I got a Cricut for Christmas! Yeah, now how do I use it? Today I am going to go through all the steps on How to Use a Cricut to make your first project.
I am going to create two farmhouse signs, using different methods. I hope this tutorial helps anyone out there who is just starting out like me. Sometimes I feel like people who are experts forget little things to tell beginners who don’t know anything! So let’s go through this together.
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Materials You Need To Use a Cricut
I got the Cricut Explore Air and with it came lots of cardstock, pens and a mat. My husband got me the bundle. It was great but there were several items I needed to purchase to have everything I needed to make my Farmhouse Sign.
Here are the additional items:
I ordered them off Amazon and they came in two days, so easy.
Since I am making a farmhouse sign I also needed a piece of wood (which I had from another project), or canvas. Today I am going to make two signs, one with wood and one with canvas. I also needed a 1X2 piece of wood for a frame. I had some furring strips left over from another project that fits this size but I grabbed a 1X2 while at Home Depot just in case they wouldn’t work.
You also need paint and stain, whatever colors you are going for. I used leftover wall paint for both my projects and some Martha Stewart chalk paint from Michaels and special walnut stain by Minwax.
Using Design Space
Design space can look pretty intimidating but if you focus on the things you are going to need for this one project it’s not so bad.
What I like about Design Space is the grid patterns are in inches so it’s super easy to see exactly what your project is going to look like, and makes it pretty easy to size all your text and images because you know exactly how big of a space you have to work with.
Since I am making a Farmhouse sign I want some text on the sign. On the left is a T button, that is for Text. If you click that button a box shows up, simply write your text. I usually create a separate box for each word that way I can move them around but if you want everything straight and all in line then you can use just the one box.
Choosing a font
If you don’t like the font then you will have the option of changing it at the top after you typed your word. When you hit the drop-down arrow you will see tons of options. Beware, these are all paid fonts! You will be charged to use them. I couldn’t figure this out for a while when I wanted to go ahead and cut the words out it kept asking me to purchase!
You will see three options, All, System, and Cricut. Click on System and that gives you fonts you can use without a charge.
Once you have your font you can adjust your sizing at the top or by dragging the arrows at the bottom right corner of the text box. You can also hit the circular arrow and angle the word/image like I did here for the word for.
You can also add images, I am thinking about adding a couple snowflakes to the Let it Snow sign. It costs 99 cents which isn’t too big a deal. We’ll see if I feel like it needs it when I am done.
Finished product on Design Space
Once you have everything the way you want it click the green Make It button at the top right. At this point, you follow the directions on the screen and what the Cricut tells you to do.
One tip is when it shows you how it’s going to cut your project out it places the text VERY close together. This is so you don’t use too much extra vinyl and waste it. That’s great but if you are cutting this out it’s pretty hard to get in between the letters sometimes. You might want to space them out a bit to give you a little more cutting room, which is what I did here.
How to Transfer your Image to your Wood/Canvas
So it printed! Yeah!!!!!! Now, how the heck do you get that image from your Cricut mat to your project? That’s where the transfer paper comes in. Cut a piece of transfer paper the same size as your text, or image, and peel the back off and put the transfer paper on the top of the vinyl. Remove the vinyl from your Cricut mat.
Peel the backing off the vinyl and place on your project (wood or canvas). Push down and make sure it adheres well.
Now peel off the transfer paper. I peeled it off at a 180-degree angle, it seems easier that way. If you pull up then it wants to pull the whole thing off completely.
Now you want to use the weeding tool, this the one with the hook on the end, to get all the excess vinyl off. Take your time and be careful not to pull off the part that you want to stick to the wood/canvas! I used the 180-degree method again and used the back of the weeding tool to press down any parts that were trying to come up that shouldn’t.
You will see I have two methods I am using. I am using one of them as a stencil and the other as an image. So far I have created a farmhouse sign using the text as an image.
How to Use a Cricut as a Stencil
Paint the wood/canvas whatever color you want your words to be.
Following the steps above let’s say you have printed your text and are ready to transfer to your wood/canvas. Follow the same steps with the transfer paper.
Peel the backing off the vinyl and stick to the wood/canvas.
Now you use the weeding tool (remember, the one with the hook on the end) and you are going to remove everything again except the text.
Now you need to use some mod podge or a little paint that you used to paint the wood to go over the text so there isn’t any bleeding when you put a new color on top.
Once the mod podge or paint is dry paint over everything with a new color. I used gray for my text and white for my overall color on top. Once the top paint is dry start peeling off the vinyl text! This is the fun part because you finally start to see your project coming together!!!!
To make a stencil you can also put the vinyl on the wood/canvas and take off just the text, leaving everything else. Then use the mod podge to seal it in and like a typical stencil paint just the letters a different color.
In this case, you would paint your wood/canvas the finished color and just paint the letters the different color. This would be a more traditional method of stenciling.
Adding the frame
I used furring strips on the wood project and I picked up a 1X2 from Home Depot and used that for the canvas project. I wanted to see the difference in the products.
I stained them both using Minwax Special Walnut. I did not use any polyurethane.
I did not do mitered edges, was going for a more easy project here. So using my miter saw I cut the wood to fit a frame for each product.
Using my 1 1/2 inch nails and nail gun I nailed into place. I put one nail through each corner and one into the wood/canvas in the middle.
As you can see the frames for each project look very different! I love the rustic look of the furring strips but the more finished look was what I needed for the Let it Snow sign.
Some of you might be wondering what Hope for Henry is. My best friends 7-year-old son was diagnosed with a brain tumor, he has Medulloblastoma. Three days later he had surgery to remove the tumor and after a month of recovering from that surgery he has just started chemo and radiation for cells that have traveled down his spine. He has a very long road ahead. This is a phrase that his family came up with for hashtags and they also created a website and facebook page for him. So I wanted to make something for them to have forever to remember their strength as a family. They are wonderful and very close. If you are the praying sort, any prayers you can send their way would be greatly appreciated.
I hope I have given you the confidence to create your first project using a Cricut! Happy Crafting!!!