How to Use the Cricut Maker
I don’t really believe in New Year’s resolutions, but I do believe in setting both audacious and attainable goals. The new year is a great time for that because it signifies a fresh start and a new chance to grow into the best version of yourself. (However, a new day does the same thing, so if you fail one day, just begin again the next!) As I head into 2020 I’ve got several goals, both personal and in business. Years ago I hosted wine & design events at my house once a month, and a bunch of girlfriends would come over and we’d create something fun together. At that time in my life I still focused on the big projects in our home, but I made time for the smaller creative projects that just fed my soul. Over the last three or four years, I’ve definitely gotten away from that, and as 2019 came to a close I reflected on just how much I missed craft time. I’m making it my mission to bring smaller craft projects back into my life this year and moving forward, and I’ve got a few ways in which I’ll be doing that. At the end of the year, I reached out to Cricut about partnering with them in 2020 and was thrilled that they said yes, and sent me a machine as well as some supplies to get me started. Today, I am introducing the Cricut Maker with a simple door decal project I created. I started with this as my first project because I am totally new to using a Cricut and I wanted to just dip my toes a bit before I got too fancy.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Cricut. The opinions and text are all mine.
Why Cricut Maker?
Before I share the step by step process for creating this door vinyl, I wanted to talk a little bit about why I wanted the Cricut Maker. As I mentioned, I really wanted to tap into my creativity and craftiness as I head into this next decade of my life. Years ago, I had another cutting machine, but it was a pain to use, the software it came with was challenging, and because it was not super simple for me to use, I simply didn’t. It sat in my closet for years until I moved last year. The Cricut Maker is lightyears away from that machine and those days… this one pairs with blue tooth, so I don’t need to connect it to my computer. I can even use my design space on my phone and create projects there to send to the machine. Mind blown, right? Secondly, the maker has SO many capabilities including cutting or embossing leather, cutting wood, cutting felt or other fabrics, and of course vinyl, iron-ons, and infusible ink. There are so many options with the Maker that I knew it would push me to be more creative and continue to learn new skills. I’ve already cut felt and used infusible ink, and I know that if I can do these things, you can, too. The idea that it can cut wood really appealed to me as well because I’d love to create fun things for our home and I am a huge fan of black and white paired with wood. As I work with it more in the future, I know I am going to learn so much about what else it can do, and I am really excited to share that with you. Now let’s dive into my inaugural project.
Choosing a Quote
After I created this project, I read an article that talked about the “controversial trend that has designers cringing,” and guess what it was? Door decals. Well then, consider me controversial because I definitely still love it and had a lot of fun coming up with what to put on my front door. I wanted something that would make a statement and show a little humor so whoever approached our door would know that we are a house full of people who don’t take ourselves too seriously. I came across the words, “You didn’t come this far to only come this far,” and knew it was exactly what my door needed. To be honest, coming up with what to put on my door was the hardest part of this entire project!
Creating a Design
Let me take you through the easy step by step process that I used to create this piece. I’ve saved it in my design space in case you want to duplicate this project for your own home. If you are new to Cricut like I am, I’m literally going to take you through every step of the process because I want this to be as easy to follow as possible. If you aren’t new to Cricut, you can probably just skip all of the steps, and maybe even teach me a thing or two. 😉
After choosing the quote, I measured the panel on my door (it’s 8″ across) so that I could make sure to design my piece to fit right into the inset panel. Then I headed over to my design space to put my quote into my design.
I typed my words in 4 lines total so that the letters would be large enough to read but it would be no wider than 8″. (You can easily adjust size after you’ve typed it all in.) The font that I chose is Cricut’s Four Seasons Home Decor because I loved the simple lines, somewhat modern yet casual vibe. To be honest, there are what seems like a kajillion available fonts in design space, and it took me some time to choose the one I loved most.
Once I had my words all typed out into 4 lines, I adjusted the sizing so that the quote would measure 7″ across total. I then placed it in the corner of the design space so that I would waste less vinyl when I cut it. You do want to make sure to not put it right on the corner and give it at least 1/2″ space.
Cutting My Design
When you set up design space it asks what machine you’re using so it automatically knows what machine it will be working with. Make sure you select the correct machine!
Once I was satisfied with my design, I was ready to cut. Cricut makes this process super easy and generates a preview to ensure it looks as you want it.
Secondly, it will prompt you to select your material. They truly make this process so smooth, so you don’t even have to think much about it. As you can see, I selected vinyl. It’s really important that you select the right material because that’s how your machine will know just how deep to make your cut. With vinyl, it cuts through the vinyl, but NOT through the backing which is essential!
After selecting the material in design space, I selected a piece of 12″x12″ black Cricut vinyl and placed it on my sticky mat, using my scraper to smooth out any air bubbles. I used the light grip mat which worked well, but standard grip would also work for this project. (I definitely recommend getting the set of 3 mats which will suit many of your needs.)
Once it was smoothed out, it looked like this on the mat, and was ready to load into the machine.
I loaded it into the machine as shown:
At this point, design space is ready and all you have to do is press go on the machine, and let it do all the work while you sit back and sip your coffee. The Cricut Maker is highly efficient and cut it relatively quickly.
After it was finished cutting, I unloaded the mat from the machine. You can see below that it cut out my lettering. You can also see a stray snowball dog fur. Oops.
After cutting my vinyl, I needed to prepare it for placement on my front door.
I removed the cut vinyl from my mat with its backing still 100% in tact. As I mentioned this is imperative because the backing will hold all of your lettering in its place.
Next, I trimmed off the excess around the borders to make the piece a little smaller to work with.
Then I peeled the excess vinyl that wasn’t part of my design off of the backing, starting in a corner.
After that, I continued to gently peel until all that was left were my letters plus their “innards” (like the centers of the As and Os.)
To remove those sections inside the letters, I used a wedding tool from my basic tool kit. This guy will help get under that vinyl and pull it up; this process is called “weeding.”
Next, I needed a vinyl transfer paper cut to the same size as my piece I simply laid my piece on top, marked the transfer paper, and cut it to size.
Once it was cut to size, I peeled the backing off of the transfer paper (which is tacky) and pressed the transfer paper onto my vinyl design front, working my way down from a corner.
After it was pressed on by hand, there were air bubbles as you can see below.
The scraper is perfect for getting rid of those air bubbles and making sure that your transfer sheet is thoroughly adhered to the vinyl.
Finally, I was ready to place the vinyl on my door! I know it seems that there are so many steps, but it truly was a quick process. I just wanted to break it down so much for you because I am approaching this from the position of someone who had never used a Cricut Maker, let alone a Cricut at all, and I am assuming some of you are in the same boat I was in.
Before adhering your design, make sure the wall or door you are applying it to is clean and dry. Now, if you were applying your vinyl to the wall, I would strongly recommend using a ruler, level, and pencil to draw light guide lines that you could later remove. I was placing my vinyl on a door panel which basically had built in guide lines as you can see. Below, I was placing it just to make sure it was in fact going to work in this spot and would line up easily.
After ensuring it would in fact be perfect, I peeled the white vinyl backing off, careful not to take any of my lettering with it.
At this point, I was left with the clear transfer sheet adhered to my vinyl lettering. I then applied my design to my door panel, with the sheet still attached.
Once again, the scraper came in super handy as I was able to press the vinyl into the door to make sure it stayed in place.
Finally, the moment of truth was here. I peeled the transfer sheet away….
…and voila! I was left with a beautiful vinyl perfectly placed on my door. “You didn’t come this far to only come this far.” Darn straight!
With my New Year’s pom pom & disco ball wreath, I felt like this quote appropriate. It is just the kick in the pants I needed to inspire and motivate myself.
You can see below that I have taken down the Christmas decor, but I left my snowman wreath up because I feel like he’s pretty winter-friendly, and I may have some plans for his not-so-distant future. 😉
Anyhow, I am really excited about the opportunities for creativity this year ahead! I would love to hear what kinds of projects you guys would be interested in learning or seeing created here. Drop me a comment and let’s make this our most creative year yet!