Hello my friends! Recently, I got a new Cricut Explore Air™. And can I add that this is not any old Cricut machine- it is a Cricut Explore Air™, the king for crafting! Just kidding, that is not it’s official title but you get the idea. This thing is awesome. Today I am going to use a Cricut Explore Air™ to make a sign. Join me!
Getting Started Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
First, let’s just appreciate this beautiful machine. Even the box is gorgeous!
Okay, enough crushing on this machine and let me show you what it can do!
Disclaimer: For your convenience, I have included some affiliate links. This simply means if you click on one of the links and buy something, I may receive a small commission, but do not worry… you will not pay a dime more.
To complete this project, you will need the following:
- A piece of plywood
- Cricut Explore Air™
- Black vinyl
- Sand paper
- Paint (two different colors)
- Paint brush
- Towels for drips
Because this is my first sign project, I went with a simple plywood board. I purchased a 2 x 2 from Home Depot for $5. In the future, I will probably consider using stacked pallet boards of better quality, but for now as I practice the cheaper the better.
Step One to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step one is super simple- just sand the board. Eliminate the rough edges and try to get the surface as smooth as possible, so the vinyl will adhere nicely. In researching this project (a ha- lots of Pinterest time), I read a lot of concerns about bleeding when you paint the letters. A smooth surface will prevent this. We want crisp lines between our white surface and black letters! Here we go!
Step Two to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step Two is to paint the wood. I used a solid white. I expect to do 2-3 coats, to allow the black letters to stand out. The first coat covered the piece of plywood super well!
Not sure why I always seem to choose the middle of the hottest afternoons in summer in Florida to do these painting projects, but I see a theme here!! Lol! A couple weeks ago, I painted a flag on a pallet of wood. Click here to see more!
Step Three to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step three is to create your design on paper. I am excited to move into a new office for the upcoming school year! This sign will be a decorative piece on a cabinet that faces the door. As you enter my office, you will see it. Proudly, I am a middle school assistant principal! When I am in my office during the school day, I am usually speaking with teachers or students. I want my sign to be inspirational for both.
Here is the design I chose drafted on paper:
Step Four to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step four is to cut the words from the vinyl using the Cricut. This is the FUN part! The Cricut Explore Air™ has wireless capability, and unlike my previous Cricut (which I purchased used in 2010 and it is still rocking and rolling), it does not require cartridges. You can access everything online- from fonts, to images and shapes, etc.
From my laptop, I simply access the Cricut online platform, find my preferred font, and begin cutting the vinyl. It is that EASY!! Most Cricut Explore Airs will come with a 30 day trial to Cricut Access, which houses over 30,000 fonts, images, projects, etc., and after the 30 day trial it costs $9.99 to maintain membership. Mind. Blown. There are so many cool features- who could possibly try it all?!!
For this project, I chose four different fonts. I did not write the font styles down, but you get the idea, right?
Step Five to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step Five is to apply the vinyl. It acts as a stencil. (I did use the vinyl with an adhesive backing.) For a first timer, and a girl that loves everything perfectly straight and symmetrical, this was a challenge!
I started with the middle lines (lines 2 and 3) to center the board. I added lines 1 and 4 next.
The placement was as perfect as I could get it without breaking out a ruler! This is where I am super happy I used a simple, flat plywood board. The vinyl was challenging to stick at times. Because of this, I took my time painting each letter to avoid the vinyl rising.
Step Six to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Step six is to paint the letters! I used black crafty paint, three coats, and I intentionally let each coat dry before applying the next. I noticed the vinyl would easily lift in places, so I did one letter at a time, allowing my finger to secure the vinyl should it lift. It helped that I painted the first two words and removed the vinyl, as I was curious to see if it was working. And it was!
I was pleased there was minimal bleeding- yes!! This gave me the encouragement to keep going with the rest of the words!
I added two floral embellishments to my sign to add some decorative flair.
Step Seven to Using a Cricut to Make a Sign
Remove all of the vinyl and enjoy your sign!!
You caught it, didn’t you? Okay- I changed the last statement. Did you see it? Initially, Game On sounded fine, but once I finished the sign the phrasing annoyed me. Game On sounds like a Wayne’s World reference- nothing against the movie, the phrase just struck me as dated! So… I busted out the white paint and covered the Game On…
And went with this:
And finally, I had this:
As a first time sign maker, I was pleased with the results! I am excited to try this again with some seasonal signs (think Happy Fall Y’all)!
Let’s review the steps using a Cricut to make a sign:
- Sand the board
- Paint the board
- Sketch your graphic on paper
- Cut the vinyl
- Apply the vinyl to the board
- Paint the letters
- Enjoy your sign!
Tada!!! I love this sign, and I am simply in love with my new Cricut Explore Air™! I am planning lots of fun projects for the coming months. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get the latest on my projects and DIY!
Check out these tutorials for other fun projects I have done using my Cricut Explore Air:
What awesome projects are you working on this summer?
In an upcoming blog post, I reveal my stenciled accent wall! See you then!