How to Make Extra-Large Over-sized Stencils in Cricut Design Space-Meeting and Overlapping Methods
*this post contains affiliate links
As a lot of you know, I like using stencils, designing stencils, and cutting stencils on the Cricut. It’s pretty much stencil everything for me. Well there’s a problem with the Cricut machine, in that, it is only so big. So what if you have a huge picture frame you’re wanting to fill, or a wall space that goes beyond the 12″? Well, there’s a way to make those huge, extra-large stencils using your Cricut and I’m actually going to walk you through 2 methods for making those over-sized stencils.
*note- I use square and shape intermittently throughout this tutorial.
(*This post contains affiliate links which means if you click on the affiliate links and make a purchase I may earn a small commission, with NO extra cost to you. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)
SHOW-OFFS Stencil Blanks are what I prefer to use to make my stencils but there are other stencil blanks that can be purchased.
Stencil Cut File
1st Method-Meeting Stencils
The meeting method is where the stencil designs are cut through the designs and you have to join them or meet them at the seams in order to create a cohesive look.
Pro – cuts very accurately
Con – blending on actual application of stencils is a little more difficult (at least for me 😉 )
For example, can you see the line running across there where the stencil met? I ended up painting over the line parts and then sanding them to blend them.
Anyway this is the step by step for the meeting method:
Step 1-Upload File
Upload your file/design. That’s it, easy enough, right?! 😉
Step 2-Resize File
Resize the file/design to the desired dimensions.
Step 3-Zoom Out
Click the minus button to zoom out, so you can see your, now over-sized, design on the screen.
Step 4-Insert Shapes
Click on “Insert Shapes” and then find the Square and click on that to insert square.
Step 5-Unlock Square
I like to unlock the square to make it a rectangle shape to better fit the 12″x24″ cutting mat. However, if you don’t have a 12″x24″ mat then skip this step and leave the square locked. I would definitely recommend getting the 12″x24″ mat, especially if you’re using the 18″ SHOW-OFFS stencil blanks.
Step 6-Resize Square
Regardless of mat size, resize square to cover the design. For instance my design is 17″x26.3″ so I’m going to resize the square cover the design, while still staying within the parameters of the cutting mat and stencil blank. To figure out how big to make the square/shape, I divide my design by half, so the dimensions would be 8.5″ x 13.5″, approximately the design measurements divided in half. 3 of my cuts fit onto a 9″x18″ stencil blank and 1 of the cuts had to go on a 12″x18″ stencil blank due to the verse reference being lower than the rest of the design. You might need to figure your cutting dimensions differently based on the size of your design and your mat size. *Keep in mind that the Cricut won’t cut to the entire dimensions of the mat, so if you have a 12″x12″ mat you will not be able resize the square beyond 11.5″x11.5″ and for the 12″x24″ mat 11.5″x23.5″. I like to make my square/shape even a tad bit smaller just to play it safe.
Step 7-Copy and Paste Shape
Select the square, then copy and paste as many times as needed to cover your design, minus 1 square. For example, my design will be sliced into 4 parts, but I actually only need 3 squares. That will be clearer as we get to that part.
Step 8-Move to Front
This step is optional, but I like to move the design to the front so I can see what exactly is getting covered by the squares.
Step 9-Slice Square and Design
Once you have the square and design where you would like it to be cut, go to the “Layers” tab and find the square and design that you’re wanting to slice first. Click on the design, hold “shift” on your keyboard and then click on the square that you’re wanting to slice your design with, then click “Slice”. Remember that with this method, your design has to meet when stenciling. For example, I slice right through the letters because I want them to meet when I’m stenciling. If I had sliced in the white space, then I would have to try and line it up during application without any point of reference.
Step 10-Delete Unnecessary Layers
Once the first slice has been made, delete the uncessary layers, it’ll just make it easier to select the other remaining layers when slicing. I delete all the sliced layers, except for Slice Image C. It might be a different layer for you, I’m not sure, but it always is the Sliced Image C for me.
Step 11-Repeat Steps 9 & 10
Repeat Steps 9 &10. Continue slicing your design until all of the design can fit onto the cutting mat and stencil blanks. The last part of design shouldn’t need to be sliced. For example, I only sliced my design 3 times because the remaining 4th of the design was ready for the cutting mat, with no slice necessary. So in my Layers panel, I have 3 Sliced Image C and 1 Sliced Image B. Hope this makes sense, let me know if I need to clarify.
Step 12-Click “Go”
Once your design is sliced into manageable parts, and you know what size stencil blanks are needed for each cut, click the “Go” button.
Step 13-Multiple Mats
The layers should show up on multiple mats if you’re cutting extra large designs. If everything looks good click “Go”.
Step 14-Select Material
Make sure you have the correct material and settings selected. If everything is ready, click “Go” and follow the instructions provided by Cricut Design Space. It’ll walk you through when to load and unload your mat and when to push the cut button on your machine.
Step 15-Enjoy your stencil
After all the cutting is finished you should have several smaller stencils that can be pieced together to make an awesome extra-large stencil.
Method 2-How to Make Overlapping Stencils in Cricut Design Space
The overlapping method is when the stencil is cut where the design actually overlaps, so you have repeats on multiple stencils.
Pros-super easy to line up and apply stencil by using the overlapping designs, and blending is more seamless.
Cons-doesn’t always cut 100% accurate.
For example, this was the only part of the stencil that didn’t line up when overlapped, not sure why, but it didn’t. I have actually cut 3 over-sized stencils using the overlapping method. With 2 of the over-sized stencils, there was just 1 overlapping problem on them. With the 3rd stencil everything lined up perfectly with no overlapping problems. It’s super weird that it’s not 100% accurate when done the same way every time, but apparently that’s the price to pay for the easy application. To fix any overlap issue, I just put a scrap piece of stencil blank over the problem area, so in the stencil shown, “fa”, so I could stencil the rest of the word without getting the skewed “fa” in there.
When using this method it is important that before slicing anything that all your designs are the exact same size and that all of your squares/shapes are the exact same size. After slicing the sizes will be different but that is perfectly ok.
Out of both of the methods I prefer the overlapping stencil better. I personally can handle a little bit that doesn’t overlap perfectly better than trying to get the seams to meet on the meeting stencils, but each to their own on this, I say. 😉 I’m simply here to offer the 2 methods and let you choose which one you prefer.
Without further ado, the how-to on cutting overlapping stencils in Cricut Design Space:
Step 1-Insert File/Design
Insert your file/design into Cricut Design Space.
Step 2: Resize File
Resize the design under the “Edit” tab. The frame I wanted to fill is 24″x36″, so I chose to make my design 20″x31.62″.
Step 3: Zoom Out
Click on that little minus button, to zoom out, just so you can see what you’re working with.
Step 4: Copy and Paste Design
Copy and paste the design as many times as needed. This will vary based on your mat size and your stencil blank size. Again I’m working with the 12″x24″ mat, and for this stencil I used the 12″x18″ stencil blanks. To figure out how many copies I would need I took my design size and divided it in half then added 1″ to the width and height, giving me an approximate measurement of 11″x17″, for which fit great on the 12″x18″ stencil blank being used. With these measurements I would need to make 4 cuts using these parameters, so I made 3 copies plus I had the original, giving me a total of 4 copies that are the exact same size. It might sound a bit complicated, but it’s really easy and will hopefully be much clearer as we move through this tutorial.
Step 5-Position Designs
Position the designs where they are each in their own space, no overlap here.
Step 6-Insert Shapes->> Insert Square
Just like on the other method, insert shapes and then insert square.
Step 7-Unlock Square
This step is optional. I recommend this if you have a 12″x24″ mat. With the square selected, click on the “Edit” tab and then click on the lock icon to unlock it. If you are working with a 12″x12″ mat you can skip this step. I recommend getting the 12″x24″ mat if you’re planning on making use of the 18″ SHOW-OFFS stencil blanks. However, I am also a big believer in working with what you have, if you are unable to purchase the 12″x 24″ mat. 🙂
Step 8-Resize Square
Resize the square into a larger square or a rectangle. I chose to make my square into an 11″x17″ rectangle. This would more than cover my design as well as overlap as needed, as well as fit on the 12″x18″ stencil blank. To figure out these measurements, I took the dimensions of my file/design and divided them in half, so it would be 10″x16″ approximately, then I added an inch on the width and height for overlap. *Keep in mind that the Cricut won’t cut to the entire dimensions of the mat, so if you have a 12″x12″ mat you will not be able resize the square beyond 11.5″x11.5″ and for the 12″x24″ mat 11.5″x23.5″. I like to make my square/shape even a tad bit smaller just to play it safe.
Step 9-Copy and Paste Shape
Copy and paste the shape as many times as needed for covering your design with overlap. I chose to make 3 copies, plus the original, for a total of 4 squares/shapes that are the exact same size.
Step 10-Move to Front
This step isn’t necessary, but it’s helpful for seeing the positioning better. With your shape somewhere on your design, select your design and then right click and select “Move to Front”.
Step 11-Position Design on Shape
Position your design on the shape, giving enough room for overlap of design.
Step 12-Slice Corresponding Layers
After the design and shape are positioned, select the corresponding design and “square” in the “Layers” panel. As you can see from my screen, the corresponding design and square were not right next to each other in the layers panel, so I had to click on the squares until I found the one that corresponded with the design it was positioned with. Anyway, select the design, hold “Shift” on the keyboard and then select the square, then click on “Slice”.
Step 13-Delete Unnecessary Sliced Layers
After the slice is complete, delete the unnecessary sliced layers. When I delete my layers, the only thing that I have left is the “Sliced Image C”.
Step 14-Repeat Steps 10-13
Repeat Steps 10-13 until all the designs are sliced.
Step 15-Click “Go”
Once all your designs are sliced and the only thing you have left in your “layers” panel are the sliced images that you want to cut, then click on “Go”. Hopefully this screenshot will give a good idea of how the stencil will overlap. As you can see there are 4 Sliced Image C, and the design is duplicated, where the stencil will overlap.
Step 16-Multiple Layers
There should be multiple mats for the multiple layers being cut. If it all looks good, click “Go”.
Step 17-Select Material
Remember to select the correct material for your cut. (Be sure to check out the post where I talk about cutting the SHOW-OFFS Stencil Blanks. ) Then follow the instructions Cricut Design Space gives to complete the cuts.
Step 18-Enjoy Stencil
Once all your layers are cut, enjoy making beautiful artwork with your new extra-large stencil!
I personally think the hardest part of either method is figuring out the measurements, but once that’s solidified it’s a somewhat long and easy process, long because there are several layers to cut, but easy once it’s set. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I would hate for you to cut through several stencil blanks with bad results and for this to be a frustrating process. You can add a comment below and I’ll try to respond as quickly as possible to any questions or issues.
Please, please let me know if this is helpful and what, if any, parts need to be clarified. I want this to be a helpful tutorial! 🙂
Curious about the designs I used in this tutorial? They’re available in my Etsy shop. I’ve also used them both in upcoming projects so be sure to subscribe to stay tuned.
Another helpful tutorial for cutting stencils: