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Monday, April 12, 2021

I tried cutting an LP with my Cricut Maker (and here’s what happened).


This post is NOT sponsored by Cricut. I’m adding it here because if I consider trying something (such as the crazy question “can you cut vinyl records with a Cricut Maker?”), I imagine there’s someone else out there who’s wondering the same thing so I’m sharing my experience. However, this post DOES contain some affiliate links which means if you click a link and make a purchase I may get a small commission that helps to offset the cost of hosting this blog.

My daughter gave me a small record player last Christmas, and I’ve been longing to listen to some vinyl lately. And wanted to dress-up the area with some wall art involving daisies made out of old records.

I’m a recent owner of a Cricut Maker — and, for the most part, this machine has been more fun than I imagined — it will do many things. But would it cut an LP?

While I’m sure it would cut the thin little 45-sized records you used to be able to find on the back of a cereal box (I’m showing my age here), I wasn’t sure it would cut anything more substantial. The Cricut Maker offers more pressure than the other Cricut machines, but can generally cut materials no thicker than 2.5mm.

But I decided to go ahead, risk my knife blade, and try cutting one.

RCA used to make a series of records called “Dyna Flex”; these are (as you would expect) more flexible than a standard vinyl record. So I found a couple of inexpensive ones on eBay (didn’t matter what it was, I’d be changing the label anyway) and went to work.

Cricut Design Space doesn’t allow you to configure a new custom material using the knife blade, so I chose to go with heavy chipboard as it had the most passes and quite a bit of pressure. I was worried about upping the pressure too much here. I used the strong grip mat — I find that the off-brand ones you can find in three-packs on Amazon work as well as the official Cricut ones.

The machine seemed to be cutting the material, but after 24 passes, still hadn’t cut through the record. And around 18 passes, the machine was starting to emit some sounds which worried me a bit.

So, what I ended up with was a record with a deeply etched daisy pattern — but no cut-through. I tried to see if I could break apart the design, but this ony succeeded in breaking the record. And I tried a sharp x-acto knife to try to cut through on the cuts, but didn’t make much progress and it would have been too labor-intensive to cut through the entire thing.

So, the verdict is: unsuccessful. HOWEVER, using “cut” with the knife blade might work if you wanted to deeply etch at pattern into an LP vs. cutting a design out. I haven’t tried the engraving tool on an LP yet. I might test it out on this damaged one and do something with my other Dynaflex record. But I’m afraid to try a cut with any more pressure. The groans coming from my machine suggested that it wouldn’t like that. I haven’t yet tried my knife blade again on another material, but I think it survived this endeavor.

My thought is you’d need a laser cutter to cut shapes out of vinyl records.

Post Update!

Since I wrote the original post, I’ve had the chance to try a few different things. Here are my conclusions:

Cutting a vinyl LP with a Cricut Maker

Verdict: Don’t do it. It didn’t destroy my knife blade, but it will not cut through your record. If you want to etch something into your record, go ahead…but it won’t cut through.

Cutting a Flexi-Disc with a Cricut Maker

Yep. It works. If you can get some of the thin, flexible records that used to be on cereal boxes (make sure they’re not a collectible first!) or given out as promos, these will easily cut with your Cricut machine on the Acetate setting.

For my current project, which is trying to make a wall garden out of records and removable vinyl, these will work great.

Flower cut with cricut maker from flexi-disc.

Heating an LP to cut it

This works! After you heat up the record, you can easily cut it through with scissors. However, the cuts I made with the Cricut were useless here and I warped my record. My advice? Lay your record out on a flat pan and your oven on the LOWEST temperature setting and watch it carefully after 15 minutes or so. You might also want to weigh the top of the record down to prevent warping.

Can you cut a vinyl record with a Cricut Maker? Click to Tweet

Have you successfully cut a vinyl record with your Cricut? If you have, post a comment and let us know how you did it!

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Cheryl is a former Occupational Therapist and WordPress enthusiast who became a writer in some parallel universe and occasionally, but infrequently, publishes things in this one. She writes two blogs (or is it three) which she won't quit because she knows that blogs, in her case, are like a hydra and if she cuts one off two more will take its place. When she's not doing that, she enjoys hiking, cycling, kayaking (formerly fast, now ebike), messing around with Adobe illustrator, making assorted things, meditating (though she wouldn't call that "like," and reading. She normally doesn't speak about herself in the third person, but she sometimes uses "we" in the royal sense while writing this blog. She lives in Poulsbo, WA with her spouse, her youngest adult daughter, a very old mutt, and a Siamese cat.


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