- Cardstock in white, red, and blue
- Cricut or other cutting machines.
- Elmer’s glue
- Double sided spacer dots
- Download my design from my free library
- Thin tip bottle to place Elmer’s glue for better control of the flow.
- Optional: picture frame
I made a simple mandala design of my own. I made a cross with and American flag on it. I then took this design and added eagle heads and swirls to different areas. I used very small and intercut designs, which means I had to make my piece bigger than originally planned in order to keep all the details. This piece only has a few layers of depth, but I think it still turned out well.
To start you will need to download my design from my free library, which you can find here. You will then need to upload the file to Cricut Design Space. If you need help with doing this, then please check out this post about how to do so. Once the design is in Cricut Design Space, there are a few things you will need to do before it is ready to cut. I made a video of me doing these steps so it is easier for you to follow along. You can find that video on my YouTube channel, or posted below. I will also type out the steps for those that prefer to read them instead.
You will first want to ungroup everything. Next, I clicked on the purple cross and changed it to white, by selecting the selection box at the top left side of the screen. This is not necessary, but helps to see how the finished piece will look. It also puts other pieces on the same mat to be cut, which saves time from switching mats for each section. Also, while the cross is selected, I clicked arrange, send to back. This moves the cross behind all the other pieces so you can see everything else.
Next, I selected each reddish pink strip and collection of eagles associated with the strip, and while both pieces were selected, I clicked attach, in the bottom right side of the screen. This tells the Cricut machine to keep these two pieces together. If you do not attach them, then the machine will cut the eagle heads out, but not on the strips. We want the eagles cut out of the stripes, so the white will show through under neath. I then did the same thing for each of the starts and their associated pattern.
I added lines where the stripes go on the cross. Right now the Cricut machine will cut these lines, which will leave your cross in pieces. You will need to select each line, and in the upper left hand corner of the screen, click the drop down arrow next to basic cut, then click score. This will tell your Cricut machine to make an indentation in the cardstock instead of cutting it out. I liked having these indentations, because it helps you line up the strips when gluing them down. Once you apply the strips, you will not see these lines. If you do not like these lines, then you can delete or hide them. If you keep these lines, then you will also need to attach them to the cross so your machine makes them in the appropriate spot, and not just off to the side. So, you will need to select each of these line, along with the cross and hit attach.
I do end up changing the colors of my stars to white. I did this so the cross and stars could be cut all at once, since they both will be on the same white cardstock.
I also changed the color of one star to test how well the Cricut would be able to cut this small details. By changing the color of one star, it put it on a cutting mat of its own. I then only selected this mat to be cut. I originally was going to place this cross in an 8 x 10 picture frame and scaled everything to that size. However, after cutting one star at this ratio, I realized this was way to small for all the detail cuts I was asking the Cricut to make. I tried the light cardstock setting and the intricate card stock setting, and I was not happy with either cut. The intricate card stock setting applies less pressure, but dose two passes/cuts. I scaled my star up and tested the cut, until I found a size that I was happy with how it cut it. I then did a little math to determine how big everything else needed to be scaled too to match the star’s new size. The size I was happy with was 1.6 inch for the stars. However, this made the cross to wide to fit on one mat. So, I scaled the cross and the stripes to 11.5 inches wide which made it 16.44 inches tall. So, I will still need to split the cross on two mats for the length.
Once I sized my design larger so all the details could be cut nicely, the cross portion of the design was now too big to fit on m 12 x 12 mats, which actually cut 11.5 x 11.5 inches. In order to fix this issue, we will need to do just a little more work. I made a box, hit shapes, then select square, on the left hand side of the screen. I then resized this box to 11.5 x 11.5. I then moved this box over my cross where I wanted the break in my cross to be. You may want to select the box, and hit arrange, move to back, so you can see what you are doing better. Otherwise, the box will go in front of the cross and make it harder to see exactly where you want it. I decided to break the cross right where the bottom of the cross starts. I knew the blue area where the stars are, would cover some of this area, and thus help hold the cross together here. We will be using the score function, but in order to use this function, we will need to detach all the lines we attached to the cross earlier. So, select the score lines on the cross, and hit detach, in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. Then select the box and the cross, and hit score, in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. This will cut the cross exactly where the box was intersecting it. You will want to select all the score lines, and reattach them to the cross. Select each score line, and both sections of the cross, and hit attach, in the bottom right hand corner of the screen. These lines did not seem to appear, but they are still there, they are just behind the cross, but that is okay. When you go to make the project, you will see it says score on the left side of the screen, indicating it knows to score these lines, even though they are behind the cross. You can now select and delete all the extra pieces from the box.
It is finally time to make your cross mandala. I found when cutting the eagle head and star designs, the cleaner cut was on the back side of the cardstock. So, I mirrored just these pieces so the cleaner side was facing the correct way. If this confuses you, then do not worry about doing this. Since there are a lot of cuts for the machine to make, it does take a little while to make.
To assemble the pieces I started off by using Elmers glue to glue the blue star background to the white cross. I used this blue piece to insure the cut off bottom of my cross was even and in the correct position. Next, I glued down each strip piece. I lined up each piece first to insure they were all in the correct spot, before gluing any of them down. I used a thin tip bottom to place my Elmer’s glue in so I could control the flow of glue easier for these smaller pieces. I place the glue on the back of each strip in between the designs/cutouts. This way no glue showed through. For the stars I cut and folded in half my double sided spacers. By folding them, I can get a larger space between the two pieces of cardstock. I like the normal space was not enough, and they needed to be doubled.
Now find a nice frame for your finished piece to sit in, and place a pretty background in the frame with it. This could make for a beautiful gift for someone, or keep it for yourself. This piece has a lot of details, but I kept the layering simple. It has just enough depth, without getting too complicated especially if this is your first time making a layered piece. I also made a rose, which has a few more layered pieces to it, if you are interested in trying that out. I also made this cross with the American flag out of wood, and without the extra designs. If you are interested in seeing this piece, then click here.
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