and for your support of my blog!
Last week, I mentioned one reason why I chose the Cricut Explore: I could easily create my own images to cut out. This week, I’ll talk about the other reason for my choice: it’s great at cutting fabric. One of my favorite sewing techniques is applique. It’s so fun and gives your projects a personal touch. And while I love cutting things out by hand – I actually find it cathartic at times – there are times when you just need to get it done quickly, like when you’re making lots of gifts for the holidays, or preparing to sell your items. Or maybe your hand-cutting isn’t up to par as you’d like. So…here’s how I cut fabric with the Cricut Explore.
Over the years, I’ve sold my Clock Pillow at craft fairs, online, and they’re a big hit too when I give them as gifts. Making one pillow isn’t a big deal, but making several pillows at once took forever as I cut every number out by hand! My Cricut Explore could have saved me a lot of work.
So here’s how I cut out my fabric numbers using my Cricut Explore. First, I open up my Cricut Design Space. I click on Add Text (1), and a little window popped up to type in my numbers. Then (2) I change my font to Calibri, and select Bold, which is the exact font I have been using for my numbers (your system fonts are available for free in Cricut Design Space). And finally (3) I resize my letters to 1.62 inches. One more step: because we’re going to cut with the fabric face down, you’ll need to flip your numbers to their mirror image. That’s just beneath where you resize your numbers, where it says “mirror”.
Now, prep your fabric. I’m using regular cotton fabric. I fused some Heat’n Bond Ultra onto the wrong side, following the manufacturer’s directions. I’m using “ultra” because I don’t sew my numbers to the clock face (ultra is more sticky). But, if you were going to sew your applique pieces, you would instead use Heat’n Bond Lite, which is made for sewing. Place the fabric with the webbing fused on with the paper side up.
It might take a few tries with cutting fabric. Like paper, it comes in different thicknesses. First, I tried cutting my fabric with the setting dial pointing right on “Fabric”, which will run the blade through one time. This actually didn’t cut through my fabric all the way in some spots. So I increased my dial to in between Fabric and Poster Board on my dial, as shown below.
This time, the machine cut through the fabric twice and it worked much better. My cuts were very clean! But it does make grooves in your mat, as you can see. The mats aren’t quite self-healing, unfortunately, but it doesn’t seem to affect the performance much…I have some very well-loved mats that still work! Oh, and I’m using a newer Regular Grip mat. You can also use the Strong Grip mat (the grey one). Both work for me.
All that’s left to do is to peel off the backing from each number. You could also try removing the backing first before cutting. I will probably try that the next time around!
Here are some of my other past projects where you could definitely use your Cricut Explore to cut out your fabric applique pieces.
The Cricut Explore can cut more than just paper and fabric, though. Check out the full Cricut Explore Cut List of materials it can cut! Here are some that I want to try, and some that I have already tried (click on the links to see those).
- Aluminum Metal
- Heavy Chipboard
- Cork Board
- Craft Foam
- Iron on
- Magnetic Sheet
- Washi Tape
- Window Cling
- Wood, Birch
- Visit the Cricut Explore Cut List for more!
While I’m at it, here are more features available in both the Cricut Explore One™ and the Cricut Explore Air™ , the two machine available today (see my previous post for some basic info on both machines):
- Precision – Features Cut Smart™ technology, which allows you to cut a wide range of shapes and sizes with exceptional precision, from ¼” tall up to 11½” wide x 23½” tall.
- Smart Set® Dial – Each machine features a Smart Set® dial, which sets your settings (e.g. speed, pressure, etc.) for you so you don’t have to keep track of them. You just select the material that you’re using on the Smart Set® dial and the machine’s Cut Smart® technology will deliver a clean, professional cut.
- Images and Fonts – You can upload your own images and fonts for free on all three Cricut cutting machines.
- Cartridges – Both machines work with any Cricut cartridge and have the capability to hold all of your cartridges “virtually” in the cloud within your Cricut Design Space online software. So once you’ve loaded a cartridge, you’ll have it everywhere you go.
- Cricut’s Design Space™ and iPad® app – All Cricut Explore machines work hand-in-hand with Cricut’s Design Space™ (for PC, Mac®, iPad®, and iPhone®) that you get access to for free.
The Cricut Explore Air™ also allows you to:
- Cut and write or cut and score in one step. If you do a lot of paper crafting, this is the machine for you!
- Use Cricut’s free iPad app and design anything you want from your iPad using built-in Bluetooth® capability, just like you would on your home computer, but with the convenience of being able to take your projects with you anywhere. Then, you can just wirelessly send your project from your iPad to your Explore Air to bring it to life.
I know that buying a machine like this is a huge purchase. You want to get it right the first time. Now that I’ve been using it for over a year for lots of different projects, I would like to help you make the right decision if you’re thinking of purchasing a Cricut Explore! I’ll be writing again soon with some more useful information on the Cricut Explore, so stay tuned!