How to Test Cut in Cricut Design Space + Free Cut File
It’s happened to all of us. You create a great design in Cricut Design Space and decide it’s destined to be on a t-shirt. You send your Siser® heat transfer vinyl through the cutter and do a happy dance as you unload the material. Your happy dance is cut short by groans of frustration when your HTV does not weed easy. Sometimes the blade did not cut deep enough which results in parts of the design peeling up with the excess. Other times the blade cuts too deep which results in a ripped carrier sheet and a complicated weeding process. Before you bust out your Stress Reduction Kit check out this guide for an easy way to get good cut lines every time!
Save yourself the headache and yards of wasted material by utilizing a nifty tool called a test cut. A test cut helps you find the ideal settings for the blade and material you’re working with. A well used blade will need higher cut settings than a fresh, new blade. Additionally, different colors of the same heat transfer vinyl may require different cut settings. You may not detect the slight variances between colors, but your test cut may clue in. This is why it’s important to do a test cut every time you change the HTV on the mat.
While the Brother ScanNCuts and Silhouette Cameos have built in test cut functions, the Cricut cutters do not. Don’t worry though, I’ve made up a test cut file that you can save in your Cricut Design Space and use to your heart’s desire!
While having the file is nice, you’ll also need to know what to look for in a good cut. A good cut slices through the heat transfer material, but not through the clear carrier on the face of the material. The shiny side of the material is the clear carrier. The carrier holds the heat transfer vinyl pieces in place so they’re always properly aligned. The carrier side goes face down because we need it to stay intact for heat application, so we cut through the duller adhesive side of the material. During heat application the carrier side will be face up. This is why you must always mirror your image and text in your designs before cutting.
When the HTV is on the mat, load it into the Cricut and select “Iron On” on the dial as a starting setting for your test cuts.
After you send the test cut design to your Cricut, weed the shapes and ask yourself these 3 questions:
Can I see cut marks on the carrier sheet? Do the corners connect and make sharp points? Is the circle smooth and complete?
If you can say yes to all of those, then it’s probably a good test cut. However you’ll need to check one more thing. Feel the smooth carrier side of the test cut. If you can feel the cut lines then your cut is too deep and you need to switch to a lower setting. Sometimes your cut may be so deep that it cuts through the carrier. This is definitely not the cut we want.
If you can’t see cut marks at all you may have already known it was a bad test cut from the weeding process. When the cut setting is too low the shapes aren’t fully cut and your circle and square may still be attached to each other. Choose a higher setting and try another test cut.
Occasionally, you may find the “Iron On” setting is not quite enough and the “Light Cardstock” setting is too much. In these cases, you’ll need to use the “Custom” setting on the dial to choose a material that’s in between the two. Cricut explains how to use the Custom setting here. Finding the best cut settings for your material only takes a few minutes but saves you hours of frustration. Click here to save the free test cut file to your Cricut Design Space.
Did you upgrade to the Cricut Maker? Check out this post instead!
New to HTV? Still want to reach for that Stress Reduction Kit? Check out the HTV Basics for Beginners.
If you have any questions about this post feel free to leave them in the comment section below!
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I’ve been working with Siser HTV for my second few projects and for larger text it’s great, but smaller or more intricate text, my Cricut Maker isn’t cutting all the way around a letter (which makes weeding difficult, I usually have to hold the letter down when peeling the unwanted vinyl away, or use small scissors to cut the connecting piece).
It’s a new Maker machine with a pretty new blade and I did a test cut which was successful. I also tried increasing the pressure (which still cut vinyl and not carrier sheet) but it didn’t fix the issue.
Is this a material issue, a machine issue, or a setting issue, do you know?
Thanks in advance!
Hi Kristi! We recommend keeping fonts .25″ or larger for best cutting results. Unfortunately, Cricuts do not offer all the setting options we would suggest in order to get a nicer cut at a small size. Typically a slower cutting speed and an overcut help make cutting small fonts easier. I would suggest trying a brand new blade and/or making your font a bit bigger. Hope that helps!
Not sure which cutting blade for the Holographic HTV on the Cricut Explore Air 2. I have the basic that came with the machine and I bought the German blade.. Tried cutting the HTV and it didn’t cut deep enough. Help
Beverly, sorry to hear you’re having troubles! The standard blade for the Cricut is able to cut Holographic HTV, but you may need to use a higher setting on the dial than what we suggest. Since Holographic can be tricky, we’ve made a post just for tips on cutting it.
I used the fabric option and it cut the holographic vinyl perfect?
Nice tutorial. But i’m really new about this. 1 question please. The Cricut Design Space software can use for all Cricut machines or it can use specific model?
Cricut Design Space can be used for the following machines: Cricut Explore, Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Explore One, Cricut Explore Air 2, and the Cricut Maker.
My blade just cut through the glitter htv and straight to the mat can my design be salvaged or is it ruined now?
Hey Shannon! The HTV pieces can still be applied, however now you’ll need to align them individually on whatever surface you’re decorating. It’s as if you’re working with hand cut pieces.
Hi, so I have the cricut maker and there is no dial 2 set material you go on a list and choose your material, well when ever I try to cut iron on vinyl it cuts all the way through both layers? Please help
Hello! I’d suggest going into the Custom Material Settings window and either selecting a pre-set with a lower pressure or manually editing the Iron On setting until you find an ideal pressure. A small test cut can help you make these adjustments without wasting a lot of material.
When cutting letters with sisser glitter HTV, it seems to lift the access flaps which then get in the way of my cut path…I was at the highest pressure already on my cricut air…how do i prevent this from happening? I was on custom settings for glitter iron on…should I be using another setting?
Hi Ronnie! Our suggested setting for Glitter HTV on the Cricut is Iron On+. If you have to increase you pressure to the highest setting in order to cut Glitter then it’s likely time to consider replacing your blade. Before that though, I would try cleaning your blade and housing. A scrap of material may be stuck in it and could be catching the Glitter HTV and causing the lifting during the cutting process. Another possibility is your cut file is too small and/or complex to achieve with Glitter HTV, so you may want to try cutting it out with EasyWeed®. If you’re still experiencing issues after these troubleshooting tips, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for additional help.
I am cutting a design out of glitter HTV. There is a lot of excess glitteron the carrier sheet after I weed my design. I don’t want this on my finished product. What do I need to do?
Good question, Binnie! The excess glitter on the carrier sheet doesn’t have any adhesive attached so it actually will not transfer to the fabric. The excess might stick to any HTV that’s already been applied, but it can usually be brushed off after application. If that’s also a concern for you though, you can avoid it by pressing for 5 seconds, peeling the carrier and pressing with a cover sheet for the remaining 5-10 seconds. This pressing method prevents excess glitter the most.
Hi, I am a first time user of the buffalo plaid htv and wanted to know which side a place down side on my cutting board do I put the plaid side down to cut or face up to cut. Help!!!
Hi Devonna! If you’re cutting EasyPatterns®, then the pattern side goes face down on your cutting mat and make sure to mirror your design. However, if your pattern HTV comes with a clear mask then you’ll cut pattern side up and do not mirror your artwork. After cutting, you can weed the excess and pick up your HTV with the mask for heat application.
Thanks for sharing
Hi! If i am using the Explore Air 2, and cutting a SISER Easy Weed HTV. What setting should I use?
Hi Mary! I’d suggest cutting EasyWeed® on the Iron On setting.
Hi-I decided to change my blade today as I have been using it not stop since March. I used the Cricut extra fine blade. I put in a design I had used already and am using Siser Electric Easy weed. I used the iron-on setting like I did the last two times I cut this design. It is a bit intricate and I lost some tiny details the last two times I used it-so hence the new blade. It cut right through the carrier sheet and now all those tiny details are left on my mat. I don’t know what to do! Please help!
Hi Jill, I’m sorry your carrier sheet was cut through! When using a brand new blade, we always recommend performing a test cut because it’s likely you’ll need to use a lower setting than what we typically recommend until your blade dulls a bit. To pick up the tiny pieces from your mat, you may be able to use an old carrier sheet from another HTV project and a squeegee to lift them away and possibly still heat apply them. I would suggest cleaning the mat and starting again though for the best results.
The vinyl is cutting through the carrier sheet itself but not through the vinyl how do I fix this ?
Hi Caleb! If the blade is cutting through the carrier before it’s cutting the vinyl, then it’s likely being cut on the wrong side. Heat Transfer Vinyl is always cut with the plastic carrier side down on the cutting mat. Please try flipping your vinyl over and test cutting again.
I just tried to get the test cut file. It opens the Cricut Design Space App, but does nothing after that. I have Explore Air 2 with the latest update for software.
Sorry about that, Roxanna! When Design Space switched from a cloud based program to a desktop program, it changed the required information to share a cut file. I just updated the link, so it should work now. Please try it again and thanks for letting me know about the issue!
So disappointed with siser easy weed. Either cuts thru the carrier sheet or doesnt cut at all. I give
Up. Have wasted an entire roll
I’m sorry it’s been difficult for you, Kathy! We would appreciate the chance to help solve the cutting issues. If you could, please email our product support team at Support@SiserNA.com. Thank you!
I just saved the test file and it appears to work now. I always knew I should do a test cut but you really have explained what to do if…the plainest anyone has to me so thank you very much. Maybe after pseudo trying for a year, I’ll finally actually make a shirt and it won’t cost me $200! Lol
Hi Debi! So glad I could help. Good luck with your t-shirt! I’m sure it will turn out great :)
I purchased the Siser vinyl because it was on sale at the Michael’s I was shopping at. This was the first time ever
using this brand. to say the least, I was not happy. I purchased a pattern “something berry” and placed it face
down, mirrored my image and cut. When I went to weed it, I found that the carrier sheet was on the wrong side of
the image and was junk! I read more instructions and cut again face up, same problem, image just wasn’t mirrored.
I truly think the carrier sheet was on the wrong side! I have been doing this for over 20 years and never had any
problems. In fact, I did another shirt and did the exact instructions, face down, mirrored and it was perfect!
My question is, how do I get reimbursed for the faulty material? This was a roll that was $20 and it was my favorite
print! I loved the colors and couldn’t wait to use it.
If there is no reimbursement, I will NOT purchase this vinyl again!
Hi Joni, I am so sorry you had trouble with the Sparkleberry EasyPatterns® from Michaels. This blog post offers several tips on working with this unique product. As you noted, the cut files do not need to be mirrored since the carrier sheet is on the adhesive side of the HTV. I am so sorry for all the confusion! We would be happy to help sort out a reimbursement if you could please email Support@SiserNA.com with a picture of the product packaging or your receipt. Thank you for giving us an opportunity to resolve this issue.