How to Cut Small Letters on a Cricut: Tested Settings, Vinyl, and Fonts

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Are you making a project (cards, ornaments, nail art, custom ribbon, labels, miniatures, etc.) and need to cut tiny letters – half an inch tall or less – out of vinyl or HTV? Have you noticed your letters lifting or getting cut as a torn-up mess? This is a comprehensive guide to cutting small letters using your Cricut based on my own testing, testing, and more testing with different fonts, materials, and settings.

Cricut cutting small letters badly out of vinyl
Small letters cut badly, text lifted and chewed up

This guide covers the things that matter most when cutting small fonts (click the link to jump to that section):

  1. Settings: tips for getting the best cuts (spoiler alert: the Deep Point Blade is your new best friend!)
  2. Material: what vinyl works best for cutting small letters
  3. Font: the best fonts for cutting small letters (Cricut and free fonts): I have included a list of fonts that were test cut at a quarter inch (0.25″) tall

I also include some general tips for making small letters easier to cut and weed.

Video: How to Cut Small Letters on a Cricut

How small can a Cricut Explore or Maker machine cut?

Very, very small! For many fonts, you can easily cut them one quarter inch (0.25″) tall, and for others, I have cut letters as small as one tenth of an inch (0.1″), and you can probably go even smaller than that. The motor type used in the Maker 3 (servo) allows for the most precise cuts of all, but even an Explore Air 2 can cut very small letters quite nicely.

0.25" and 0.1" letters cut out of Cricut Premium Vinyl in 7 different fonts, applied to cardstock
0.25″ and 0.1″ letters cut out of Cricut Premium Vinyl in 7 different fonts, applied to cardstock

The smaller you go, however, the less precise your cuts can get – you’ll notice that by the time you go to 0.1″, some letters may start to look messier and the machine won’t be able to perfectly cut the spaces (“counters”) out of A/O/E etc. The Cricut still did a pretty great job of cutting these examples, though!

closeup showing 0.1" vinyl letters cut by a Cricut machine
closeup showing 0.1″ letters cut from Cricut Premium Vinyl

Why do some fonts look smaller than others when set at the same height?

When I say that these fonts are cut at 0.25″ or 0.1″, that is the total height for the entire text box. If you set the height of your text box to 0.25″, this will be the height of the tallest character, or the total distance between the lowest part of a character (e.g. the descending part of a lowercase y/j/g) and the highest part of a character (e.g. the ascending part of an h/k/t) in the text box. This means that script fonts or fonts with long tails, etc. will have smaller characters overall:

different character heights shown for the same line height
Script, serif, and all-caps fonts showing how character heights can differ for the same line height

How does 0.25″ translate into point size? It depends on the font. Many of the fonts popular with crafters – hand-drawn, scripts, irregular display fonts – are not standard and vary widely in terms of point sizing, so I tend to use height and width measurements for fitting my fonts into projects.

Section 1: What settings will give you the best cuts for small fonts using your Cricut?

In general, the key to better precision with small cuts is less pressure, slower cutting speed, and helping your machine handle corners.

Your settings will depend on what vinyl you choose. Most HTV will cut without any special settings, and others (adhesive vinyl) will probably require adjustments.

With a Cricut machine, you can find or create material settings using less pressure, but everything else (speed, blade depth, acceleration, etc.) is a pre-programmed mystery. Here’s what to try if standard settings fail (if vinyl is lifting/not cutting cleanly):

  • reduce the downward force by using a Washi setting
  • don’t use Fast Mode
  • help your machine handle corners with the Deep Point Blade

If you have a Silhouette or pro machine, you will be able to set your own speed and cut force, and use settings like “segment overcut” (Silhouette) or “tangential emulation” (Roland, Graphtec) which will allow better handling around corners.

The Washi Tape/Sheet settings: reduce your cut pressure

Washi Tape or Washi Sheet are the most popular recommended material settings for cutting tiny letters out of vinyl. Most importantly, the Washi settings reduce the amount of downward cutting force. (I have timed Washi Sheet against other settings, and it doesn’t reduce cutting speed.)

Consulting the Cricut material cut settings guide, these settings cut at:

  • Explore Air 2: Washi Sheet 139/Washi Tape 149
  • Explore 3: Washi Sheet 85/Washi Tape 70
  • Maker: Washi Sheet 85
  • Maker 3: Washi Sheet 85/Washi Tape 70

(Units aren’t specified, but I assume it is grams force; by comparison, Premium Vinyl cuts at >170 for Explore Air 2 and >100 for all other machines)

It doesn’t matter if you use Washi Sheet or Washi Tape, the Washi settings work well for cutting small details. This is particularly true if you are using a Maker/Maker 3, because those machines tend to have a heavier hand when it comes to cut force (they have better/more powerful motors).

For Washi setting with a Fine Point Blade:

  • Maker machines: use default or less pressure for your starting test cut
  • Explore Air 2 machines: you will probably have to use more pressure and/or cut twice (turn on 2X Multi-cut) – try to avoid multi-cut, going over tiny letters twice can cause more lifting, especially if you use Oracal 651

The default Washi settings are for the Fine Point Blade, but I always use the Deep Point Blade with this setting, and I will explain why…

Use the Deep Point Blade for the best cuts

Cricut machines use a standard kind of cutting machine blade. The Fine Point Blade is a 45 degree blade, and the Deep Point Blade is a 60 degree blade. This refers to the angle of the blade’s cutting edge:

The Deep Point Blade has a longer, steeper cutting edge which is what allows it to cut thicker materials, but the steepness of the blade also gives it a tighter turning radius than the Fine Point Blade when cutting regular materials. When using the Deep Point Blade to cut materials like standard vinyl, a very narrow portion of the blade makes contact with the material, making it easier for the blade to turn at corners.

I highly recommend the Deep Point Blade for any kind of Cricut, but it is particularly useful for Explore machines because they don’t have the same precision as the Makers.

How to change your Washi setting in Design Space to use the Deep Point Blade:

For video instructions, go to the 6:02 minute mark of the How to cut small letters video at the top of this article

  1. When your project is ready, hit the Make It button to go to the Mat Preview screen
  2. Arrange your project on the mat and click the Continue button
  3. On the Set, Load and Go page, choose “Browse all Materials
  4. In the bottom left hand corner of the Materials list, click “Materials Settings
  5. Find the Washi Sheet setting (alphabetically, near bottom of list) and choose “Edit
  6. Set Multi-cut to “off” if it is turned on, and select Deep Point Blade from the blade pulldown menu
  7. Click the “Save” button – now your default setting for Washi Sheet will use the Deep Point Blade
  8. Click “Done” at the bottom right hand corner to return to the Set, Load, and Go page.
  9. Choose Washi Sheet from the Custom Materials list to proceed

Settings for cutting small letters from HTV: use recommended first

You will be able to cut small letters out of most HTV quite easily, and I would start with the manufacturer’s recommended cut setting, which you can usually find on the company’s website. Below is an example for Siser EasyWeed; the link to the cut settings PDF is at the bottom of the EasyWeed page . (Yes, they refer to the Fine Point Blade as the “AutoBlade for Cricut” – their mistake):

You may have to modify cut settings for any stretch (ThermoFlex Plus, Siser Stretch, WALAKut Soft), or thicker HTV (e.g. glitter).

The setting I use for cutting challenging HTV: the Washi Sheet setting with the Deep Point Blade.

Section 2: The best vinyl for small letters

When cutting small letters with a Cricut, your choice of vinyl will have a big impact on how difficult your small cuts will be.

Cutting tiny text out of HTV is always easier than cutting very small letters out of adhesive vinyl.

Why? 3 main reasons HTV cuts and weeds more easily for tiny text applications:

  • Most HTV is made of polyurethane (PU) and most adhesive vinyl is polyvinyl chloride (PVC). PU is inherently softer and stretchier than PVC, which makes is easier to cut and weed.
  • HTV has a heat-activated adhesive which is dry and non-sticky. Adhesive vinyl has a sticky backing. If tiny pieces of adhesive vinyl get pulled up during cutting (e.g. the dot of an “i”), they often stick to the blade, interfering with subsequent cuts.
  • Most importantly: the majority of HTV has a sticky carrier that allows you to weed and keep the letters in place, re-sticking anything that pulls up. Adhesive vinyl has a smooth, slippery backing sheet that is designed to release the vinyl easily for weeding and transfer, making it tough to keep tiny details from lifting.

I always use HTV instead of adhesive vinyl when I can, but sometimes you just need adhesive vinyl for a project, and it comes in so many beautiful finishes it’s impossible to resist.

Case Study 1: Testing the best adhesive vinyl for cutting small letters

I wanted to see if there was a brand or type of adhesive vinyl available that was better suited to cutting small fonts. I test cut 0.25″ letters using 3 different settings:

pens labelled with Cricut premium vinyl (matte silver) in 0.25″ tall Paddington Regular font
  • Premium Vinyl setting + Fine Point blade
  • Washi Sheet with 2X multicut + Fine Point blade
  • Washi Sheet with no multicut + Deep Point Blade.

For permanent vinyl, I tested Oracal 651, Siser EasyPSV permanent, and Cricut Premium Vinyl. I also tested Cricut Premium Removable Vinyl. I could cut 0.25″ letters out of any of these vinyls using the Deep Point Blade and Washi Sheet setting, but only one vinyl cut really well with every setting I tried…

The best vinyl for small letters

The best vinyl to cut tiny fonts is Cricut Premium Vinyl. I know, I know – most of you probably love Oracal 651 (and I do too!), but it is not ideal for tiny letters. Oracal 651 has a *very* slippery silicone-coated liner designed to readily release vinyl, which can result in lifting and displacement of tiny characters as they are cut.

Although the characters cut well from Oracal 651, they are easily lifted when using the Fine Point (45o) blade – you can see this displacement as white patches in the unweeded vinyl in the images below. The only way to avoid this lifting while cutting was to use the Deep Point blade.

0.25" fonts cut out of Cricut Premium vs Oracal 651 vinyl showing lifting in the Oracal sample
0.25″ fonts cut out of Cricut Premium vs Oracal 651 vinyl showing lifting in the Oracal sample

The weeded vinyl below shows how pieces of text were lost when using standard cut settings for the Oracal 651, especially when Multi-cut was used. The Oracal vinyl cut perfectly using the Washi setting and Deep Point Blade.

0.25" fonts cut out of Cricut Premium vs Oracal 651 vinyl using 3 different cut settings
0.25″ fonts cut and weeded out of Cricut Premium vs Oracal 651 vinyl using 3 different cut settings

With Cricut Premium Vinyl, however, I was able to cut even the trickiest 0.25″ script fonts with every setting I tried, including the basic Premium Vinyl setting.

Mini ornaments decorated with Cricut Shimmer Vinyl in Light Blue and Black: 1″ tall snowflakes, 0.27″ tall monogram L (Close to my Heart – Artboard font)

I have also successfully cut Cricut Premium Vinyl Textured Metallic and Cricut Shimmer Permanent Vinyl (thicker/stiffer vinyl) using the Washi Sheet setting with the Deep Point blade and more pressure.

Case study 2: Testing the Best heat transfer vinyl for cutting small letters

This is an easy one. As I mentioned earlier, most HTV will cut better than adhesive vinyl, and I successfully cut fonts set to 1/4″ tall out of the following:

  • Siser EasyWeed
  • Siser EasyWeed Electric
  • Siser Sparkle
  • Siser Metal
  • Cricut Everyday Iron On
  • WALAKut Express
  • ThermoFlex Plus
Fonts set to 0.25" tall cut out of HTV and applied to cardstock
Bold Kei, Belwe Std Medium, and Krusyida fonts cut at 0.25″ tall out of HTV. HTV was pressed on cardstock.

I cut almost all of the HTV simply using the manufacturer’s recommended settings that I would use for any project. The only HTV I had to change settings for was the ThermoFlex Plus, which I cut using the Deep Point Blade on the Washi Sheet setting. The ThermoFlex Plus was stretchier than the other HTV types I used and it was more difficult to get clean cuts around corners. For that reason I probably wouldn’t recommend using Siser Stretch or WALAKut Soft for tiny fonts, either.

For examples of more tiny HTV letters see the section below for customized ribbon I made using Siser EasyWeed Electric, Sparkle, and Metal.

Section 3: Best fonts for cutting small letters

Choosing the right font is a crucial step to making sure your tiny letters will cut cleanly. If you want to successfully cut your letters really small, look for a few key features in your fonts:

  • thicker fonts rather than very thin
  • fonts with fewer embellishments like swirls and swashes
  • Fonts that have a relatively uniform width, rather than going from thick to thin like a ribbon

With these features in mind, I tested a bunch of fonts, setting my text boxes to 0.25″ tall, and came up with a selection of both free and Cricut cutting fonts that I think work well for small lettering. (Your experience may vary, depending on factors like your patience for weeding, etc.)

You can see how I’ve used some of these fonts for custom ribbon, cut out of HTV at 0.25″ (Velvet Heart, Billion Dreams, Santa Fe Std) or 0.36″ (Kind Heart, Salut):

Custom ribbon made with Siser HTV (Electric, Sparkle, and Metal) and fonts cut at o.25" and 0.36" tall.
Custom ribbon made with Siser HTV (Electric, Sparkle, and Metal) and fonts cut at 0.25″ and 0.36″ tall.

Best free fonts for cutting small vinyl letters

The following are free fonts from fontspace, Dafont, and Google fonts, as well as classics that most people already have as system fonts (Cooper Black, Franklin Gothic, Rockwell). As of November 2022, Cricut has licensed the Måns Grebäck font Billion Dreams, so you can also find it in Design Space.

The photos below show the fonts cut out of HTV (Siser EasyWeed in Wicked Purple) and adhesive vinyl (Oracal 651 in gloss black) at an overall height of a quarter inch (0.25″) and applied to cardstock. I’ve grouped these fonts into 4 style categories: all caps/uppercase, serif, sans serif, and scripts.

Best Cricut fonts for cutting tiny text

This is a selection of fonts that are listed as both kerned and unkerned in the Cricut fonts list. Most of these fonts require Cricut Access membership.

  • all caps:
    • Beefcakes
    • BFC Christmas Cards
    • Eagle Bold
    • Prague Std
    • Yearbook Solid
  • serif:
    • Belwe Std Medium
    • Caslon Black
    • Paddington Regular
    • Tango Regular
    • Vario Com Regular
  • sans serif:
    • Blippo Com Stencil
    • Cachet Pro Heavy
    • Futura LT Extra Bold
    • Monday
  • script:
    • Candice Regular
    • DTC October Daylight
    • Salut
    • Santa Fe Std

General tips for easier cutting and weeding

  1. Clean your machine’s blade. Either use a Q-tip/soft cloth with a little rubbing alcohol to clean the tip of your blade, or just poke it into a ball of foil to clean off debris. Check blade housing for debris.
  2. Always do a test cut of your font. I have seen crafters cut entire wedding seating charts and menus only to discover their font choice was unsuitable for tiny lettering – yikes!
  3. Put your lettering in a weeding box (add a shape to your canvas and size it to your text, then attach). Isolating your text in sections makes it much easier to weed.
  4. I prefer to weed with pointed Tweezerman tweezers for maximum control over tiny details, and I use the flat top edge to burnish adhesive vinyl. I love these and can’t recommend them enough.
  5. Weed out the counters/holes first before weeding around the letters – the letters are more stable while they are still surrounded by vinyl
  6. Weed directly on the mat – the mat will keep your vinyl stable

Some people like to ‘reverse weed’ adhesive vinyl by sticking transfer tape to the cut vinyl, removing the backing sheet, then weeding from the transfer tape, making it kind of like weeding HTV. I personally do not like this technique because I find it difficult to keep the vinyl from sticking to itself and pulling up other letters.

Tip: Add an offset to make a thin font easier to use

You can try adding an offset between 0.005″ to 0.01″ to any font that is too thin to cut at a tiny size.

As an example, I have added an offset to popular Cricut font BFC French Bread, a very thin handwritten font. In this case, adding an offset of 0.01″ made it possible to cut the font easily out of adhesive vinyl.

demonstration of using the Design Space Offset tool to make thin text easier to cut at small sizes.
use the Design Space Offset tool to make thin text easier to cut at small sizes.
BFC French Bread font cut at 0.25" with and without offset
BFC French Bread font set to 0.25″ tall with and without offset cut from Cricut Premium Vinyl

This won’t work with every font, but you can always experiment. You can also use this for images: I added a 0.01″ offset to the Heart Disease awareness ribbon image that I used for the “Welcome Home” custom ribbon design for my mom.

custom ribbon made using a tiny image with a 0.01" offset
using a small offset makes delicate graphics easier to cut out of HTV or adhesive vinyl

Still having problems? It could be your machine

In my experience, Cricut machines should be able to cut very tiny details and small letters without too much hassle. If your machine is having trouble cutting small letters in a reasonable font like the ones I have demonstrated above, then it could be your machine that is the problem, and you will have to contact Cricut customer care.

18 thoughts on “How to Cut Small Letters on a Cricut: Tested Settings, Vinyl, and Fonts”

  1. Thank you for taking the time to do all this testing and research and doing a video about it all + a written article, to boot! So concise and invaluable! And, very much appreciated! You’re pretty awesome to share all that!

  2. Aww, thank you Julie! Thanks for your kind comments and for taking the time to read the article. I love learning about how these machines work and I absolutely adore working with different fonts, so I’m happy to share everything I can. I see you have an awesome site yourself, and I’ll have to spend some time checking it out – papercraft is so much fun! Thanks again – Kerri

  3. Thank you for this!! I was going crazy trying to get my small fonts to work! This article was a tremendous help!!

  4. Thank you for your videos and blog. I am having such a hard time. I have a cricut air 2. Only used it a handful of times. I tried the washing setting and it does not cut through. I haven’t bought the deep blade yet. I’m using iron on vinyl. I’m at a loss.

  5. Hi Sandra, thanks for your question!
    First, I adore the Explore Air 2, it is a great machine and I use mine all the time.
    A Deep Point blade does make cutting with the EA2 more precise for some materials, but I have never needed to use it with any iron on (except cutting tiny letters out of stretchy ThermoFlex).

    What brand/type of iron on is it? The great news about having an EA2 is that most manufacturers have tested their HTV using this machine rather than a Maker – you’re far more likely to get recommended settings that use the Smart Set dial (e.g. Siser EasyWeed setting is Vinyl+) than custom materials. If you’re using Cricut iron-on, you can either use the Smart Set Dial or the material-specific setting from the custom materials menu.

    Start with your Fine Point blade and the manufacturer’s recommended cut setting – this will probably be a Smart Set Dial setting. If you are still having trouble getting the HTV to cut, you can either choose a dial setting with more pressure (i.e. go from Vinyl+ to Iron On, etc. If you’re cutting glitter iron on, use Light Cardstock) OR you can use a Custom Material setting, which will allow you to choose “more pressure” when you go to cut.

    I haven’t had problems cutting tiny details out of HTV using regular dial settings on the EA2, but some iron on can be trickier (glitter, Siser Twinkle). With tiny letters, I don’t recommend Multi-Cut with Washi Sheet/Tape settings, but you can try increasing the pressure (edit your cut setting). But again, I think that you should be able to get your iron on to cut without having to resort to Washi settings.

    Feel free to let me know more about the material you are trying to cut (brand, type of iron on). I am here to help, and I want you to love using your Cricut! Thanks for reading! – Kerri

  6. Hello! Thank you for the tips.I am having a difficult time cutting small letters out of gold adhesive foil for a wedding seating chart. I have cleaned the blade, run it through several passes, increased the pressure, tried washi setting. Can I use a deep cut blade with gold adhesive foil? Or would it be better to try the premium Ivory pearl adhesive foil. I can switch colors at this point – I desperate for help! I need this done asap…

  7. Hi Tamara!

    I didn’t have any adhesive foil on hand, so I chose the most annoying-to-use similar vinyl I could find to test this out – holographic! The picture below is Cricut Holographic vinyl cut with the Deep Point Blade, Washi Sheet setting, more pressure. I didn’t know what kind of font or size you’re using, so I picked a variety.

    Momcake bold font is cut at 0.25″ tall out of Holographic Threads (gold), Belwe Std Medium is cut at 0.3″ out of Holographic Bubbles (blue), and Hestina is cut at 0.4″ tall out of Holographic Bubbles (purple). I only had to cut once and it worked just fine.

    Using the Deep Point blade worked for me, for this laminated metallic vinyl, so I would give it a try for your project. Just try a little sample cut like the ones I did before trying anything more involved, and you might want to choose a backup vinyl if you hate weeding the foil or if you find it too difficult to transfer.

    Thanks for reading, I really hope this helps – good luck with your seating chart!- Kerri
    tiny letters out of holographic foil sample cut

  8. Hi! Great tips here, thank you!!! I’m trying to cut small lettering to make a stencil. When I went to change the blade for the Washi sheet setting the fine point is the only option. I went ahead and ran it with the deep cut blade anyway and it is so much better than any tiny lettering I’ve cut before! Since I can’t change the blade type on the setting, should I make any other adjustments or just leave it as is and just use the deep blade? Cutting adhesive vinyl.

  9. Hi Jessica, I’m glad you found this article helpful!

    The Explore Air 2 machine is much more versatile in what it lets you do with blade choices for various settings, so I am guessing you are using a Maker or one of the 3 series machines? The reason why I advise using the Deep Point Blade with the Washi setting is mainly because the Washi setting has reduced pressure.

    You can either choose a reduced-pressure setting that already uses the Deep Point Blade (I recommend trying the Aluminum Foil setting, because I have used it myself – just make sure you don’t use multi-cut), or create a custom setting that uses the Deep Point Blade and a lower cut pressure – the pressure you choose will depend on which model of machine you have, and I recommend cutting with whatever pressure your machine lists for Washi sheet. If you choose either of these options, just remember to do a test cut – you may need to increase the pressure if you used the Aluminum Foil setting, or you may need to tweak your custom setting. Whatever you choose, just avoid multi-cut – there is no reason any of these machines shouldn’t be able to cut adhesive vinyl on a first pass.

    The third option is to use the machine the way you just did, because it worked for you anyway! If you have any more questions, feel free to ask.

    Thanks for reading! – Kerri

  10. Thank you! This info is incredible! I have a question though. My machine, a Maker, will not let me set the blade to deep cut on the washi setting. (there was an update this morning). Any ideas? I’m still having trouble with tiny numbers pulling up. Trying to make some Scrabble tiles for a project and the numbers are teeny! Have tried numerous settings. I’m using Oracal 631. Will get some Cricut vinyl and try that. Thanks for the info! Deep cut blade!!!! who knew?!!

  11. Hi Ann,
    I’m glad you find the info helpful!

    If you have a Maker, you have 2 options: 1) create a custom setting using the Deep Point Blade where you set the cut pressure to match the Washi Sheet setting (i.e. 85 for the Maker or Maker 3 – you may need to reduce this cut pressure if your machine is tearing up the lettering) OR 2) just try the Aluminum Foil setting, which uses the Deep Point Blade at a lower cut pressure.

    Whatever you choose, I personally avoid multi-cut. And yeah, Oracal is great but it’s designed for standard size graphics and text, not tiny details.

    Thanks for reading! – Kerri

  12. Thank you, Becky, I am so happy that you found this useful! Thank you for reading, and thank you especially for taking the time to comment – Kerri

  13. Thank you for this article. I can cut letters with confidence using your tested guidelines and recommended settings.

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