Engrave on Acrylic or PET with Cricut Maker

Engrave on Acrylic or PET with Cricut Maker main article image
Posted on May 3, 2021 by Wendy Boulay
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One of the things that we crafters love most about summer is that there are countless projects to make! No longer are we confined to creating crafts that are strictly for the indoors; instead, ideas for some backyard projects suddenly float to the top of our to-do lists. Well, get your pens ready because here is another one to add to the list – a weatherproof summer display that is the perfect accent for your patio table!

Supplies Needed

  • Acrylic or PET plastic blank (I used this 8×10 PET sheet)
  • Cricut engraving tool
  • Cricut knife blade (if using PET)
  • Digital Product: Summer Vibes SVG
  • Stand or holder for finished sign
  • Masking tape
  • Strong-grip mat
  • Cricut Maker

Creating Your Design

Cricut Design Space

Gather all of the supplies that you will need for this project and create an organized workspace.

Once you’re all set up and ready to go, head on over to Creative Fabrica and download the Summer Vibes SVG. What I love most about this SVG is its simplistic and minimalist design, which is perfect for this engraving project.

Before You Start Designing

If you’re like me and want your engraving to be filled in, this is absolutely possible – with a little bit of extra work of course!

  • NOTE: If you don’t want to fill in the engraving, just skip this step and continue to the “Creating Your Summer Vibes Display” section.

First, you’ll have to grab the “Fill Starter File For Foiling or Engraving” project from Design Space that was created by CleverSomeday, to get the fill lines for engraving the SVG. When you click on the link, you will be prompted to open up Design Space, and then the project should automatically pop up for you. Click on “Customize” and save the project as “Engraving Fill Lines Template” to keep it for future use. Then “save as” once more but this time change the project name to “Summer Vibes” You will use this canvas to create your project.

Creating Your Summer Vibes Display (No Fill)

Once you have downloaded and unzipped the “Summer Vibes” file, open up Design Space and start a new project. Next, insert a shape onto your canvas from the shapes library that best represents the blank that you will be using. 

  • 👉 Important Note: In all honesty, I first attempted this project with a 5×7 acrylic sheet, but I completely forgot that my blank was 3 mm thick…which is about 1mm too thick for the engraving tool! I ended up with a mess of scratches all over my no wasted blank! 😭😒 Please learn from my mistake and remember to keep the thickness of your blank in mind when engraving on acrylic sheets. Cricut cannot engrave acrylic that is thicker than 2 mm. 

Instead of purchasing a new acrylic blank with the correct thickness, I opted to use this PET sheet because I loved the idea that I can choose and cut just about any size or shape that I want. Not to mention the cost is far less if you already have the knife blade!

If you do want to try this out on a PET sheet, check out the image library for some different shapes that you would like to use as your blank. The world is your oyster when it comes to shapes for your template – just so long as you can place it in your stand once complete.

I decided to go with a scalloped circle and just sliced off the bottom to make a flat edge for my woodblock holder. I then sized it to be 7.8”, and changed the color to white just so that I could see everything better.

Now you can upload the Summer Vibes design and size it according to your template so that it fits nicely. If you’d like, search for a flower in the images library to fill any empty space you might have.

When you have everything aligned, select only the Summer Vibes SVG, then weld it and change the operation to engrave. This will reveal how the design will be engraved on your blank. If you are happy with the look, select your engraving/s only and attach.

Filling In

If you are filling in the engraving, follow the steps above and stop after you have sized, welded, and changed the operation to engrave; taking note of the size of the SVG. Now select only the fill lines rectangle and angle it. The degree of the angle doesn’t matter too much, but the general consensus seems to be that the fill always turns out nicer with the angled lines.

Next, select only the SVG and place it on the fill lines shape so that it is completely covered. Select both and change the size to roughly 10 times the current size of the SVG. With both still selected, click slice.

Now you will be left with a bunch of gigantic slices. Select them all and change the size back to the original size of the SVG.

Delete the slices that you don’t need, keeping the smoothest one for your engraving. It will look like it’s a solid black color after you have sized it back down, but if you enlarge it again you will see that it is actually filled with lines! Now change the sliced design to engrave and align it on your template to double-check the fit, then select only your engravings and attach.

Preparing for the Cut

Grab your strong-grip mat and place your blank on it, double-checking the placement for the engraving against the cut shape. Re-adjust as needed, until you have it aligned. This can be a little bit tricky, so just take your time.

Whether you are using an acrylic blank or the PET, you will need to tape down the edges with masking tape. This will ensure that it won’t move during the engraving and/or cut.

For the material type, use the acrylic setting if you are only engraving, but for the PET sheet, you will need to make some changes.

First, remove the top side of the protective plastic for the engraving process, and then for the engraving mat, choose your material as “Acrylic, Thin (1 mm)”. After the engraving has completed, you will then need to change the material again in order to do the cut for the template shape. Choose “Basswood – 1/32 or 1/16” – depending on how thick your sheet is, and load up your knife blade. Fair warning, this entire process is lengthy, so be prepared to spend at least 40 – 60 mins with the machine while it engraves and then cuts.

  • Centering Acrylic: If you are using an acrylic blank, centering the engraving can be really tricky. Editing the mat and moving the engraving to the center of it can really help with alignment. Use the “+” on the mat as a guide and place your blank accordingly.

Finishing

Once the Cricut has completed the entire process, remove the mat when prompted. You will notice a lot of dust from the engraving, but don’t wipe it off of your blank because you will risk scratching it! Instead, grab some masking tape and use it to lift as much of the dust off as possible, then carefully remove the rest of the acrylic/PET sheet. 

If the shape is acting stubborn when you try to release it from the entire sheet, just go slowly and use your fingers to punch it out.

You will probably need to clean up your machine afterward from all of the dust – you can use an alcohol wipe to clean the roller and star wheels.

Voila! All done! Grab your stand or holder for the sign and place it on your outdoor patio table to accent your backyard summer decor! 

Keep on Crafting! 💖


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