I'm sharing with you how to make a stencil with Cricut today. If you're embarking on this project for the first time, this tutorial will walk you through the basic steps.
When you first get any cutting machine, I know how daunting of a project it can be to just get started on doing something new. Trust me, I've been there. I always hype myself up for the learning curve for learning new software, but Cricut Design Space is actually really easy to use. The easiest way to get started is to just dive on it.
One of the first projects that I made with my new Cricut Explore Air 2 was a stencil to personalize some home decor. I really wanted to create a Christmas tree collar box with our family name stenciled on the side of it.
This was the VERY FIRST project I made with my Cricut Explore Air 2, and I think it turned out amazing.
Having a Cricut machine has been an amazing addition to my craft room. You can make reusable stencils and even one-time use stencils for any type of project that you can dream up.
The tutorial I'm going to share with you can also be used to make any type of sign. Popular ones include that modern, farmhouse flair which include the words Grocery (for your pantry), Gather or Family (for your living spaces), your family name (for your master bedroom), welcome signs, and so much more. The beauty of a Cricut machine is that you can use their preloaded fonts OR you can upload your own fonts for Cricut!
The project is SO EASY, I am sure you'll be able to use this stencil tutorial on a multitude of projects in the future.
Make Stencils with Cricut Machine
One of my favorite projects to make with a stencil made from a Cricut machine is home decor! I absolutely love making personalized phrases and things branded with our family name with wall decor.
What types of stencils can be made with cutting and plotter machines?
You can create words, phrases, patterns or shapes that are cut into thicker plastic material to make a stencil. This stencil can be used to paint on top of a surface.
Ideas for using stencils include painting or staining on surfaces like walls (like a bathroom wall pattern) or wood (like a farmhouse sign).
There are SO MANY options for using stencils. Here's a few photos of some of my FAVORITE projects that I've made for our home using stencils.
Most of these are made with one-time use stencils, but you can also use a different type of heavier vinyl to make multi-use stencils.
Stencils can be made with a few different products like contact paper, wax paper, and a host of other homemade tips and tricks I'm sure you'll find on Pinterest.
What is Cricut Design Space and how does it work?
Design Space is software for your Cricut machine specifically. It's a browser based cloud software which means that it works from any computer or device that has an internet connection, which is pretty cool! (Think of how Gmail works, it's accessed via your browser without the need to load it onto your computer to bog it down.)
Using a new software can seem pretty daunting, so I'm going to show you how to make a REALLY EASY stencil with this tutorial.
Biggest Tip: Keep Your Design in the Same Spot Using Cricut Design Space
Figuring out how to ensure that the design remained in THE SAME SPOT during the cutting phase proved to be tricky initially. This was one of the biggest lessons learned during my half hour learning curve that you could definitely avoid with this trick. It was SUCH a simple trick, I could have kicked myself for not realizing it sooner.
Generally, when you send it to "Make It", Design Space ensures that you are making the most efficient use of your vinyl (so you can save in material), so it will arrange it in a way that makes the most sense to save space as a default.
For a stencil, you typically want to keep the design in the same spot it was designed. In the bottom left corner of Design Space, there is an "Attach" feature that you'll need to use.
The way you do this is by selecting the entire design, then click on "Attach". This allows you to group the layers together and be able to keep the design intact.
Cricut Design Space ensures that when you are cutting, you are using the most EFFICIENT most of your material in order to reduce waste. Just knowing that this icon is available and knowing what it does will save you a tremendous amount of finagling.
How to Make Your First Stencil Design in Cricut Software
This is going to be a very SIMPLE tutorial because I want you to see how truly easy it is to get started with your first project.
Supplies to Make Your Own Stencil Design in Cricut Software
Step by Step On How to Design Your Stencil in Cricut Design Space
Step 1 - Creating Text in Design Space
First, you'll want to open Cricut Design Space and start clicking on the TEXT icon to write the text.
What's really cool about Cricut Design space is that there is a drop down where you can see ALL of the fonts in a quick drop down window. Click on "System" to see all the system loaded fonts that you have on your computer.
Here's a big tip: While you can use the drop down to create a text-based design in Cricut Design Space, if you want to use an awesome FREE tool to see what your font that you have on your computer looks like, check out WordMark.It to see ALL of your system fonts before deciding on a design. You can even put your own words to see what it would look like.
Note: If you want to download the template, scroll down to submit your email to be sent to your inbox!
Step 2 - Add Additional Design
Since this is a pretty basic tutorial, the one I'm going to show you will use some of the default available shapes in Design Space. In my scenario, I used a rectangular leading dash. You can add a few other shapes to your design with little effort like a square, pentagon, triangle, circle, diamond, hexagon, octagon, heart, and star with little effort.
I went ahead and made the rectangular line between the "established in 2009" and copied and pasted the same line on the other side.
Step 2 - Resize Your Design
Measure the surface of the area in which you want to place your design on. Next, go back to Design Space and drag from one corner to the diagonal corner to select your entire design. Use the anchor point on the bottom left to drag it to the size that you want it to be.
Use the rulers to the top and left of the screen so that you understand the relative size to what you are dragging it out to.
Step 3 - Group Your Design Together
You'll want to move your design and align it exactly how you want it to be cut.
Next, you'll want to "group" your text together if you do not want it modified and adjusted separately.
Step 4 - Use the Attach Feature
This is the KEY to making a stencil with Cricut software. Using the attach button (the icon with the paperclip on the bottom right) will allow you to not only group, but allow the design to remain intact and together when cutting.
This is especially important for stencil design! See the image above!
Step 5 - Make It
Once you are ready to make it, click on "Make It". Choose the setting for vinyl (or whatever material you are using to make the stencil), put your vinyl onto the Cricut Grip Cutting mat and cut it out with the right settings.
Step 6 - Weed the Letters Out
Next, I weeded and removed the stencil parts I didn't need.
I used transfer tape to remove the remaining design onto the transfer tape. In the image below, I finished weeding and now am adding transfer tape to the actual stencil so that it becomes almost like a double sticker.
I then used the transfer tape to add the weeded stencil onto the wood that I stained previously. The wood color would actually be the color of the letters.
Step 7 - Paint or Spray Onto Surface and Attach Stencil
The next step is to paint over the surface. I picked out a paint color and used my homemade chalk paint recipe and painted over the stencil.
Step 8 - Weed Out the Painted Over Design
After letting the stencil dry for 24 hours, I took a weeder and carefully removed the letters on the painted over wood.
In some of the sharp edges, I peeled extra paint off so that it provided that rustic, vintage look I was going for. Make sure you carefully do this so that you don't peel too much paint off.
Here's what the letters look like when they have sharp corners.
Here's the finished product with the rustic touch:
Now, I'm ready to put the homemade, personalized Christmas tree collar together! How cute does that look?
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you make stencils with Cricut machine?
Yes, you can make both multi-use or one-time use Cricut stencils. All you need to do is make sure you do is buy the right type of plastic stencil vinyl in order to use with the machine.
How do you make letter stencils with a Cricut?
You can make letter stencils with a Cricut machine. All you need to do is make sure that you know what size you need as well as the font you'd want to cut! Create a square as big as you want the letters, and then cut it with the Cricut machine.
I hope this helps you in your journey to creating your first stencil. I absolutely loved using the Cricut Air 2 because it was so easy to use as well as intuitive.
There are so many projects that you can make with a Cricut. I have done a lot of personalized wall art that have turned out beautifully for our home. In addition, I know that during homecoming weeks for spirit week, I make a ton of shirts for my kids as well as for events like 100 days of school, Thanksgiving, themed school days, Valentine's Day, and Saint Patrick's day.
Related: How to Make a Christmas Tree Collar
I hope you found this post helpful in making your first Cricut project!
Other Cricut posts you might love
If you loved this review on the Cricut Explore Air 2, you might also enjoy these other posts on my Cricut machine below!
- What is a Cricut Machine
- All About the Cricut Joy
- Cricut Shirt Maker
- Cricut Infusible Ink Project Ideas
- Cricut Infusible Ink Pens Tutorial
- How to Use Cricut Markers and Pens
- Make Earrings with Cricut
- How to Make Pantry Labels with Cricut Joy