There’s no better time to learn How to Make a Stencil With Cricut, as the trend to recycle and personalize items continues to grow during the cost of living crisis. Your Cricut machine is the ideal tool when it comes to making stencils, as it can take all the hard work out of the cutting process and ensure you always have a perfect, professional-looking stencil.
In this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps you need to create your own template and start turning your project dreams into reality. Stencils are designs cut into a material that are then overlaid onto a surface such as wood, fabric, or canvas. Paint or stain is applied over the stencil, and you have your design when the stencil is removed.
Stencils are really versatile and there are so many things you can do using them, including home decor items, wood signs, and wall art. Best of all, your Cricut machine is perfect for making stencils, as it can cut out intricate designs quickly. If you’re considering buying or upgrading your Cricut, check out our roundup of the best Cricut machines in 2022. The same process can be applied to other craft machines, like the best Brother ScanNCut machines.
In this tutorial I’ll show you how to make a basic stencil using just regular self-adhesive vinyl. Making a template may seem like a complicated idea, but in this article you’ll see how simple it really is.
Rachael is a regular craft and sewing writer for Creative Bloq, producing eye-catching and interesting writing, whether it’s the latest sewing machine review or a guide on how to get more out of your Cricut machine. She has also written craft articles for other media outlets including The Evening Standard, The Independent and TopTenReviews. A passionate seamstress and craftswoman, Rachael has great advice on all things Cricut.
How to Make a Stencil With Cricut: What You Need
Before you get started and begin making a stencil with Cricut, there are a few key kit pieces, tools, and materials you’ll need. When in doubt, take a look at our guide to the best Cricut materials and the best Cricut accessories. Below is everything I recommend you need to make professional stencils with Cricut.
- A Cricut machine: You can use any Cricut machine to make a stencil. For the best ones, read our Cricut Maker 3 review, our Cricut Explore 3 review, and our Cricut Joy review.
- A stencil surface: Stencils can be used on almost any surface. For this tutorial, I’m stamping an MDF box lid, but you can also use it on walls, fabric, canvas, wood, and more. Just keep in mind if the surface you are going to stencil on will work well with your paint or stain.
- Vinyl: You can use any type of self-adhesive vinyl to make stencils. If you want to make a reusable stencil, you’ll need to purchase a specific stencil vinyl sold by Cricut or craft plastic. But using regular vinyl is a great way to use up scraps or offcuts.
- A cutting mat: Unless you’re using smart materials, you’ll need a mat. I recommend a standard grip, as you need it strong enough to grip the vinyl, but not so strong that you can’t remove it.
- Weeding and scraper tool: You will need a good weeding tool to weed your design. You’ll also need a good scraper, as you’ll need to make sure there are no lumps or lumps in the vinyl when you transfer it.
- Paint, stain or pens: This depends on what your material of choice is. If you are going to paint wood, acrylic paint works best. For this tutorial, I used acrylic paint markers, which gave a nice clean finish with no bleeding or wiping. Make sure your choice of paint suits your fabric.
- Transfer tape: You will need to transfer your template onto your design, which is done with transfer tape. We recommend using Cricut transfer tape when using Cricut vinyl as it works much better. If you are using craft plastic then you won’t need the transfer tape, but you will need masking tape to hold it in place.
• You can get discounts on all these craft machines, materials and accessories at the official cricut store (opens in a new tab)
How to Make a Stencil With Cricut: Tutorial
01. set up your canvas
This will vary depending on what you are doing. Don’t forget if you are using smart materials then you are not limited by the dimensions of the mat and can cut up to 12 feet in one go, this is really handy if you are planning to make a banner. or sign If you need more information, we have a dedicated guide on how to use Cricut Smart Materials.
Now open Design Space and start creating your template design. It’s up to you how you choose to design your template, you can choose a design from the Cricut Access library, use an SVG file you’ve found online, or even use text to create your own template with your favorite font. (Use our guide to the best free SVG files for Cricut to learn more.)
For this tutorial, I’ll be using a design from Cricut Access. If you’d like to learn more about uploading your own images to Design Studio, check out our How to Print and Cut with Cricut tutorial for a step-by-step guide.
02. Add a box around your design
Once you’ve completed your design, click on the shapes element and add a box around your design. Since my finished product will be square, I chose a square box. This is because you will be removing the weeds inside the box as that will be the cutout for your template.
The next thing you’ll need to do is right-click on your box and select “send to back.” Your main design will come to the fore, so align it to the middle of the frame.
My main tip here would be to make the background shape a bit smaller than your workspace, then you can make sure your design fits perfectly. Also, have fun with the shapes. You could even make it a feature by painting around them so you have different elements in your finished design.
03. Attach your design
You don’t want your design to jump all over the page in the next step, so highlight your entire design and click attach. That will tie the entirety of your design together so you can move or resize it without having to deal with the individual elements. And that’s it, now let’s go to the cutting part.
04. Start the cutting process
Prepare your mat or insert your smart materials and get ready to start the cutting process. Make sure you choose the correct material you are cutting as this will ensure you get the correct cuts. Since you are using self-adhesive vinyl, you will not need to duplicate the image and the vinyl should be placed color side up.
05. Weed and apply transfer tape
Maybe it’s just me, but weeding the layout is my favorite part. Don’t forget that your wedding is inside the box, so you need to remove the negative pieces from your design. I would also recommend trimming the size of your design once you’ve removed the weeds so you have better control over their placement.
Next, you will need to apply the transfer tape.
Place the transfer tape sticky side down and use the scraper to transfer the vinyl from the stencil onto the tape. This is not a quick process, you really want to make sure to buff the transfer tape to make sure there are no bumps or wrinkles. If your design is very intricate or has floating pieces, make sure these have also been rubbed down properly to ensure they stick to the tape.
06. Place your design on the surface
Before you peel off the transfer tape, line it up on the surface of your project, so you know where you want it to sit. You may find it helpful to make a small mark on the surface to get the perfect fit.
Use your Cricut scraper to smooth the stencil vinyl onto your project area. Be sure to make sure it’s glued down, as you don’t want to risk it bleeding under the edges, especially when you’re about to start painting. You should be able to see the areas that are not glued on as there will often be wrinkles and bubbles, just continue to go over the area until smooth.
When you’re satisfied you’re done, peel off the transfer tape at a 45-degree angle and you’ll see the stencil vinyl sit on the project surface.
07. Start painting
Now is the time to be creative. Use your paint of choice with a stencil brush or sponge brush. Depending on the surface of your project, you may want to consider applying coats of paint. As I mentioned earlier, I used acrylic markers, they give the same result as regular paint, but it’s a much neater experience.
08. Let the paint dry and remove the stencil
Let your paint dry completely before removing your stencil. I know it’s tempting to just rip it off, but you don’t want to risk staining your paint, so step back, have a drink and let it dry in due time.
If you are very careful when removing the stencil, you may be able to put it back on the transfer tape and reuse the same stencil. Although self-adhesive vinyl is used, it tends to tear easily when removed. However, it’s a great way to use up any leftovers and trimmings.
When you have removed the stencil, you can seal your project with a clear sealer. I prefer to use a water based polyurethane as it gives a nice smooth finish.