Cricut Beginner Level Craft
This fun Halloween sign looks cute and complicated, but it is a pretty simple Cricut project and a great way to start working with Cricut vinyl. I will take you step by step through the process and when you are done, you will have a better understanding of how to make things with your Cricut and a spooky sign to add to your Halloween decor.
For this craft, you will need a Cricut cutting machine. You can use the Explore or the Maker. You will also need at least one 12X12 medium adhesive cutting mat, a Cricut weeding tool, the Scraper and some scissors.
- A board for a sign. I had a piece of masonite left over from another project. It is about 39 inches long and 7 inches wide. You can use any size sign just remember that the bigger the sign, the bigger your letters will need to be so try not to go bigger than 12 inches wide and about 7 feet tall. I painted my sign white so you can see the letters, but you can paint it any color.
- Adhesive vinyl in Halloween colors. I bought a multi-color pack on Amazon and it had a sheet of black, orange, green and purple. Note – If you paint your sign board a dark color, choose vinyl that will show up against it. There is even a Glow in the Dark Vinyl that would be fun for this project.
Creating your Design
This is probably the most intimidating part for many beginners, but Cricut makes it easy. Log into Cricut Design Space. You should have set up your account when you first connected your Cricut cutter. If you do not have an account, you can go here and register. The account is free, but if you are planning to use your Cricut more than 1-2 times a month, I recommend a Cricut Access Membership. With a Cricut Access Membership, you get access to over 500 fonts and over 100,000 images. You also get a 10% discount and free shipping on everything you buy from Cricut.com.
Once you are signed in to Cricut, go to Cricut Design Space and select New Project. This opens a blank grid for you to create your design. We are going to start with the letters. Click on the Text button in the left hand menu. This opens a test box. Type the Letter W.
Now, lets change the style or font of the letter to better fit a Halloween theme. At the top of the Design Space, select font. You can scroll through the fonts and see which one you like. Most are free, but some fonts do cost money. If you have a Cricut Access Membership, more font styles are unlocked for you.
I typed in the word Spooky in the font search and found this font that I thought was perfect.
Now you just have to make the rest of your letters. In the upper right hand corner of Design Space, there is a Duplicate button. Click on your W and then click on Duplicate. Now you have two W’s.
Double click on one of the W’s and open up the text box. Change the W to an E.
Keep repeating this step until you have all the letters to spell out Welcome. You can move your letters around by clicking and dragging them. You can arrange them like they will look on the sign.
Now lets find some spooky images add to the sign. On the left hand menu in Design Space, select Images. This will take you Cricut’s image library. Most of the images are free and if you have Cricut Access Membership, even more images are available in your subscription
In the search, type Halloween. This will filter the images to just those associated with Halloween. Now you can start selecting your favorites. as you click on each design, you will see it show up at the bottom of your screen. When you are done, you click Insert Images to add the images to your project. Note – If you are a beginner, try to pick simple one or two color designs.
I choose some spiders, a pumpkin, a witches hat, a raven and a ghost. Pick as many as you like and then you can see what works and delete the rest.
Now is the fun part. you can pick on of your images and place it on or near a letter so it looks like what you want it to look like on your sign. To move the images, click and drag. If your image is too big or too small, you can resize it by clicking on the corner of the image and dragging it in to shrink and out to grow.
Once you have all your images and letters matched up, its time to check your colors so you are efficiently using the vinyl you chose for this project. Click on each letter. in the upper menu above Font, there is place to select the color of your letter. Try to match the best you can to your vinyl colors. This will help you later when you are putting it together. Repeat for each letter, making it whatever color you want. Note – Cricut uses these colors to sort your letters and images into the different mats to cut.
Now that you have your letter colors selected, lets make sure your images are using the same colors. It the upper right corner, click on Color Sync. This will show you what colors your images are. If there is one thing i have found out, there are many colors of black in the Cricut world. If you leave these colors as is, Cricut will put them on separate mats even though all you want to cut one color of black, or orange or green. This is where you fix that. Drag your shapes into the color section that you used for your letters. For example, I have an orange W and M. I want to make my pumpkin in the same orange so I am going to drag my pumpkin into the same color box as the W and M. Drag anything you want black into on black color box. When you are finished, you should have the same number of color box as you have colors of vinyl.
Now that you have matched your images to your letters, we need to group them together to make it easier to make them the correct size for your sign. TO do this, click on the letter, hold the shift key and click on the image that goes with the letter. This should put a box around them. Note – on the right hand side if you click back from Color Sync to Layers, you will see a listing of all your letters and images. The letter and image you selected should both be highlighted.
While your letter and images are both selected go to upper right hand menu and click Group. Now your letter and your image are joined together so you can move them around as a set and change the size of both of them together. Repeat this for each letter and its matching image.
Now for the math. We need to make sure that our letters will fit our sign and not be too big or too small. My sign is 39 inches long and 7 inches wide. There are 7 letters in the word Welcome. When I divide 39 by 7, I get 5 and some leftover. This means that each of my letters cannot be more than 5 inches high. Because the width of my sign is 7 inches, I do not want my letters more than 6 inches wide.
Click on each of your letters and image groups and resize until you are close to the size you need. You can use the grid and rulers on the top and right side of design space or you can use the size at the top and just enter your height OR width. Do this for each letter and image set until they are all at the proper height/width.
Cutting your Design
Now that your design is ready, you can start cutting it. Click Make It in the upper right hand corner. All of your letters and images are now sorted by color. Start with the first color. Place your vinyl on your cutting mat with the color side facing out.
Choose Vinyl on your Cricut. Use the dial on the Explore or select vinyl on the screen on the Maker
Feed your mat into the Cricut by pushing the feed button (it should be flashing) on your machine. Once your mat is set in the machine, push the Cricut button (it should be flashing) to start cutting.
As each mat is completed, you can push the feed button to unload the mat. Peal the cut vinyl off the mat and put your next color on the mat. Feed the new vinyl into the machine and press the Cricut button to start cutting.
Repeat for each color.
Weeding your Vinyl
Weeding is the process of removing the vinyl you don’t want and leave what you do want. Note – your design likely did not use the full sheet of vinyl. You can cut off the part of the vinyl that is unused and save it for another project.
Take your weeding tool and separate the vinyl from the backing. Slowly and carefully pull the vinyl off. It is very sticky so make sure you don’t lay it back down or it may stick to the parts you want to keep. Once you pull off the big piece of vinyl, your letters should be left on the backing. Use your weeding tool to remove the centers of the curly parts and the middle of the O.
Now you can cut your letters and images into separate pieces.
Applying the Vinyl to Your Board
Place a ruler or tape measure on your board and measure where your first letter should go. Measure down 1/2-1 inch from the top and then add the height of your W and draw a light pencil mark. This is where the bottom of your letter should go.
Cut a piece of transfer paper the size of your W. Peal the back off the transfer paper.
Carefully place the transfer paper sticky side down on top of your W. Go slow and try to apply it smoothly over your W.
Take your smoother and rub the transfer paper so that the letter underneath will stick to the transfer paper when you pull the letter off the backing. Once you feel like you rubbed it enough, peal it off. Try not to touch the back of you letter or you may remove the stickiness.
Line up the bottom of the W with the line you drew and make it as straight as you can. Or, if you feel straight lines are not for you , you can tilt your letter a bit. Carefully lay the image down without any wrinkles. You can pull it up a little to move it, but not much.
Press your letter down. Use your scraper to press the image to your board. Now you can peal up the transfer paper. You can reuse the transfer paper for 2 or 3 more letters.
Go ahead and repeat the process for the rest of the letters. Once all your letters are on your board, you can start applying your Halloween images on top or around your letters. Its the same process only these are a little smaller. For my W, I added a spider hanging off a spider web. I just lined up the top of the web with the edge of my W and pressed it down.
Finish up your sign by added a hook on the back to hang it up or just stand it up and add some Halloween decor.