Today I’m going to show you how to make stencils with your Cricut or Silhouette Cameo using Cricut Stencil Vinyl. Stencils are great way to update our seasonal chalkboards, signs and other home décor items.
Recently, I updated my chalk art for the fall season in my dining room. The large chalkboard was done with an inexpensive projector, while the two smaller chalkboards were created with vinyl stencils. I love creating and using digital SVG designs to update my home decor. They help me get things right the first time without having to consider things like spacing and positioning. The best part is that you don’t need to be an artist to create chalk art. You just need a little patience. 🙂
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I will walk you through the step-by-step process for creating a chalkboard stencil, including accessing my free SVG library, uploading your files into Cricut Design Space or Silhouette Studio, preparing the files to cut, and transferring them to your chalkboard.
Watch The Video
If you find it easier, you can watch this video that walks you through the whole process to create stencils. Including instructions for using Cricut Design Space and Silhouette Studio. It also walks you through weeding and transferring your stencil. Then it finishes up with using chalk pens and chalk paste to create your fall chalkboard using your stencil.
Some Important Tips Before We Begin Our Stencil Project
Today we are working with a very detailed design. When working with detailed projects, you will want to create a larger stencil. I created this project with both an 8.5 X 11 stencil and a 12” X 12” stencil. While both worked, I can tell you that the larger stencil was much easier to create and the chalk art turned out better.
My second tip is to use a smooth surface as your base for the chalk art. With a smooth chalkboard surface you will experience less bleeding under your stencil. One of my chalkboards had a bit of a texture on it and the chalk pen bled under the stencil a little. If you are creating a permanent sign or chalk art, you can seal your stencil with Mod Podge before you add your chalk marker or paint to prevent bleeding from occurring.
Lastly, I want to mention that if you are working with chalk pens, be sure your chalkboard is a non-porous surface. Otherwise, when you go to remove your chalk pen artwork, it may leave behind a semi-transparent outline of your image that will not remove. Both of my chalkboards are a bit shiny and non-porous, so this was not an issue.
You can use regular chalk for your stencil, but you will need to evenly fill the stencil and rub it around with your finger. Regular chalk will not have the bold opacity that chalk markers or chalk paste will have. If using chalk paste, you will need an applicator to apply the paste.
Now let me show you how to snag these beautiful images from my free library.
How To Use The Free Library
As a gift to you, I’ve created these fall SVG files for you to use on your chalkboard. Before we begin our project, I want to show you how to access the free files in the library.
If you haven’t subscribed, you need to enter your first name and email in the top right sidebar of the blog to receive the welcome letter with the password. Then, just click on the Library tab on the top menu bar and enter the password in the empty box at the bottom of the page. Once you are in the library, please watch the video to understand how to download the files to your computer. These files are available as SVG, DXF, EPS, PNG and PDF.
Supplies You Will Need To Create This Project
- Cricut or Silhouette Cameo
- Cutting Mat For Your Machine
- Cricut Stencil Vinyl
- Transfer Tape
- Weeding Tools
- A Chalkboard
- Chalk, Chalkboard Pens or Chalk Paste
How To Use Your Cricut Machine To Create A Stencil
First, you need to bring your image into Cricut Design Space from your downloads folder or the location you saved it to from the library. If you’re unsure of how to download the files, you can watch the video on my YouTube channel. It’s also located at the top of the library page, once you enter in your password over on the blog.
Let’s start in Cricut Design Space and opening up your canvas. On the left toolbar at the bottom, click on the upload button. Next, click on Upload Image. Then click on Browse. Now find the Autumn Blessings file you downloaded earlier from the library to your computer. If you’re unsure where you save it to, it’s probably in your downloads folder. Select the Autumn Blessings SVG and choose Open. Then choose Upload. Under Recent Uploads choose the file on the left, then choose Add To Canvas.
Next, left click on the image once. Then right click and it will bring up a dropdown menu. Choose Ungroup. Now left click on the edge of the black box to select it and change the color so we can see our image. At this point, you will need to decide which image you want to create a stencil of. I’m using the Give Thanks image, so I will hide the other images.
Now measure your chalkboard. Note: Your image cannot be greater than 11.5” wide and 23.5” tall. Unless you are using one of the new Cricut Maker 3 machines. My chalkboard is 13 X 13” wide. So, I will make my rectangle 11.5 X 11.5.
Next, group together your text and sunflower wreath. Now drag the bottom right arrows so the image fits in your rectangle. Select both the image and the rectangle, then align it horizontally and vertically. Now rubber band select all of the images together and Attach them. Now we can choose Make It to create the stencil.
Choose your Material Size. For me it is 12 X 12 inches. Then press Continue. Next, under Set Base Material choose Browse All Materials. In the search box, type in stencil. Select the Stencil Vinyl option and press done. Increase your Pressure to More. Now load your fine point blade in Clamp B on your machine. Add your Cricut Stencil Vinyl to a 12” standard grip mat and load it into your machine. Then press the Go button on your machine. When you are done cutting, unload your mat from your machine. Then skip to the weeding your vinyl section of the video or blog post.
How To Use Your Silhouette Cameo To Make A Stencil
If you have the Designer or Business edition of Silhouette Studio open the Autumn Blessings SVG file. If you have the Basic Edition of Silhouette Studio, you will need to use the Autumn Blessings DXF file and it may load in your software in the gray area around your canvas. You will need to zoom out to see it. The DXF file will also come in ungrouped.
When using the SVG files, one of the files will be on your canvas and the other will be in the gray area to the left of your canvas. The files come in grouped together. You will need to right click with your mouse and choose ungroup. Then select the file you would like to use as a stencil. You may need to group that file together again. Then, set you page size to ¼ inch smaller than your chalkboard.
For my project, my chalkboard is 13 X 13 inches. Since my mat is 12 inches square, I set my page size to 12 X 12”. The rectangle is there to use as a reference for your chalkboard size. In my case, I don’t need it because my 12 X 12 mat is a good guide to size my image. If your chalkboard is a different size, setting the rectangle to your chalkboard size will cut the outer edge of your stencil appropriately and help guide you on what size to set your SVG image to. Now, hold the shift key down and drag the image until it fits in the rectangle. Then center it horizontally and vertically. Now we are ready to go to the Send menu.
Connect your machine to your software either with the USB cable or the Bluetooth. I have a Cameo 4, and I’m using a new Auto Blade. Choose Stencil Material under the Material drop down menu. Now do a test cut. If you have a different Silhouette machine, use the settings for your machine and always do a test cut.
For the Cameo 4, load your AutoBlade in Tool 1. Load your stencil material on your standard grip cutting mat. I’m using Cricut Stencil Vinyl for my project. Load your cutting mat into your machine. Now do a test cut before you send your project. With a new AutoBlade, I had to lower the blade depth to a 1, and left the force at 33, speed at 2, and passes at 1. If you are using an older blade, you will need to test cut your material and adjust your blade settings for your blade and material.
How To Weed Your Vinyl Stencil
Weeding your vinyl is simply a term used to remove the unwanted parts of your image. When creating a stencil, you want to remove the image and leave the background behind. You’ll want to weed your vinyl in a well-lit area. I always use a craft knife to weed my vinyl. The pointed tip helps me weed fine details and if there is an area that didn’t cut through, I can use my craft knife to finish the cut. I also leave the vinyl project on my mat while I weed. This holds the vinyl in place and frees up both of my hands for weeding. Keep a lint roller nearby to put the extra vinyl pieces on it.
For this SVG Image, there are a lot of fine details. I started at the bottom of the sunflower stem and pulled the vinyl upward toward the top of the sunflower.
When I reached the sunflower at the top, I cut the stem with my craft knife. Then I weeded the flower separately, since it has a lot of detail. Weed the words carefully and be sure to leave the centers of your “e”, “a”, “k”, and “s” behind on the mat. Don’t forget to remove the dot on the “i”. For the pumpkins, I weeded from the bottom up halfway and then I weeded from the top down halfway.
How To Use Transfer Tape to Place Your Stencil On Your Project
Once your stencil is fully weeded, you’ll need add transfer paper to the top of it. Start by folding the backing from your transfer paper down about one inch. Then line up the transfer paper with the top of your stencil and press the exposed area of the transfer paper to the top of your stencil. Now pull the backing from your transfer paper toward the bottom of your stencil and press the transfer paper to the stencil.
Work in a downward and outward motion to prevent air bubbles. Then use your scraper tool to press it evenly all over the image, working from the center of the stencil outward. At this point remove the stencil from your cutting mat. Flip it upside down and move your scraper tool over the stencil backing as well. Now slowly remove the white backing from your stencil at a 90-degree angle. Watch it closely to be sure all of the small bits remain on the transfer paper.
Finally, center your stencil on your chalkboard and lower it into place from the bottom towards the top. Then press it down using your scraper tool over the transfer paper. Take your time with this and be sure to press all of the extra bits of your stencil in place with your scraper tool well. Now, slowly peel your transfer tape up, starting at one corner. Pull the transfer tape away from your stencil at a 90-degree angle. Go slowly ensuring all of your small pieces remain on the chalkboard. Once the transfer tape is fully removed, go back over your stencil with the scraper tool to make sure it is evenly adhered to the chalkboard and work out any air bubbles with it.
Now you have three options to chalk your stencil. You can use regular chalk to fill your stencil. Just be sure to go over it with your finger to make sure you have even coverage. Another option is chalk paste, which you can find on Amazon. You need to use an applicator or scraper to fill in the areas of your stencil with chalk paste.
Using Chalk Pens and Chalkpaste To Fill In Your Stencil
I’m going to use my chalk pens to fill in the stencil and then I will show you how to use chalk paste.
Hold your chalk marker upright on your stencil and fill it in. It will leave a bit of an uneven look, which I think makes it look more authentic. If you have any bleeding, you can go back with a wet Q-tip and remove the unwanted bleed through later. When you have completely filled your image, peel back your stencil to reveal your chalkboard art.
With the chalk paste, you’ll want to use tape to mask any exposed area around your stencil. Then, add a thin row of paste to the bottom of the stencil. Use a flat scraper tool to pull the chalk to the top of your stencil. Repeat this pattern until all of the stencil is covered with chalk paste. The pull the extra chalk paste to the top of your stencil, remove it and add it back to your container of chalk paste. Now peel away the tape and your stencil. Don’t forget to remove all the extra bits for a clean, crisp look.
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Have you tried making stencils with a Cricut or Silhouette Cameo before? If so, how did your project turn out? The first time I created a vinyl stencil, I’ll admit it was a bit confusing. Now, I’ve made so many of them, that I have the process memorized. I hope this blog post makes the process easier for you.