Cutting Fabric Applique Shapes Using a Cricut

by Kelsey Norwood

in Crafts,Cricut,Sewing,Tutorials

I use my Cricut all the time to cut fabric for applique – mostly onesies and towels but also buntings and I may even do a quilt in the near future. I did this towel for a Christmas present and cut out the flower and name with my Cricut and it was so fast and easy!

Letters are the best because who wants to cut those out by hand? Not me. I almost always use the Simply Sweet cartridge when I do letters – it’s perfect for boys and girls and I just love it.

Using a Cricut to cut fabric is so easy. Here’s how I do it:


You’ll need a(n)

  • Cricut and cartridge
  • iron
  • ruler
  • cutting mat (sticky is best, I spray mine with Krylon’s Easy Tack)
  • X-ACTO knife
  • scrap fabric
  • Heat’N Bond


1. Load a blank cutting mat into the Cricut.

2. Select the “Fit to Length” mode.

3. In Fit to Length mode, the size dial controls length. Key in the design/word you want to cut and set the size dial to how long (instead of how tall) you want the total design to be.

4. Press OK. The screen will then give you the height and length of the design you will be cutting. Sometimes it takes adjusting the length to get a total length/height that will work. If you change the length just push the OK button again to see the new size.

I find this method to be best because when I applique I usually have a very specific space to fill and I need to make sure the height and length are right. This way cuts out the guessing about the size of the cut shape which also eliminates frustration and wasted materials.

5. Cut a piece of Heat’N Bond slightly larger than your designs dimensions.

I know my design will measure about 1 1/2″ x 6″ so I cut a piece of Heat’N Bond measuring about 2″ x 7″.

6. Press the Heat’N Bond to the fabric.

7. Trim closely around the Heat’N Bond and LEAVE THE PAPER BACKING ON.

8. Unload the mat, stick your fabric/Heat’N Bond onto the mat and reload. Set machine as follows:

Deep Cut Blade

  • Blade Depth: 5
  • Machine Pressure:5
  • Machine Speed: 4

Regular Blade

  • Blade Depth: 6
  • Machine Pressure: 5
  • Machine Speed: 4

9. With machine set as above, CUT!

10. Remove design from sticky mat, peel off the paper backing, position design on fabric and press to set in place.

11. With a sewing machine edgestitch around each edge in the entire design. If I’m doing a towel I use the same color thread on the back and contrasting on the top.

Buying cartridges has so much more appeal when you can use them to cut paper and fabric designs…Now you can applique everything you own! Have fun!


1 Kristen December 7, 2011 at 7:50 pm

You have no idea how many times I have tried this and haven’t been able to get it to work. I sure hope these settings work for me. I think the Easy Tack might really help too! :)

2 Kelly December 9, 2011 at 11:39 am

I’m so glad you posted this. I’ve recently started using my cricut (that I’ve had for over a year) and I’ve also been wanting to do some applique stuff. Great tutorial! I’m am going to try this!

3 Kelsey December 9, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Let me know if you have any questions – you can always email me. I hope cutting fabric works for you!

4 Nana December 27, 2011 at 10:02 am

I’ve been using my Cricut for everything BUT applique because my first attempt wasn’t good. I’m so anxious to try this now because that’s what I bought it for in the first place!

5 Amanda December 28, 2011 at 11:04 am

What kind of Heat N Bond are you using? I am trying Lite and it isn’t working too well for me. It seems that the lite one combined with the pressure just makes the fabric come off the heat n bond and I have to re-iron it back on after I cut out the letters (because it isn’t cutting them out fully, and I’ve tried different blades and new blades). The paper backing isn’t coming off the mat so I don’t think it’s that the mat isn’t sticky enough. Any ideas?

6 Kelsey December 28, 2011 at 11:38 am

Most recently I have been using the Lite and haven’t had any problems – maybe make sure you’re pressing it with the iron long enough? That’s my best idea…I’ve also used the red kind (I don’t know what it’s called, the packaging is reddish) and that works great too. Good luck!

7 Amanda December 28, 2011 at 8:44 pm

Thanks! Yes I have held it various lengths of time…..much longer than suggested sometimes. Darn it! I did get the red ultrabond one tonight to try out….hope it works!!

8 Phyllis December 30, 2011 at 7:24 am

I have used my cricut to cut out several fabric letters. I do use the heat bond. I didn’t have any problems cutting the letters out……….BUT, I so NOT sew. Is there anything you can use to keep the cotton fabric from raveling once you iron it on the t-sirt other than sewing around each letter? I would appreciate any help you can give. THANKS

9 Kelsey January 3, 2012 at 9:03 pm

Sewing around the perimeter is the only way I can think of…sorry!

10 Lisa January 9, 2012 at 12:23 pm

This is a fabulous tutorial. Repositionable Easy Tack or the other kind?

11 Kelsey January 10, 2012 at 10:07 am

Yes, repositionable easy tack!

12 Ashley Farrar February 26, 2012 at 8:56 am


I’m just wondering what kind if cricut do you need? They can vary so much in price, and I want to make sure if I invest in one it’s one that will be able to handle this. Thank you!!

13 Kelsey February 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm

You can cut fabric with any Cricut, but I think the Expressions (the big one) is best because you can cut larger stuff which I usually do for fabric/home dec projects.

14 Fran March 13, 2012 at 9:23 pm


I do not sew either. So far (note I haven’t tried washing yet) the ends stay down OK with just the backing. However, I did hear that fabric paint will also seal the ends. I have not tried it yet. I am going to get some thrift store items to practice on/experiment with.

15 toni garcia May 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I am wanting to use my Cricut to cut tons of circles out of satin that I will be using for another craft. Do you know if it will work without the heat and seal, since I will not be applying the circles to another fabric?

16 helen July 15, 2012 at 6:06 pm

i tried this too and it did not work for me. the letters did not cut. wonder if i need the deep cut blade?

17 Rebecca August 9, 2012 at 11:43 am

I bought some of those drawstring backpacks at Dollar Tree, the kind that are like plastic. Would you attach them with this or with vinyl?

18 Kelsey August 9, 2012 at 11:53 am

I’m not exactly sure I understand…are you trying to attach vinyl to the drawstring backpacks?

19 Karla November 30, 2012 at 3:41 am

Kelsey – I just cut an entire mat worth of fabric and it came out, mostly. But now I have spent an hour trying to get the paper backing off my mat. Any suggestions?

Toni – I too am cutting out circles of fabric. Except I need 14″ diameter. I haven’t tested it yet, but if you don’t want the heat and bond backing, you could try to seal the fabric in freezer paper. I am going to try it this weekend. I will let you know how it turns out. To cut my circles, I am going to try to fold my fabric in half before I stabilize it and make sure the line up the half circle I am going to cut a mm or two from the edge of my mat. As soon as I find the Cricut Font and Basic Shapes cart, I will try it out.

Rebecca – The backpacks may melt if you use the heat and bond. You could try to stabilize the fabric with freezer paper then use fabric glue to attach them to the backpack.

Hope this helps.

20 Kelsey Norwood November 30, 2012 at 11:43 am

Yes, that can be a problem. I use an X-acto knife to peel up the edges. Getting it slightly damp might help. I use the adhesive spray to make my mats sticky, so wiping the sticky off isn’t a big deal. I would try that, a warm soapy rag.

21 Moneth McCrory January 23, 2013 at 6:55 pm

I have the heat n bond medium. I am having trouble getting it to stay on the sticky matting during cutting. Any idea on how to make my fabric stick better on the cricut mat during cutting?

22 Kelsey Norwood January 28, 2013 at 9:54 am

I use a Krylon spray called Easy Tack. Spray the mat every few uses and it’ll be nice and sticky.

23 Alyssa December 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

I sew and am still perfecting sewing around all the curves with applique. Do you have any tips – your sewing looks amazing!

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