Learn how to get your Cricut to cut difficult or nonstandard material by creating a custom pressure setting in Design Space.
Many people trying to cut ear savers are still finding getting the correct material settings to cut through plastic difficult.
I hear, “I tried this setting my friend used and it didn’t work. What am I doing wrong?”
Honestly, you probably aren’t doing anything wrong.
It is very difficult to cut plastic! These aren’t standard materials and they don’t have a setting on our machines. Plus, there are lots of variations in the materials. Plastic placemats or cutting boards could be much different, depending on the brand or even color. The manufacturing process probably doesn’t have strict tolerances for output.
You simply MUST create a custom setting and test a small sample, and then test again…. and again…. and again.
I’ve created a video showing the whole process as I do test cuts with custom pressure settings, using laminating sheets to create the ear savers.
Here is the sumary of my test (using the fine-point blade):
- I tried cutting a star at 320 pressure – it didn’t cut through
- Tried star at 350 pressure – it cut through
- Test cut one ear saver – it did not cut entirely through the material in some places
- Added “more” pressure to one ear saver test cut – it didn’t cut well through all of the material
- Changed setting to 250 pressure, 2x passes – it cut, but didn’t pull off of the mat easily
- Changed setting to 350 pressure, 2x passes – finally, it cut well and removed easily
Finally, after five test cuts, I was able to cut an entire sheet successfully.
You can see that it takes a LOT of trial and error to get the ear savers to cut nicely. This was just using thin laminating sheets and not material like a flexible cutting board (which is designed NOT to be cut.)
Don’t give up too quickly.
Spend an hour doing test cuts. It saves you time in the end; I’ve heard a person say their machine had been cutting for 12 hours and it still wasn’t through! Don’t load a full sheet before you cut one perfectly.
How can I set my Cricut to make multiple passes?
The maximum number of cuts you can set is 9x. (This only applies to the Fine Point Blade and Deep Cut Blade, you can not create settings for the Knife Blade. Yet.)
However, you can repeat that entire set of cuts by pressing the “C” button when your machine finishes the cut.
When you see this message, DO NOT press the flashing arrow button to unload the mat.
Instead, press the “C” button again to repeat the cuts again. (This only applies to the Fine Point Blade and Deep Cut Blade. When you use the Knife Blade, it prompts you to check the cut, and then makes one more pass until you are satisfied.)
You can see in the example below that I needed to press the “C” button two additional times to get it to cut through the material (which is an ice cream container.)
Yep, it took 27 passes to cut through thick plastic with a new fine point blade.
At 18 passes, a small part of the flower was cut through, but not the entire piece.
Where do I start?
Common settings crafters are trying are:
- Light Chipboard 0.37 mm – 285 pressure, 2x, Fine-Point Blade
- Acetate – 319 pressure, 2x, Fine-Point Blade
- Gel Sheet – 335 pressure, 4x, Deep-Point Blade
- Magnetic Sheet 0.6 mm – 358 pressure, 6x, Deep-Point Blade
These are good starting points, but it really is best to create a custom setting.
If you change your “Light Chipboard” setting to cut plastic, several months later when you begin a project using Light Chipboard, you will have forgotten what the original setting was.
What mat do I use?
Usually, the standard green mat works well; sometimes the purple StrongGrip mat is needed.
To extend the life of a mat, or give new life to a well-used mat, just attach transfer tape to the mat.
The mat below is totally trashed. It’s cut through and not sticky at all.
Using painter’s tape, I attached a piece of regular transfer tape to it, sticky side up. For more stick (like the purple mat), use the Cricut Strong Transfer tape.
It’s almost as good as new! It’s sticky, and I don’t have to worry about ruining a nice mat.
✨ LOOKING FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN EAR SAVERS? 👂😷
👉 Step-by-step tutorial on making ear savers with a Cricut Explore Air, Cricut Maker, or Cricut Joy (with free SVGs)
👉 Learn how to add your own logo or text to an ear saver in Design Space
👉 Read inspiring stories from people donating ear savers
Ready to download the free SVG or printable? Head over to the 📂 Free Files Folder and enter the ✨ magic word. ✨ (If you don’t have the magic word, just fill in the form below first.)
What do you think?