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Basic Cricut Terms You Need to Know

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This post is sponsored by Cricut, all opinions are my own. View my disclosure policy here.

This post will walk you through all the basic Cricut terms you need to know to use a machine effectively. Let’s dive in!

This post may contain affiliate links, view my full disclosure policy.

Now that you are a proud Cricut owner, it’s time to start creating. You can find all kinds of tutorial and cut files on my Cricut page. As you read through these projects you may come across a sentence like “upload an SVG, attach your design, mirror the HTV before cutting then weed it”. That’s a lot of lingo!

Have no fear, I’m going to break down what these Cricut terms mean so you can better understand project instructions and in turn create more awesome stuff.

If you are just getting started with Cricut, be sure to check out this unboxing and first project post. I walk you through everything from taking it out of the box to making your first cut.

Cricut video series on YouTube

A few weeks ago I walked you through the huge variety of Cricut materials available and explained how to use the most popular ones. Check out that video here to learn the difference between permanent and removable vinyl, or iron on and infusible ink.

Today, we’re talking about terms that are used in the crafting community when creating projects. Once you learn what these terms mean you will be speaking the language and on your way to crafting anything your heart desires.

5 Cricut Terms you need to know

Let’s start with a disclaimer that these terms are not unique to Cricut, knowing these will help you with any die cutting machine.


When you are looking for a design to cut with your Cricut you may come across a listing on Etsy or a download labeled SVG. This stands for Scalable Vector Graphic. Essentially it’s a file that can be scaled to any size and works really well with Cricut Design Space.

There is no work required on your part to make this file compatible with Cricut. Just download the SVG file you want to use, upload it to Design Space and you are ready to cut.

An illustration or other file format can be used in Cricut but will require a lot of extra work on your part to make it usable.

Cricut Access is full of projects ready to cut and create with. However, if you are looking for something different choose an SVG file for the best results.


Once your project is complete in Design Space, you’ve either grabbed images from Cricut Access or uploaded an SVG, you want to prep your design for cutting.

If you have multiple design elements in the same color of vinyl like the project below you’ll want to cut these in a way that keeps all the pieces together. The default is to cut the different elements to conserve material.

Cricut design space

In this example, the cactus graphics and words are all separate elements. If I click make it I will see the following screen.

Everything is cut separately and the layout of my design is not saved. To remedy this, I will use the attach feature. Highlight all the pieces of the design and click the attach button in the bottom right panel.

Now when I click make it, the layout is preserved and everything will cut just as it looks on the canvas.

Cricut design space


This term is so important when using iron on or infusible ink. When cutting regular vinyl your design is cut just as you see it on the canvas. The vinyl is placed with the backing on your mat. With Iron on or infusible ink, you place material on your mat upside down.

How to use Cricut iron on

The blade will cut the back side of the iron on, then you will place the material right side up on your t-shirt or other blank.

Cricut iron on apply to shirt

The material must be mirrored before cutting so that you don’t end up with a backwards design. To do this, click make it in Design Space and you will be taken to this screen.

Click the mirror button and your design will be flipped and cut correctly.


Once you’ve successfully cut a design out of vinyl, iron on or infusible ink there is a very important step before you can transfer that design to your blank.

Weeding is the process of taking out all the pieces of vinyl that are not part of your design. There are multiple tools to help with this process. A weeding tool comes with your machine and will be very handy.

weeding for vinyl wood sign

The Cricut Bright Pad is a wonderful tool that allows you to see the cut lines in your material that are sometimes difficult to see alone. This pad helps you weed away those small pieces from intricate designs.


This is a key term when using adhesive vinyl. Once your design is cut and weeded you’ll be left with vinyl on the backing.

Moving a vinyl design, especially one with multiple piece, is not easily done with your fingers. You’ll need to use transfer tape to transfer the vinyl to your blank.

Transfer tape is clear and sticky, but less so than vinyl. Just enough to move your design from the backing to the blank.

Cut a piece of transfer tape just larger than your vinyl, peel off the backing and stick it to the top of the vinyl. Use a scraper tool to smooth down any bubbles and adhere the vinyl to the tape.

transfer tape on vinyl wood sign

Push down the front and back of the vinyl with a scraper tool then slowly peel off the backing, the vinyl will be stuck to the transfer tape.

layer vinyl wood sign

Now you are ready to place the vinyl onto the blank.

Use the same scraping process to push the vinyl down onto the surface. Then slowly peel back the transfer tape. This piece of transfer tape can be reused if you have other layers in your project.

Christmas lights vinyl wood sign square
View this layered wood sign project here

You have successfully transferred your design!

Knowing these 5 Cricut terms will help you better understand instructions and expertly create your next project.

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Have you run across a Cricut term that you don’t quite understand? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to help!

Thanks for visiting!


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