Now that you have created a stencil frame for your stencils, let’s design a striped background stencil using the Insert Shapes tool. You can use this stencil for creating a striped pattern on cookies or you can cut two striped stencils, lay one on top of the other in the opposite direction, and make a gingham pattern on your cookie.
These directions may seem like a lot of steps. Once you practice these steps a few times, it will be easy for you. I can do it with my eyes closed now! There are a lot of pictures so that you can see what my computer screen looks like in the stencil making process. As I post more tutorials, I will begin to be less descriptive because you will have learned the software and the tools and won’t need as many details about every step.
**This technique works for any shape that you want to turn into a background stencil. Try inserting shapes from the toolbar, use Cricut images, or upload your own shapes to make background stencils. There is a FREE file to download at the bottom of the post for you to try it out.
To start, you can choose to “Create New Project” and make a new stencil frame as you learned in the last post or click File>My Projects to open the stencil frame you have already created.
If you open the stencil frame you already created, be sure to click File> Save As and name the file “Stripes”. If you just click >Save at this point, you will overwrite the stencil frame file. If this happens, it is not a big deal because now you know how to design a stencil frame and you can create another one.
You will notice that the box is checked under the word “Public” when you save the file. That means that this file can be shared by copying and pasting the internet web address in an email, in a Facebook group, a text message, on a website, etc. All you need to do is copy the web address when you have the file open on your computer and paste it where you would like to share it. It is very easy to share files that are Public. The files are Public if they are made with Cricut images only. If the person opening the file does not have a paid Cricut Access subscription, they may not be able to see the images(unless the images in the file are free images). Without a Cricut Access subscription, the person you shared the file with may be asked to pay for the files when trying to cut the stencil. In my opinion, this subscription is worth the money. Files that are created with uploaded images cannot be shared and will not have the box checked under the word “Public”.
Insert a square. Keep it selected.
Decide how wide you want your stripes to be. Click the lock in the panel or the lock next to the square to unlock it. Now it will not stay in proportion. This is what you want to be able to make it into a narrow rectangle for the stripe. Resize the square and make the width 4.5 inches by the height that you want it to be. I chose .25 inches for mine. Click the lock when you are done.
Keep the rectangle selected and click >Duplicate 9 times at the bottom of the Layers panel.
This is what your workspace should look like now.
If something doesn’t look right. Never Fear! The UNDO button is fantastic! Just click it until you get back the image back to where you think you made a mistake and try again.
Select each stripe and drag it over the stencil about where you think they should be placed. They don’t have to be perfect. We’ll align them in the next step.
FYI-When or if you start to move your rectangles over the stencil and they disappear behind your stencil frame, you need to click on the image you want in the front. Go to the “Arrange” tab in the top tool bar, click>Move to Front to let Design Space know which image you want in front. This happens because each image is a layer and you have to tell the software which layer you want in front or back.
Now select only the frame by clicking on it and drag it off to the side.
You will align the stripes by clicking and dragging over all to select them. Go to the “Align” tab. Click >Center Horizontally. Go directly back to the “Align” tab and click> Distribute Vertically. They should be perfectly lined up and the same distance apart.
Now let’s attach the stripes so they stay together. Make sure all of the stripes are still selected. Under the Layers tab, click>Attach. You can see in the photo below that the stripes are now attached because they are highlighted in blue. If you made mistake, just click >Undo or click >Detach and move things around, then once you have it the way you want it, select the stripes and attach again.
Now that the stripes are an attached set. Click and drag them on top of the stencil frame.
Select both the attached stripes and the stencil frame. Under the Align tool, click>Center Horizontally to center the stripes on the stencil frame. If you need to adjust the stripes a little bit on the frame, click out in the workspace next to them(this will deselect the frame and the stripes so you can move only the stripes and not the frame). Click only on the stripes to select them and not the stencil frame. Use your arrow keys on your keyboard if you want to move the stripes a tiny bit up, down, left, or right to get them where you want them.
There are two ways to create your stencil at this point. One way is permanent and the other way allows you to come back and make changes if needed. I will show you both ways.
Select both the stencil frame and the stripes if they are not already selected. Click >Attach. Your Layers panel should look like the photo above. All images are highlighted in blue and at the top it says Attached Set. You are now ready to cut. Put your stencil material on your mat. Set the dial to the correct setting for your stencil material. Click here for the post with that information. Load it into the machine.
Click >Go(at the top of the workspace).
When the second screen pops up, Click >Go again(in the lower right hand corner) to send it to the machine if your stencil is where you want it to cut on the mat. If not, drag it to where you want it to cut on the mat and Click >Go. You can also click the X in the upper right hand corner to exit the cut screen and go back to the workspace.
**This method allows you to come back to the design at any point, click>detach, and make changes. For example: Re-Open the file, detach and duplicate the stencil frame, change the width or height of the stripes, duplicate them and move them closer together or farther apart, etc. then attach again.
See below–After closing the file, I opened it up again. I detached the images, duplicated and resized one of the stripes 4.5 x .15 inches, duplicated it 10 more times, duplicated the stencil frame and created a new stencil.
When you weld and slice, then save and close the file as in Method 2, you can’t go back in and make changes to the original images. You have to start all over again to create another stencil. It will make more sense once you try this and realize you have to start over. Trust me, you will remember!
Select only the attached set of stripes by clicking on them. Don’t click on the stencil frame. You don’t want to weld it. (If you accidentally do weld everything together, just click >Undo.) In the Layers panel, click>Weld. We have to weld because we are getting ready to slice(subtract) the stripes out of the stencil frame.
REMEMBER:You can only slice two images. Before we welded, the stripes were made up of 9 rectangles and the stencil frame is also 1 image, which is a total of 10 images. We can only slice 2 images. We have to make the stripes 1 image. We do that by welding them together. You can Weld as many images together as you want, but you can only slice 2 images. If the slice tool is grayed out and not white after you weld, check to see if you have all of the stripes welded together. You can see this by looking at the Layers panel.
Select both the stencil frame and the stripes(the stripes are now welded into one image as you see in the Layers panel). Click >Slice.
Here is the stencil after it has been sliced. You can delete the two images that were sliced away on the left or click the eye next to them in the layers panel to hide them.
You are now ready to cut. Put your stencil material on your mat. Set the dial to the correct setting for your stencil material. Click here for the post with that information. Load it into the machine. Click >Go(at the top of the workspace). When the second screen pops up, Click >Go again(in the lower right hand corner) to send it to the machine if your stencil is where you want it to cut on the mat. If not, drag it to where you want it to cut on the mat and Click >Go. You can also click the X in the upper right hand corner to exit the cut screen and go back to the workspace. See the cutting screen images in Method 1 if you need a visual.
**This method does not allow you to come back and make changes to the stencil. That is because, once it is welded and/or sliced and saved, you can’t open it again and detach or undo anything. I have often cut a stencil thinking it would be perfect and found out it didn’t fit my cookie or I didn’t like the way it looked on my cookie.
I used the slice method when I started making stencils so that I could see what the stencil would look like on the computer monitor. Once I realized the attach method allowed me to go back and make changes, I started making my stencils that way so I can go back and open the file again if I need to adjust any measurements.