Are you uncertain of where to begin with vinyl and all the Cricut materials available? I’ve got the break down on what materials you need and some that you didn’t even know existed. I also tested other brands against Cricut so you don’t have to. I’ve got the complete lowdown on what to buy and when to use it!
Cricut Vinyl Vs Other Brands
Are you unsure which vinyl is the best to buy? I’ve tried out a bunch of brands and break down the basics below so you can be sure you are getting the best bang for your buck!
Cricut Permanent Vinyl
Let’s start with Cricut Permanent Vinyl. When I first started doing Cricut projects many people told me to not buy Cricut vinyl. They said it didn’t perform well. I took their word and avoided it for a long time. When I finally tried it I was surprised to find that Cricut Vinyl actually works REALLY well. If you have been told something similar, don’t let it sway you from giving Cricut vinyl a try. Permanent vinyl is the type of vinyl you use for projects such as signs (like the DIY laundry signs pictured above), tumblers, outdoor signs, home decor items, etc. Anything that you want the vinyl to stay on permanently is the right place to use it. EXCEPT for iron-on instances. If it is fabric and you can do iron-on vinyl then you’ll use that instead. Pretty simple right?
I tested out 3 different brands of permanent vinyl; Cricut Permanent Vinyl, Oracal 651 and Dollar Tree Vinyl. Here’s how they stacked up!
This was my favorite of the three! Cricut has a huge selection of colors and patterns in the permanent vinyl. Their prices are also great and they run sales often. I also like that Cricut materials are pre-calibrated to Cricut machines to ensure they are perfectly compatible. Their permanent vinyl held up well on an insulated tumbler I used as my daily water cup. It’s been going strong for 1 year so for with hand washing!
This vinyl performed well and worked well in my Cricut machine. I picked it up at Walmart and there were definitely more varieties available at Walmart in the Cricut brand than the Oracal brand so that was a drawback. Another drawback was that the patterned vinyl I ordered was very confusing to use and I had to add a separate cover sheet. It was not at all user friendly!
Dollar Tree Vinyl
Don’t waste your money on this one! Much as I anticipated it is very cheaply made, difficult to weed and doesn’t last on a project. It’s a total waste of time and sure to frustrate you.
Next, let’s talk about iron-on vinyl aka heat transfer vinyl (HTV). I bet the first thing you think of is t-shirt making. Am I right? You can do so much with iron-on vinyl though! Like the elephant baby gift above, customized with birth details to personalized can koozies and more. T-shirts are probably my favorite thing to make because I can change up my wardrobe for pennies on the dollar, but there’s SO much you can create!
Next, let’s talk about which brand you should choose for iron-on or HTV vinyl projects. This one is hands-down the easiest pick. Cricut wins all the way simply because it is the easiest to use and lasts for wash after wash.
I tested out Cricut Iron-On Vinyl against Siser Easypatterns HTV. The Siser was SO confusing.
With Cricut Iron-On Vinyl you simply create your design, mirror the design and cut the vinyl. Then you press it.
With Siser it comes with a patterned vinyl sheet and a clear sheet. You need to cut the design (don’t mirror it), Trim and weed it, then remove the liner from the clear mask. Then, place the mask on top of the HTV and burnish it. Then lift the mask and HTV off the backing. Then press it. Confused yet? I was! I had to read the directions over and over again. Cricut makes it SO easy. No transferring from one sheet to another and back again. Just cut and press.
I have many shirts I made years ago with Cricut Iron-On Vinyl that are still holding up great today. I haven’t had any come off the shirt ever.
Now that I’ve covered the basics of permanent vinyl and iron-on vinyl, let’s talk about different types of vinyl you didn’t know existed! You totally need to try these because they are FUN!
Glow In The Dark Vinyl – This vinyl is SO much fun and you can do so much with it!! Cricut offers glow in the dark vinyl in removable and iron-on varieties so the possibilities here are endless! Decorate your child’s walls so they glow at night and keep the boogeyman away! Add glow in the dark iron-on vinyl to your favorite shirt so you glow when the lights go out. You can even label hard-to-find light switches with glow in the dark removable vinyl so you can easily find them when the lights go out!
Holographic Vinyl –holographic vinyl This is SO much fun! It comes in Iron-On and Permanent from Cricut. It even lies flat on your machine mat without tunneling or bubbling. Cut your design, weed with ease, and apply with awe. Even your most intricate designs effortlessly separate from the carrier sheet for fuss-free application. For use with all Cricut cutting machines.
We used the Cricut Holographic Iron On Vinyl to create these adorable coastal koozies. Perfect for keeping your skinny cans cool while sitting beachside and relaxing! These also make a great gift!!
Cricut has a fantastic variety of removable, permanent and even matte vinyl. We used some of their bright, vibrant colors to create personalized glasses. I just love Cricut neon vinyl!
My daughter had the brilliant idea to personalize each child’s glass with their favorite image. Now we know who each cup belongs to so when they leave them all on the table they can easily grab their own glass and keep using it all day long rather than take a new glass each time. Say hello to less dishes!! Brilliant!
Cricut’s textured metallic vinyl is one of my personal favorites for creating DIY home decor that looks SO upscale. I made this Hello Fall sign with textured gold metallic vinyl and I just love how it looks on my tiered tray.
Wondering when to use Cricut Removable Vinyl? Use it instead of permanent vinyl on anything you plan on removing it on. We used it to personalize the kid’s Chromebooks for home school! It held up So well and all the kids still have the same designs this year. The removable vinyl has lasted on their laptops for 3 years at this point. I’m amazed! If we decide we are done with those designs then we can simply peel it off and there will be no sticky residue left behind.
After testing many brands of vinyl Cricut was the hands-down winner. It was the easiest to use by far. It also held up just as well or better than the competition. I also like knowing that every Cricut material is designed to work flawlessly with my Cricut machine. No guessing!
Cricut has a HUGE selection of awesome materials to choose from and I honestly haven’t come across a single one that failed me. I love the selection, colors, textures and patterns Cricut vinyl comes in. I know I will get consistent results every time.