Today I am going to show you how I use Cricut Access images for stencils. When I have a theme in mind, like July 4th, I create a new project and enter lots of search terms. After I select several images for my theme, I insert them into one project as you see below.
I searched July, July 4th, USA, United States, Independence Day, Statue of Liberty, fireworks, freedom, Liberty Bell and flag. The more terms you search, the more images you will find. After I find several images, I save the file. I named this file “July Images”. I could save and name each image file one at a time, but I like to look at them all at once and make a plan for my stencil sets. You can certainly search and create files one at a time.
**There were more images that I could have used, but if you save too many images in one file, Design Space may give you an error message. I usually save about 8-10 images in a file. If there are more than that, I create two files.
After I save the file, I duplicate each file to allow me to take them apart and still have an original for a reference. I look at the images and deconstruct them by detaching, ungrouping, and contouring. I will explain more about contouring in another post. It is a great tool! If they are a single layer image and cannot be deconstructed, like the eagle and star, I still duplicate it to have an extra.
Once I have chosen the images that I want to use, as you see above, I delete the ones I don’t want(or the ones that won’t make a good stencil). I click>Save As. DO NOT click> SAVE or you will overwrite your original file. Start saving new files by clicking “Save As” each time with a new name for each stencil. I have saved this file(with Save As) as you see it, quite a few times with different names for each stencil that I want to create. Look at the file names below to give you an idea of what I am trying to explain.
You can see some of the names that I gave the files. The first time that I open these files, they will still have all of the images that I inserted. That is because I saved the file with every image and gave it a new name every time for the stencil that I wanted to create in that file. That means you have to delete every image that you don’t want when you open the new files to work on them the first time. I will show you what I mean in the images below–
Here is the fireworks image. Using “Save As”, I named this file “Fireworks with Stars”. Then I deleted every other image in the workspace except for the duplicated image of the fireworks. Keep it for reference. I make sure that I take it completely apart so I can see every layer of the image and decide how I want to use it. I know I don’t want the blue and black background on the left side, so I delete those.
Now the images can be resized for a cookie stencil. It is best to work on a stencil image when it is about the size you would want for your cookie. Make sure that you go to the Edit panel and look at your measurements. You can change the image size under the edit tab or you can click and drag the resize tool. It is the blue circle with the double arrows in the lower right corner of the images above.
**I always double check the size again just before I am ready to attach the image to the stencil frame before cutting the stencil.
Insert a square for your stencil frame. Duplicate the stencil frame a few times so you don’t have to keep inserting squares and resizing them. This saves some time. You can always hide or delete want you don’t use at the end before cutting the stencils. I did not put a tab on these stencils, but you know how to do that. If you don’t check out the directions HERE.
The red firework needs to be changed for this stencil set to work. It has a small center and many thin pointed areas that may lift if you are airbrushing or you may catch your scraper on them if you are scraping royal icing over them. I’d like for it to be more sturdy in the center and I want it to look more like a firework. So lets change the red firework. After all, these are custom stencils!
Insert a circle.
Change the color of the circle so that you can see it clearly when you slice it from the firework. Click the lock to unlock the circle proportions.
Change the circle into an oval, then duplicate the oval several times.
I changed the firework to black, but I could have just left the ovals black and the firework red. Not sure why I did that! Drag the ovals over the center of the firework and line them up with the image.
Select the ovals that are on top of the firework. To make sure you have them all selected, hold down the shift key while clicking on them under the ‘Layers” tab. They will be highlighted in light blue in the “Layers” panel.
With all of the ovals selected, click>Weld. Now you will see the image listed in the Layers as “Welded Image”.
Select the welded ovals and the firework image then Click>Slice. Think of it as subtracting. You are subtracting the welded ovals from the firework. The welded ovals are one image and the firework is one image.
**Remember: You can only slice using 2 images. You can weld as many images as you choose. Slicing is subtracting or taking away one from another and welding is adding together or combining many images.
After slicing the ovals, there are still some black areas of the firework touching. I should have made the ovals a little bigger. I could have hit the undo button and made them bigger. Instead, I just used some of the extra ovals that I duplicated and sliced away the areas that are touching.
That is better. The center is wide open and the black areas are not touching. I like the rough inside edges where I sliced aways the ovals too. I could even use what I sliced for more fireworks.
I did the same thing to the blue firework by inserting circles, changing to ovals, and slicing. Then I changed the colors of the images and dragged them back together to see how they would look on a cookie. To keep this post as short as possible, I decided not to include the yellow firework image in the post, but you can use it as is in another stencil for this set. See the last pic at the end of this post.
**I forgot to take pics of some of the steps the first time around! I had to do it all over again and I took pics this time. That is why the fireworks may look different in some of the of the pics, but the steps are still the same. It was hard to make the images look exactly like the first few pics that I did rember to take, so you may notice that they don’t look exactly the same.
Even though I already resized them in the beginning, I am going to put the images as they will look on the cookie and recheck the size when they are together. If needed, resize all of them at once by selecting them and dragging the resize tool or adjusting the numbers under the “Edit” tab. I sized it to fit in a 5.5 x 5.5 stencil and also thought about the size of my cookie, which will be 3.5 inches wide. For fireworks, it’s ok if the image is a little taller and wider than the cookie.
Drag each of the images over a stencil frame. I didn’t align and center these images. I just placed them where I wanted them in the frame. For this set of stencils, it’s ok if the images in each stencil overlap after they are cut. That adds to the firework effect when they are airbrushed in different colors.
**Just a reminder that if your image goes behind another one, use the “Arrange” tool and move the one you don’t want to the back.
Once images are attached they turn the color of the frame and everything is dark gray. You will still see the images outlined with black lines. Hide the original image by clicking the eye next to it in the “Layers” panel and you are ready to cut!
**I did add the extra yellow firework you see in the pic above, but I didn’t include it in the directions for the post. It is the stencil on the far right. That is why you see 4 stencils in my set.
TIP: I like to attach images to the stencil frame instead of slicing them out of the frame. I do it this way because when you slice an image, save and close the file, it is permanent. If you want to open the file again and make changes, slicing cannot be undone. You will have to start all over. If you attach images and cut a stencil then realize it is the wrong size(or it didn’t cut correctly), you can easily make changes to the images by detaching them.
Here are my set of stencils stacked on top of each other. You can turn them over or flip them to arrange them any way you like. They are all cut on clear .007, but they look white because they are stacked one on top of the other. Stencils do not photograph well if they are clear and I am not a professional photographer.
On my cookies, I will use white royal icing as the base and airbrush the fireworks in blue and lemon yellow. I think I will airbrush the stars with yellow sheen or white pearl sheen first. For dimension, I may scrape royal icing over the red fireworks last. There are so many options with this kind of stencil!
Click the Free Download above to cut a star background stencil. I left the original image and a stencil blank in the Layers panel so that you can see what I used to create the stencil. Save the file to your Cricut account. You must have Cricut Design Space on your computer to open the file. Click HERE for the Cricut Design Space link. It is a free download.
I’m glad you are here! Please ask questions, comment, and let me know how these tutorials work for you! I like the feedback. Feel free to email me HERE. Send pictures of your stencils and/or cookies that you stencil from your own custom designs. I would like to create a gallery on this website with photos sent in by all of you.
Check out the next post to create a “Happy 4th of July” word stencil using what you have learned about creating bridges in letters.