What Are the Differences Between Cricut Materials?

If you have been confused about the differences between Cricut materials available and how to use them, I have you covered with everything you need to know to make awesome projects.

Collection of Cricut material on a table with text overlay


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Not only does Cricut have a great range of machines, but it also has a huge array of materials. It can get pretty overwhelming trying to figure out the differences between all the materials and which material is best suited for your project.

Below, I have a complete list of all the Cricut materials available with details of all the projects you can make.

If you are new to a Cricut machine, I highly recommend looking at all the basics here, including how to use the machines and lots of project ideas.


This is a great beginner-friendly material to start working with the Cricut and can be used in so many ways.

What Is Vinyl?

Vinyl is essentially a very thin “plastic” with an adhesive backing. You can cut it out easily on the Cricut with a fine point blade, transfer it onto a base material, and customize anything literally!

It is available in two types – removable and permanent vinyl, and they each come in many different colors, patterns, and textures.

Difference Between Removable and Permanent Vinyl

Removable vinyl is, like the name suggests – easy to remove. These can be easily peeled away when needed and don’t leave behind a residue.

rolls of removable vinyl on table

On the other hand, permanent vinyl is well adhered to the surface and would probably need a bit of effort to be removed. Cricut says that permanent adhesive in Cricut’s Permanent Vinyl can last for three years and is water-resistant and UV-resistant.

rolls of permanent vinyl on table

What Is Vinyl Used For?

Vinyl is a great way to add patterns or lettering to any hard surface.

A few projects ideas using removable vinyl include –

  • Stencils – you can easily cut any pattern you like and use it as a stencil to transfer the pattern. See how I stenciled my closet wall.
  • Decals – Apply to the wall or window to add instant character and easily remove if you change your mind.
  • Add color/pattern to everyday decorative projects.

A few projects using permanent vinyl include –

  • Outdoor decor and games like these corn hole boards.
  • Add decor on mugs, plates, and more – yes, it is dishwasher safe!
  • Pantry labels.
collage of projects using Cricut vinyl

Can you use premium permanent vinyl on shirts?

Unfortunately, no, you can’t. Although vinyl can be transferred onto flexible things like canvas or washable things like mugs, you cannot use them for shirts because they aren’t meant to withstand that type of wear and tear and washing. Instead, Iron-on is a great option, and we will get into that in just a little bit.

Premium Vinyl Color and Pattern Options

Both removable and permanent vinyl is available in a range of colors, styles, and patterns to help customize all your surfaces.

Transfer Tape

Transfer tape is a necessary accessory to go with vinyl. It helps transfer the vinyl pattern from the vinyl backing onto the final material surface. Regular transfer tape is most commonly used for all projects.

Strong Grip Transfer Tape is also available, which is specifically meant for glitter vinyl.

Applying the transfer tape to the vinyl



Iron-on is a great way to make customized fabric and even wood products!

What Is Iron-on Vinyl

Iron-on or Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) is basically a vinyl with a backing that bonds to the fabric surface when activated by heat. The heat can be applied by an EasyPress machine or even a regular iron.

rolls of various types of Cricut Iron-on Vinyl on a table

Types of Iron-on

The Cricut Iron-on aisle is usually full of a few different types of rolls.

What Is Iron-on Used For?

The most common use of Iron-on is to make custom fabric projects like t-shirts, tote bags, etc.

collage of projects using Cricut Iron-on

You can even use Iron-on vinyl on backpacks and shoes.

The best part is that you can easily layer iron vinyl to create colorful projects.

I have even used Iron-on on wood, and it worked beautifully!

Iron on on wooden slice with cake on it


Infusible Ink

Infusible ink is one of my absolute favorite materials from Cricut.

What Is Infusible Ink?

Infusible ink is a color transfer system. When activated by heat, the colors from the infusible ink sheets are transferred into the material, giving vibrant seamless projects.

Because the ink infuses into the materials, unlike vinyl or Iron-on, where you are transferring onto the materials, the projects are a lot more durable and professional looking.

Infusible ink packages on a table

Do You Need Special Blanks for Infusible Ink?

Yes, you essentially need a blank or base material capable of accepting the ink. Cricut has a whole range of blanks in its catalog ranging from t-shirts, bags to even mugs!

What Is Infusible Ink Used For?

Infusible ink sheets are available in 12″ and 4.5″ widths. You can use infusible ink sheets with any compatible blanks, and the possibilities are endless. Here are a few examples –

Collage of infusible ink projects

Cricut also has Infusible ink pens that you can use to draw onto copy paper to create your own transfer sheets and transfer to compatible blanks.

Mug made with infusible ink on a table


Paper Products

Cricut also has a large range of everything you need for paper crafting – from card stock to Kraft board.

What Can You Make With Paper Products

Cards are the obvious first thing that comes to mind, but projects like paper lanterns, flowers, and gift boxes can all be made with these materials.

close up of paper flower and luminary made usig Cricut

Cricut also introduced a foil transfer kit that can easily embellish projects and create one-of-a-kind crafts.

Making the minimal and modern fall wreath using Foil transfer faux leather

Smart Materials (New!)

In June 2021, Cricut launched their brand new line of Smart Materials which is available in Removable and Permanent vinyl, Iron-on, and sticker-paper cardstock.

Cricut Smart material on a table

The vinyl and Iron-on are the same materials we know and love but with very innovative new features.

Smart Materials do not need a cutting mat when used with the new Cricut Maker 3 and Cricut Explore 3. Due to this, the vinyl and Iron-ons are available in long rolls (up to 21 ft) and can cut really long projects.

See a few sample projects here.

I also used it to make the “wallpaper” in my daughter’s closet and the large corn hole boards.

The Smart Paper or Sticker Paper Card stock are adhesive-backed card stock sheets that can easily create stickers and papercrafts.

Like the original vinyl and Iron-ons, Smart Material is also available in a huge range of colors and textures.


Materials for Cricut Maker

The Cricut Maker or Cricut Maker 3 can cut and accept a much larger range of materials than the Explore or Joy machines. It is possible to cut thicker material which opens up a whole new set of possibilities.

special Cricut Maker material on a table

Cricut makes special materials that you can easily use on the Cricut machine.

Some of these that I have tried on the Cricut Maker include –


I know that’s many different materials, but can you imagine all the things you can make with these and a Cricut machine?!

If you have any questions, let me know!

More Cricut Projects

Anika's goal is to inspire and empower beginners with woodworking, DIY, home improvement, and home decor ideas.
She wants everyone to unlock their creative potential and experience the feeling that comes with making something. Nothing feels better better than seeing something and saying "I can make that!"

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