I’m going to show you how I make a sign stencil with the Cricut Explore! We’ve had a run on babies over the past few months and this sign was a gift for one of them!
For this project I used the lid to a wine crate! The size and weight were perfect and I’m all about repurposing when possible. Of course you can use whatever you want, pallet wood, barn wood, plywood, MDF. And you can make whatever size you wish.
I flipped it over and used the back side as my stencil surface. I watered down gray acrylic paint and did a light wash of color. (Since Mom is known to enjoy some wine now and then, I left the back as is!)
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The next step is to create the stencil. I used my Cricut Explore. First the design. I chose a verse for my sign and logged into my Cricut Design Space account (the Cricut Explore website). I typed in my verse, selected the fonts and images, laid it all out and sized it to fit my board!
Once I was happy with my design, I cut some Oramask Stencil Film to size and applied it to the Cricut cutting mat. This stencil film is blue adhesive backed film with a white backing (like a label). Then I cut the stencil on the Cricut Explore!
The next step is to weed the stencil. Weeding is the process of taking a small tool and (in this case, since I am making a stencil) pulling the material cut “out” of the stencil, leaving the area open for stenciling.
Be sure to leave the center of the “o’s” and the little areas of the “e” and “a” in place so your letters are defined when you stencil. Don’t stress, if they lift off, just stick them back down!
The next step is to apply the transfer paper. The transfer paper (sometimes called transfer tape) is placed over your entire design and allows you to peel the backing off of your stencil without having your stencil stretch and distort. It also has grid lines, which are very helpful in the placement of your design. Just line up a grid line at the top or bottom of a sentence (in this case) and you will know its straight on the transfer paper. (The photo below is actually of the “placement step” but shows the transfer paper in place over the stencil entire stencil.)
The next step is to pull your design (all three layers at once–transfer paper, actual stencil (blue) and the stencil backing (white) off the mat in one piece. This can sometimes be a little tricky. I used a relatively new mat for this project and even though I stuck the sticky side all over my sweatshirt to make it a less sticky, the design was a little stubborn coming off and left some air bubbles. No worries. Just take your Cricut scraper and smooth the air bubbles out, starting in the middle and moving out to the sides.
Now it’s time to place your stencil onto your painted board. I used a level, across the bottom of the letters in the first row, and a ruler and painter’s tape to ensure that the stencil was level and evenly spaced from top to bottom and side to side.
Once I was satisfied with the positioning of the stencil I added more painter’s tape across the top to hold the stencil in place then peeled the backing off the stencil (white) slowly while smoothing it down. Check for level across the top again and then use your scraper tool to smooth out any bubbles and to make sure you have good adhesion to the board. Sorry there is no photo of me peeling off the stencil back, but I only have two hands and I needed them both!
Once your happy with the position of the stencil, carefully peel off the transfer tape making sure that the center of the “o’s”, “a’s,” and “e’s” and any other letter components are stuck to the board and not on the tape. If you need to , press the tape back down and use your scraper to “burnish” (fancy word for rubbing hard) the area that isn’t sticking.
Now, this is a very important step and will save you a lot of frustration. First be sure that your stencil is secured to the board and any bubbles are smoothed out (use that handy dandy Cricut scraper again or your fingers). For this next step you are going to take the paint that you used for the background color of the board and paint over all of the letters on the stencil being sure to cover the edges of a every one of them and all the images. The purpose of this is to “seal” the letter and image edges to the board so that when you paint your color into the stencil there is no bleed. Bleeding is when your stencil color slips under the edges of the stencil and seep onto your background–not good. Once that has dried your ready to stencil!
Yes, it looks funny, but it’s totally worth the 5 minutes it will take to do it! Next choose your paints and you can fill in the letters and images. There are a couple of ways to fill in your stencil– A) a stencil brush or stencil sponge using a pouncing method, or B) use a flat brush and paint in the letters. It all depends on the look you want! Be sure if you are using a stencil brush or sponge to dip it into the paint and then dab it onto some paper towel to remove most of the paint. A stencil brush or sponge will give you a much lighter, shaded look. Painting with a brush will give you a sharper, opaque look. The letters on this sign were on the thinner side so I wanted a more opaque look.
The lettering was in dark blue, the moon and baby’s name “Oliver” were done in light blue and the stars were done in metallic gold. Once the painting was finished I waited about 10 minutes and then carefully peeled off the blue stencil.
The last step is to seal your work. I used a matte spray polyurethane and gave it three light coats. I didn’t want a high shine, but that was just my preference.
Here’s what it looks like all finished!
I just think this is the sweetest little verse for an adorable baby boy! It’s simple enough to change for a little girl too!
As always, if you have any questions, let me know!
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The post Make A Baby Sign with Cricut Explore was written by Karen Ploransky and is property of The Decorated Nest.