A Cricut and a vinyl cutter do more or less the same thing—they cut different materials into specific shapes—but that is where the similarities end.  

In today’s article, we’ll explain the difference between these two machines, how they work, and which one to choose for your needs.

What Is a Cricut?

A Cricut is a type of electronic cutting machine used to cut designs or crafts from a range of materials. Generally, materials like paper, vinyl, card stock, and iron-on transfers are suitable for cutting in a Cricut. Some professional-level models also work with leather and wood. Die-cutters and craft plotters are other products made by Cricut.

What Is a Vinyl Cutter?

Vinyl cutters are machines specially designed to cut intricate shapes from adhesive or heat-transfer vinyl materials. Many high-quality vinyl cutters, such as Roland vinyl cutters, are compatible with other materials in addition to vinyl. 

Differences Between Cricut and Vinyl Cutters

The main difference between the Cricut and a vinyl cutter is functionality. Cricut is much more versatile than most vinyl cutters designed just to cut vinyl materials. Both machines can handle complex shapes and designs, but Cricut can cut about any material that you can cut using scissors or an exacto knife. 

However, Cricut and vinyl cutters offer more precision and speed than hand-cutting methods. It’s best to use a Cricut if you’re dealing with multiple materials and want to produce more than just vinyl stickers and do heat transfers. 

Another noticeable difference is their design uploading function. Cricut offers design software that allows users to design or select built-in images. Users can also import their artwork into the vinyl cutter to produce their desired shapes. 

If you don't need any design functions but still need a cutter, vinyl cutters may be an ideal option. You can simply use a design from elsewhere and cut your materials into a specific shape.

Steps to Cutting With a Cricut 

Here are steps to cut materials with a Cricut:

  1. Create your design using the Cricut software or app. 
  2. When the design is done, transfer it to the Cricut machine using Bluetooth technology or a USB. The machine will use the design information to shape the provided material.
  3. Place your preferred cutting materials on the sticky mat to hold the materials in place. This helps the Cricut cut the materials properly. 
  4. When the mat is ready, load it into the Cricut machine.
  5. Finalize your design and material settings on Cricut and start cutting.
  6. After cutting, remove the mat from the Cricut and separate the material from the mat. 

Steps to Using Vinyl Cutters 

You can use a vinyl cutter for creating various items by following these steps: 

  1. Find artwork or a design you want to use in your vinyl cutter. You can create it yourself or buy it from an artist.
  2. When you have a design ready, import it into the software that comes with the cutter.
  3. Load the material into the cutter and start cutting.
  4. When cutting is done, move the material out of the machine.

What Can You Make With a Cricut and Vinyl Cutter?

A large number of crafts can be made using Cricut and vinyl cutters. These machines are useful for many hobbyists and businesses who make custom items using unique artwork and stickers. Companies also use Cricut and vinyl cutters to create commercial accessories and products.

You can use a Cricut for creating various items such as:

  • Iron-ons for t-shirts and onesies
  • Leather earrings and bracelets
  • Greeting cards
  • Custom pantry labels
  • Banners and party decorations
  • Custom stickers
  • Decals for car windows
  • Quilt blocks and applique shapes
  • Monograms for a mug, cup, or tumbler
  • Address envelopes and invitations
  • Stencils for glass etching
  • Stencils for a painted object
  • Stencils for signs

Here are some products that you can make with a vinyl cutter:

  • Stickers and decals for accessories like laptops and water bottles 
  • Stickers for home interiors such as windows, doors, and walls
  • Wall art with intricate patterns and designs
  • Signs for special event banners, cars, and vans
  • Vinyl stickers for customized t-shirts and other garments 
  • Magnetic sheets for commercial usage 
  • Refrigerator magnets for personal use
  • Logos, patterns, labels, and letters for merchandise 
  • Signs 

Final Thoughts

Cricut and vinyl cutters are great options to get precise cuts from simple to intricate designs. Which one you get should depend on your material type and the end product you have in mind. Contact Airmark today to review the options and make the best choice for your business!