Cricut Maker: Tiered Wood Christmas Tree

Cricut Maker: Tiered Wood Christmas Tree main article image
Posted on November 29, 2021 by Wendy Boulay
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It seems like the weeks are flying by as we edge closer and closer to the holidays, and the biggest crafting season of the year is fully underway!

This tiered wood Christmas tree sign is definitely one that you will want to add to your to-do list! Originally inspired by The Kingston Home’s version (which I love), I changed it up by using some acrylic paint, wood seal, and used my Cricut Maker to cut out some basswood letters in order to give it a unique 3D effect.

This one will take a while to make, so plan ahead by cutting and staining the wood the day before to save some idle drying time.

Tiered Wood Christmas Tree

  • Supplies
  • Digital Products
  • Organize Your Time
  • Preparation Day
    • Cutting and Sanding
    • Painting and Sealing
  • Finishing Day
    • Cricut Maker: Basswood
      • Design
      • Cut!
    • Painting II
    • Gluing: Putting It All Together

Supplies

  1. 2 x 4 wood board – cut into blocks
  2. Sandpaper 
  3. Basswood sheets (I used Cricut brand)
  4. Acrylic paints (various colors, including metallic)
  5. Wood finish (I used Varathane Diamond Wood Finish – glossy)
  6. Foam applicator and paintbrushes
  7. Wood glue
  8. Cricut Knife Tool
  9. Masking Tape
  10. Strong Grip Mat
  11. Digital Products: Polythem Font, Chocolate Sprinkle Font, Milk and Honey Font, and the Franklin Gothic Heavy Font 

Digital Products 

Choosing your digital products is perhaps one of the most important aspects of this project. You need to take into consideration that while the Cricut Maker can indeed cut wood, it may struggle with fine lines and tiny details. This is even more true when cutting words or letters. 

That said, the font that you do choose to create your lettering should be a bold, somewhat chunky font to give you the best results. Basswood is a thicker material so you definitely don’t want to use a font with thin glyphs or tiny details, or else you risk cracking the wood and wasting good money!

I recommend that you make your way over to Creative Fabrica and grab the Polythem Font, Chocolate Sprinkle Font, Milk and Honey Font, and the Franklin Gothic Font.

  • Polythem Font: In my opinion, this is one of the most user-friendly fonts for cutting basswood. It’s a heavier font but it also contains some glyphs so that you can “fancy up” the texts. The glyphs also allow you to easily create connected letters.

polythem font

  • Chocolate Sprinkle Font: Maybe not quite as heavy as the Polythem font, this one still works beautifully. It also contains glyphs and swashes which pair nicely with the other combined fonts.

chocolate sprinkle font

  • Milk and Honey Font: A nice, trendy, thick-lettered serif. The letters connect to each other with ease, so not a lot of manipulation is required.

milk and honey font

  • Franklin Gothic Heavy Font: This ultra-heavy font would be way too much for a longer word, but it’s a great space filler for 1 or 2 letters, adding some width and bulk to one of the sections of the wood tree. 

franklin gothic heavy font

Of course, feel free to choose another font, but I urge you to keep in mind the weight and styles of your selections so that you don’t have too much work to do by way of design and/or cutting.

Download, extract, then install your fonts.

Organize Your Time

I suggest that you approach this project by splitting your crafting session into two separate days; “Preparation” day and “Finishing” day. The reason being is that you are not only dealing with cutting five blocks of wood, including sanding, you will also need to paint (or stain) all of them; in addition to cutting out all of your letters on the basswood. The two days are summarized by:

  • Preparation Day: 
    • Cutting all wood blocks
    • Sanding 
    • Painting (or staining)
    • Sealing
  • Finishing Day:
    • Cutting the words on basswood
    • Painting the words/letters.
    • Gluing the words to the blocks

By splitting the project up over two days, you can organize your time more efficiently and allow yourself to have a break after working with all that wood! It also ensures that your paint (or stain) and seal are fully dry for day 2!

Preparation Day: 

Cutting and Sanding

Let’s jump right into making your “tree” by cutting all of your wood blocks into the following sizes:

  • 12” x 3.5”
  • 10” x 3.5”
  • 8” x 3.5”
  • 6” x 3.5”
  • 4” x 3.5”

Once you have them cut, chances are fairly high that you will then need to give them all a really good sanding. Initially, you’ll want to use a rougher grit, then switch over to fine grit for finishing. Don’t forget to sand all sides and edges; your goal is to have very smooth blocks so that your paint goes on seamlessly, and the glued letters are flush.

Painting and Sealing

When you are finished with the sanding, give all of the blocks a wipe with a slightly damp paper towel to remove any leftover dust or debris, then let them sit for about 20 minutes to dry.

Grab your paint and brush, then paint (or stain if you prefer) each block – ensuring that you cover all of the sides and edges. 

Feel free to use any color that you like best; but because our goal is to create a sign with a “tree” effect, I decided to go with a deeper green color stain. Have some fun and try alternating different colors, or just choose your favorite!

painted green blocks

  • 👉 Tool Tip: Painter’s Pyramids are one of my favorite tools to use when I make my wood signs. These inexpensive little plastic pyramids allow you to paint or stain all sides of your blocks at once, without having to wait for each side to dry – a major time saver!

After your paint has been applied to all of the woodblocks, allow them all to dry for 1-2 hours. Depending on the brand of your paint and/or color choice, you may have to apply a second coat. If so, allow the second coat to dry for at least 5-6 hours before adding the seal.

To apply your seal, use a foam brush (or synthetic paintbrush), then dip it into your can of wood finish, making sure to wipe off any excess in order to avoid more drips.

sealing green blocks

Coat all sides/edges of the woodblocks, then let them dry overnight (at least 12-16 hours).

Let’s move on to day two!

Finishing Day: 

Cricut Maker: Basswood

Design

Welcome to the finishing day! 😊

To start this day off, open up Design Space, and on a fresh canvas, insert a rectangle shape. Duplicate it four times – changing the size dimensions (and color) of each one to represent the same sizes/colors as your wood blocks. These will be your templates for sizing your letters.

design space template

Next, line them up by order of smallest to largest – forming the “tree”. 

Smallest block: Insert a star shape from the Shapes Library. Size it on the block in a manner you like best, then Align>Center.

Second block: Type out the words “We” in a new text field and change the font to Franklin Gothic. Now, this is where you will need to play around with the letter-spacing and/or ungroup the letters so that you can connect them. Doing so will make it possible to create a single cut word as opposed to cutting each letter separately. After ungrouping the letters, move the “e” over to the ‘W”, then weld. Your word is now connected!

welding in design space

Blocks 3-5: Repeat the same process as the second block using the words:

  1. “Wish” – Polythem font
  2. “You A” – Milk and Honey font
  3. “Merry Christmas” – Chocolate Sprinkle font

Connect the letters as best you can. You may find that there are some tiny gaps or notice some lines that are slightly too thin, so in order to make these areas a little thicker for cutting, I simply inserted shapes, reduced their sizes, placed them accordingly – then welded! You can also insert some shapes simply to slice small sections that might fit better for connecting (as I did in the image with “y”, after duplicating it.)

connecting letters for welding

If you notice any tiny areas that you can’t seem to cover up without distorting the natural flow of the text, use the contour tool to hide them!

contour tool

When you are finished, size each of your welded texts on the block templates and play around with the text colors until you find a combination that you love.

wood tree design

When you have all of your letters/words ready to go, hide the block templates. You will want to keep these in case you want to create another sign at a later date.

Organize your texts together as best as you can to reduce the basswood waste. As I used Cricut’s 12” x 6” basswood sheets, I sorted my texts to fit this exact same size. Inserting another shape as a guide can be helpful, just remember to delete the shape before you cut!

sorting words for cutting

Attach, then click on that that Make It button!

Cut!

Immediately you will see your digital map pop up. Place your basswood on the strong grip mat in the same manner that you organized the texts previously.

basswood on mat

Tape down all four sides of the wood to your mat. This will help to avoid any shifting during the cutting process.

If you are using the same Cricut basswood sheets as I did, select the “Basswood 1/16” for the material setting, insert your knife blade and go!

basswood material setting

The cutting process is going to take a long time….and I mean a long time! Each word/letter gets 14 cutting processes, so in all mine took about 1 1/4 hours. A good opportunity to get comfortable, put your feet up, and take a break! 

cutting basswood

Painting II

When it finally does finish, VERY carefully remove the tape and wood from your mat. Don’t fret too much if you were a little excited and broke a small section…you can just glue it! 😂

Now you get to paint your letters! Go ahead and paint them according to your design plan, again, allowing time to completely dry between coats.

painting letters

If you wish, when all of your words are dry you can add a coat of seal. This will help to prevent the paint from chipping off – making your sign last for a long time!

Gluing: Putting It All Together

Almost there…I promise! 😉

Now with all of your pieces and blocks fully dry, it’s time to put them all together!

You can start with any block you wish, but I feel that it’s best to start from the top of the “tree” so that you don’t accidentally glue a word to the wrong size block.

gluing basswood

Starting with the star and the smallest block, add some glue to the back of the star and stick it centered on the block. Repeat for the remaining blocks/words – from smallest to largest.

star on woodblock

Allow them to fully dry and voila! What I love about this project is that it can be displayed tiered, but you can also separate the blocks for a different look on your bookshelf!

Be proud of yourself…this one was a little industrious but oh so worth it!

Happy Holidays!

Keep on Crafting! 💖🎄🎁

finished wood tree sign


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