A line of Oracal adhesive vinyl. It has a matte finish and is commonly referred to as indoor vinyl although it does have a 3 year outdoor durability. Oracal 631 can get wet but is not the best choice of vinyl in areas that will constantly be exposed to water. It is great for indoor and outdoor signs, wall décor, etching and stenciling.
A line of Oracal adhesive vinyl. It has a glossy finish and is commonly referred to as outdoor vinyl. It’s a great choice for wet area applications such as boats, mailboxes, cars, signs or other outdoor places. This line also carries two colors in a matte finish: black and white
A line of Oracal vinyl specifically for masking and stenciling.
A line of Oracal adhesive vinyl. Permanent adhesive vinyl and typically referred to as “marine grade” vinyl.
The acrylic ruler is designed to work alongside the rotary cutter and cutting mat. Together you can cut fabric, paper, vinyl, and other materials down to size.
Adaptive Tool System
The Adaptive Tool System, only on Cricut Maker, allows Cricut to design new tools that can be added as they are invented. This system has more control over tools, using advanced mathematical algorithms and a system of intricate brass gears designed to improve cutting precision.
Adhesive vinyl (sometimes just called “vinyl”) is a thin adhesive- (or sticky-) backed material that you can cut with your Cricut and apply to many hard surfaces, such as glass, plastic, ceramic, wood, and more. It comes in many colors and styles, like glitter and holographic.
Align is used to line up the different images you have on your canvas, so that images in your project are lined up or spaced perfectly.
Arrange helps you organize the images on your Canvas. Think of it as a physical desk—items in the “back” are under the items in the “front.” You can use this tool to change how things are arranged on your Canvas.
The Attach tool has two functions in Design Space. It helps to hold your cuts in the same position relative to each other on the cutting mat as in the design screen. Also, it helps you to fasten a write or score layer to a cut layer.
The Silhouette cutting blade that automatically adjusts to the recommended cut settings based on the material type the user has selected from the Send > Material panel in Silhouette Studio. This blade is only compatible with the CAMEO 3 and the Portrait 2. The Autoblade can only be used in the left carriage of the CAMEO 3.
The term backing material, also called a carrier sheet, is often used to describe the part of the material that isn’t actually the material itself. For example, the plastic sheet that the iron on vinyl is attached to, or the white sheet that adhesive vinyl is attached to.
Balsa is a hardwood that weighs practically nothing. It has a high strength-to-weight ratio (it’s super strong for how light it is), making it good for crafts. It can be cut using the Knife Blade on the Cricut Maker.
Basswood is a light-colored hardwood that can be cut using the Cricut Maker’s Knife Blade. Basswood has a smooth, even wood grain, with no resin or pitch. It can be painted and stained easily without having to seal it first.
A blank is basically anything you can put Cricut materials on. A few popular blanks include t-shirts, baby bodysuits, tumblers, mugs, and pillows. Sometimes these are called substrates.
When using Cricut’s Print then Cut feature, turning on “bleeds” means that your image with print with a little extra color around the edges. This ensures no white edges when you Cricut goes to cut your image.
Bluetooth is a technology that allows you to connect your Cricut to your computer or mobile device without using a cord.
Bonded Fabric Blade
The Bonded Fabric Blade, which has a pink housing, cuts fabric with a stabilizer ironed onto the back to stiffen it. It works in Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker machines.
Use the brayer to get good adhesion between your material and your mat and for eliminating wrinkles and bubbles in materials.
The Cricut Brightpad is a lightbox that aids in weeding vinyl, tracing, jewelry making, and other applications.
Burnishing means to press into by rubbing. For example, you will bunish transfer tape onto adhesive vinyl to help it stick. You can burnish with a tool like a scraper or with your fingers.
Your workspace in Cricut Design Space where you make your projects.
The Card Mat is specific to Cricut Joy. It allows you to create cards quickly and easily using pre-designed cards in Cricut Design Space.
The carriage is the part of your Cricut machine that holds the blade and other tools. It moves back and forth along the roller bars.
Older Cricut machines, like the Expression, used physical cartridges that had images to use in Cricut Design Space. The Maker, Explore, and Joy machines no longer need cartridges, but you might run across this term in Cricut Design Space when searching for images. Images may be grouped as a “digital cartridge,” meaning they are similar in nature and are often designed by the same artist. These were recently renamed as “image sets” in Design Space.
Chipboard is a thick material made from the waste of other paper products. It is pressed together with glue until it is sturdy and smooth. It can be cut on the Cricut Maker using the Knife Blade.
ColorSync tool lets you quickly and easily change the colors in your project, through dragging and dropping.
When all of the cut lines are grouped together. To edit a design with compound paths right click and then click “release compound path”.
The Contour tool allows you to hide a portion of an image layer by removing any unwanted cut lines. You can use this feature in Design Space.
Cricut Access is Cricut’s subscription service. By paying a flat fee every month, you have access to thousands of images and fonts without having to pay for each individual image. This is a great deal for anyone who doesn’t want to design or buy images elsewhere online.
Cricut Design Space
Cricut Design Space is the software program you will use to create the projects you will cut on your Cricut. Cricut Design Space is a free software that you will download to your computer, or use on an app on your Apple or Android device. You can use the tools in the software to create your designs, upload outside artwork or use Cricut’s images, some of which are free and some are paid.
The Cricut Explore is Cricut’s middle-of-the-line machine. This robust cutting machine can cut more than 100 materials, as well as score and write.
Cricut fonts are created by Cricut designers and are native to Cricut Design Space (meaning you cannot use them outside the software).
Cricut Joy is Cricut’s newest cutting machine. It’s compact but still big on features, including matless cutting and an amazing card mat.
The Cricut Maker is Cricut’s top-of-the-line cutting machine. Cricut Maker can cut the most materials, including fabric, wood, thick leather, and more. It can also score, write, engrave, deboss, perforate, and more.
The Curve tool allows you to curve text from a simple arc all the way into a circle. This tool only works on desktop, not mobile devices.
Any file that you can cut on a Cricut. Most often this is referring to an SVG file type (see SVG).
Cut lines are the lines that outline the shape you are trying to cut. They are red or gray lines that indicate where the machine will cut. Without cut lines, the Silhouette will not cut. Cut lines also indicate where the sketch pens will draw when using the sketch function.
The self-healing cutting mat is a great crafting surface for your desk. You can use it with both the rotary cutter/acrylic ruler and the True Control Knife/cutting ruler. When you create a cut line, the material of the mat “heals”, leaving a nice smooth surface for your next cut.
The metal cutting ruler is designed to work alongside the True Control Knife and cutting mat. Together you can cut paper, chipboard, basswood, leather, and other materials down to size.
The Cricut Cuttlebug is a hand-cranked diecutting and embossing machine. An electronic cutter like the Cricut Explore or Maker can do almost anything the Cuttlebug can do, except for embossing. The Cuttlebug was discontinued in 2019, but you may be able to find a used machine.
The Debossing Tool is specific to Cricut Maker. It is a QuickSwap tool (see QuickSwap for more information). It is a tip that creates a debossed look in paper and cardstock.
The end result when you cut shapes into vinyl.
Deep Cut Blade
The Deep Cut Blade, which has a black housing, is designed to cut thicker materials like Cricut Genuine Leather and craft foam. It is somewhere between the Fine Point Blade and the Cricut Maker’s Knife Blade. It works in Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker machines.
Design Space or DS
The cloud based Cricut software for making your projects accessed at https://design.cricut.com/
The paid upgrade of Silhouette Studio that allows the user access to more features and tools.
The dial is how you change your material settings on the Cricut Explore (Cricut Maker and Cricut Joy do not have a dial). To select a material, simply turn the dial. If you need a material that is not on the dial, turn it to Custom and select the material in Cricut Design Space.
EasyPress / EasyPress 2
The EasyPress is Cricut’s version of a traditional heat press and is used to transfer a decal to a blank/substrate using high heat.
The EasyPress mat is used in conjunction with the EasyPress as a safe pressing surface. You can also use a folded towel or other pressing mat.
The EasyPress mini is Cricut’s tiny heating machine. It’s perfect for small or uneven applications, though it can be used for most iron on projects.
The dots on lines in a design that indicate where the line curves and moves to form a shape. You can manipulate edit points to change the shape of the design.
The Engraving Tool is specific to Cricut Maker. It is a QuickSwap tool (see QuickSwap for more information). It is a tool that basically carves into surfaces like acrylic or metal.
The Fabric Pen can be used in conjunction with the Cricut Maker’s rotary blade to create pattern markings, which make sewing easier.
Faux leather is a vegan Cricut product that is thin enough to cut on a Cricut Explore, Cricut Maker, or Cricut Joy. It’s great for jewelry and home decor applications.
Faux suede is a vegan Cricut product that is thin enough to cut on a Cricut Explore, Cricut Maker, or Cricut Joy. It’s great for jewelry and home decor applications.
Felt is a fibrous material that can be cut on a Cricut. There are several types, including Cricut felt, acrylic craft felt, and wool or wool-blend felt.
Fill refers to the color of your image. It can be a solid color, or a pattern.
Fine Point Blade
This blade, which has a silver or gold housing, is the standard blade in all Cricut machines. It cuts all sorts of basic materials like paper, card stock, iron on vinyl, adhesive vinyl, and more.
The program that exists on your cutting machine. Firmware updates can be done by plugging your machine into your computer.
Flatten takes cut images and “flattens” them together to create a Print then Cut image.
The Flip tool mirrors an image on the X or Y axis.
Windows that open with options and controls when a right sidebar tool icon is selected. Multiple floating panels can be kept open in the work area at the same time. Panels can also be moved around, snapped together, and collapsed while remaining in the work area.
The Foil Quill is a non-Cricut tool from We R Memory Keepers that can be used in the Cricut Explore or Maker to beautifully foil paper and other materials.
Or the "thickness" setting, the force setting determines how much pressure the blade will use to cut.
Freezer paper is a material that can be used to make stencils with your Cricut. You can buy it in rolls or sheets—I find the sheets easier to work with. Freezer paper stencils are best for a one-time use.
Group / Ungroup
A command that enables you to bunch multiple layers, images or text together. This is helpful to do when arranging your workspace so that all od the elements you are working with stay together when you move them and does not affect how images are laid out on the cutting mat. You can also ungroup a set of layers, images, or text so that they move and size independently from one another.
A heat press is used to transfer a decal to a substrate using high heat. A traditional heat press is larger and heaver than the Cricut EasyPress, but many crafters prefer the heat press due to it’s quick pressing time and very even heat and pressure. Read my heat press comparison post to figure out what’s best for you.
Heat Resistant Tape
If you are struggling with your iron on or Infusible Ink shifting while you press it with your iron/EasyPress/heat press, a little heat resistant tape can hold it in place without being damaged by the high heat of your heat source.
Heat Transfer Vinyl
HTV for short, is a specialty vinyl that can be used on certain fabrics/materials to create designs. It is a thin, flexible vinyl with an adhesive backing that is activated with heat. It comes in roll or sheet form with an adhesive backing and a carrier sheet so it can be cut, weeded, and placed on fabric.
The housing is the metal piece that holds the Cricut blade.
Adobe Illustrator is a paid vector program that allows you to design images to be cut on the Cricut. Illustrator is one of the best programs for designing Cricut files, because it natively creates the type of files (SVG vector files) best cut on a Cricut.
Images is the general term for anything that exists on your Canvas.
Infusible Ink is a Cricut ink transfer product. Infusible Ink transfer sheets and pens are made of a dry ink product, and when high heat is applied, the ink is actually transferred into (not onto) the base material. Basically you are dyeing the base material, vs. putting a material on top of the base material (like with iron on vinyl).
Free graphic design software that allows you to trace images, create vectors and SVG files https://inkscape.org/en/
Iron On Vinyl
Iron on vinyl, often called heat-transfer vinyl or HTV, is a material that is activated by heat (like with an EasyPress or heat press). It comes in a huge variety of colors and styles, like foil and glitter. Iron on is one of the most popular materials for Cricut crafters and can be used on fabric, wood, card stock, metal, and more.
A JPG (or JPEG) is a type of image. It is created with pixels. JPG images can be cut on a Cricut, but the more simple the better. Multicolored JPG files will be turned into a single-color cut file.
When the cut made by the machine only cuts through the top layer- such as when only the top vinyl layer is cut when making a decal.
The Knife Blade is specific to Cricut Maker. It is designed to cut thick materials similar to a craft knife, including balsa wood, basswood, thick leather, chipboard, and more.
Each image on your Canvas is considered a layer. All of these images will be shown in the Layers Panel next to your Canvas. You can click the “eye” icon to hide a layer. You can also drag and drop layers if you need to arrange what is on the top and what is on the bottom (you can also use the Arrange tool). If you right-click on an image in the Layers Panel, you can find the image information.
Leather is a popular material to cut on a Cricut. It comes in both vegan and genuine versions. The type and thickness of leather will determine which machine, blade, and mat you will want to use.
The 16 digit code that can be purchased to upgrade Silhouette Studio to one of the three upgraded versions of the software: Designer Edition, DE+, or Business Edition. License Keys can be activated through the Help menu in Silhouette Studio and are stored in the My Account tab in the user's Silhouette America account.
Linetype is the “treatment” of your image. Depending on the image, you may be able to cut, draw, score, engrave, deboss, wavy cut, or perforate the image. You will see that the appearance of the image on your canvas changes depending on your selection, and it will also tell you your linetype in the Layers Panel.
To cut anything on your Cricut (with exception of mattless materials for Cricut Joy), you will need a mat. The mat has a removable adhesive to which you stick your material and insert it into the Cricut machine. There are five types of mats: StandardGrip, LightGrip, StrongGrip, FabricGrip, and the Cricut Joy Card Mat.
The small plastic mat guides help you insert your mat correctly into your Cricut.
The Cricut Joy introduced matless cutting to the Cricut world. Using special “Smart” materials (iron on vinyl, adhesive vinyl, Infusible Ink, and writable labels), Cricut Joy can cut very long cuts without needed a traditional Cricut mat.
Mirroring happens in the Prepare Screen, after you click Make It in the upper right to make your project. If you are using almost any sort of iron on material, you will want to mirror your image. This will ensure that it will be the correct when you go to adhere it to your substrate.
A necessary step before you cut any HTV. All images that have been mirrored will appear reversed when cut.
The act of creating an equal distance border - at any distance of your choosing - around the border of a design. Offsets are automatically welded in Silhouette Studio when possible. Offsets can be used to make a border for a design or text and even to thicken fonts for easier cutting and weeding. You can also create an internal offset which creates an offset at the selected distance inside the design rather than around the outside.
Oracal is a brand name of adhesive vinyl that you may hear about often. Oracal 651 is permanent and Oracal 631 is removable. Many crafters love this brand of adhesive vinyl.
The paper trimmer is handy for trimming materials down to size (like rolls of vinyl), as well as for general cutting needs in your craft room.
Pen / Marker
Cricut Maker, Explore, and Joy can all write using a pen. This is great for doodling, writing in cards, and adding dimension to your projects. Cricut pens and markers come in a huge range of colors, styles, and thicknesses. Learn more about the Cricut pens.
The Perforation Blade is specific to Cricut Maker. It is a QuickSwap tool (see QuickSwap for more information). Using a special blade, it cuts a perforated line into paper and cardstock.
The piercing tool is basically just a sharp point. You can use it to create small holes in materials, like when making holes for earring hooks in leather. It can also be used to weed materials.
A PNG is a type of image. It is created with pixels and often have a transparent background. PNG images can be cut on a Cricut, but the more simple the better. Multicolored JPG files will be turned into a single-color cut file.
Position refers to where on your Canvas an image is located. If you upload an image and don’t see it on your canvas but you see it in the Layers Panel, try changing the position to X=0 / Y=0 and it will move the image to the top left of your Canvas.
Print then cut
A feature in both Silhouette and Cricut design software which allows you to use your home printer to print a design and your cutting machine to die cut your design.
Printable Iron On
Printable iron on is a type of iron on material that you can run through a printer. This allows you to use many more colors than if were using just iron on vinyl.
Vinyl that can be sent through your inkjet/home printer. You can print on it from DS or Sillhouette Studi and then have your machine die cut it, also called print and cut function. Comes in heat transfer and adhesive varieties.
Quick-Swap refers to some of the Cricut Maker tools. Instead of changing out an entire housing/tool, you just change out the tip of the tool by pressing a small plunger and swapping out the tool tip.
Ready to Make Projects
These projects are pre-designed by Cricut’s designers to allow you to be able to skip the designing part of a project and get right to the making. You can access this by clicking “Projects” in the Design Panel on the left of Cricut Design Space.
Marks that are printed on printable vinyl when using the print then cut function. These marks are then read on your Cricut or Silhouette when cutting inkjet printable vinyl.
Exposing the grid lines, from the Page Set Up window, on the work area in Silhouette Studio. Grid lines on the virtual mat correspond to grid lines on the Silhouette cutting mat to make placement of material easier and more accurate.
The act of removing the area of the vinyl that would normally be left behind. This technique is mostly used when creating stencils.
The roller bars are the two metal bars that span the width of your Cricut. The carriage moves back and forth across these metal bars, which also rotate, so that your Cricut can cut in any direction.
The rollers on your Cricut are the small rubber wheels that grab your mat and bring it into the machine.
The Rotary Blade is specific to Cricut Maker. It is like a tiny pizza cutter that glides through materials rather than dragging through them, like with other blades. It can cut fabric, felt, leather, and more.
The rotary cutter looks a lot like a pizza slicer. It cuts materials by smoothly gliding over them, vs. dragging. The rotary cutter is designed to work with the acrylic ruler and cutting mat. Together you can cut fabric, paper, vinyl, and other materials down to size.
Rotating an image means spinning it left or right.
A scoring line is designed to make it easy to fold cardstock and paper. You can change any line to a score line by clicking on Score under Linetype. You can also add a straight score line in the Shapes tool in the Design Panel on the left.
The Scoring Stylus is a tool that creates a score by dragging a tip across cardstock to make it easier to fold. The Scoring Stylus works in both the Cricut Maker and Cricut Explore.
The Scoring Wheel is specific to Cricut Maker. Unlike the Scoring Stylus, which drags across the surface, the scoring wheel rolls along your cardstock, creating a deeper, more even score line. It comes in two versions, a single scoring wheel for simple card stock, and a double scoring wheel which is good for coated materials.
Scraper / XL Scraper
The scraper is used in several ways. First, you can scrape waste material off your mats quickly and easily. You can also use it to burnish when using adhesive vinyl. And you can use it as a bone folder when folding cards and other scored projects. The XL scraper is just a bigger version of the standard scraper.
A flat tool used to smooth or secure decals or transfer tape. A credit card makes a great squeegee/scraper!
A script font, which might also be called a cursive or calligraphic font, is one where the tails of the letters overlap. In proper graphic design, script letters should be moved close enough together so that they are connected.
There are sensors in all Cricut machines. In the Cricut Explore and Cricut Maker machines they read the registration marks that allow your machine to cut printed materials. In the Cricut Joy, the sensors help the machine straighten and measure matless materials.
The Shapes tool allows you to insert one of ten shapes: square, circle, triangle, diamond, pentagon, hexagon, star, octagon, heart, score line.
A feature in Silhouette Studio Designer Edition that slants the design or text by an exact degree.
The free program that comes with Silhouette. You can download or update this program here: https://www.silhouetteamerica.com/software
Siser (pronounced Caesar) is a brand of iron on vinyl that you may run across often. Many crafters love this particular brand of iron on vinyl.
Size refers to the dimensions of your image (or group of images) on your Canvas. You can change the size in the toolbar at the top or by dragging the arrow in the bottom right corner of a selected image.
An action that can be performed by your machine if the blade is replaced with a sketch pen.
The slice tool creates new cut paths from two images, resulting in three or more completely new shapes. Each of the new shapes will show up in the Layers panel as an individual layers.
Smart Materials are exclusive to Cricut Joy and can be cut without using a Cricut mat.
The program that exists on your computer, whether it be Silhouette Studio or Design Space.
A tool used to help remove small pieces of vinyl or paper from the mat.
Cricut SportFlex is a type of iron on vinyl that is stretchy, so it’s good for applications like swimwear, maternity clothing, and workout gear.
The star wheels are little white gears on the roller bars that help your Cricut keep materials secured to the mat so they don’t shift around. Occasionally you may need to move these star wheels, like when cutting thick materials with the Knife Blade.
A stencil blank is a thicker plastic stencil material that can be cut on your Cricut. If taken care of, these types of stencils can be reused.
Stencil vinyl is a type of adhesive vinyl that you can cut and use as a stencil. These stencils are one-time use only.
Sublimation is a chemical process where solid ink turns into a gas without going through a liquid stage. When heated, this solid ink turns into a gas that then permeates the base material and then dries back into a solid and becomes one with the material. Cricut Infusible Ink is a sublimation product.
A type of file that is a scalable vector. That means that it is a traced image that can be made larger or smaller without losing resolution. These types of files are editable in Design Space and the Design Edition of Silhouette Studio.
System fonts are any font that you have on your device. These could have been fonts that came with your device or ones you have downloaded or purchased somewhere on the internet. System fonts generally cut just like Cricut fonts, but there are some pitfalls you want to be aware of.
A thin, waxy sheet that can be used when ironing HTV. A teflon sheet should always be placed between an iron/heat press and HTV to protect your iron or heat press.
A teflon sheet (or pressing sheet/pressing cloth) is used to protect iron on vinyl when pressing.
Templates are used to size your images properly. For example, there are templates for t-shirts, onesies, mugs, tumblers, and more. Click on Templates in the Design Panel on the left and select the template you’d like for your project. You can resize the template at the top of Cricut Design Space. Then resize your image to fit properly on the template. Note that templates do not cut.
Text is any words you have typed into Cricut Design Space using the Text tool. Note that an image with words that you’ve inserted from the Image search will not appear as text—basically those words are pictures and no longer text.
Text to Path
The action of manipulating text by forcing it to curve around another object or shape such as a circle. When the text is converted to a path, it will keep its new shape.
A function in Silhouette Studio which reads JPEGs, GIFs, PNGs and PDFs and traces them, therefore creating SVGs/cut files.
Transfer tape is the sticky material that is used to transfer adhesive vinyl from the carrier sheet to the surface of your project.
True Control Knife
The True Control Knife is Cricut’s craft knife. It is good for all sorts of hand-cutting applications. It has some features beyond a traditional craft knife, like a comfort grip handle, it’s anti-roll, and the system for changing blades means you never have to actually touch a loose blade.
Cricut has several types of tweezers, including fine tip, broad tip, hook, and reverse tweezers. They are good for working with tiny pieces.
Ungroup separates a group of images into individual layers. You may need to ungroup more than once, depending on how a file is created. If you are using uploaded images, you will most likely need to ungroup your images to manipulate each piece individually.
Ungroup to Layers
If your text has more than one layer (like many Cricut fonts), Ungroup to Layers will ungroup each layer of the text so you can easily manipulate them individually. Learn more about Ungroup to Lae
Ungroup to Letters
Ungroup to letters makes each letter it’s own individual layer, giving you a lot of control on where each letter is in a word. This is particularly helpful when working with script fonts.
Ungroup to Lines
Ungroup to Lines takes a text box that has several lines of texts and separates them into individual lines, keeping the words on each line grouped.
Adhesive vinyl (sometimes just called “vinyl”) is a thin adhesive- (or sticky-) backed material that you can cut with your Cricut and apply to many hard surfaces, such as glass, plastic, ceramic, wood, and more. It comes in many colors and styles, like glitter and holographic.
The Wavy Blade is specific to Cricut Maker. It is a QuickSwap tool (see QuickSwap for more information). Using a special blade, it cuts a wavy line into your material.
Weeding is the process of removing negative material (anything that is not your image) so you can adhere it to a surface. If you are making a stencil you will weed everything that IS your image, leaving just the negative space intact.
Cut lines put around a design to make the weeding process easier.
The weeding tool, which looks like a dental pick, is used for removing negative space vinyl from a project. A weeding tool is a must if you’re working with vinyl—trying to get rid of that excess vinyl is practically impossible without it.
The weld tool allows you to join shapes to create a single customized image by removing any overlapping cut lines. Welding is a necessary step when cutting cursive letters.
The virtual mat area where designing takes place in Silhouette Studio.
A compressed, or smaller sized file. It is usually a folder with files inside. You will need to Unzip the file to get access to the contents. Windows has an unzip feature built in- right click on zip file and choose Open With > Windows Explorer. Mac OS X users can unzip a zip file by double-clicking the file.