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Cricut Cutting problems and solutions

What you can do to get the cleanest cuts possible on your Cricut with these helpful troubleshooting tips!

Is your machine tearing or dragging through your materials? Do you get frustrated when cutting small & intricate designs with your Cricut Maker or Explore? Are you wondering how to get clean cuts with your Cricut machine?

Although cutting machines are amazing inventions and enable us to create SO many wonderful things, sometimes, the cuts aren’t as clean as we’d like, and it’s not always obvious WHY or what we should do to fix it. 

If your machine is tearing or dragging through your material or hates intricate cuts, you may need to adjust a few things…..Here are some great tips for getting the best cuts out of your Cricut cutting machine:

If your question isn’t answered here then please get in touch and I’ll help you out!

1. Use a clean sticky mat

If you find that your cuts aren’t clean the first thing you should look at is changing your mat. Your mat needs to be pretty sticky to keep the cardstock from moving. If you can’t afford a new mat, you can try the following cleaning hacks:

1. Use a lint roller to pick up debris or Packing tape/ masking tape just put strips down, smooth across your mat, and then peel off.

2. Wash with dishwashing soap and allow to air dry.

To be honest though, even after trying both these hacks your mat still may not be sticky enough. Also, for best results, I’d always use the Green StandardGrip mat over the Blue LightGrip mat. The green mat is just that bit more stickier.

2. Use a clean, sharp blade

There’s no point attempting a cut if your blade has the previous project’s debris stuck to it. You can easily sharpen your blade by wadding up a piece of aluminium foil and poking the blade through it several times. I have used this trick for years and it helps keep your blade in top shape!

Press the top part of the housing down to expose the blade at the bottom and poke into the foil ball.

IMPORTANT ! Make sure you are using the right blade! 

Intricate cuts require the correct blade for your material. The fine point blade works best, using the materials recommended for the blade. 

Read more about Which Cricut Blades to Use for Your Project HERE.

For use with most materials you should use The Fine Point blade. This comes with all of the Cricut Machines. It’s made out of German Carbide, which is an extremely durable and high-quality material. Make sure you are using the Premium Fine-Point (German Carbide) blade .The Premium Fine-Point Blades can be identified out of their packaging by the color of the caps, either WHITE or RED. Do not use the gray cap blades — they are made for older Cricut machines and are too long for the Cricut Explores and Makers. 

3. Use Quality materials

If your mat is sticky and you’ve got a new sharp blade but its still not cutting right, then it really is time to change the material you use. Lower quality paper is prone to more tearing. This is due to the weaker fibres in the paper. Cricut paper is high quality, so is Recollections, I also like Clear Path Paper, AC Cardstock and Bazzill.

Tip: If you use textured paper, put your paper textured side UP on your mat for the best cuts!!

4. Choose the proper cut setting

It’s so important that you’ve got the right settings for your material. With the Maker, you can choose your material settings through Design Space and browse the materials to find the right one. When using Cricut Explore, make sure your dial is turned to Custom and you’ll be prompted to choose your material before you cut it. 

If that still doesn’t seem to help, try increasing the pressure of your cut. I almost always have “More” pressure on my cuts — it seems to always help me get those clean cuts.

5. Check your design

Some cut files are simply designed in a way that have small and detailed elements. The more intricate and detailed they are the harder it will be to cut them. Firstly, you can try making the design larger if that is an option. If using fonts you can try change or increasing its the size and perhaps use a bold version of the font. You can use the contour tool to delete any elements of the cut file design you think won’t cut. 

6. Top tips to cutting intricate cuts

In the end, some cut files may just be too small or detailed to be cut without issues. This doesn’t mean all is lost, you may still be able to cut it but just accept you may have to clean it up with scissors or a knife later.

However, if you have a clean, sharp blade, the correct blade, quality materials and a nice clean mat and you can cut simple designs without issue but have trouble with intricate designs, try the following:

1. Use the Custom setting for Cardstock – Intricate Cuts. Cardstock for Intricate Cuts differs from the regular Cardstock settings in two ways: it uses less pressure, and it makes two cutting passes.

2. Sometimes when everything else seems right but its still not cutting correctly, turn your custom settings to “Washi Tape” — this seems to work best on intricate cuts on vinyl and for 65lbs/176gsm cardstock often used for shadow boxes.

3. Try using “Glitter cardstock” setting for medium weight cardstock 80lbs/216gsm. This is my go to setting for this weight and so far, so good, nice clean cuts!

3. Adjust your Pressure to MORE. Yes, this sounds counter-productive but I promise it works!

4. Give your Cricut time to cut….try switching Fast Mode is OFF.

Final Thoughts

These are all the tips I use each time I go to cut something, and I rarely have any issues getting clean cuts. I think when it comes to crafting you have to go into a project knowing you might need to tinker with it a bit to get it to cut properly. See each project as an experiment, enjoy the journey and see where it takes you. I also expect to test a LOT before my final product. The main thing is to not to give up. Keep going and try new things. It really always works for me!

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