Things You'll Need
- Wooden plaque base
- Fine-grit sandpaper
- Acrylic paint
- Paint brushes
- Cardstock or patterned paper
- Decoupage medium
Home décor and accessory shops are full of wooden plaques and signs featuring funny or inspiring words and phrases or images to coordinate with your décor. Depending on the shop, the size of the item and whether the item is custom-created, these signs can cost up to $50 each or more. If you have a Cricut Personal Die-Cutting machine, though, you can create your own personalized wooden plaques and signs in styles and colors that match your taste and color schemes for a fraction of the cost.
Purchase a pre-made wooden plaque or sign base, or create your own custom base from wood. The Cricut cannot cut wood. Most craft and hobby stores carry a wide variety of wooden sign sizes and shapes.
Sand the edges and surface of the plaque using fine grit sandpaper. Use a damp cloth to remove dust and debris.
Paint the plaque base using acrylic paint. You may need to apply multiple coats. Allow the paint to dry.
Insert the Cricut cartridge containing the font or images you wish to cut into the Cricut machine. Use the dials to set the machine speed, cutting depth and the size of the images or letters. Enter the letters or images you want to cut using the keypad overlay for the cartridge.
Press the “Real Dial Size” button on the keypad overlay if you are cutting a word or phrase. Using this feature instructs the Cricut to cut the letters or images so they are all the same size. If you do not use this feature, the cut pieces will be in proportion to each other according to height, and may have an inconsistent appearance.
Trim the paper to fit the cutting pad for your Cricut model, either 6-inches-by-12-inches for the Cricut, or 12-inches-by-12-inches for the Cricut Expression. Place the paper on the cutting pad according to the grid lines.
Insert the cutting pad into the machine by pressing the “Insert Paper” button. Press “Cut.” Remove the die-cut images from the cutting mat.
Arrange the die-cut images on the painted plaque. When you’re happy with the appearance, make a light pencil mark at each piece.
Brush decoupage medium on the back side of each die-cut paper piece. Adhere the pieces to the plaque using the pencil marks as a guide. Smooth the edges of each piece, ensuring that they fully adhere.
Apply decoupage medium over the entire surface of the plaque. Allow to dry.
If you have the Cricut Design Studio software, a Gypsy device or access to the free Cricut Craft Room online design studio, you can design your plaque on the computer before cutting. These programs allow you to weld letters and images together into one piece and arrange items on the screen in non-standard sizes, giving you more control over the results of your design. Cut your design from scrap paper first, to test the sizing, arrangement and proportions of your Cricut die-cuts.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer on topics including lifestyle, education, and business. She is the author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), and her work has appeared in Lewiston Auburn Magazine, Young Money, USA Today and a variety of online outlets. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.