I wrote a tutorial on making extra large stencils in Cricut Design Space a while back, and I got the question if these methods I wrote about would work for Mandala Stencils, so I decided to write this tutorial on How to Make an Extra Large Oversized Mandala Stencil in Cricut Design Space.
I’ll be using both the overlapping and meeting methods, so you can see the process for both when making mandala stencils and let you know which one works best and which one is easier to use when applying the stencil. The steps for making a word design extra large stencil and a mandala extra large stencil are essentially the same.
*note- I use the terms square and shape intermittently throughout this tutorial.
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SHOW-OFFS Stencil Blanks are what I prefer to use to make my stencils but there are other stencil blanks that can be purchased.
Mandala Stencil Cut File
1st Method-Meeting Mandala Stencils
The meeting mandala method is where the stencil designs are cut through the designs and you have to join them or meet them at the seams when applying the stencil in order to create a cohesive look.
Pro – cuts very accurately
Con – blending on actual application of stencils can be challenging, especially when you have several pieces of the stencil to join together.
For example, you can see the line where I joined the seams of the stencil. This can be blended with a small brush, so not a super big deal there.
Anyway this is the step by step for the meeting method:
Step 1-Upload File
Upload your file/design.
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 28″x27.9″ so I’m going to resize the square to cover the design, while still staying within the parameters of the cutting mat and stencil blank. To figure out how big to make the shapes to cover the design, I figured out how many square/shapes I would need to cover the dimensions of my design while staying within the dimensions of the Cricut mat and my stencil blank and also figuring out how many stencil blanks I would need to cut the design. *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 for covering the design even a tad bit smaller just to play it safe.
Step 7-Duplicate Square
Select the square, then right click and duplicate the square as many times as needed to cover your design, minus 1 square. For example, my design will be sliced into 6 parts, but I actually only need 5 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 vines of the mandala pattern 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 move the top/first layer of the slice and keep that one, then delete the other layers of the slice.
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 5 times because the remaining 6th of the design was ready for the cutting mat, with no slice necessary.
Step 12-Click “Make It”
Once your design is sliced into manageable parts, and you know what size stencil blanks are needed for each cut, click the “Make It” 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”.
However, if some of your layers are on the same mat, what I found that works is changing the Material Size in the left sidebar to a smaller size and that forces the layers to go to their own mat. (see picture below)
As you can see in the picture below there are only 5 mats but I have 6 layers for this cut, so I have changed the material size from 12×24 to an 11×17 and that forced a layer to be on a mat of its own. The reason you would want the layers on separate mats is so that they cut the way you have divided them in Cricut Design Space. This will especially be easier when applying the stencil.
Step 14-Select Material
Make sure you have the correct material and settings selected.
Step 15: Follow Instruction by Cricut Design Space
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 16-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 mandala stencil.
*One final tip for this method when cutting mandala stencils: Due to Mandala patterns being so detailed, I think it would be helpful to somehow label each part of the stencil after it is cut to keep track of where each piece of the stencil goes when applying it, especially with the meeting method.
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 cut several overlapping extra large stencils and I have only had 1 turn out perfectly with no overlapping problems like you see in the picture below. I’m not quite sure why it’s not 100% accurate when done the same way every time, but apparently that’s the price to pay for the easy application. What I did on this mandala stencil, was to apply all the portions of the stencil that lined up and then simply moved the part of the stencil that didn’t overlap right until it lined up and just stenciled that part separately. My vine mandala stencil design wasn’t super complex, but I’m not sure how well the overlap and moving the stencil to compensate for the less than perfect cut would work for a more complex and detailed design.
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 the slicing process 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.
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: Duplicate Design
Select and right click on the design and duplicate it as many times as needed. This will vary based on your design size, mat size, and your stencil blank size. With my figured 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.
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. 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
Regardless of mat size, resize square to cover the design. For instance, I’m going to resize the square to cover the design, while still staying within the parameters of the cutting mat and stencil blank. To figure out how big to make the shapes to cover the design, I figured out how many square/shapes I would need to cover the dimensions of my design while staying within the dimensions of the Cricut mat and my stencil blank and also figuring out how many stencil blanks I would need to cut the design. *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 for covering the design even a tad bit smaller just to play it safe.
Step 9-Duplicate Shape
Select the square, right click and duplicate 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, I move and keep the first/top layer of the slice and delete the other layers of the slice.
Step 14-Repeat Steps 10-13
Repeat Steps 10-13 until all the designs are sliced.
Step 15-Click “Make It”
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 “Make It”. Hopefully this screenshot will give a good idea of how 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 “Continue”. See the above meeting method step 13 if your layers are not all on separate mats.
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.
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