Cricut Vinyl Types Explained: Which Vinyl Should You Use?

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Are you confused by all of the Cricut vinyl types? Learn the differences between each type of vinyl and their uses.

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Cricut Vinyl Types: Which Vinyl Should I Use?

Vinyl can be broken into 2 categories: regular and iron-on (or heat transfer.) Each category has sub-categories, which I will explain.

Regular vinyl is kind of like a sticker or decal and can be applied to smooth surfaces. Iron-on vinyl requires heat to make it stick and is applied to soft surfaces (typically fabric, like t-shirts.)

Vinyl has a white backing and iron-on vinyl doesn’t.

Please note that there are many other brand of vinyl available such as Siser, Oracle, Silhouette and smaller brands like Expressions Vinyl and Cuttables. For the sake of brevity, I’m only writing about the Cricut brand vinyl types. Otherwise, we would be here all day! This post is long enough as it is!

Vinyl Types Explained

As explained above, regular vinyl can be used on any smooth surfaces. There are different types, permanence levels, patterns and textures.

Most vinyl varieties are available in basic and premium.

rolls of vinyl

Basic Vinyl

What is it? Basic vinyl is the default option for vinyl. It is used on smooth surfaces and is removable.

What is it used for? Use basic vinyl to make removable labels, decals and other DIY projects.

Premium Vinyl

What is it? Premium vinyl is like basic vinyl, but it lies flatter without bubbling. It’s also easier to weed. It comes in a variety of options including both removable and permanent versions, as well as metallics, patterns and holographic foils.

What is it used for? Use premium vinyl to make a variety of DIY projects.

Permanent Vinyl

What is it? Permanent vinyl has permanent adhesive that lasts up to 3 years.

What is it used for? Use permanent vinyl for outside projects, mugs or signs.

Removable Vinyl

What is it? Removable vinyl can be removed from surfaces for up to years without leaving residue.

What is it used for? Use removable vinyl to make removable labels, decals and other DIY projects.

cricut vinyl rolls on a mat

Adhesive Foil Vinyl

What is it? Adhesive foil vinyl has the look of metallic foil. It comes in both matte and shiny varieties. Adhesive foil is a removable foil.

What is it used for? Use adhesive vinyl to make removable labels, decals and other DIY projects.

Mosaic Vinyl

What is it? Mosaic vinyl is a metallic permanent vinyl with a mosaic inspired pattern. It comes in metallic and foil varieties. The mosaic shape also varies.

What is it used for? Use mosaic vinyl to make mugs, indoor projects and decorative glassware.

Patterned Vinyl

What is it? Patterned vinyl is a removable vinyl that is available in a variety of patterns, including licensed characters from Disney, Star Wars and Marvel to name a few. There are also basic patterns like florals, plaids and stripes.

What is it used for? Use patterned vinyl to add patterns to home decor and other craft projects.

Specialty Vinyl

What is it? Specialty vinyl is the category for fun textures and uses. These include glitter vinyl, stencil vinyl, and outdoor glossy. Specialty vinyl can be either removable or permanent, depending on the type.

What is it used for? Use for a variety of home decor projects, depending on the permanence level.

Smart Vinyl

What is it? Smart vinyl is a small roll of vinyl for the Cricut Joy. It’s just 5.5″ wide and comes in both removable and permanent options, plus a variety of colors and textures.

What is it used for? Use Smart vinyl on small scale projects.

Transfer Tape

What is it? Transfer tape is used to transfer vinyl designs from the backing sheet to the surface. Despite the name, it comes in a roll format, just like vinyl. It has a grid to help line up your design.

What is it used for? Transfer tape is used to place vinyl designs onto surfaces.

Iron-On Vinyl Types Explained

Iron-on vinyl (called heat transfer vinyl by other brands) is used on soft surfaces like fabrics. It can also be used on wood.

vinyl and cricut maker

Everyday Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Everyday iron-on vinyl is the default iron-on vinyl. It comes in a variety of colors including metallics.

What is it used for? Everyday iron-on vinyl is used for t-shirts, fabrics and other soft surfaces.

Designs

What is it? Designs are pre-cut vinyl designs. They can be used without owning a cutting machine.

What is it used for? Designs can be used on t-shirts, throw pillows, tote bags, tea towels and more.

Express Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Express iron-on vinyl can be applied 2X faster than everyday iron-on vinyl.

What is it used for? Express iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Foil Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Foil iron-on vinyl is metallic iron-on with a shiny look.

What is it used for? Foil iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Glitter Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Glitter iron-on vinyl adds glitter to your projects. It comes in a variety of colors, including neons!

What is it used for? Glitter iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Holographic Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Holographic iron-on vinyl has a multi-color look. It comes in regular, sparkle and mosaic designs.

What is it used for? Holographic iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Mesh Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Mesh iron-on vinyl is vinyl with a mesh look. It has small holes cut into the vinyl. Mesh vinyl comes in a variety of colors including metallics.

What is it used for? Mesh iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Mosaic Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Mosaic iron-on vinyl has a metallic design that resembles mosaics. The shapes on the mosaic design can vary. It’s available in a variety of colors.

What is it used for? Mosaic iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

Patterned Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Patterned iron-on vinyl comes in a variety of designs. Like the regular vinyl, the designs range from licensed characters to typical designs like florals and other patterns.

What is it used for? Patterned iron-on vinyl is used for apparel, tote bags, home decor and more.

SportsFlex Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? SportsFlex iron-on vinyl is made specifically for sportswear. It’s made to stretch with activewear. SportsFlex comes in a variety of colors including metallics.

What is it used for? SportsFlex iron-on vinyl is used for sportswear made of polyester and nylon.

Smart Iron-On Vinyl

What is it? Smart iron-on vinyl is made to use with the Cricut Joy. It’s a smaller size at just 5.5″ wide.

What is it used for? Smart iron-on vinyl is used for smaller home decor and apparel crafts.

roll of teal iron-on vinyl

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