Which Cardstock Cuts Best on a Cricut or Silhouette Machine?

paper question mark on a cricut mat

Incomplete cuts, torn and smashed corners and peeling layers of paper are a few of the common problems when you are getting started with a new Cricut or Silhouette machine. Although other factors can cause these issues, it most often is the fault of the paper. Knowing which cardstock cuts best will save you so much money (and your sanity) in the long run! 

stack of cardstock

All paper is created in a similar process, but not all paper is created equal. There are a few key factors that make a huge difference when you are cutting into it. First, most cardstock starts with wood pulp and then a number of other fibrous pulps are added to that in different ratios. The type and ratios make a big difference in the outcome. And second, as part of the final finishing stage, some papers are coated to give them a certain texture or sheen and this also affects quality cutting.

american crafts swatch book

The best cardstock for cutting is less fibrous than most and does not contain any coatings that have a plastic base. When test cutting papers you will notice some that just do not cut cleanly and there are generally two main problems that occur with your cuts. The first problem is when you have super smooth cuts in some areas, but then see tears at the corners or in random spots. This is likely due to some of the fibers being too big or too mushy. You might also notice spots that peel apart in layers. Peeling is generally due to a top coating.

A head to head test of the two largest brands of cardstock, American Crafts and Bazzill shows that one brand is a clear winner when it comes to cutting? So, does American Crafts or Bazzill cut better? Here are my cutting results.

bazzill mono test cut

How does Bazzill Mono Cut?

My first cut was Bazzill Mono. I am using a brand new mat on a Cricut Maker. The Maker is one of the most powerful cutting machines on the market and I specifically chose it with the thought that it has the capability to cut these papers easily, so any issues would likely be cardstock related. That was my super scientific analysis anyways. The Bazzill Mono did not cut well. I had jags and tears at the corners and in some of the smaller spots. I also noticed several spots where the top layer was peeling. It’s just not a good look for a professional looking card. For reference I used the medium weight cardstock setting on the Cricut Maker as Bazzill Mono is 85# weight.

bazzill smoothies test cut

How does Bazzill Smoothies cut?

My next cut was Bazzill Smoothies. I had high hopes for this one given the smooth texture. However, it just did not do well. There were several places where the corners were torn a bit as if the blade skipped or dragged. In addition, when I tried to peel it off the mat, there were many areas that were not cut all the way through despite double cutting. I initially cut on a medium cardstock weight setting, but then tried again on a heavy weight cardstock setting, but got the same results. 

bazzill card shoppe test cut

How Does Bazzill Card Shoppe Cut?

Next I cut Bazzill Card Shoppe. This is one of my favorite papers to work with as it is nice and heavy and has such a professional finish. This paper cut perfectly on a heavy weight card stock setting since this paper is 100# weight. The only downfall of Bazzill Card Shoppe is that it is more expensive than the other options.

american crafts precision cardstock test cuts

How does American Crafts Textured Precision Cardstock Cut?

Next up was American Crafts Precision Cardstock which has a texture similar to the Bazzill Mono. I used the same settings and same mat as the Bazzill, but this cut perfectly. Even the tiny flower loops did so well. I was not expecting it to cut this well, as I choose an intricate, complicated cutting file, but I was really impressed. I used the medium weight cardstock setting on the Cricut Maker.

american crafts smooth with title

How does American Crafts Smooth Cardstock Cut?

My final test cut was American Crafts Smooth Cardstock. This cut really well and had just one small snag. As I was peeling it off the mat I did notice a few spots where I had to help the pieces out of the cut a bit. That’s not unusual and it didn’t affect the finished cut at all, but just something that I thought I’d mention. Again, I used the medium weight cardstock setting.

which cardstock cuts best sample cuts held in a woman's hand

Which cardstock cuts best on a Cricut or Silhouette machine?

All in all, here are my rankings from best to worst cardstock.

American Crafts Textured Precision Cardstock: Cuts the best and has the texture so many people love.

Bazzill Card Shoppe: Cuts well and lifts cleanly off the mat. The heavier weight actually means smaller, intricate cuts don’t flop or bend inward.

American Crafts Smooth Cardstock: Cuts pretty well and is a good smooth option if you don’t want the extra expense of Bazzill Card Shoppe.

Bazzill Mono: Does not cut well. Corners tear and layers lift and it does not result in clean cuts.

Bazzill Smoothies: Surprisingly this cut even worse than the Bazzill Mono. It did not cut all the way through, yet tore in some spots. 

Hope this is helpful when deciding what cardstock to order! 

-Michelle 

design team member Michelle Price

Note that this post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase from these links, we earn a small commission. 

11 comments

  • Hi Michelle – I enjoyed your piece on which paper’s cut best using an electronic cutting machine. I have a Cricut Explore Air 2 and whenever I made a Dreaming Tree project I use good quality paper such as American Crafts and Bazille. Since I make greeting cards the most I’d be interested in your opinion of which card stock gives the cleanest fold? Heavier weight paper doesn’t seem to fold cleanly in my experience, even when I use a bone folder. What’s your feeling on which of the papers you reviewed is best for the center fold on a greeting card?

    Jan
  • Thank you for this! The side-by-side comparison was so helpful.

    Amy Samida
  • I’m curious because it wasn’t mentioned in the article. What was the difference between machines? I only saw you mention the Cricut Maker and no other machine.

    Andrea
  • Thank you so much for this important info. I am also new to paper crafts and thought it was my inexperience

    Sue Reifschneider
  • Rita-
    I definitely notice differences with various colors. Red and black are some that have varying results and I think it’s because like you said it requires so much dye to color them. One thing I’ve noticed is that humidity really affects the way papers cut too. So making sure you can d everything you can to keep your papers dry is key. That’s really hard in some parts of the country, but the 12×12 storage containers sold at Michaels work well for me.

    michelle price

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