If you’re the crafty kind, you know that store-bought presents are basically a lost opportunity to create something special. Enter the Cricut. As you well know by now, the Cricut turns a home office into a DIY haven. Keepsakes and practical wares are just waiting to be made—or in this case, presents. With it, you can print iron-ons, stencils, and more—all things that can help you make a gift they’ll never forget.
Stencils, in particular, are incredibly handy because they allow you to customize almost anything. You can make stencils to decorate your walls, pillows, T-shirts, scrapbooks, wooden signs, cakes, etc. If you can reach it, you can stencil it.
But before you jump into a stencil-mania, you should know how to make stencils with Cricut. It’s not something you can easily “figure out on your own.”
Let’s get started.
To make stencils, you will need quite a few materials, as your project requires them.
- Transfer tape
- Brush or sponge brush
- Blank surface (the surface you’ll be stenciling)
- Cricut machine
- Cricut cutting mat
- Fine point blade
- Cricut Design Space
- Weeding tool
In addition, you’ll need Cricut stencil vinyl. You can purchase this vinyl from a craft store or directly from the Cricut website. Cricut makes its vinyl compatible with its machines, having designed it to be flexible, durable, steady, and leak-proof on the applied surface.
However, you can opt for other materials like mylar sheets, freezer sheets (great for fabrics), and adhesive stencil vinyl. Removable vinyl could work, too, but it may not be as durable, as is also the case with cardstock.
Before you press the Print button on your Cricut Design Space, you should first prepare your workspace. Make sure you have your design in order, that you’ve purchased the suitable stencil material, and you have enough space to work freely. You’ll also want to preload your Fine Point Blade into your Cricut machine.
Preparing Your Stencil Design
No stencil is complete without your design. Create an original design using Cricut Design Space, upload an SVG stencil file, or select one of Cricut’s premade designs.
Depending on what you’re creating your stencil for, you’ll want to make sure to size it properly in Design Space. Measure the space you wish to take up on your blank surface first. Then, after you upload your image, use Design Space’s incremented workspace to adjust the size and scale of your design.
If you are making your design, all elements of the stencil must be connected. This tells Cricut to cut it out as one design—that it is a solid piece.
Printing Your Stencil
After setting up your design in Cricut Design Space, the next major step is to make it!
Loading Your Vinyl
Get your Cricut cutting mat and stencil vinyl ready. Make sure your stencil vinyl is nice and smooth against the mat, free of bubbles or curling. You can use a small hand roller, called a Brayer, to help you with this. After you’ve done this, go ahead and load your mat into the machine.
Back to your Design Space, make sure you’re in the project you want to be in. Click “Make It.” The program will take you to a Prepare screen to double-check your design and any printing specs you have selected for the stencil. If all looks good, Continue.
The next critical step is to select your material on the Make screen. Choose Browse All Material and choose Stencil Vinyl.
Go will be flashing green on your machine. Press it when you’re ready to cut.
Weeding the Design
Once finished, remove the mat. If your design has lots of intricate patterns, it’s time to grab your weeding tool. Remove all the unneeded pieces of vinyl from your design. Take transfer tape and carefully and smoothly place it on the vinyl.
Gently remove the vinyl (attached to the transfer tape) from its backing. Place the vinyl with transfer tape on your surface. Firmly place your stencil on your blank surface and remove the transfer tape.
If your design is simple, you may be able to remove the stencil from its backing without transfer tape or having to weed it.
Now that you’ve made your stencil and freed it from its backing, it’s time to create! Make sure your surface is clean, and your stencil sticks to it. Take your brush and gently apply a thin layer of paint to the top of the stencil. If you have to paint another layer, that’s okay. If you apply paint too heavily, it may bleed through the stencil edges.
Wait until the paint is completely dry before removing your vinyl.
What have we learned today? Stencils are invaluable to DIY gifts, and you should make them more often. Carefully plan your design and set up, and creating Cricut stencils should be easy as design, print, and paint!