I’ve been meaning to write this tutorial for quite some time, and an email from a reader gave me the motivation I needed to get it done. 😉 I wanted to share with you How to Design Your Own Stencils in Be Funky to Cut in Cricut Design Space.
There are many ways to design your own stencils, but I’m going to be sharing with you how I go about this.
I use a combination of my own hand drawings, stencil fonts, and a free photo editing software called Be Funky.
I also use Adobe Illustrator to turn the JPEG files into SVG files, which isn’t necessary, but SVG files make the design scalable without losing quality, so it’s definitely a huge plus using SVG files.
Ok so now that the introductions are done, let’s get started with some basics of designing stencils.
The Basic Tools Needed
First of all let’s start with the design platform I choose called Be Funky.
I really prefer this online photo editing software when it comes to designing stencils and printables.
I started with Be Funky a few years ago to edit my blog photos and got used to their setup and how to do things in there so that when I finally started designing my own stencils, it was super easy to just use their platform.
I do pay a monthly fee to have their ad free version, but if you don’t mind the ads then their software is free to use.
The ad free version is much faster and not distracting, which I prefer.
There are other softwares that can be used like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, PicMonkey and others.
Since we’re making stencils, the easy way to make word design stencils is to use a stencil font as I’ve written about in this post on How to Keep Letters Intact when Cutting Stencils.
My favorite stencil fonts to use can be found on my Resource Page. There are also other Creative Market shops that sell stencil fonts.
Fonts can be installed on your computer pretty easily and once they’re installed they can be used when working in different apps.
Here’s a list of stencil fonts I’ve put together.
-Using a Non-Stencil Font
If there’s a font that you want to use but it’s not a stencil font, you can make it into a stencil font by cutting a line in it to connect it with the rest of the stencil, also known as making a bridge.
I’ll show you how that can be done in Be Funky in this tutorial or you can check out this post on How to Keep Letters Intact, which shows you how you can make regular fonts into stencil fonts.
When I first started making stencils I bought a graphic package from a Creative Market shop, but very soon realized that I really wanted to use my own hand drawn elements because I love doodling and sketching so much.
This part is a little more time consuming at first but once you get your hand drawn elements on your computer you can upload them and use them in designs super easy.
-Using Pre-Made Designs
There are graphics out there that can be purchased to make stencils as well.
As I mentioned before I bought a graphics package from a Creative Market shop when I first got started.
The designs can be uploaded to your computer and used the same way your own hand drawn elements can be used.
Table of Contents for This Tutorial
Yes I’m giving you a run down of how this tutorial is laid out because it is rather long and if you’re looking for a specific item you can just scroll down to find it.
First I’ll walk you through the basics of designing a stencil using a stencil font and graphic design elements in Be Funky.
After the walk through I’ll go into a little more depth and show you how you can change a regular font into a stencil font in Be Funky.
Then, I’ll also share how to scan in hand drawn graphics to be used in stencils.
Last, I’ll write some brief steps on how to take the designs created in Be Funky to make actual stencils.
How to Design Stencils Using BeFunky
I have written a step by step tutorial on making stencils in Be Funky.
Don’t lose heart with the number of steps in this walk through because I have literally written every little step in this tutorial just so that everything is super clear.
Once you start creating stencils it really doesn’t take that long and the steps are quick and easy.
Step 1: Open Be Funky
Open the Be Funky photo editing software.
Step 2: Click on Photo Editor
Step 3: Click on Upload
Step 4: Click Computer
Click on computer.
Step 5: Upload Blank White Canvas
I have provided the blank white canvas that can be uploaded to design stencils on. You can download the white canvas here or at the bottom of this post.
Step 6: Resize Canvas (optional)
You can choose to resize the white canvas if necessary.
Step 7: Resize
Once the desired dimensions are entered click the blue check to save the change.
Step 8: Rotate Canvas
You can choose to rotate the canvas if desired.
Step 9: Save Rotate Change
Once the canvas is rotated as desired click the blue check to save change.
Step 10: Click “Text”
Click on text to add word design.
Step 11: Click “Add Text”
Step 12: Align Center
Align the text to center, which is optional.
Step 13: Change Font
Click on “Font Family” to change the font.
Step 14: Select Desired Font
Choose the font you want to use. I like to use the Tingler Script and Tingler Print to make stencils because they’re specifically designed for stencils.
Step 15: Type in Word Design
Click on the text box and type in the word design of your choice.
Step 16: Align Center (Optional)
With the text still selected, click on Options and Align Center.
Step 17: Add Graphics
Click the “Layer Manager” to add graphics
Step 18: Upload Graphic
Upload the design element of your choice whether it’s your hand drawn design or one that is pre-made.
The flower I’m using is one that I have designed with my hand drawn elements, which I’ll show you how you can upload your hand drawn elements to use in stencils as well.
Step 19: Click Darken
With the graphic selected, click on Blend Mode and then click Darken. The darken mode will cause the white background box around your graphic to disappear making it easier to overlap without interference.
Step 20: Duplicate Graphic (Optional)
With the graphic selected, right click and select “Duplicate Item” if you want to use the same graphic in a pattern.
You can also choose to flip the graphic horizontally or vertically.
You can also choose to upload other design elements of your choice.
This is just where you design as you wish with your graphics.
Step 21: Save Stencil Design
Click on Save and save to the location of your choice, and that’s it. You’ve created a stencil in Be Funky that can then be uploaded and cut in Cricut Design Space.
Using a Non-Stencil Font
Now that we’ve walked through the basics of designing a stencil, I wanted to show you how you can take a regular font and turn it into a stencil font in Be Funky.
Step 1: Type Using Font of Your Choice
To use a non-stencil font, choose your font then type out and resize your word design. Then flatten layers.
Step 2: Cutout
Click the Cutout Tab.
Step 3: Rectangular Tool
Next Click the Rectangular/Square looking tool. Then click Zoom In to better be able to see what you’re cutting.
Step 4: Start Cutting Closed Letters
Hold the Alt Key and draw a line to cut out a line through closed letters.
Step 5: Cutout All Closed Letters
Finish cutting out all closed letters of your word design, then click the blue check mark to save the cuts.
The only downfall to using this tool is that there’s not a great way to measure how big the width of the cuts are.
If you are wanting a more measured look you can make your word design in Cricut Design Space and follow the instructions in this tutorial on How to Keep the Middle of Letters Intact.
Using Your Own Hand Drawn Elements
Let’s move on to using your own hand drawn elements to create stencils.
So how I do this is sketch out some doodles and shapes with a marker on some sort of drawing pad, I’ve used a variety of sketch and paint pads to draw designs.
I’ve also used Sharpie markers, paint markers, and calligraphy pens to draw with, so I don’t really have a set method on this, it’s just whatever I have on hand and I make it work.
Once the sketches are made, I scan them into my computer using my home printer/scanner, and I scan them in as a JPEG file, so I can immediately upload them to Be Funky to use.
What I like to do is mark the sketches I really like or think might be fun to work with before I scan them in, so that they’re easily found when I want to save that particular design, which you can hopefully see the arrows pointing to the designs I want to use in my scanned picture of sketches in the picture below.
Step 1: Upload Sketches
So now that the hand drawn elements are uploaded to my computer, I then upload the JPEG file of my sheet of designs to Be Funky.
As you can see it looks like a big mess and how on earth am I going to separate the designs I want to use.
Here’s the somewhat time consuming part and why I mark the designs I want.
Step 2: Crop Individual Design Elements
I use the Crop tool and start cropping the designs I’ve marked with an arrow before I ever scan in the drawings.
Step 3: Select Design
Once the design is selected and ready to crop, click the blue check button to set the crop.
Step 4: Design Element
Now you have an individual design element that can be saved to the folder of your choice and be used to design with.
Step 5: Save Design Element
Save the design element in the folder of your choice.
Step 6: Click Undo
After the individual design is saved, I then click the undo button.
Step 7: Fit to Screen
Then click fit to screen to see all my scanned in sketches again.
Step 8: Repeat Cropping Process
I crop another design until I get all the designs saved individually to my computer that I wanted.
Now these designs can be layered in to use in stencil designs as shown in the basic stencil designing tutorial above.
The black part is what will be cut in Cricut Design Space and since the white is what will be left, the white parts have to be connected to the rest of the stencil in order to stay intact, just like fonts.
Saving Your Design
Once the design is just how you want it you can save it either as a JPEG or PNG file. I prefer to save it as a JPEG file and then I convert the JPEG file into an SVG file in Adobe Illustrator.
Uploading the Design to Cricut Design Space
After the design is saved as an SVG, it can be uploaded to Cricut Design Space. No worries if your design is not an SVG file, you can still upload it to Cricut Design Space and use it if it’s a JPEG or PNG file. I actually wrote a tutorial on turning JPEG files into Cut Files in Cricut Design Space.
Cutting the Stencil
If you’ve been following me, you know that I prefer to make my stencils using the SHOW-OFFS Stencil Blanks sold at Hobby Lobby, which you can read the tutorial on how to use them here. I like them because they’re inexpensive, durable and reusable.
Using Your Stencil
After your gorgeous stencil is cut, you can use it to beautify just about anything. If you’re new to stenciling, you might check this post out that I wrote on stenciling steps and tips.
Ok this might just be the longest tutorial I’ve ever written and if you’ve stayed with me this far, Congratulations, you made it! 🙂
I really hope you find this helpful and if you have any questions feel free to ask. As mentioned before this isn’t the only way to design stencils, it’s just my preferred method.
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