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Making Cricut Stencils + A Fun Coffee Sign

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Making Cricut stencils opens up a whole new world of possibilities with your Cricut crafts! While I made a coffee sign to teach you how to make stencils with your Cricut, you can also use this for clothing, glass etching, and anything really! Find more things to make with Cricut here. This post contains affiliate links.


making cricut stencils final images on a green background

When my friend got married a few months ago, I needed to make her a coffee sign for her new home to celebrate our shared love of the magical elixir.

However, instead of using vinyl like I did with this playroom sign, I decided to give making Cricut stencils a go. The result was the ability to paint it so that it looks real. It almost looks like I stained it – but would you believe that I used cheap acrylic paints?!

In this post:

I accomplished this effect by stenciling it in darker browns than the base wood plaque. I also added some effects to the original Cricut Access design. I simply blended in some lighter brown in the top right and darker brown around the bottom left edges. I then added in some highlights.

Making Cricut stencils really opens you up to so many possibilities. While I love hand lettering and have made hand lettered signs using paint markers, It can be very time consuming to sketch the design, work out the layout, and then slowly layer on the letters. Using an Access image that I love made the design take minutes and stenciling it didn’t take long either. And the result is fabulous: professional, polished, and so fun.

The advantages of making Cricut stencils

There are loads of advantages to making Cricut stencils over just using vinyl as is.

Using your Cricut opens you up to loads of possibilities. Using it to make stencils allow you to get professional-looking painted results on your custom creation without breaking the bank.

Stenciled creations also tend to be more durable. When the paint absorbs into the porous surface, it becomes part of it, allowing for much better longevity and more reliable results.

While there is a huge range of color options available in vinyl and HTV, it simply can’t ever compete with paint finishes. And even more so, with paint, you can customize and do whatever you’d like. Once you have a stencil in place, it’s easy to get creative without worrying about ruining the integrity of the design.

There are two disadvantages to making Cricut stencils over applying vinyl or HTV. The first: the additional steps. With stencils, once you apply the vinyl, instead of your creation being complete, you still need to paint, sometimes a few layers, with dry time in between, and then remove the vinyl.

The second disadvantage is waste. If you’re concerned about additional material in the landfills, you may prefer to explore reusable stencil options, which will be an even more eco-friendly option than simply applying vinyl.

Which material is best for making Cricut stencils?

While I chose removable vinyl for this project, I figured I’d take a moment to explore your options and the benefits of each.

Removable Vinyl

I personally have always used removable vinyl for my stencils, particularly in colors I didn’t really need or have too much of. In this way, it serves as a stash buster, and since paint is usually budget-friendly, it can save you money on your crafts as well.

I’m used to working with vinyl, and working with materials you know tends to produce more foolproof results. Removable vinyl does stick very well, so it’s reliable and won’t shift at all. You can have elaborate stencils with intricate designs that don’t need to be interconnected. This is because you’ll be using transfer tape to move your stencil from backing to project.

Stencil Vinyl – regular and smart

Cricut does have a new stencil film available – I haven’t tried it yet though. It’s available in both regular and Smart Vinyl so you can save on time as well and create mat-free stencils. The stencil vinyl is translucent, allowing you to see where you’re positioning it – a major advantage over removable vinyl.

I definitely hope to give Cricut’s new stencil vinyl a go in the near future!

Acetate

If you’re looking for a fully reusable stencil material, whether it’s to allow you to batch produce or to produce less waste, acetate is a fabulous option. I’ve used Cricut acetate sheets for costume making and love how easy it is to work with.

The biggest disadvantage is that it doesn’t stick. You either need to hold it well in place, or use an adhesive. I recommend using a repositionable adhesive spray.

This does add a bit of a messier angle to making Cricut stencils.

Another technicality is that your design must be interconnected – you can’t have any floating parts on the inside, as it’s a single-piece stencil. Cricut Access does have some stencil fonts available, and all Cricut Joy card designs accommodate this, so there are still many possibilities!

Kraft board

Cardboard stencils aren’t a win for many, but I’ve used them and loved them in the past. You can make your own using Kraft board. They are the most eco friendly option but are not fully reusable and you can’t see through them for easier positioning. Your pieces must also be connected for this.

What you need for making Cricut stencils for a coffee sign

Cricut materials

Craft Supplies

How to make a stenciled coffee sign

Find the design for this sign right here!

1. Measure your sign. When setting up your image in Design Space, make sure to make it the width you’d like it to fall on the sign, with generous margins to make it look nice.

2. Load your roll with the roll holder (or use a brayer or scraper to apply it to the green mat) and cut your design with the fine point blade.

3. Remove the design from the roll using the roll holder leaving half an inch or so of a margin. (If not using the roll holder, I recommend using a trimmer to cut it to size).

4. Use your trimmer to cut it to size width-wise, leaving half an inch or so margin around your design.

5. Remove the parts of the design that you want to paint in. You’re weeding the opposite of what you normally would.

6. Cut a piece of transfer tape and peel back a bit. Apply the end to the end of your removable vinyl. Use the XL Scraper to move it along and pull the backing away, removing air bubbles as you go.

7. Peel back your backing. Don’t pull up and away or you’ll lose parts. Pull back flat (or close to flat) against the vinyl.

8. Gently place your removable vinyl on your wooden plaque, making sure you like the positioning. Use the XL scraper to make sure it’s attached well and remove air bubbles. Remove the transfer tape by pulling it back (again, not up).

9. Apply some of your middle tone of paint to your palette and dip your brush. Dab onto the palette to remove excess.

10. Apply in small, gentle circular motions to your design.

11. Proceed to blend some of the darker color into the bottom left of your design and just a bit of the lightest into the top right. Don’t make it too even or consistent – let it retain that organic look. Keep the paint relatively thin and light. You don’t need too much to get a gorgeous sharp look.

12. Use a thin brush to add highlights. It would have been more realistic to add it to the top right corner of the letters. Oops.

13. When you’re happy, remove the vinyl using a weeding tool.

14. If you’d like, you can fine tune with the detail brush at this stage. I added more highlights and refined the ones I had added before.

15. Seal with a finishing spray if you’d like.

You’ve learned all about making a Cricut stencil and nailed how to make a coffee sign! What will you be stenciling next? Comment below!

Loved this? Check out my story featuring Cricut project ideas for beginners.

How to Make a Stenciled Coffee Sign

How to Make a Stenciled Coffee Sign

Using Cricut stencils to make a coffee sign

Instructions

    1. Measure your sign. When setting up your image in Design Space, make sure to make it the width you'd like it to fall on the sign, with generous margins to make it look nice.

    2. Load your roll with the roll holder (or use a brayer or scraper to apply it to the green mat) and cut your design with the fine point blade.

    3. Remove the design from the roll using the roll holder leaving half an inch or so of a margin. (If not using the roll holder, I recommend using a trimmer to cut it to size).

    4. Use your trimmer to cut it to size width-wise, leaving half an inch or so margin around your design.

    5. Remove the parts of the design that you want to paint in. You're weeding the opposite of what you normally would.

    6. Cut a piece of transfer tape and peel back a bit. Apply the end to the end of your removable vinyl. Use the XL Scraper to move it along and pull the backing away, removing air bubbles as you go.

    7. Peel back your backing. Don't pull up and away or you'll lose parts. Pull back flat (or close to flat) against the vinyl.

    8. Gently place your removable vinyl on your wooden plaque, making sure you like the positioning. Use the XL scraper to make sure it's attached well and remove air bubbles. Remove the transfer tape by pulling it back (again, not up).

    9. Apply some of your middle tone of paint to your palette and dip your brush. Dab onto the palette to remove excess.

    10. Apply in small, gentle circular motions to your design.

    11. Proceed to blend some of the darker color into the bottom left of your design and just a bit of the lightest into the top right. Don't make it too even or consistent - let it retain that organic look. Keep the paint relatively thin and light. You don't need too much to get a gorgeous sharp look.

    12. Use a thin brush to add highlights.

    13. When you're happy, remove the vinyl using a weeding tool.

    14. If you'd like, you can fine tune with the detail brush at this stage. I added more highlights and refined the ones I had added before.

    15. Seal with a finishing spray if you'd like.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Pinterest

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