Saturday, June 25, 2011

How to cut contact paper (to look like vinyl) with your Cricut

 Do you ever do a craft and you are not 100% happy with it. It look good at the time but not great. That is how I felt about the monogramming I put on our mailbox a while ago. At the time when I did the project, I was borrowing my mom's Cricut and had a limited selection of fonts. Well now that I have my own Cricut (insert an image of me smiling from ear to ear here) and the Sure Cuts A Lot software I have no limitations.
 I was on the My Vinyl Designer website and saw some absolutely beautiful monograms. You get 15 different images for under $5! Here is the monogram set that I loved and got:
If you have not been to the My Vinyl Designer website before, please venture over they have some truly amazing images. I am not being compensated to promote them, I just really do love their products.

For this project, I love the first monogram on the top left and decided that was what I wanted to do. I downloaded the image onto my computer, resized the monogram (with the a separate program) to be approximately 3inches square and set up my Cricut. I have white vinyl but have been curious whether or not contact paper/shelf liner would work the same. So I thought this was my opportunity to test it out. Not surprisingly, it worked great!

Here is how I substituted Cricut vinyl with Dollar store contact paper / shelf liner! 

The contact paper I purchased from the Dollar Store is called "Adhesive shelf and drawer liner" and comes in a roll that is approximately 40 inches by 18 inches. The Cricut vinyl is 12 inches by 48 inches. The contact paper is not nearly as thick as the Cricut vinyl but for $1 vs $10, I was willing to try.
I am sorry I don't have a picture of contact paper, I was so excited to try it out I ripped off the label before taking a photo. I am just like my kids...I can't wait to open things.

I trimmed the contact paper to be 12 x 12inches so it would fit into my Cricut. I placed the piece of contact paper onto the cutting mat, making sure it was secured and there were no bubbles between the paper and the mat.
Isn't the apple green pretty :)
I set the pressure to low/medium and the cutting blade to 3. My blade is new, so I am not sure if this will need to be changed if you blade is older. But for $1 you can play around without worrying about messing up.
 The contact paper cut great!There was no pulling or spots where it didn't cut.
When transferring the image, the only problem I had was the design I picked was a little too delicate. I don't have the transfer paper (I am too cheap but I do have a cheap trick for this too...stay tuned it will come soon) so I had to fiddle a little bit with the design when I was adhering it to the mailbox. One little piece of a loop tore off but and I didn't get it perfectly centered (just slightly off) but I am happy with it.
Here is the before if you didn't see it:
Isn't is so much nicer?

I am extremely excited to be able to cut contact paper as a substitute for the pricey vinyl with the Cricut. For those of you who have Silhouettes, I would assume this would work the same for you is worth a try for $1.

I love that you can get contact paper in so many different colors and the price is fantastic too!

Has anyone else done this? Does anyone have any tips?



  1. I bought contact paper to try instead of vinyl also! Of course almost 2 months later I have yet to use it! Thank you so much for reading my mind and showing me how to do this! I have read that you can use painters tape or masking tape to transfer the image, but of course I haven't tried it yet. It's on my " list."
    This makes me want to go make something! Thank you!

    1. jennie you can use masking tape but it is stickier so stick it to a peice of cloth a couple times first !

    2. someone said that you can use clear contact paper too to transfer

    3. I had heard about the clear contact paper too, and just bought some & tried it today. It really does work, and I think it is actually easier to use than the actual transfer stuff they sell. I bought the clear contact paper at Hobby Lobby with my 40% off coupon!

    4. I've been buying and using contact self adhesive vinyl for awhile now, but never heard about using clear contact paper for transfer. And I am needing some. Have the clear Contact paper, so I will try that.

      Thanks for the tip. You just saved me about $10 +/-.

    5. Painters tape works well to transfer, not as sticky as other tape

    6. Glad Press and Seal also works for transferring. I have used contact paper many times for stencils but have never use it for the actual design. Now I'm going to go have to see if the have some colors at the $ store!

    7. I am new to all this. I have been playing with vinyl pieces but I am not sure what you are talking about transferring. Can anyone explain? Thanks!

  2. I bought contact paper too!! I prefer to paint my stuff so I was only using the vinyl as a stencil and I thought what a waste of money! Now that I use the contact paper I don't mind it!

  3. Love it! I really did like your first mailbox re-do as well though. So much that it inspired me to do my own! Come on over and check it out!

  4. So cute I love this. I am stopping by today to let you know that I featured your flat screen TV framed tutorial on my pinterest loves of the week #6 on my blog so make sure to check it out and grab my button

    A mommy's life...with a touch of YELLOW

  5. I have a Cricut but never heard of Sure Cuts Alot...what is it?

  6. I love this! Wish I had a Cricut :( My daughter loved this post because HKS are her initials :)

    Kari @ the Sunset Lane

  7. Great idea. I was wondering if contact paper would work. Thanks for sharing. :)

  8. Thanks for sharing! I will be trying this for sure!

  9. thanks so much! i have a silhouette and i have two rolls of vinyl and the transfer paper, yet i havent messed with it yet because its expensive and i would hate to waste it. this is soo perfect im so glad that you posted this!!!! :)

    seriously. made. my. day.

    the style projects

  10. A friend of mine has a Cricut (I have a Pazzles), and she loves using contact paper! I haven't tried it yet. Thanks for posting this!

  11. ugh, I have not had much luck cutting the contact paper. I'll give it another shot.

    Stephanie, if you go to DeSerres on Dundas just west of Winston Churchill, you can buy vinyl there for a whole lot cheaper than the cricut vinyl. It's about $3.49 a yard and it's about 18" wide. They have the basic colours and it's really good quality vinyl. Hope that helps for when you are not able to use the contact paper.


  12. I have used contact paper in my cricut to put my sons name on a plastic chair. I used masking tape as transfer paper. Its been over a year so I dont remeber exactly how I did it but I did put the masking tape on my jeans to make it a little less sticky before I used it on my project. It totally worked.
    ~Misty laceylady123(at)hotmail(dot)com

    1. Oh, what a great idea; the masking tape and jeans. Very much appreciated

  13. Love this. I've been toying with investing in a cricut machine for about two years but still haven't made the move ... do you recommend it ? Michelle at

  14. Where did you get the Sure Cuts a Lot software? The new version does not work on cricut and ebay is super expensive for version 2.

  15. Thank you so much for this tip! I just recently bought a Cricut Expressions and just today was tempted to buy the Cricut brand vinyl ... but resisted the urge. I'm so glad that I did and now, I'll try the dollar store contact paper instead. So nice of you to share this!

  16. Thank for sharing this very very very great idea. This would be helpful in creating my future projects.

  17. I read that Cricut filed a legal action and that the Sure Cuts a Lot software is no longer available. It was posted on the web....I think if you Google you will find the information. Apparently Cricut won the suit.

    1. By the time I heard about it, it was no longer available. I sure wish Cricut and Sure Cuts A Lot would work something out so the rest of us could benefit from it too.


    Provo Craft Sues Sure Cuts A Lot, Alleging Copyright Violations

    March 11, 2011 By Nancy Nally 112 Comments

    Found the link...sure wish they could have worked something out! I would love to have that option.

  19. I use the clear contact paper as my transfer paper. My friend says it's a bit too tacky/sticky for her, so she rubs it across her jeans/pants first...then uses it for transfer paper. So, so much cheaper!

  20. I also use clear contact paper as transfer paper. I did not have to rub it on anything. I just cut out the size I need for the transfer and it works beautifully. I never thought about using the colored contact paper. Thanks for the idea and I hope my suggestion works for you as well.

  21. I use contact paper in my Silhouette cutter. It works great and is a cheap way to check the size and layout of designs before you use something more expensive! I bought a HUGE roll at WalMart for about $5.50 and love being able to cut things out before using my more expensive vinyl sheets.

  22. Just wanted to pass along that you can use the Dollar Tree "Self Adhesive Shelf & Drawer Liner" as the transfer paper. It's completely clear and works great. So happy that I don't have to buy the expensive transfer paper anymore! :)

  23. Interesting. I have the clear contact paper. Now I will have to look for some white to try it out. Thanks for sharing

  24. I have purchased the white Contact paper from Wal-Mart for around $5 a roll and you get a TON! Cuts great in the Cricut, and when applied to projects, you can't tell the difference between it and Cricut vinyl. I've been using the same roll for several years now!

  25. I use black contact paper that is textured (I found it at Home Depot, haven't seen it anywhere else), I like using it more than vinyl! It comes in 18" so I have my husband cut it in half (I have a silhouette that is only a 9" cut) and it makes two rolls. I also use the clear contact paper for transfer tape, but I usually "destick" it on my clothes or on the carpet.

  26. You made me day/night and i am pretty sure my husbands! I am using vinyl a lot in our house. and I have went through 2 packages of cricut vinyl and not half done yet! So trying this!! thank you!

  27. I like the contact paper at Lowe's...the metallic is excellent to use! I had a problem with using both the painter's tape and the clear contact paper. I tried making them less sticky by putting them on my carpet, etc. but I found that my letters still didn't want to stick to the surface I was placing it on...I think I'll keep trying because the transfer paper is expensive!

  28. Can you share how to use the downloaded images with your cricut? I just got one but thought you could only use cartridges??

  29. You can use the Glad Press 'n' Seal wrap as a transfer paper, as well.

  30. I use the clear contact paper as my trasfer tape. Try it, it works wonderfully! And you can see where you place it too!

  31. I use the clear contact paper as my trasfer tape. Try it, it works wonderfully! And you can see where you place it too!

  32. Wow this is good to know, I am going to try it. Thanks for sharing all your ideas.

  33. I have only bought one roll of proper cricut vinyl, I have always used shelf liner, I have also used the clear shelf liner for transfer paper, also painters tape works great for transfering.

  34. I bought a roll of contact paper to use as a stencil for a painted sign I wanted to make. Used Design Studio and a 12x24" mat and LOVED the outcome! I really wish I'd found all these great tips first, though, because I did have a little problem with the centers of letters(like O, A, P...etc). Will look for the clear contact paper or the Glad press and seal when I use the contact paper again! Thanks for all the wonderful ideas.

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. I suggest using the Glad Press and Seal for Transferring large Designs it def helps keep everything in the right place. I have the Pazzles Inspiration and I have recently used Clear Contact Paper to create temporary adhesive stencils for a painting project and the results were amazing :)

  37. I'm just learning about SCAL. If I do buy the CD on eBay (version 2) for my Cricut Espresion 2.35, any idea if it will work. Oh, the doors of possibilities it will open for me!!!

    I just don't want to give my money away if someone knows it won't work. I appreciate anyone's feedback. :)

    BTW-I used vinyl for the first time last weekend and thought I was a ROCK STARt for using painters tape. Looks like I wasn't the first one to think of it, lol!

    1. Hi Allison,

      I know the new SCAL do not work on Cricuts. I have SCAL 2 and it is AMAZING but I am not sure what the last version is that will work. I would hate to recommend you buy it and it doesn't work. I am sure you can find the information online with a little searching. If it is a version that you can use with your will be so happy to have it! I personally would not buy a Cricut if I didn't have this. I never use my cartridges anymore!

  38. Alison, do not buy. Sure cuts a lot only works on the cricut expression 1 and you had to of bought it before the lawsuit. Since then Provo craft has added something to the cricut software that disables it from being used. I have an expression 2 that I bought for the new features but kept my expression 1 just to continue using my sure cuts a lot.

  39. SCAL 2 works on the following Cricut machines:
    • Cricut Personal - Firmware v1.1-1.34

    • Cricut Expression - Firmware v2.1 -- 2.43

    • Cricut Create -- v1.51 - 1.54

    • Cricut Cake-- v1.51 - 1.54, 2.3

    1. I think I have the Cricut Create. It's the small one. I bought it used and have had it over a year. How do I know which version I have? Can you still buy SCAL v2? I can honestly say that I've not used my cricut much lately....cartridges are too expensive!

  40. I use lots of shelf paper. We live in a rural area so the choices are slim but there are so many colors available on line. I found a stainless steel look roll at Menards and most stores have 2 rolls available which are usually a clear roll and then a color of some type. I prefer using the shelf liner instead of the glad press in seal for transferring as I think it's a bit more controllable as long as you don't leave it overhanging your design. Just leave one side a bit long so when you get it into position you can attach it there to smooth it out easier. If your design is long put a circle or diamond on it where it will be split so you can match them up easier then remove it or put it on top of the transfer paper after cutting and it won't be in the design at all. I have also found the 8 1/2 x 11 1/2 sheets of duct tape cut really well and can be found at hobby lobby and walmart. Another great product to use is the 12x12 sheets of scrapbook paper that are self adhesive. They have some sparkly holographic designs that work out so well for some of the Christmas projects and definitely the pink and purple ones for girl projects. Those sheets are $1.99 at hobby lobby but this week they are on sale for 50% off so a dollar isn't bad if you want some special effects. I put a silver holographic christmas tree and words around it on a $1 charger plate from the dollar tree and it looks great and I still have some of the sheet left. When I do small words I use the mesh drywall tape because it gives me a "line" to set it by. If it's something big I put a strip of the tape on top of the contact paper just to get it lined up properly because I am the type that no matter how many times I measure it, it always looks a bit off until I step back away from it. Even though the clear shelf liner and the mesh tape are pretty cheap compared to the real transfer tape they can both be reused several times. And I always keep a couple of the backings from the vinyl to keep leftover pieces on to use for smaller projects or "fix ups".

  41. Just got an Expression 2 for Christmas - haven't even opened the box get. So totally newbie here - I wanted to make vinyl signs for walls - can I do this with contact paper? I want to add this to my booth at the Farmers Market. THX

  42. I just used this method for a Christmas present project for my son and it worked like a charm! My 3 year old has had a hard time reaching the sink in his bathroom and after searching high and low to no avail in all the usual places for a taller step stool, I found a very pink, very glittery one by chance at Home Goods. A little sanding and a coat of primer took care of the girliness but I wanted it to give it a fun element rather than just paint it a solid color. I really liked all the "Brush, Flush & Wash" bathroom art on pinterest so I cut those words out for the three steps, placed them on top of the primer and then spray painted navy blue over the top. I was really nervous about peeling the contact paper off but it came up without a hitch and made a beautiful clean lined stencil!

    I noticed recently that JoAnn's is selling 12x24 adhesive vinyl sheets in quite an assortment of colors for just a couple dollars or less if you have a coupon.

  43. There I another software besides SCAL. Make The Cut (MTC) you can google and may find older versions that other people share.

  44. Here is a great blog that I came across for a project to use the contact paper. Frosted window with clear contact paper cutouts!

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    Thank you

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  79. Stephanie,

    Thank you for the great info. I've been using Contact paper to cut stencils with my Silhouette Cameo, but never thought about using it as transfer paper! Just spent $20 on two packs of transfer tape yesterday. I think I'll return it and try the clear Contact paper instead! :)

  80. I use contact paper too. I made window clingies.

  81. This is Fantastic! I have an expressions sitting in my closet practically brand new and gathering dust. But I don't have the fonts software...will continue to search. I'm a recent single mom and just moved to a new place and want to make it homey for my little ones. I purchased removable vinyl wall borders, stencils etc and then came across your site. If I can get myself organized I can do this on my own and save $ ! I'm trying to figure out how you use the clear contact as transfer basicially you have to stick the "stencil" contact paper onto the mat, after the cut, then put a clear transfer to pull off the from the mat and then place on wall for alignment?Thanks so much!

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