Have you seen the new Cricut Maker?
I started looking into the Cricut line over the summer. Of course I’m always intrigued by anything crafty, but I wanted to find out exactly what these machines could do and how they might support and enhance my DIY options.
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Cricut has been around for a while, but I jumped into its world at a really fun time because the new Maker machine release was only weeks away. The more I researched and read, the more I was convinced I needed a Maker!
Once available, I bought a machine and jumped into a Creative’s dream!
Meet My Cricut Maker
One of my favorite things about the Maker is the simplicity of its sleek design: just four operation buttons.
Those four simple buttons, however, hold the potential for thousands of creative projects!
I don’t know about you, but I can easily get overwhelmed by too many options. In fact, here’s a “not so secret” story about my Maker. After I bought it, it sat unopened for days. It wasn’t because I lacked excitement about it. It was because I felt overwhelmed and wasn’t sure where to even start.
I knew I owned a machine that had capabilities that could totally transform my DIY game, but I just couldn’t get off “go” and actually do something with it. I was stuck, thinking it would take way more than a little Pocket Time to even get started.
A Kick Start
A few weeks ago when I asked what your greatest DIY challenges are, I got a super fun email from a reader who shared a great story. She told me that her greatest challenge was “being afraid to just go ahead and do it!” She also told me that she has several nice power tools that she has never even used.
I thought of my Cricut Maker and when I wrote back, I told her about it and issued a challenge: we’d both get busy with our tools and make something within a month!
If that challenge weren’t enough, about a week later I received an email from a friend who knew I had the Maker and asked if I’d make a very specific stencil for her.
Learning the Cricut Maker
With a focused project goal, I got the push I needed to finally jump in. I learned a lot of things about Cricut, the Maker, and Design Space.
If you aren’t familiar with how the Maker works, here’s a quick rundown for you:
Although a Cricut Maker has only 4 operating buttons, it has a whole “brain” on the inside. The buttons instruct the machine to turn on or off, load or release the design mat, cut the project, or pause an operation.
But the real work of the machine is within the free Design Space software, paired with your creativity! By connecting the Maker to your smart phone, tablet, or computer, and working through the software, you design exactly what you want, and the Cricut Maker produces.
After I made my friend’s stencil, I decided to make another one for a simple fall project: these easy stenciled blocks. They’re simple to make, a fun addition to your fall decor collection, and a perfect project to show you how easy it is to design and make a stencil with Cricut Maker.
How to Make a Stencil with Cricut Maker
To make the stencil, you’ll need a stencil blank. These Folk Art blanks come in 12 x 12 sheets that fit perfectly in the Maker.
Design Space has several design options, but for this project, we’ll use Text. It operates much like a word processing program, so you simply type in your text, then choose the font and size you want.
How to Make Easy Stenciled Blocks
With our prepared stencil, we’re ready to make our project!
Here’s what you’ll need to make the blocks:
- 4 wood blocks – 2 x 6 x 6
- FALL stencil
- stencil brushes
- craft paint
- sandpaper – 150 grit
For the blocks, I used an 8-foot, 2 x 6 board and cut four 6″ pieces from one end. It was just a few dollars at Lowe’s and there’s enough left to make 12 more blocks (bless your friends! 🙂 ).
Next, sand the cut edges.
For the background, use 2 colors of craft paint, then distress the top layer. I’m using neutrals this season, so I chose Waverly’s Hazelnut and Plaster.
First, give the blocks a base coat of Hazelnut, and when it’s dry, top it with Plaster.
After the top coat dries, distress the blocks with sandpaper to get a peek at the base color and to create a more aged look.
Finally, add a stenciled letter to each block.
To keep the colors light and blended, I used the mottle technique with Curry, Celery, Mineral, and Ballet Slipper.
Remember with stenciling that the key to getting a smooth finish that doesn’t bleed under the edges of the stencil is to offload most of the paint before you start. Think of it as “dry pouncing”. 🙂
Using the Text feature in Design Space is just one of the ways you can create your own project using the Cricut Maker.
- Templates allow you to visualize the size and placement of a project on more than 100 items from aprons to yoga pants. Think backpacks, candles, doors, jars, pillows, tables, windows… By using templates, you can see how your project will look on your item before you create it.
- Projects are perfect for when you want to get your hands into something creative, but don’t have a specific idea. It’s like a craft project shopping trip right on your computer! Choose from over 25 categories of projects and get a complete list of project details, materials you’ll need, and directions for preparing, cutting, and assembling your project pieces.
- Images contains more than 60,000 images you can choose from within 36 categories and 24 brands. If you’ve got a specific image in mind for a project, you’re sure to find it here!
- Shapes allows you the option of overlaying 9 basic geometric shapes or score lines onto your project.
- Upload gives you the option of using your own images, adding limitless potential for your creativity.
I’m just getting started with the Maker, but as you can see, there’s so much more it can do! I’ll have more Maker projects to share, so stick around to catch the next one!
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