Cutting Fabric for Quilt Blocks with the Cricut Maker

This post is sponsored by Cricut and contains affiliate links.

I’ve shared a few posts previously about using the Cricut Maker digital die cutting machine to cut fabric, including a scalloped bunting and a quilt kit. Today I want to share a little more about it’s capabilities for cutting custom quilt blocks because I think it’s one of the coolest functions of this machine.

And I’m going to show you how to get perfect half-square triangle blocks without having to square-up or trim all of those dog ears. It’s true!!

First a little background on the Cricut Maker and then more details on specific shape cutting.

I have used and reviewed multiple different fabric die-cutting systems previously. I can honestly say that the Cricut Maker has become my favorite system for cutting fabric because of the infinite possibilities it can produce.

Most die-cut systems require “dies” that cut one specific shape and so in order to cut multiple shapes with the cutters, you need to buy multiple separate dies for every shape. And those dies add up!

The thing I love about the Cricut Maker is the fact that it can cut any shape at any size you want! You can custom design the pieces you need for your traditional quilt blocks and have the machine do all of the work. I’m going to show you some examples below.

The additional feature that makes this digital die-cut machine different from other digital (electronic) die-cutting systems is that it’s the only one that has the ability to cut regular fabric without having a stabilizer like Heat n Bond ironed to the back. The reason this works is the unique Rotary-cutter tool that is part of the unique Adaptive Tool system


The Cricut Rotary Blade is one part of this Adaptive Tool system – meaning there are multiple different blades and pens that fit into the system. The Rotary Blade and the fine point blade (for paper, vinyl, felt, etc.) are both included with the Cricut Maker. (Other blades like the knife blade and the bonded fabric blade are sold separately.)

The Rotary Blade only works in the Cricut Maker machine (not previous versions of Cricut cutters.) For more details on the different blades that work with the Maker you can read my introductory post. For more details specifically about the Cricut Rotary Blade attachment, check out this post by Melissa of the Polkadot Chair.

Today I want to focus on the possibilities for cutting your own shapes for making quilt blocks.

A die-cut system may not be for everyone. I realize that some shapes would I could probably cut faster and with less waste using a rotary cutter, ruler, and mat – which is true of any die-cutting system. But cutting specialty shapes like hexagons or circles is where the accuracy of a die-cut system can really save time and improve the accuracy of the shape. They can also be a huge help for anyone who struggles with repetitive movement, has limited mobility, or chronic arm or wrist pain.

And as with any die cut system, there will be some fabric waste, but another thing I really like about the Maker is there is more efficient use of fabric. When designing your shapes to be cut, you can easily edit them in the on-screen design canvas software and see where each shape will be cut on the fabric. This allows multiple sizes and shapes to be cut at once for the most efficient use of material and much less waste. That is definitely an added bonus for me.

The first option is to use the Cricut Design Space to create custom shapes. The Cricut Design Space is where all designs to be cut are created. There are hundreds of pre-designed options including 31 different Quilt Patterns with pre-programmed shapes ready to cut. To find these quilt patterns go to the Cricut Design Space and type Quilt into the search bar. (You can read more about my experience with one of the Quilt Patterns and Kits here. While the quilt patterns are always available, the fabric kits are no longer available.)

Or you can make your own using available images, fonts, and shapes. Anyone can create a free account in Cricut Design Space to check out all of the offerings and play with the features, whether you have a Cricut cutting machine or not. There are lots of free designs available, you you can purchase individual designs or sign-up for a membership for unlimited access to the full library. Lots of options.

To create perfect custom shapes for piecing, there are a few different options. You can start with the Shapes option on the side toolbar.

Choose any of the shapes and it will appear on the design table. You can drag the arrows (bottom right corner of the shape) to make the shape any size you want. Or, to make it even easier if you are going for a custom size, you can type in the dimensions on the top toolbar. 

You can then copy and paste that shape as many times as you need. Just place them on the design space – you don’t need to worry about lining them up strategically.

When you click the green Make It button in the top right corner, Cricut will automatically place the shapes in the most efficient layout for cutting on the 12″ wide mats. If you have a larger number of shapes Cricut will either divide the cutting into multiple 12″ x 12″ mats, or you can change the size on the drop down menu where it says Material Size (right hand side of the screen) and go as large as the largest cutting mat which is 12″ x 24″.

You can custom create multiple different shapes to be cut from the same fabric. You could easily go in and create a whole screen full of the shapes you need cut for a quilt pattern (as long as one side is always smaller than 12″). 

There is another clever method for cutting quilt pieces that is especially efficient if you need to cut multiples of the same shape. Cricut is gradually rolling out Quilt Cartridges – this is a traditional quilt shape available in multiple size options starting from (finished shapes) 1″ to 10.5″. The first four shapes available are Half Hexagons, Half Square Triangles, Hexagons, and Squares. You do pay extra for each shape cartridge.

(To find these click on Images on the left hand toolbar. Click Cartridges in the top right corner and search ‘quilt’ or try this link.)

There are 18-22 different size shapes in each cartridge going up a half inch in size. Here are the hexagon shapes. First of all, I think it’s great that I can just choose the finished size shape that I need and go.

When you open the cartridge you get four different grouping options for each size hexagon – a grouping that will fit on a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat, a grouping that will fit on a 12″ x 24″ cutting mat, a smaller grouping and a single shape. You can choose whichever grouping fits you need depending on the number of pieces you need. Here are the groupings for the 1 1/2″ (blue) unfinished hexagons and the 3 1/2″ unfinished hexagons for an idea of scale.

I love the hexagons especially because to me, they are a pain to cut out manually. AND the fact that they are laid out in a honeycomb fashion means no fabric waste when you’re cutting a lot of them.

Assuming I only need a small number of them, I can choose the single shape and copy and repeat it multiple times to get the exact number I need.

Another great use for these shapes is cutting the paper templates for English Paper Piecing!

I just used regular cardstock and ran it through the machine and got dozens of paper hexagon templates. (Keep in mind, these hexagons are measured by the height of the shape from flat bottom to flat top, not by the length of the side like when you buy paper templates from other sources.)

Remember to change your blade to the the Fine Point blade for cutting paper. (The good news is that the smart machine will remind you if you forget when you select what material you are cutting before you start.)

Then I cut my fabric pieces. I chose the paper templates at the size I wanted my finished hexagons and then set my fabric hexagons to cut at the size 1/2″ larger. 

I love to glue-baste my fabric to the paper template in preparation for hand sewing them together.

I will cut a smaller number of hexagons in multiple different fabrics to create my hexi-flower blocks. I did manually fussy-cut the center flower print. If you want to fussy-cut something, then manually is the only way to do it. But, if you need to cut multiple hexagons from the same fabric, this saves so much time!  (The fabric is from my latest fabric collection, Gretel.)

The Maker makes it super slick to prepare both my paper templates an my fabric hexagons all at once. (If you are looking for a simple tutorial for the sewing part of English Paper Piecing, I recommend Sue Daley.)

The other cartridge I especially love is the Half Square Triangle cartridge. It’s amazing! Once again you’ve got 20 different sizes to choose from. Be sure to pick based on the finished size of the half-square triangle block (a square made up of 2 triangles on the diagonal) that you need.

Once again, the cartridge gives a selection of multiple numbers of half-square triangle shapes per size for maximum cutting efficiency.

This run through cut 24 perfect triangles with no waste perfectly. (I only removed 4 triangles for the photo – it’s hard to see the cut lines, but there are 24 triangles cut in the photo above.)

But here is the best part. Not only does it quickly cut multiple half-square triangles quickly and efficiently, it pre-cuts out the dog ears for you.

Yes, I just put that in bold italics for a reason. This is such a hug time saver!!

After cutting all of my individual triangles, I simply matched up the two different triangles and chain sewed them quickly through my machine.

As long as I was careful with my 1/4″ seam allowance and made sure the seam ran from corner to corner, the blocks turned out perfectly every time. 

No trimming dog ears and no squaring-up needed! (And I’m usually a stickler about squaring up!)

Amazing! I may cut all my future half-square triangles this way – especially when you need to cut a lot from the same fabrics. It was a huge timesaver!!

The squares cartridge is also very handy when you need to cut lots of squares the same size from the same fabric.

As of right now, Hexagons, Half Square Triangles, Squares, and Half Hexagons are the only cartridges available, but Cricut confirmed they are planning to roll out more shapes like different diamonds and parallelograms as well as dresden wedges! All shapes that typically take much longer to cut by hand.

One more quick thought about the Cricut Rotary Blade. As we all know, all blades dull after a lot of use. I’ve been curious to see when I noticed a need to change this blade. I’m pleasantly surprised to report that I’ve used this same rotary attachment for all of the projects I’ve cut in the past year and it is still going strong. I haven’t been using it non-stop in that amount of time, but it has still handled more use than I expected it to!

Eventually, as with every rotary blade, it will need to be replaced and Cricut has a simple kit for safely replacing the blade, but in the meantime, I’ve been impressed by the longevity of the blade on the Rotary attachment.

I’ve had fun working on this traditional Shoofly quilt block and will be sharing a tutorial for this mini quilt in the upcoming weeks.

If you have any questions about the Cricut Maker, feel free to ask in the comments section.

The majority of the fabrics in this post are made with my Gretel collection for Riley Blake Designs.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.


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  • Reply
    February 28, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Hi Amy! Thank you for the information regarding the Cricut. I have been on the fence regarding purchasing one of these, and this just may have edged me closer to a decision. So many choices, and is it really necessary. The HSTs may just be the winning reason. ~smile~ Roseanne

  • Reply
    February 28, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    How difficult would the Cricut be to use if someone is not a techie?

    • Reply
      Anna Bucciarelli
      March 1, 2019 at 1:08 pm

      My question exactly Brenda. I am all thumbs when it comes to tech, can just about manage this computer for simple stuff. I hope we get an answer to this question.

      • Reply
        March 2, 2019 at 8:23 pm

        Hi Anna! I just responded to Brenda’s question above – hopefully it answers yours too, but let me know if you have more!

    • Reply
      March 2, 2019 at 8:21 pm

      Brenda, I’ll admit I was slow to take mine out of the box at first because I was worried about learning one more gadget. I was surprised at how simple and user friendly the software and the machine is. The machine itself is very basic – only a couple of buttons – it plugs into you computer via a USB cord. The software is all on the Cricut Design Space on your computer or the Apple App. For the most part I’ve found the software very intuitive.

      I’ve had a little trial and error as I’ve learned how to use the Design Space. Cricut makes very clear, simple video tutorials that walk you through the steps. I’ve found it very user friendly.

      If it feels intimidating, I suggesting checking out the videos on the Cricut website as they walk through the steps of multiple projects to get a feel for what it’s like: https://learn.cricut.com/maker/getting-started?page=1

  • Reply
    March 1, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Thank you for this post! It is the best I’ve seen that is quilt specific. I have an Air 2 and this helps for cutting paper pieces for epp. Guess I need to start saving for the Maker!

    • Reply
      March 1, 2019 at 10:14 am


  • Reply
    Robby H.
    March 2, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    I love that the machine will remind you to switch the cutting devices. Thanks for giving us a walk-through.

    • Reply
      March 2, 2019 at 8:22 pm

      Yes! I love that it does so much of the thinking for you. I need that extra double check!

  • Reply
    May 25, 2019 at 9:52 am

    I’m a new-ish Cricut Maker user. I’m trying to use it for a quilt that has a lot of pieces and I don’t have a lot of room for error since I don’t have any extra fabric. I’m not sure how much space I need to leave between my pattern pieces in the layout. Can I butt them up to one another or is there a minimum amount I should leave between the pieces? Thank you so much.

    • Reply
      May 27, 2019 at 10:39 am

      Yes- you can butt them up next to each other! It’s a great fabric saver.

  • Reply
    Kathleen OConnell
    July 27, 2019 at 7:22 pm

    Can the Cricut Maker cut shapes from left over unevenly-shaped scrap fabric for scrappy quilts? Sometimes only enough scrap to get 1 shape per scrap then onto another scrap of fabric for the next one.


    • Reply
      July 29, 2019 at 10:59 am

      Yes, as long as it’s bigger than the piece you need to cut – I think it would work. You would just need to place you fabric in the right spot on the cutting mat.

  • Reply
    Barbara Barnett
    August 6, 2019 at 5:49 am

    Is there a Dresden template? I have been on the fence for a long time about buying a circut. You have been very helpful explaning about the different shapes. Thank You Barb

    • Reply
      August 6, 2019 at 5:12 pm

      I don’t think that it’s out yet, but I know a Dresden wedge shape is in the works!

  • Reply
    January 5, 2020 at 3:46 am

    I have one of the other die systems. I however make a lot of quilts with weird sizes like squares at 2-7/8” or triangles at 4-5/8”. Can the maker do this? Although this sounds like a great fabric saver, I don’t know if I need another similar die system unless it can do very custom sizes.

    • Reply
      January 6, 2020 at 9:55 am

      It’s very easy to program most basic shapes any size you want (you can type in the exact measurement). The quilting ‘cartridges’ with multiple preprogrammed shapes such as hexagons and half square triangles are only in whole and half inch sizes. But you can create custom shapes at any size.

  • Reply
    Kathy Towner
    June 25, 2020 at 7:34 pm

    Where can I get on of these Half Square Triangle cartridges? I looked at the cricut site, Amazon, google search but have had no luck finding one of these. I have a cricut maker.

    • Reply
      June 25, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      Really good question – I just checked the Cricut Design Space and it looks like the format has changed slightly. I’m no longer seeing “Cartridges” as an option anywhere. I did find the quilt shapes under Images (on the left hand side bar). After clicking on Images enter “Half-square Triangles” in the search bar and a bunch of options will come up.

      I’m going to reach out to Cricut and see if there is a more systematic way to access all of the quilting shapes. Thanks so much for the heads up!

  • Reply
    August 6, 2020 at 8:05 pm

    What are the very basic accessories needed to get started cutting fabric? Does the cricut maker come with the appropriate cutting mat and blade?

    • Reply
      August 7, 2020 at 1:39 pm

      HI Sheryl! The Maker machine on it’s own does come with the rotary cutting blade attachment and a 12″ x 12″ Fabric-cutting-mat. You may want to purchase additional mats at some point, such as a 12″ x 24″, but you’ll have enough to get started.


  • Reply
    Beryl J Ledoux
    August 17, 2020 at 7:16 am

    I’m trying to understand how easy it would be to trace a more complex shape and then add seam allowance. Think flowing vine or s curve shape. I design my own quilts and would like to find a more efficient way to cut them out with seam allowances.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2020 at 12:41 pm

    Like, Beryl, I would be interested to have information about adding my 1/4″ to more complex angular and also curved shapes.

  • Reply
    February 18, 2021 at 3:40 am

    Dear Amy, thank you very much! The quilt cartridge tip is really interesting! I haven’t seen many things written about it from a patchwork point of view anywhere else! You’ve helped me make my mind up. I’ve just ordered a maker.

    • Reply
      February 19, 2021 at 1:29 pm

      I’m excited for you, Gene! There are some really useful and exciting things coming soon through other quilting companies that will pair with the Maker. I’m excited to learn and share more soon!

  • Reply
    April 9, 2021 at 7:13 am

    Are the Riley Blake designs no longer offered by cricut?

    • Reply
      April 9, 2021 at 11:32 am

      It looks like the fabric kits are no longer offered, but the Riley Blake Quilt patterns are still there. If you go to Cricut Design Space and put QUILT in the search bar, they will come up. 🙂

      Thanks for asking – it was good for me to double check that they are still available and update this post.

  • Reply
    Joyce F Kilburn
    June 16, 2021 at 10:43 am

    I don’t know if I’ve already asked, but can you make your own designs, print and cut for quilts on the Cricut Maker3? Can you print a photo to put on a quilt?

    • Reply
      June 16, 2021 at 7:09 pm

      Great questions!

      Yes! You can create your own designs for the Cricut to cut anything. I’m still learning the how part to make it into an SVG file, but I’m sure there are those who know. It’s one of my goals to learn this year.

      And No: It’s not a printer, so you can’t print a full picture like you would with an inkjet or laser printer. That said, it can draw designs with a pen, so there is that option.

      I hope that helps! I’m hoping to learn a lot more about how to create my own files with the Cricut. Another option is Electric Quilt’s Block Base software comes with the SVG (cutting) files for all of their 1,000’s of quilt blocks. You can read more about that here: https://www.diaryofaquilter.com/block-base-quilt-design-software/

  • Reply
    July 14, 2021 at 10:03 pm

    How do I set my Cricut Maker 3 to cut off the dog ears on my quilt project

    • Reply
      July 26, 2021 at 2:13 pm

      To be honest, I don’t think there’s a setting that will automatically do that for you – all cutting lines have to be part of the original cutting instructions.

  • Reply
    September 4, 2021 at 8:06 am

    Amy, Thanks for such an informative and interesting article. I have the Maker and have done a few things with HTV and permanent vinyl, but I am mainly a quilter. The main reason I purchased the Maker was for the rotary blade. I heard or read somewhere that you could take the pattern for wool applique and scan it into the computer and then get the Cricut to cut the pieces of wool that you had used soft fuse or something similar on. It would eliminate all the tracing of the pattern and cutting it, then cutting the wool pieces. But of course, I cannot find this article!! Do you have any experience with this? Or can you direct me to someone or a site to find instructions please?
    Again, thanks for such a wonderful article

    • Reply
      September 4, 2021 at 10:20 am

      Hi Linda!

      That sounds like a perfect use for the Maker. I have to admit, the area where I haven’t had the time to invest in learning is about how to import designs into Design Space. I’m sure there’s a way to do it – I’d really like to learn how as that would make this tool such a great time-saver. Especially for cutting applique pieces. I wish I knew that article – it sounds perfect. If you find it, will you share it here? I’m hoping to have more time this school year to work on learning all the stuff on my list.

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