Learn how to cut names, letters and monograms from wood on the Cricut! These made great signs, puzzles, and cake toppers!
Thank you to the readers and viewers who requested I made something out of WOOD on my Cricut (Joyce, Laura, Sheila R., Catalina, Lynn P., Deb, Jennifer F., Amy, Maribel H., Cristina A., ). Each person who contributed this project idea will receive an extra entry for your idea (I am keeping track on this on my end). And don’t forget, you can suggest project ideas for this Challenge here and receive entries to win one of our awesome prizes, including a Cricut Maker!
Key concepts taught in the video tutorial include how to create text in Cricut Design Space, how to separate letters, how to weld, and how to cut wood.
See exactly how to cut wood letters on a Cricut in this step-by-step video below:
Ok, let’s cut wood letters on the Cricut! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials to Cut Wood Letters
- 1/16″ basswood sheets (I bought mine at Joann, but you can also find them online) – works on Maker only
- 1/16″ balsa wood sheets
- Masking tape or painter’s tape
- Knife blade (for Maker) or Deep Cut Blade (for Explore)
- StrongGrip mat (the purple one!)
- A way to cut your materials (I used the amazing Cricut)
- Design #123 – My free SVG/DXF/PDF cut files/patterns (available in my free resource library—get the password at the bottom of this post)Note: Here are the fonts I used in this tutorial
Design #1: Mischell Script –
Design #2: Cricut Craft Room Basic (inside Cricut Design Space)
Design #3: Monogramos
How to Cut Wood Letters on the Cricut
If you want to use my Maker Heart design (Design #123), download it from my free resource library (you can get a password for it at the bottom of this page). If you’re going to cut the wood out on your cutting machine, upload the file to your design software. If you’re not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made. If you’re on an iPhone or iPad, here’s how to download and upload SVG files to the Cricut Design Space app.
Go to Cricut Design Space and prepare your design. You can use my Maker Heart design in my free resource library, or make your own with text. Just make sure that the thickness of your cuts is larger than the width of a pencil eraser (about .2 inches). I show how to create a custom name in Cricut Design Space in my tutorial video.
To make a custom design, click on New Project to get started. Click on Text over on the left and type in whatever name you want. Then change the font — I recommend you stick with a single-layer font. If your font is too skinny, you will have difficulties cutting it out. You want to generally keep all of your lines at least a pencil eraser thick. So nothing delicate is going to work. I used a font called Michelle Script.
Now click on Advance and do Ungroup to Letters. Now once we’ve done that, we can manipulate each of these letters individually, and put them where we want. Once everything is the way you want it, select everything. And then resize it to be no more than 10 and a half inches wide, as that is the limit for the Cricut Maker or the Explore. You could do a longer word on a longer mat, but I don’t currently have a longer mat, so we’re going to just stick with 10 and a half inches wide. So once you’ve selected everything, go down and click Weld. And then click Make It. And that’s all there is to creating the name.
It took 20 minutes to cut the 10″ Maker Heart on my Cricut Maker with the knife blade. It took about 5 minutes to cut the same design on the Cricut Explore with the Deep-Cut Blade.
It took on hour to cut the 10″ name puzzle board on my Cricut Maker with the knife blade.
And it took about 5 minutes to cut the 3″ monogram on both the Cricut Maker and the Cricut Explore.
For more instructions and photos, watch the video linked above! Here is the transcript from the video if you prefer to read
First, I want you to look at your basswood and look at the grain of it. This matters because the grain of the wood, it’s more likely to break along the grain of the wood. So, with our letters and the way that we’ve structured it, we want the grain to go exactly the way that I’m putting it on the board, so this is the long way. But your design might call for something else. It kind of depends on where your little parts are, you know, are they going vertical or horizontal? And so once you’ve determined the grain, you want to, you want to tape your piece of basswood to your strong-grip mat. I’m just using painter’s tape here, that works fine. Masking tape is also fine. But make sure it’s taped.
Okay, now we’re going to use my Maker and we’re going to use the knife blade. This is the knife blade. And we’re going to put that right into the mechanism. I’m sure it has a name, I don’t know what it is. The clamp, we’re going to put it in the clamp. And then these are the star wheels. I’ve already moved mine all the way over to the right. But if you haven’t, you’re going to want to. You just need to slide them over. They can be a little stiff, so just work at it until you have them all the way over. And this is important so that you don’t mark up your wood. And make sure that you’ve got enough space behind your machine, always. Move mine out a bit, and then I’m going to load my mat and we’re going to get started. Everything’s taped down, good to go. I always check this. You don’t want little bits of tape sticking up that could like get caught in the rollers and gum up the works.
So when it’s ready, click the flashing Cricut button, and it will start. And I’m going to give you a close-up shot of the knife blade at work, because I think it’s cool to see how these things work. So there you can see it. See the little gear move at the top? So the knife blade changes direction based on the cut. So because it’s not just a little point, it’s actually a little, there’s like a blade with a particular edge on it, that’s very, very sharp. And that’s how it can do this, it’s really pretty awesome. Of course, this is also why it tends to take a while. So it’s going to take 24 minutes for me to make this project. Which isn’t really so bad, it’s going to be 14 passes, it says. And while it’s working, make sure, this is important, make sure that Cricut Design Space stays open and stays as the active tab in your browser. And you should use Google Chrome. That’s what Cricut recommends, and that’s what I also recommend. If you need to go do other things on your computer, just go use a different window in your browser. If you are doing other things in you browser, the Cricut might stop getting the directions from your computer, and there’ll be a pause. And if that happens, usually you can just go right back to the Cricut Design Space tab and it’ll start working again. But generally speaking the advice is to keep that tab active while it’s cutting for the best results.
So this project has 14 passes, which means it’s going to cut it 14 times. So each time the blade goes a little deeper, right. And this is how it does that, this is how it gets that really fine detail. So when it’s finished with its predetermined passes, so in this case 14, it’ll ask you to check your cut. A little box will appear on your screen.
So we’re going to go over and we’re going to look and see how it’s done. So I mean it sure looks like it’s cut, hasn’t it? Looks nice and deep. And if you look at the center of the K there, see that, right there? It looks like it’s even raised up a bit. In fact, it like pops out at one point. So it’s right there, and it sure looks to me like it’s cut through, so we’re going to pull this off. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I was misled by that little bit, and as you can see, it had not cut all the way through. Thankfully, it’s cut most of the way through. So what we do in this case, is we take our handy craft knife. I have the Cricut True Control Knife. And working on the front and the back, we just trim up those little bits that are still kind of hanging about. And clear it off, and here it is. And that looks pretty awesome, the basswood is really nice. It’s plenty stiff enough. It feels like wood, it doesn’t feel flimsy.
But what about the Cricut Explore, can you do it? If you’d like to try this on the Cricut Explore, I want you to go to the menu in the upper left-hand corner and click on Manage Custom Materials. Select your Explore, and then scroll to the very bottom and click Add New Material. And give it a name, so Basswood. And I want you to set these settings here. First select a deep-point blade, then change it to 234 pressure, cut five times and click Save, okay. Now let’s give it a try on my Cricut Explore Air 2. So we’re going to do this just like we normally do, find our basswood. And we’re going to put in the deep-cut blade, so it’s this black housing right here. And move over the star wheels, just like before. Make sure everything is taped down, just like before. And we’re going to try cutting it out here and see how it does. And if you watch it, it sure looks pretty good, doesn’t it? Nice clean cut, I’m not seeing, not seeing any issues, I can totally see the cut there. So here’s what it looks like when it finished. And as you can see, it only cut through in one spot. So let’s try this again, this time, let’s put it on balsa wood. Balsa is much easier to cut. So we’re going to do the same thing. We’re going to add a new material, we’re going to call it Balsa Wood, one-sixteenth of an inch. So it’s the same thickness as the basswood. And for this, I want you to select deep-point blade, a pressure of 220 and cut four times and save that, okay? And now we’re going to give this one a try and see if balsa wood cuts better on the Explore than the basswood does. Do not change your pressure, by the way.
So this is what happened when I tried to cut balsa wood the first time on my Explore. It’s a mess, and you can see the star wheels this side totally dug in. Yeah, that did not work. So I tried it again, and this time I mirrored it so that the, you know, the wheels wouldn’t mess up the front. And it did a better job. I also used a brand-new mat that was super sticky. So the combination of the new mat, and mirroring it, seemed to make a difference. So when I was able to pull this one off the mat, you can see here, it’s mostly, I’m actually just kind of pushing with my fingers, and I was able to get it out. All right, so here, I want to compare these two. At the top is the basswood I cut on my Cricut Maker. You can see it, it’s actually pretty sturdy for a thin wood. And in the bottom is the balsa wood that I cut on my Explore. It feels very, very flimsy. You would definitely want to be putting this on a backing, like you know a board or something. It seems very fragile. They’re exactly the same thickness, one-sixteenth of an inch, which is the maximize size really. In some cases, you can go up to three-thirty-seconds, but, generally speaking one-sixteenth of an inch is the maximum. So, you can cut out balsa wood. The Maker is, of course, doing a better job.
Wood Name Puzzle
Okay, so let’s try another wood project. Let’s go to Cricut Design Space, click on Shapes and click Square. Click the unlock button, and widen this into a rectangle. So this’ll be the size of our sign. It’s about nine and half, 10 inches. This is going to be our name puzzle, and I want you to duplicate this so you have two copies of this rectangle. And then click Text, and type in the name you’re going to want to use for your puzzle. And I’m going to type in my daughter’s name, Alexa. All right, so there it is, now you need to place it on top of your backing, you know, so the board that it’s going to be on, and use the resize button to make it about the size you want it to be. Okay, so, I’m going to move this down just a little bit so that we can see it. All right, so let’s change the font to something appropriate. The key here is to use a multilayer font. You can find them by clicking on Filter and choosing Multilayer, and this will make all the difference in our ability to make this name puzzle. There’s, you know, again, the ones with the price next to them will cost extra. But the Cricut fonts, like the Cricut Craft Room font, is free, so, if you want to change the letter spacing, just click the little down arrow in letter spacing. Make it so that it looks good, you don’t want the letters too tight or there might be not enough space for when you cut it out, so make sure that there’s plenty of space in between but it still looks good.
When you’re satisfied with it, go over to the text, and you’ll see that one layer is hidden and one layer is not. Make both layers visible by clicking the eye icon, and then click Ungroup, so we have both text layers of this multilayer font. One of these layers is bigger than the other, and that is the trick to doing this. So then I want you to drag the smaller version out and then duplicate it. And then I want you to select the board and larger font and click Slice. Okay. Then we get rid of the parts that we don’t need. So we don’t need this, so we’ll delete it. And we don’t need that part, and we’ll delete that. And now we’re left with exactly what we want. Which is, let’s change the color of this, so this’ll be the backing of our puzzle, our name puzzle, and we’re going to change it to like a darker wood. This is the front of our name puzzle. Let’s change it to like a wood color, a light wood color. And then we’ll also change our font to this exact same color. So the parts in the light cream are going to be cut out of the wood, and the part in the dark brown is going to be cut out of chip board. So here you can see how that works. And by using a multilayer font, we now have space for these letters to go into the puzzle. Because if they were too tight, it would be difficult to put them in and get them out. So we’re giving it a little extra room.
Then I want you to click Ungroup to Letters on both of the names. The reason why we’re going to do this, is because then, when we go to cut it out, Cricut will put the letters into a more size-conscious format instead of just having it all just whatever. It’ll take less wood, in other words. All right, so we clicked Make it, and here is what we’re going to be cutting out. I want to move these L’s down here, because you’re not supposed to have any material larger than 11 inches, according to Cricut. So now everything is within 11 inches on our mat, and this will cut out just like it should. This is the chip board layer, and this is the basswood layer.
So click Continue and choose your Cricut. Click Browse All Materials. Search again for basswood, because we’re going to cut this out of basswood. It’s definitely the better material than balsa. Balsa is crazy flimsy. All right, so, just like before, we need to move the star wheels over to the right. All right, so we’re going to cut this out on the Maker, same thing as before. We are going to use a knife blade, and we’re going to have our star wheels all the way over to the left. And this project is going to take about an hour to cut out. So, and when it’s at the end of an hour, it’s going to ask us to check it, just like before. This time, we’re going to be more careful, aren’t we? And we’re going to make sure it’s actually cut out before, because if it’s not we have the option to cut it some more. Right, and we want to do that as much as possible, because that minimizes us having to clean up.
So here it is, after its final pass. And while it looks like it’s cut out, I can’t tell. So let’s take the tape off and see if we can manipulate these letters down here at the bottom at all. I mean, it doesn’t really look like it’s free. And if you look at it from underneath, it doesn’t look like it’s cut all the way through. So, it looks like it’s really close, though. Yeah, see, it’s not moving at all when I push down on it. It’s still attached, at least by a few fibers. And that’s enough for me to want to do another cut. So we just click that C again, and it will do another pass. And you can keep doing that until you feel it’s ready to go. I ended up doing it three more times. So here is our cut project, I’m going to take this off the mat. And it did a lot better than last time. Those extra passes made all the difference. So there were just a few things to have to touch up. For some reason, the L’s were a little bit harder to get out. All right, so now, set aside the big letters that came out of the middle, and keep the smaller letters. Because what we’re going to do is we’re going to make this name puzzle, right?
We’re going to cut out that chip board so it’s going to be the same size, and we’ll put it underneath the backing of the puzzle, right, so you see it there. And we’re going to use it wood glue, and we’re going to glue each of these letters together. So the A with the A, L with the L, E with the E, et cetera. And just a little bit of, you don’t need to glop it on. If you do, it’ll just squirt out the sides and it’ll be a big mess, just a little bit of glue, and just go through, and do, and the reason why we’re doing it, we’re doubling up like this is because, I mean, while basswood is definitely a lot sturdier than balsa wood, it’s still a pretty thin wood and it’s only one-sixteenth of an inch. By doubling up our wood like this, we’re going to make it a lot sturdier, and it’s not going to be accidentally broken in little hands, right. These name puzzles are very popular with kids, so we want to make sure that this is sturdy and something that’s going to last for a while. So doubling up really makes a difference. I mean, you could triple it up if you want, but I think doubling up is just fine. All right, there we go.
And of course we have to glue our chip board layer to our wood layer as well. And you could of course, instead of using chip board, you could just use another piece of basswood. That would be totally fine. But the chip board is really super sturdy, and it’s in the back, so, eh, who cares, let’s just do that, right. But if you have the basswood and you want it be all wood, then go ahead and use that. I happened to have a bit of chip board laying around that I needed to use from another project that was just going to waste, so I thought this worked out pretty well. And there you go, just put it on the back. Press it down. Make sure that it’s pressed down while it’s gluing, and then when it’s good to go, you can just put your letters in. See how it works. Ta-da! Pretty cool, huh? Isn’t that cute? Now my daughter, Alexa, is 14 and isn’t really interested in name puzzle, but we’re going to make this into a sign for her bedroom, and I still think it looks really, really cool. But imagine making a bunch of those for kids. Wouldn’t they just think that was fun? I think so.
All right, project number three with wood is going to be a monogram. I had a number of requests for monograms made from wood. So to start we’re going to click Shapes and then choose Circle. And we’re going to make this a little bigger, so we can see it, and then duplicate it. And then make that second one a little smaller. Yep, just like that, select everything and click Align and then choose Center and then click Slice. So basically what we’ve made now is a big circle, right, a big ring, I should say, it’s a big ring. Now we need our letter. So I’m just going to take M. And we’re just going to resize that to fit inside this, and make sure everything is the same color. So I mean, this is a really popular style of monogram that is cut out from wood, and it’s important that all your letters all connected to the sides, and that’s the key here. No floating bits, right, so you can play with the font and choose different things that seem to work. This is the same Michelle Script font that I used for the first project, but there’s lots of other options. Again, anything with a price in front of it will cost you money when you go to create this, so use those at your own risk. There’s lots of free choices. And there’s choices that come free here in the system. So this font right here is not going to be good, because it’s good these loose bits here that are not connected to each other. Avoid a font like this. You want it to be a solid letter. Your letter should be solid so it touches on at least on like three sides and is all connected inside. Otherwise, it’ll be loose and flopping around and probably will break, okay.
All right, so yeah, lots of font choices. Here’s one called Bendigo. I don’t like this one either because it’s got weird cuts in it. Yeah, it doesn’t even look good . There’s really just almost too many fonts. You really want to look online for a style of monogram that you particularly like. I like this one, it’s very retro, very ’70s. And of course doesn’t have to be just one letter. You can put in all three initials, whatever works. I’m going to show you another way, though. So we’re going to go over to another webpage, and we’re going to go get a free font. It’s a very cool monogram font. So we’re going to go over to dafont.com, which is a resource for free fonts. The font is called monogramos by Woodcutter. So go ahead and download that. And you see it’s got these cool circles, and I think this is a very popular monogram right now, and it works great for wood. So download that, and then when it opens, when it’s downloaded, click on Open. And I’m on a Mac, so you’re only going to see it the way it works on a Mac. I can do a font tutorial in the future. So double-click the downloaded font and click Install. And it installs on our computer, and in my case it’s installing on my Mac. So awesome. So now we have a cool monogram font installed. Okay, to use this we have to go back and refresh Cricut Design Space. By that, I mean press the little icon that’s like a round arrow at the top of your browser. Because right now, it won’t find the font. It has to refresh, and then the font will load in. So whenever you add a new font, you have to refresh Cricut Design Space to get it to come up, at least I do. And of course when you refresh Cricut Design Space, that means you get a, you’re getting a brand-new page, so make sure you save any changes, anything that you want to be saved, because it won’t stay the next time you come back unless you saved it.
All right, so click on Text and type in your monogram. I’m going to type in JML for Jennifer Maker Lynn, so Jennifer Lynn Maker. And, we’re going to change the font to the monogramos font. There it is, okay. And this is what you get, so there’s my J and my L. But this isn’t quite right, is it? We want them to be together. So here’s how you create a cool monogram from this font. So select those three circles and click Advanced and Ungrouped Letters. Now each of those is individual, right. Now I want you to click on Shapes and choose a circle. And resize the circle that you created, so it’s about the same size as, and resize the circle so that it’s the same size as your monogram. And once it’s the same size, go ahead and move it down so that you can access it easier, and duplicate it twice, so you have one for each of the three, the other two letters, right. So now you’ve got your three monogram letters and three circles. Move those to the back so they’re behind and move each one into place under each of your letters. Now select each set and do center, so that your monogram font and your circle are perfectly centered on top of each other. Okay, now, select each one and click Slice. Okay, so when you slice it we’re going to get all these parts here, we don’t need that one. We don’t need that one, and we don’t need that one. So delete all those ones we don’t need and we’re left with just this one that we do want. So do the same thing with the other two letters. So, click on Slice. And get rid of the extra parts you don’t need. So the part you want to keep is the letters in like a, in this case it’s a dark gray, but it could look black on your screen. Awesome, now we’re going to learn how to contour. So select one of your things and click Contour. Now we want to hide the letters we don’t need. So we don’t need the middle one or the right one.
Ta-Da! Isn’t that cool? So do the same thing, so for the M we want to keep them middle so you hide the left and the right one. And for the L, you want to hide the left one and the middle one. And how we’re left with just the letters that we want for our monogram, so just click and drag them into position. Isn’t that cool? They’re all curved and everything. So now we just a need circle, a ring to go around them, so we’re going to do just like we did before, click on Shapes and choose Circle. And we’re going to put this in the back so that we can put it behind our letters, so we can see it better. So put that into the position that you would like it to be, maybe a little bigger, whatever. Make sure that it’s thick enough, so that when you cut it out on your Cricut it’s at least a pencil eraser’s width. Right, remember that’s the rule. And when you have it the way you want it, duplicate it and then create a smaller version of that circle. And you want, for this second circle, you want it be sized so that it’s just overlapping your letters. Just a little bit smaller, like this, so that everything is touching there. And when you have the two circles the way you want, you’re going to select those two circles and click Slice. And then remove this center that we don’t need. And then here we have our ring left over, and that looks pretty good, maybe it should be a little smaller so that there’s plenty of overlap on the letters, because we want everything to be touching, and then click Weld. So this is okay except for that J up there that’s not right. So let’s click Undo and bring that ring in a little bit more, and reposition it, select everything and click Weld. There we go, now we have an awesome circular monogram that’s personalized to you. So click Make It, and we’re going to make this in balsa wood on the Maker and on the Explore. So that we can compare directly the two machines and how they did with the same material and the same design.
So for the Maker, we just go ahead and select our Maker, and then we click Browse All Materials, and we search on balsa, one-sixteenth of an inch, right. And then when we put this in our machines, we want to pay attention to the grain again. So on this particular design, we want the grain to be going, we want the grain to be going up and down, not because it looks better or something like that but because balsa wood is very fragile and it wants to break along its grain. So if you put the grain where a narrow part is, it’s going to break, right, so we want to put the grain where all of our long parts are. So if you look at our monogram, we have lots of long letters. We want the grain to match those long letters, and that will reduce the chances that it breaks. So if you’re following this tutorial, just put your balsa wood on your mat with the grain going up and down. And here’s our cut monogram, which went very quick, by the way. I think it was, I don’t know, a few minutes. I was surprised at how fast it was. Balsa wood is so much softer than basswood, and it cuts very quickly. At least compared to basswood it does. It still has a number of passes, but not 14 passes. So it cut all the way through without any issues, and just take it off the mat very gently because balsa is just so fragile. Just very, very, very gently. If there’s any bits left in the middle, just use your weeding tool and pop them out, just like that. And there we go, I did a great job of cutting that. I see no issues with that at all. Nice cute little monogram. You could make that much bigger of course, if you want to use that on a wreath or as home decor. All right, let’s try this on the Explore. We’re just going to go back to Cricut Design Space, and this time we’re going to connect our Explore. And we’re going to, we’ve already created a custom material, right, so we’re going to go ahead and search for the balsa that we made for our first project, and we’re going to use that. And don’t change the pressure, make sure it stays as default. Okay, I know I like to change the pressure, but don’t do it this time. All right, so, here is what it looked like when we cut it out on the Explore. So it looks pretty good. I only see, in fact, one minor difference, and that’s at the top of the M, where it has a little bit of like tearing. Otherwise, it did a great job.
So based on our experiment, you can totally cut wood on a Cricut Explore using a deep-cut blade. Now you might have to fiddle a little bit with your settings, and you should definitely be using a strong-grip mat that is not old . Because it needs to be sticky enough, and you have to tape everything down. And you might want to mirror it, right, if it’s a big design that’s going to be cut in two by the star wheels. Otherwise, it does work, and it’s actually a pretty clean cut.
The Maker still does a better job of cutting wood, and I could not cut basswood on my Cricut Explore, no matter how hard I tried. But it was really quite easy on the Maker, especially once I made sure to double-check that it had cut all the way through and then just did the extra passes until I was satisfied that it was done. So some wood worked, and some didn’t. And hey, that happens, and just think, I am making mistakes so you don’t have to, right.
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