Learning the Cricut Ropes

Publié par Vogue Mahone le

Wow, this whole Cricut thing is a MOOD, y'all. Like it's own little universe. I had NO idea there was this whole sub-culture of crafty people. I *think* I've so far avoided tumbling down the rabbit-hole, but I see the appeal… There is some fun stuff going on!

Okay, I should explain what a Cricut is really quickly? Ok - it's essentially a computerized cutting machine for the home crafter. And it's weirdly pronounced like the bug. Their mascot is obvs a cricket and the little cricket figurines seem highly sought-after.  

Anyhow, babes are finding some awesomely creative ways to use their Cricut Makers or Cricut Explore Air II (the lite version that doesn't do quite as much but still is pretty cool.)

The Cricuts can draw as well as cut, and can do handwritten fonts (hello pretty new handwriting) and cuts everything from silk to thin veneer chipboard stuff.

I am interested in using it for costuming, but why not check out what it can do? You never know...

(Not that I need any more projects to start! 😂 I could make a list but I’d invariably get excited about one of them and poof! off I go!)

I have so many projects going, some for pleasure, but most are for the business. Knowing what to make in these weird times... I really don't think anyone has the answer. So many of these projects just are not as in demand as they were before, (LED pasties have understandably become less popular without live performances…) and so in casting about for the right way to show up creatively in this world, I’m keeping my options open. I still feel mid-pivot, sort of in the vulnerable part of a hinge. It's scary, scary, scary, but I have to believe that doing what I am best at is the ultimately the best thing. 

My masks are rad and I’m very proud of what I’ve accomplished, but at some point, masks are going to be far less popular, and then what? I am trying to find a way to stay afloat now and in the future, preferably to thrive!

So I’m making a variety of things to see what feels right for me and which skills are needed by my community.

I heard a great discussion the other day about how the only thing the artist gets to keep is the process of making the art, so I am trying hard to honour that and  to enjoy this hard-won, long-time-coming kind of time. (having various degrees of success with this.)

Today I’m working on some darling little hooks for my front door-area. With a new pupper in the house, I need spots to hang up his leash and collar, but hopefully something cute, because I am going to see it every day multiple times.

I found these little hooks with wooden plaques attached, and had an idea to underpin with black, and then reverse-stencil the words onto the plaque with chalky pink paint, and distress it a bit. Do people still even use chalk paint? I’m usually 5-6 years behind on trends, lol. 😆 Whatever, I like it.

So I painted them a flat black with generic craft paint. Then I created a stencil using Cricut Stencil Vinyl, but here’s where it gets tricky… This is the only way I can think to get the effect I want. I’m stencilling in reverse, kind of. I will end up with a stencil, but it’s the inner cut pieces I really want.

So first I cut the stencil with my Cricut Maker using the Fine Point Blade.

Then I reverse-weeded the stencil, taking up the big piece, carefully leaving the letters in place. This wass maddening, even to me. (Since my hyperfocus is legendary, this is significant.)

The effect I want is probably not worth it. One of them worked, one didn’t, so we will be able to see which design is more effective. #designnerd 🤓

(much later)

ok, what I wanted to make did not turn out at all, it looked more shabby than shabby-chic… 👎🏻

So instead, what I did was re-coat these plaques with more of the Chalked Paint in Blush Pink, and once dry, I taped down some blue painter’s tape to make a border across (which coincidentally helped me line up the stencil, lol.)

Then I tried cutting out my words using Cricut Premium Vinyl instead of the Stencil stuff, because reverse-stencilling requires more flexibility in the material, I think. It certainly worked better!

I increased the machine's cut pressure by 2 for the Premium Vinyl setting because my Fine-Point Blade wasn’t quite cutting through enough, even with increased pressure. I googled and the thing said to go into “Manage Custom Materials” and increase the default pressure by 2-4. I increased mine by 2, but I find that selecting “More” pressure makes for a cleaner weed. Not sure what's wrong with my new blade, but I understand they can be cleaned off by jabbing it into a tinfoil ball. It seemed to work!

I used Cricut Transfer Tape again. I have some Oracal stuff that was cheaper, but I read somewhere that the Cricut Vinyl, especially the glitter or holo stuff, works better with the Cricut transfer tape, and I would agree, based on this tiny project!

See, I’m learning so much already!

Okay, so after taping, I thought about painting over the reverse-space but then I remembered a rose gold metallic wax I had stashed away, and ended up with this:

I also coated the waxed area wth Sargent Acrylic Gloss. If you’re going to try it, make sure the base coat is dry before applying the vinyl and the wax, or you end up with a gummy mess #askmehowiknow

I’m pretty happy with how they look!

(much, much later)

Okay, I’ve been using the hooks for a couple of weeks and overall I like them! I don't love the hangers - the hooks have a tendency to jump off the wall at inopportune leash-getting times. Once I've decided if the hooks can stay, I'll figure out a more secure way to attach them to the wall.

I’m not typically super-big on adding words to things for the home, and that seems to be a big attraction for Cricut crafters, so we shall see if that rubs off on me. (Maybe it has a bit, already.)

Thanks for reading my little post! BTW, clicking on the links takes you to affiliate pages where I am given a consideration. No biggie. I don't link to anything I don't have direct info about, and I'll be straight with you!



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