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How to Cut Cardstock with The Reliable Cricut Machine

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One of the great advantages of owning a Cricut machine is the ability to create intricate designs on various materials, including cardstock.

Cut cardstock sheets with tweezers and weeders
Materials and tools for cutting cardstock

Cardstock is a popular medium for crafting, used in making invitations, scrapbook pages, and many other projects. If you’re new to Cricut or just want to learn more about cutting cardstock with your machine, here’s what you need to know.

Step 1: Select the Right Blade and Mat

To cut cardstock with Cricut, you will need to use the proper blade and mat. Use the Fine Point Blade that comes standard with most Cricut machines. The StandardGrip mat is the best mat to use with cardstock, but the LightGrip mat can also be used if the cardstock is on the lighter side.

The blade is included with your purchase of a Cricut machine. Premium Fine-Point Blade + Blade Housing in Cricut Maker and Explore series, but Cricut Joy Blade for Cricut Joy.

Cricut Premium Fine Point Blade in Explore Air 2

As for the cutting mat, you may receive the 12 x 12 StandardGrip or LightGrip cutting mat in your box. But you also may not receive any at all, such as in Cricut Explore 3 and Maker 3. You can purchase them separately.

Cricut Mat to cut cardstock
Photo by Thomes Eve on Unsplash

Step 2: Select Your Cardstock

Select the cardstock you will be using for your project. Remember to adjust your settings to make sure they match up with the thickness and texture of the cardstock. 

Base materials to cut cardstock
Photo by Rhodi Lopez on Unsplash

There are two ways to classify paper including cardstock. It is commonly listed by weight, measured in pounds per 1000 sheets of paper. Another way is by grams per square meter (GSM). Cardstock weight ranges from around 65 lbs (thinnest) to 110 lbs (thickest). 

Cardstock is available in a variety of commonly used sizes. For example, 11×17 cover stock is widely used for posters and notices. Legal size cardstock (8.5×14) is commonly utilized for professional documents such as menus and brochures. Additionally, 12×12 cardstock is often used in scrapbooking projects.

Cut cardstock Coloured textured craft card 1
Textured craft cardstock

Here are some of the most common cardstock thicknesses and their usages:

  • 65lb cover (176 GSM): This thinner cardstock is commonly used for menus, posters, greeting cards, postcards, tickets, and various crafts.
  • 80lb cover (260 GSM): Slightly sturdier than the thinner option, this cardstock is frequently used for business cards, posters, greeting cards, invitations, table tents, folders, and tickets.
  • 100lb cover (271 GSM): For a more durable option, this cardstock thickness is a great choice for flat cards, invitations, posters, folders, tickets, crafts, gift tags, and greeting cards.
  • 110lb cover (284 GSM): This extra-heavy cardstock is on the thicker end of the spectrum and is perfect for extra-thick business cards and invitations.

Step 3: Set up Your Cricut Machine

Set up your Cricut machine and connect it to your computer or mobile device. Once connected, launch the Cricut Design Space software. Create a new project, or open an existing one.

Cricut and Cricut Design Space is internet based, so you will need to be online. On top of that, if Cricut happens to be under maintenance, you won’t be able to cut cardstock unless you have saved your projects for offline work. You can only wait for the maintenance session to be over.

Cricut Maintenance Notice on Facebook Group

To get notified of the Cricut maintenance schedule, you can join the Official Cricut Software News Facebook group. And visit this Help Center by Cricut to learn how to save projects for offline use.

Step 4: Load Your Mat and Cut

Load your cardstock onto the mat, aligning the edges with the grid lines on the mat. Then place your mat into the Cricut machine and make sure it’s secured. Set your machine to cut, and wait for it to complete the cut. Once the cut is complete, remove the mat from the machine and carefully peel the cardstock from the mat.

Cut cardstock weeding process

Because you can place your cardstock on either end of your cutting mat, what I like to do is to use the stickiest side of my cutting mat. In a single cutting mat, you can also have a designated spot, this side for cutting cardstocks, and the other side for cutting other stuff.

Cut a small test piece first to see how your design will look and how well the cardstock will cut. If it happens that the cut result is not perfect, you can adjust the cutting pressure and speed and redo the test cut. Once you’re happy with the setting, you can move on to make your craft.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

After cutting, you can use a scraper tool to remove any small pieces of cut cardstock that may be leftover. You can also use a craft knife to cut any large pieces of cardstock that did not cut all the way through.

Example of crafts to make with cardstock

There are so many types of craft you can produce by cutting cardstock. Some of the favorites are greeting cards, shadow boxes, and other paper ornaments. Take a look at these examples, download links are put below the picture.

The easiest craft would be making a greeting card. Most files can be cut using one sheet of cardstock or by cutting cardstock of 2 different colors. Here’s a Christmas card:

FREE Christmas SVG Card Topper Warm Winter Wishes

Once you’re familiar with cutting cardstock, you can move on to a slightly more complex craft, the 3D shadow box. It’s typically made of at least three layers of cut cardstock. The more layers, the more intricate the design could be.

This is one of the most loved shadow boxes we made. It’s a celestial-inspired 3D craft composed of 10 layers.

@drizystudio Made this beautiful shadow box with cricut 🌞🌙 #cricut #crafter #crafting #svgfiles #SVG #design #shadowbox #cricutcreated #cricutmade #cricutproject #cuttingfiles #cutting #customdesign #papercut ♬ Positive Nanana – Balang_3go
3D Shadowbox Celestial Moon and Sun Layered Papercut Finished Cut with LED

In conclusion, cutting cardstock with your Cricut machine is a simple, yet rewarding process. With proper settings and attention to detail, you can cut intricate designs on a variety of cardstocks and create amazing projects.

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