If you’re starting out in vinyl cutting, one of the first things you need to do is find the right software. Luckily, there are several free vinyl cutter software that let you create and cut designs at no expense.
To help you find the best free vinyl cutter software, we’ve put together this guide to compare the top programs. In addition, we’ll look at each program’s design capabilities, usability, and compatibility to help you make your decision.
Best Free Vinyl Cutter Software – Full Round-Up
- Sure Cuts a Lot: Easiest Free Vinyl Cutter Software for Beginners
- Easy Cut Studio: Best Free Vinyl Cutting Software for USCutter & Other Top Brands
- Inkscape – Powerful Vector Design Software for all Vinyl Cutting Projects
- VinylMaster Cut: Range of Software Options for Crafts, Textiles, Decals & More
- Cricut Design Space: Best Free Vinyl Cutter Software for Cricut Machines
- SignGo: Sign Cutting Software with 30 Day Free Trial
Which Vinyl Cutter Software is NOT Free?
Before we start looking at the best free vinyl cutter programs, here are some popular software that require payment:
- Adobe Illustrator
- EasyCut Pro
However, it’s worth bearing that these offer free trials to try them out before committing to any payments, so they’re still worth considering.
Disadvantages of Free Vinyl Cutting Software
It’s important to understand that there are some differences between what you can get with free vinyl cutting software and paid programs.
For example, Sure Cuts a Lot is one of the most popular free sign cutting software. While it offers an unlimited free version, there’s also a Pro version that requires payment. The Pro version has several more advanced features, including:
- Increased cutting lengths
- Contour cutting
- Advanced design tools
- More file import options
So, generally, paid software offers a larger number of tools and functions, as well as more advanced features, than free programs.
Another disadvantage is that free vinyl cutting software are few and far between. So, for that reason we’ll also review some affordable programs that offer free trials.
Best Free Vinyl Cutter Software
Sure Cuts a Lot – Easiest Free Vinyl Cutter Software for Beginners
Widely compatible with vinyl cutter machines
Use pre-installed fonts and shapes or draw freehand
Lots of interesting effects
Tablet app for iOS and Android
Fairly basic compared to other software
Sure Cuts a Lot is one of the most straightforward free vinyl cutter software for beginners to learn. You can cut virtually any shape with it, and it’s compatible with cutters from many top brands, including Craftwell, Silhouette, USCutter, Silver Bullet, and Wishblade.
It comes installed with TrueType and OpenType fonts, and you can also use it with thousands of free fonts from the internet. In addition, you can customize over 200 built-in shapes or draw them freehand, and the auto-tracing feature allows you to convert images automatically for cutting.
You can weld letters and shapes together, and there are various other useful tools and effects, including 3D rotate, shaw and blackout, wave, symmetrical mirror, and more. There’s also the Eshape Store, where you can purchase even more tools and effects.
Another benefit of using this free plotter software is that it offers tablet apps for Apple and Google devices, unlike many other programs. These allow you to work intuitively using either a touchscreen or stylus.
Easy Cut Studio – Best Free Vinyl Cutting Software for USCutter & Other Top Brands
Supports 8 file type imports
Precise image tracing and vectorization
Easy node editing
Fantastic variety of features and tools
Highly intuitive interface
Free trial only
Not compatible with Cricut machines
Another simple yet high-quality vinyl sign-cutting software is Easy Cut Studio, which is the go-to choice for many hobbyists.
Easy Cut Studio has covered you if you want to design and cut lettering, shapes, graphics, logos, stickers, or anything else.
It has an intuitive interface with some great tools for creating your own designs from scratch, or you can import fonts and a variety of file formats, including SVG, AI, PNG, JPG, PDF, and more.
You can use the tracing tool to create cuttable designs from imported rasters or scanned images, and then generate highly precise vector paths for your plotter to follow.
Another great feature is Easy Cut Studio’s node editing function. This allows you to manipulate lines, curves, and nodes with complete control and accuracy, helping to improve the efficiency and overall quality of your finished products.
You can also use layers to create complex designs, design and cut rhinestone templates with typeable rhinestone-ready fonts, and use contour cutting for creating decals and stickers. Overall, Easy Cut Studio is certainly one of the most versatile and comprehensive free vinyl cutter software for Mac and Windows.
This free download decal-making software is compatible with over 700 vinyl cutters, although, unfortunately, you can’t use it with Cricut machines.
While Easy Cut Studio isn’t completely free, it offers a free trial and is available for a one-time purchase of just $59.95.
Inkscape – Powerful Vector Design Software for all Vinyl Cutting Projects
Some of the most powerful vector design tools
Open source with large community
Community gallery with free downloads
Fantastic learning resources
Need to add an extension for vinyl cutting
Inkscape is one of the most popular vector design and editing software. It’s an open-source program that provides a more advanced alternative to Sure Cuts a Lot and East Cut Studio.
Unlike those two programs, Inkscape is more of a general-purpose design software rather than being optimized for vinyl cutting. However, it does offer an extension called Inkcut for controlling your cutter. Alternatively, you can use Inkscape’s advanced tools to create your designs and then import them into a different software for the cutting process.
Inkscape offers some of the most high-quality and flexible design tools of any free vinyl plotter software. For example, you can use the freehand pencil and calligraphy tools to draw simple paths and filled calligraphic paths, respectively, and the pen tool to create straight lines and Bezier curves.
You can then interactively manipulate objects using transformations, Z-order operations, and layering, among other tools. On top of that, Inkscape provides precise node editing, Boolean operations, advanced coloring tools, bitmap tracing, and so much more.
A completely free and open-source vinyl cutter software that’s regularly updated, Inkscape has a large and active user community with forums, live chat discussion and support, mailing lists, and a community gallery (which contains many free download files). It also provides some great learning resources to help you get started.
Inkscape is also widely used as a laser cutting software thanks to its high-quality vector design and editing tools, and you can install the J Tech Photonics plugin if using Inkscape for this purpose.
VinylMaster Cut – Range of Software Options for Crafts, Textiles, Decals & More
Beginner-friendly software for crafts and basic projects
Almost 200 clipart images
Over 1,000 color palettes
Extensive training resources
Different software options to suit different people
Free trial only
Not available on Mac
Like Easy Cut Studio, VinylMaster Cut isn’t completely free. However, it costs just $59, has a free demo, and is one of the most popular vinyl plotting software, so it’s worth considering.
VinylMaster offers several different software, with Cut being the cheapest. It’s designed for simple vinyl cutting, lettering, logos, and pinstriping and offers freehand drawing, curve and shaping tools, and a variety of file imports and exports.
On top of that, you get 192 clipart images, over 1,000 vinyl color palettes, and a contour-cutting plugin. It also comes with some of the most extensive training resources of any vinyl cutting software, with a 450-page manual and video tutorials.
If you want more advanced features, VinylMaster also offers other software. For example, VinylMaster Pro is suitable for designing clothing, decals, stickers, and more professional uses. Unfortunately, this version and other VinylMaster programs are pretty expensive.
Cricut Design Space – Best Free Vinyl Cutter Software for Cricut Machines
Perfect for beginners
Best software to use with Cricut maker & other Cricut cutters
Huge design library
Intelligent cutting features
Smartphone and iPhone apps
Only compatible with Cricut vinyl cutters
This free vinyl cutting software for Cricut makes it easy for beginners to start drawing, editing, and cutting. It has one of the most extensive design libraries, with loads of fonts and over 160,000 images. You can get even more photos, fonts, and projects if you subscribe to Cricut Access.
You can design just about any vinyl cutter project in Design Space, as is shown by the many varied examples from the Cricut Community Stories page.
It has some of the best beginner guides of all vinyl cutter software, with focused ‘how to’ tutorials on each process and tool. It also has intelligent cutting features, such as automatically determining how much pressure to use based on the material.
Design Space also has iOS and Android apps, allowing you to use it on your tablet and smartphone. In addition, it stores your projects in the cloud so that you can access them from anywhere, and on any device.
Remember: Cricut Design Space is only compatible with Cricut vinyl cutters.
SignGo – Sign Cutting Software with 30 Day Free Trial
Optimized for sign making
Fantastic font and text design tools
Node editing and welding
Also suitable for decals and clothing
Free trial only
SignGo is a dedicated sign-cutting software that offers a 30-day free trial. After that, you can purchase the Lite version for $139 (the Pro is pretty expensive at $339).
While it’s not the cheapest option, it’s worth trying the free demo if you’re focused on sign making, and even the Lite version has all the features you need for designing basic signs.
It offers several great tools, including an extensive text editor. This lets you manipulate individual characters and words, easily adjust font styles, spacing, and angles, place text around curves and shapes, and save custom kerning pairs for automatic kerning.
Node editing tools provide complete control over text outlines, welding tools for merging, subtracting, and intersecting text and objects, and various advanced cutting features, including color separation, flexible tiling, and data spooling.
SignGo can also create other vinyl cutting projects, including lettering, textiles, decals, stickers, and even decorative glass etching and frosting.
Buying Guide – Things to consider when choosing free vinyl cutter software
What do you want to cut?
You can make almost infinite different projects with a vinyl cutter, from logos and signs to stickers, decals, and t-shirts. What you want to make can have an impact on which is the best vinyl cutter software, so bear this in mind.
For example, VinylMaster states that its Cut software is suitable for basic tasks like lettering, card making, and other crafts. Still, if you want to make more complex projects like decals and t-shirts, you need the Pro version’s more varied and advanced design tools. It’s a similar story with Sure Cuts a Lot.
The best way to find the right software is first to decide what you want to make and then determine what features and tools you need, so you can then check if a software offers those functions before signing up.
Compatible file formats
File format compatibility is essential when it comes to vinyl cutter software. Many people like to import images and designs into software to base their plans on, so you must ensure your program will accept the files you want to use.
Hobbyists often use a combination of design software, so it’s important to consider what file export options a program supports. Luckily, many software support many file types.
For example, the free version of Sure Cuts a Lot supports SVG, PDF, EPS, AI, and WPC imports, but only the Pro version can import PLT and DXF.
While free vinyl cutter software typically support most common file types, if you’re using less common formats like GSD, check first.
Compatibility with your vinyl cutting machine
It’s vital to ensure that the vinyl freeware you choose is compatible with your vinyl cutter. Generally, the best cutting plotter software are compatible with most cutter brands, but there are some exceptions.
For example, Easy Cut Studio isn’t compatible with Cricut machines. Similarly, while older versions of Sure Cuts a Lot are compatible with Cricut cutters, the latest V5 isn’t. On the other hand, Cricut Design Space is only compatible with vinyl cutters.
Ease of use
While creating 2D vector designs for vinyl cutting isn’t as complex as some other CAD processes, it’s still worth noting that different software have different learning curves.
On the one hand, you have straightforward programs like Sure Cuts a Lot, which is super easy to get to grips with. On the other hand, Easy Cut Studio is another beginner-friendly option.
Then you have programs like Inkscape, which is still intuitive and has excellent tutorials but a steeper learning curve due to its more advanced features.
As you can gather from our free vinyl cutter software reviews, the design tools on offer vary a lot from program to program. On the one hand, you have Sure Cuts a Lot, which offers a couple fonts, basic drawing tools, and some cool effects.
On the other hand, Inkscape offers high-quality freehand drawing, pinpoint object manipulation, node editing, vast coloring options, Boolean operations, and much more.
Most free vinyl plotter software also come with libraries of pre-installed fonts and images, but the size of these can vary greatly, which is another point to consider.
Is VinylMaster free?
No, while VinylMaster Cut offers a free demo, the full software costs $59.
How do you vectorize a picture for a vinyl cutter?
To do this, you need to import your picture into a vinyl cutter software like Sure Cuts a Lot or Easy Cut Studio, trace the image, and then generate vector paths for your cutter to follow.
Can Inkscape cut vinyl?
Yes, Inkscape can cut vinyl using the Inkcut extension.
Is Inkscape free?
Yes, Inkscape is a completely free and open source vector design software.