If you own a vinyl cutter, you have a world of fun at your fingertips. Even small, desktop vinyl cutters can help you make signs, postcards, t-shirts, banners, stickers, and more. The only limit lies in your creativity… and the software you use.
Almost all vinyl cutters come with some sort of software pre-installed. Yours probably did too. However, is the basic software provided by the manufacturer going to be enough? It will suffice for your first few attempts, but what comes next?
If you want to take your vinyl cutting to the next level, the best way to do so is by trying out some better cutter software. There are some paid options, but not everyone wants to invest extra money into their hobby. On the other hand, sifting through hundreds of paid programs can be a real hassle.
To make your life easier, we’ve compiled this guide on all free softwares for vinyl cutting. Keep reading to find the best free software for vinyl cutters in 2021!
What is The Best Free Vinyl Cutting Software?
If you’re looking to make a change & upgrade from the pre-installed vinyl cutting software on your machine, now is the time! There are many options out there. We’ve reviewed the best ones for you to check out.
VinylMaster Cut rounds up our list of the best free vinyl cutting software, but last is definitely not least. This is a rather pricey vinyl software that offers a free demo. We recommend trying it out if only to see how big a difference it makes.
Once you choose to upgrade from the free trial, you will likely be happy with your choice. VinylMaster Cut is widely considered to be the best bang for your buck in the vinyl cutter world. It’s a full-blown graphic design software, and it has an arsenal of features worthy of one.
Use this software to create decals, shapes, banners, lettering, posters, stickers, and more. Much like SignGo, it supports over 500 vinyl cutter machines and printers. This means it’s probably going to be compatible with yours.
You can use it to design your own artwork from scratch using features such as shapes, curves, and draw. With so much room for creativity, you’re more likely to be happy with your hard work.
CorelDRAW, while not entirely free, is a program you can try out for fifteen days. Fifteen days are plenty enough to use the full range of its features. You can use it on both Windows and Mac computers.
CorelDRAW is a lot more than just a piece of vinyl cutting software. This is a well-rounded graphic editing program that you can use for creating logos, signs, collages, photo projects, reports, and more. It’s used by professionals all over the globe, vinyl cutters included.
The Graphics Suite contains several programs that, when put together, are a true editing powerhouse. CorelDRAW is going to help you with your vector illustration and page layout, PHOTO-PAINT with image editing, and FONT MANAGER — with lettering. There are more programs in there that all prove useful for vinyl cutter aficionados.
If you like to indulge in some graphics work, you’re bound to like CorelDRAW.
Sure Cuts A Lot, SCAL for short, is one of the most popular cutting applications out there. It comes with a variety of useful features that make vinyl cutting a breeze. It’s available on Mac and Windows operating systems. The program itself is not free, but it offers a free trial so you can try it out without risk.
First of all, Sure Cuts A Lot is beginner-friendly and easy to use. On the other hand, the various options it provides ensure that it’s great even for total pros. With this tool, whether you’re a beginner or an expert, you’ll be able to cut pretty much anything with your electronic cutting machine.
Use Sure Cuts A Lot to cut shapes, fonts, and vector designs. You can use it with TrueType and OpenType fonts, pre-made shapes, or even to draw your own shapes. For such a small and lightweight piece of vinyl cutting software, SCAL provides a lot of the functionality found in programs such as Adobe Photoshop. With magnetic snapping, masking, guided lines, and more, it’s the best software for vinyl cutters.
Easy Cut Studio is another must-have free software for the owners of a vinyl cutter. You can try out the software free of charge, and if you like it well enough, you can purchase the paid version. It’s available for both Windows and Mac OS X.
You can use Easy Cut Studio for a number of things, and it proves to be a huge improvement over basic pre-installed vinyl cut software. One of the best features in this software is the ability to draw your designs on your cutting mat, transferring them directly to the vinyl cutter. This saves a lot of time & lets you get really creative!
Easy Cut Studio supports the use of SVG images (scalable vector graphics). This is crucial because most vinyl cutters use that format. As ECS also offers image importation and exportation, you can use your favorite designs and use them with your vinyl cutter.
Use this software for creating your own signs, logos, fonts, lettering, graphics, stickers, shapes, and decals. It’s highly intuitive and a favorite amongst vinyl cutter owners.
If you want the best free vinyl cutter software, this is definitely it. Most software comes with free demos and requires purchase later on. Inkscape, on the other hand, is completely free and available for you to download for Windows and Mac.
Inkscape does not fall behind its paid competitors by much, if at all. It supports SVG files, so it will work with your vinyl cutter even if it’s only programmed to work with the pre-installed software.
New users, and those that just enjoy simplicity, will love the easy to use interface in this software. It resembles Photoshop in many ways and provides a lot of the same options, from drawing your own design to importing one you already have.
It also works with more than just a vinyl cutter — you can also use it with a heat press machine. That will allow you to design graphics for your t-shirts. Not all paid vinyl cutter applications allow that, so going with this free version is a great idea.
SignGo is a simple cutting software that will satisfy beginner users and experts alike. It has a very straightforward interface that is easy to navigate. Most of all, it offers a 30-day free trial, which is a lot more than some competitors. The trial has all the same features as the paid version, so you can try the full scope of it before you make your decision.
One thing that many vinyl cutter users don’t think of is compatibility with the new software. Some vinyl cutters simply don’t work with all kinds of cutting software. In the case of SignGo, that should not pose a problem — it’s compatible with over 500 vinyl cutters!
Despite the simplicity of this software, it has quite a few hidden gems. It’s especially focused on decorative text, signs, and banners, but you can use it with pretty much any vinyl cutting work that you have. T-shirt designs, stickers, banners, signs are all at your fingertips.
SignGo also lets you create things such as vinyl lettering, paint stencils, decorative glass, and decals. Try out the long trial that it offers for Windows and Mac.
What is The Best Vinyl Cutter?
You’ve seen the software, but what about the machine? If you feel like your vinyl cutter is due for a replacement or you’re shopping for someone else, we are here to guide you in the right direction. You don’t have to spend too much on a good vinyl cutter. Check out our recommendations below.
Best Overall: Brother CM350E ScanNCut
What if you didn’t have to use a computer to make your designs come to life? Brother’s ScanNCut device is a high-end cutting machine that is entirely self-sufficient. It has a built-in 4.85″ LCD touch screen and over 600 pre-designed templates. You can complete the entire process through the device alone, without a computer or smartphone.
It supports FCM and SVG file formats and it allows you to scan your own drawings. Equipped with a 300 DPI scanner, ScanNCut will convert your art into stickers or other decals. That’s not all — with all the pre-built designs, you can work on items such as quilts, t-shirts, banners, logos, signs, and many more.
You can use this vinyl cutting machine even with thick materials (up to 2 mm). Fabric, vinyl, and paper are all fine, but there’s a surprise — you can even use this cutter with foam.
This cutter offers a whole lot of precision. You will scan the materials directly into the device and then place the pattern on the item of your choosing. This will drastically reduce wasting materials & frustration over not getting it right.
We recommend ScanNCut for both beginners and advanced users, as it’s sure to satisfy both.
Best Budget: Cricut Explore Air 2
This elegant vinyl cutting machine is going to take you on a true adventure. With countless possibilities built-in, it covers everything you need in a vinyl cutter with software & it’s remarkably affordable. Consider using it for your next DIY project.
Cricut Explore Air 2 is powerful — it can cut over 100 different materials. Some of those include vinyl, cardstock, adhesive foils, HTV & iron-on vinyl, posters, and more. With such a broad range of materials, you can make stickers, car decals, laptop decals, t-shirt designs, custom apparel, home decor — the possibilities are endless.
While pre-made vinyl cutting software is not always the best, Cricut’s Design Space is good enough to start with. It will help you design your first projects while you decide on different vinyl cutting software, and if you like it enough to keep it, you can subscribe to Cricut Access to unlock more features.
With Design Space, you’ll be able to upload, create, and design your own vinyl projects for free. It can even be used on mobile as well as desktop computers, laptops, and tablets. The paid version also opens up the library which contains over 100,000 images & fonts for you to choose from.
This machine comes with a free 2-week trial of Cricut’s trademark software. It also includes a full set of tools. It’s the perfect start to a crafter’s journey through cutting vinyl.
Related Read: Paper Studio Vinyl Review
Finding the best free vinyl cutting software cutting is not an easy feat. As vinyl cutting is a well-loved DIY hobby, there are more programs for it each and every day. Navigating that sea of less-than-perfect software can be frustrating.
Save yourself the frustration and try out some of the software we’re recommending above. You could take your crafts to the next level without even having to try too hard!
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Last update on 2022-03-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API. Disclaimer