For Cricut crafters who have the perfect project idea to make out of wood, the Cricut Maker 3 can help make your dream a reality. This machine can cut various materials, including wood, opening up a world of possibilities for crafters. If wood crafts are a new concept to you, a few ideas to get your brain turning include mobiles, lettering, coasters, and ornaments.
Materials and Constraints
You only need a few things to start your wood cutting project. In addition to the Cricut Maker 3, you will also need the knife blade attachment, a strong grip mat, and some wood. There are two different types of wood you can work with – balsa wood and basswood.
You can use balsa wood with a thickness of 1/32”, 1/16”, or 3/32”. Basswood is a little denser and should only be used with 1/32” or 1/16” thicknesses. When purchasing your wood, check for minimal bowing and warping, no knots (or knots that you can work around), and single pieces rather than composite pieces. It is also good to consider the color and grain of different pieces for your project to create a cohesive result.
In planning your design, be aware of the following constraints for cut sizes when cutting either of these woods. The maximum size of cuts is 10.3” x 11.5” or 10.5” x 23.5”, and the minimum size is 0.75”x 0.75”. The width of cuts should not be thinner than a pencil, and all cuts should be at least 0.25” away from the edge of the wood. If the blade crosses an edge of the wood, it is incredibly likely to be damaged.
Remember, the wood is fragile and should be handled with care throughout the project. If your wood is larger than needed, you can cut it down with a craft knife using multiple passes for safety. The wood should not be any wider than 11”. After removing any packaging and wiping down any dust, firmly press the wood onto the strong grip mat and use a brayer (or similar device) to ensure the board adequately adheres to the mat. It is also a good idea to tape the edges of the wood to the mat.
Generally, it is preferred to place the good side down and mirror the image in Design Space. The cut will be the cleanest on the edge closest to the mat, so you want that to be the face of the project. If there is any curvature in the wood, place curve towards the mat (concave side down). During set-up, you should also move the white wheels all the way to the right, so you don’t risk them leaving an imprint on the wood. Another thing to check as you get everything set up is that the project will not go under the rubber rollers because this can jam the machine.
Cutting the Wood
You should always try to make a test cut at the beginning of each project. If you notice any jagged edges to the cut, it is time to replace the blade with a new, sharp blade.
Cutting wood will take multiple passes and more time than cutting other materials. Design Space will approximate the time and number of passes needed after completing the first pass. While the cuts will take a while, you should stay near the machine and check on the cuts frequently. If you see small cut pieces that are no longer held down by the mat, pause the machine and remove the pieces before continuing.
Finishing Your Wood Cutting
Once the machine has finished all of the passes, you should check to see if the cuts go through the wood before removing the mat from the machine. You can manually select the machine make more passes if needed. If the cutting is finished, remove the tape and then peel the mat off the wood. The mat will probably have impressions and cuts on it.
If any cuts didn’t go all the way through the wood, use a craft knife to finish the cuts rather than trying to push the piece out.
While you may feel intimated about cutting wood on your machine, the results can be craft-changing!