Try these 5 creative hacks that no one talks about. These tips are perfect for personalizing, customizing and improving precision and detail in all of your wood projects, without having to buy an expensive CNC machine. These ideas are especially valuable if you have a craft business and are selling wooden products! You may have never even thought to use this cutting machine for woodworking, besides cutting basswood or balsa, but there are so many clever tricks and hacks you can do with your cutting machine to help make beautiful and unique wood projects. Makers and DIY enthusiasts should give cutting machines a try!
I love my Cricut cutting machine. I have a Cricut Maker and use it for nearly every craft project I start. There are so many uses for these cutting machines and it’s always fun to try something new.
All of these tips will work with any cutting machine from the Silhouette Cameo to the Cricut Explore Air. If you love woodworking and own a cutting machine these tips will help you customize your projects and make a lot of woodworking tasks easier. These tips are especially helpful for making wooden toys, signs, games or cutting images with a scroll saw or bandsaw.
The projects shown here are just examples of what can be done, but really there is so much room for experimentation, so get creative and try something new!
Tip 1 Stencils
Use your Cricut to cut out stencils to paint detailed designs on your wooden projects. Typically I do this with Oracal Oramask 651 stencil vinyl, mainly because it comes in a burger roll. For example, you can make lettering stencils to paint sayings onto signs.
You can also design and cut out images to paint onto wood. With this tip, you can upload any image from the internet into Cricut design space, remove the background, and turn it into a beautiful stencil. Provided, it is only for personal use, a free image, or you have a business license to use it of course.
If you don’t want to stencil on the lettering or image you could also use your Cricut to cut out HTV iron on vinyl and iron it on. Check out my Ultimate Guide for that here. I ironed the lettering onto the stool below, and sealed it using tricks from my other guide below. The lettering gets wiped down daily and is still completely intact!
a great way to make sure your writing will be centered on your piece or the text and images will be in the exact place you want is to put a background behind them that matches the exact shape and size of your project. This is of course limited to the size of your mat and wastes a bit more material, but it really does help when lining up your stencil would otherwise prove difficult.
Tip 2 Vinyl Cutting Templates
Use your Cricut cutting machine to make a vinyl cutting guide. This can help with cutting shapes that aren’t square from circles to images and lettering. This will really help you bring the image in your mind to life.
You can do this by digitizing an image you designed using a digital art pencil, or you can use any picture you find on the internet by simply uploading it into Design Space and removing the background.
The only limitation of this is the size of your cutting mat. You might be limited to either 11 1/2” by 11 1/2” or 11 1/2” by 23 1/2”.
These templates are perfect for cutting out toy animals, 3D lettering for wooden signs, and really anything that requires a shape that isn’t square or rectangular. These templates are perfect for cutting with the bandsaw, scroll saw or jig saw! Here are some of the projects I’ve used these templates for:
These wooden kawaii food hooks are based on the little sketch I did on the far right. Digitizing them and making stencils really helps me to perfect my design and make something that any of you can repeat. This would also be really helpful for a business where you’re selling pieces!
I cut this lettering on the scroll saw with a vinyl template I designed on the Cricut. I usually just find free fonts for this, or purchase an inexpensive font bundle on Etsy. My handwriting is terrible, so I would never be able to recreate this on my own, but its actually really easy to cut out with a scroll saw.
If you have a Cricut maker you can also cut balsa wood or basswood into lettering or images and add that onto your signs or projects for a 3D element without ever having to touch a saw.
Tip 3 Drilling Templates
Create a drilling template. You can create a vinyl template or a card stock template for drilling or routering out holes. These holes can be evenly spaced, or in an intricate pattern, whatever you need to make your project.
This is perfect for making crib boards. If the design is complex like that I like to use an adhesive vinyl template because you won’t want to hand mark the location of all those holes and you don’t want your template to move while you’re drilling. Some people make these templates by drilling out pieces of acrylic plastic, but I find this way faster and more accurate.
I did this same technique to make this wooden rainbow sorting toy for my daughters.
For a smaller project like this rattler, card stock works perfectly as a drilling and cutting template.
I also intend to make an aggravation game board soon. For that I’ll make a template with my Cricut and then use a core box router bit to drill out perfect divets for the marbles.
Tip 4 Cardstock Cutting Templates
Try a card stock cutting template for simple projects, or for larger projects. Card stock is less expensive than vinyl and can be traced.
This is especially helpful if your design is bigger than the Cricut cutting mats allow for, because you can simply divide the image you’re cutting out, cut it out on separate mats and then trace them all together to form your image or shape.
Tip 5 Project Planning
Utilize Design Space for planning out your woodworking projects. I like to do this every time I know I’ll be using my Cricut to help with the project.
This really allows you to visualize the size of your project and how all the elements will look together. I digitized my daughter’s handprints to make this plaque extra personalized for my husband. I did this using a technique shown in a post here:
The sizing can also be perfected in Design Space, and this will ensure that the lettering or image you cut will fit perfectly on the sign or project you’re putting it on.
You can also use smart guides on the mobile version of Design Space to ensure your design will be centered or the holes you’re drilling are equally spaced.
I designed this crib board in Cricut Design Space and used vinyl to make both the drilling and painting templates.
I hope you found these tips, tricks, and hacks helpful. I’ve noticed that not a ton of people are talking about using the Cricut cutting machine for woodworking, and honestly it’s the main thing I use my Cricut for, so I knew I needed to share my take on it with all of you. If you try any of these tips please shoot me a message or a picture on Instagram @the_walnut_grove. I would love to see anything new you’ve created! Subscribe to my email list to be notified every time I post and pin this image to Pinterest to refer back to.