How to Cut a Stencil From Plastic on the Cricut

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The Cricut Personal Electronic Cutter is perfect for cutting paper embellishments for scrapbooks and handmade cards, but the machine has a wide variety of other uses besides paper crafts. In fact, Provo Craft, the machine's manufacturer, offers a line of other materials to use in creating home decor and other craft projects. One of those products is stencil plastic, a thin, flexible, adhesive-backed plastic for creating custom stencils from your favorite Cricut cartridge images. Whether you want to cut a word, a favorite cartoon character or one of the thousands of other images available on Cricut cartridges, using stencil plastic in your Cricut machine makes it easy to create custom decor.

Things You'll Need

  • Cutting Mat
  • Paper trimmer or scissors
  • Ruler
  • Cricut cartridge
  • Design Studio software (optional)
  • Gypsy (optional)
  • USB cord (optional)
  • Trim the stencil plastic to fit the Cricut cutting mat. If you are using a classic Cricut machine, cut the plastic to 6 inches by 12 inches; for a Cricut Expression machine, the plastic can be up to 12 inches by 24 inches, depending on the mat you're using.

  • Insert the cartridge you're cutting with into the machine. Place the keypad overlay on the machine. If you are cutting a design from the Design Studio, you still need to insert the cartridge into the machine. If you're cutting a design from the Gypsy, you can skip this step.

  • Adhere the plastic to the cutting mat. Load the cutting mat into the Cricut machine by gently pushing the mat into the opening. When you feel the mat catch in the opening, press the "Load Paper" button on the keypad. The machine will pull the mat in to the starting position.

  • Set the pressure, speed and size for the cuts. In general, stencil plastic cuts best at pressure dial setting four or five, and at a speed of two or lower. Set the blade depth to six. The size depends on the machine you're using and the design you wish to create.

  • Create the stencil design using the keypad overlay and cartridge instruction book. If you already designed the stencil with the DesignStudio or Gypsy, connect your computer or device to the Cricut machine with a USB cord.

  • Press "Cut" to cut your design. If you're using Design Studio or Gypsy, click the scissors icon on the work screen to send the design to the Cricut.

  • Remove the stencil from the cutting mat. Remove the adhesive backing from the stencil before using.

Tips & Warnings

  • Practice cutting your design on a piece of scrap paper before cutting the stencil plastic.
  • Choose stencil designs that are simple, graphic shapes. Depending on the cartridge you're using, some images might cut in multiple pieces that you need to arrange to create your stencil. Keep this in mind when you're creating a stencil that you plan to use in a repeating pattern, as the placement of the pieces could be complicated.

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