I love anything that makes crafting quicker and easier! Not long ago I was working on new die designs (more on that soon!) and decided it might be handy to have an electronic cutting machine to test new designs. After reading about several different machines, I found myself falling in love with the Cricut Maker. Because it has a rotary blade, it is the first electronic cutter to really cut fabric well. The rotary blade enables you to cut two of my favorite materials, wool and felt! Every single time I use it I find myself amazed at how clean and detailed the cuts are. I am in crafty love!
The design software that is included with the Cricut Maker is called Design Space. It is so easy to work with! I was able to open Design Space, click a few things and start cutting in just minutes. It is so easy to use my own art for designs too. I seriously gasped out loud the first time I cut out a bit of my hand lettering)
There isn’t a lot of information online yet about using the Cricut Maker with wool so my process. Hopefully it will help other wool applique fans to give the Cricut Maker a try.
How to cut felted wool or felt appliqués with the Cricut Maker:
Note: I am working on my desktop computer. If you are working on a mobile device, a few steps my look different but the options are the same. You can do the entire process on your desktop computer or on your mobile device… or you can do a combination of both like I do.
When you purchase a svg cut file, you should save it to your computer.To work with the svg file, you will need to import it into Design Space.
To import the file:
- Open Design Space.
- Click on the option to create a new project (the + sign). This opens a new blank canvas (shown above).
- Click on the “upload” button on the lower left.
A window will open. Click on the “Upload Image” button.
On the next screen, you can drag and drop the file into Designs Space or browse through your files to locate it.
If you select “Browse”, a new window will open. Select the file you want and chose the “open” button in the lower right corner of the window (not shown).
(For this demonstration, I am using the svg cut file that coordinate with my Afterlight Flight 3D Moth Wool Applique Pattern. (Both the pattern and the SVG cut file are currently available to download for free in my shop.)
Your image will appear in a new window.
- Add or change the name if needed.
- Add tags to the file to help you locate it in your library later.
- Click the “save” button in the lower right corner.
- Click on the file you want to work with. A green border will appear around the image showing you have selected it.
- Click on the green “insert image” button in the lower right corner of the screen.
Grouping and Ungrouping images…
Your image will now appear on the canvas. Click on the image.
Because they are “grouped”, all the parts of the image move around together as one piece. Since you will want to cut the parts from different pieces of fabric, you will need to “ungroup” them.
To “ungroup” the image parts:
- Click on the image. A box will appear around all the pieces.
- Click on the “ungroup” button in the top right corner. Each piece can now be moved individually.
Now when you click on an image, the box will only appear around the item you clicked on.
Note: If you plan to resize the image, I would suggest resizing before ungrouping so that all the pieces resize together.
You may want to keep certain parts of the image inline with one another so that when they are cut the grain of the fabric matches on each piece. To do this, arrange the matching parts as needed and then “group” them together.
To group image parts together, go to the column with the icons of the pieces in the upper right.
- Click on the first item you want to select. Hold the shift key on your keyboard while you select the second item.
- Click on the “group” button above the column.
These image parts are now grouped together and will move and resize together. You can group as many parts together as you would like.
You can now arrange the image parts on your canvas. I am using a 12″ x 12″ cutting mat so I am placing my pieces within the 12″ x 12″ space on the canvas.
I have added a red box around each group in the photo to demonstrate the size of the three fabrics I will use. As you can see, the Design Space canvas makes it easy to determine how many inches wide x how many inches tall each piece of fabric needs to be. I like to add about 1/4″ outside the image parts (as shown with the red boxes) for a little safety zone. Make a note of these measurements.
Note: At this point, this placement is more about getting the fabric size. The exact placement for cutting will be fine tuned in another step.
Click on the “save” button in the upper right corner.
Name your project and click on “save”. The saved project will be added to your project library and will be available on any device you use the Cricut app on.
Prepping your wool or felt for cutting…
Cut your fabric (I’m using Week’s Dye Works wool) according to the sizes you noted from the Design Space canvas.
If you are cutting wool or felt, you can apply them directly to your Cricut cutting mat. I use the blue Light Grip mat. However… wool and felt are very linty fabrics. They will make a mess of your cutting mat. The more lint left on your mat after cutting, the less usable it will become for future projects. To get the most use out of your mat, you need to create a barrier between the mat and the wool or felt.
My prefered method is to apply a fusible adhesive like Therm O Web’s Heatnbond Lite to the back of all the pieces. I normally add HeatnBond to the back of my wool applique pieces regardless of how I cut them. I even add it to appliqué pieces I don’t plan to fuse on my project. I like the structure and stability the HeatnBond adds to the wools, especially on very intricately cut pieces like the wings of the moth or on lettering. Because I add HeatnBond Lite to my wool anyway, using it as a my lint barrier is a perfect solution!
Peel the backing paper off the wool pieces. (Trust me here, this backing paper is very thin and sticks very well to the cutting mat. If you don’t remove it before cutting you will be picking it off your mat afterwards. Plus, the rubbery texture of the HeatnBond grips onto the stickiness of the mat for a really nice slip-free hold.
Place the wool pieces on the cutting mat with the HeatnBond side down. Place the pieces on the mat so that they match how you placed the pattern pieces in Design Space.
Brayer over the wool to help the adhesion to the mat and to smooth out any wrinkles or bubbles.
At this point, you can cut your design by clicking on the green “make it” button in Design Space. The program will prompt you to:
- Select the material you are cutting (use “Felt, Wool Fabric”)
- Load your mat
- And cut.
An optional step that is a bit of magic on mobile…
Afterbrayering, I like to switch over to my iPad and add another step before cutting. This feature is so cool, you will want to add it to your process too!
Open the Cricut mobile app.
On the home screen below your initials:
- Click the drop down menu that says “categories”.
- Select “My Projects in the Cloud”.
- Tap on your saved project.
- When your image is on the screen, click on “Customize” in the lower right corner. Your saved image open on the canvas.
- Click on “Make it” in the lower right corner.
The screen will change to a black cutting mat with your image on it. In the lower left corner, click on “SnapMat”.
A screen will pop up using your camera. Hold your device over your cutting mat so that it is framed in the space on the screen. When it is in focus, it will snap a photo! You can choose to retake the photo or use it. I call this part “the magic”. 😉
The image parts will now appear on top of the picture of your mat. You can move the pieces around as needed to make sure that they fit on your fabric. If you need to change the fabric placement, click on “Unsnap”, move your fabric as needed, and then resnap. It is so easy!
When you are satisfied with the placement, click “continue” to move on.
The next screen will prompt you to select your material type. For wool or felt, select “Felt, Wool Fabric”.
Follow the prompt to load your mat and press Go!
I love that the app shows you the cutting progress. When cutting is complete, it will prompt you to eject the cutting mat.
The reveal is my favorite part. Watch below…
Isn’t it amazing? Truly, the detail and precision cutting along with the speed is so amazing!
Did I mention that the piece of my moth cut in about one minute? Although this tutorial makes the process seem long, the whole process was done in under 20 minutes. How crazy amazing is that?
PS. I offer cut files in my store. I normally offer one free design per month and offer several others for sale. Sign up for my newsletter to be alerted to new offerings!
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