Updated: May 20, 2019
Hey guys! Do you like beautiful paper art as much as I do? Have you ever thought about making some yourself? It may seem daunting at first, but I promise, with a little guidance, it's actually really easy! For today's blog, I am going to show you how to make an awesome howling wolf paper project using your Cricut or an Exacto Knife!
Cricut Standard or Light Grip Mat
Premium Cardstock 8.5 in x 11 in 60-65lbs (Assorted Colors, at least 7 pieces)
Art files or
- if you do not have a Cricut, you will also need -
An X-ACTO knife
A self healing cutting mat
Where do I get these Materials?
Cricut Maker - there is an awesome bundle on Amazon for a little over the regular price of a Cricut Maker! You can also check out the Cricut Explore Air 2, which is a little cheaper, but won't cut materials such as leather, chipboard, and balsa wood (you don't need any of those for this project).
Cricut Standard or Light Grip Mat - The Standard and Fabric Mats should come with your Cricut Maker, but you will need to get a Light Grip Mat separately. I recommend buying in bulk - your mats will get cut up after excessive use!
Glue - I highly recommend Rubber Cement as it won't cause the paper to wrinkle and dries clearly. You can also get a 3 pack of them on Amazon for pretty cheap. I only had a glue stick for this project so it is entirely possible to do, just prepare for the paper to wrinkle if you use one!
If you have a Cricut, you can skip the rest of the materials and jump into the directions.
A printer - This one is up to you and depends on your budget. For this project, you only need to print out an outline of the version that you draw or my files if you don't have a Cricut.
An X-ACTO knife - You can get a simple X-ACTO knife on Amazon. It doesn't need to be anything fancy.
A self healing cutting mat - You don't have to get very fancy with this either. Just something that's good for cutting and has straight lines.
A ruler - You can always head to your nearest dollar store for one of these, but if you're already ordering everything else, why not grab one from Amazon too? I personally find steel rulers to be the best.
- Tutorial -
Step One: Prepare Your Art
Begin by either drawing your own version of the art pieces shown below, or head over to my Patreon and join my $1 Patron Tier to get access to downloads of all of my tutorial files.
You can either print out my tutorial files or upload them directly to the Cricut Design Space.
Just please be aware that you cannot share any of my files with other people, so make sure you edit the project when you're done and turn off Visible to Others.
If you are completely new to the Cricut machine, the Cricut YouTube page has a series of tutorials that teach you how to use your Cricut machine. Your machine also comes with a starter project that you can use with the Cricut Design Space to learn the basics of operation. I recommend doing this first so you are acquainted with your machine. Once you do this, you can start New Project from the Cricut Design Space Homepage.
If you choose to print the files, do not click "fit to page" as the designs are centered enough in the paper that any trimming is fine.
I have a permanent Patron post for all of my Blog Downloads under the hashtag # BlogDownloadsDirectory (no spaces). You can search for the individual posts by searching the hashtags at the end of this tutorial.
Note: all files are 7 inches by 7 inches. The frame is .5 inches thick. Each file is named HWSB for Howling Wolf Shadow Box. We will be using these same files to create the shadow box in the future.
HWSB_Tree Layer A
HWSB_Tree Layer B
Inner Frame (optional spacing frame)
Each of these files are available in color (easier for separating into layers in Cricut Design Space) and as outlines (easier for the print and hand-cut method). You may notice that the outlined versions are flipped. This is so that any leftover black marks won't show when you glue the pages together. All black marks face away from you in the final product.
- For Cricut Users Only -
Upload your Project:
When you open up a brand new design space, it will be completely blank.
Go to the Upload button on the bottom left corner of your design space.
When you click the Upload button, it leads you to a page where you can upload either an Image or a Pattern Fill.
We're going to upload an image, so click the left option.
You will want to upload all eight files you downloaded from Patreon.
Align and Size your Project:
The images will upload twice their size due to their high resolution, so we will need to do a few small steps to properly align and size them.
First, we're going to put the layers in the correct order, as you can see in the image to our left. I like to use Layers instead of Color Sync so I can see where each piece goes.
This way, when we finally align our project layers, they will align in the order we will see them on the finished product!
After that, you're going to go to the top bar and click Select All.
This will, as it says, select all the layers in your project.
After that, go to the Size section on the same bar and enter 7 for the Width and the Height.
This makes sure that all our images are 7 inches by 7 inches.
Finally, go to the Align button, and select Center.
Now your art is ready to be cut!
Step Two: Cut Your Art
- For Cricut Users Only -
After you've finished preparing your art for cutting, click the Make It button at the top right of your screen.
You will be taken to a new screen where all your designs are loaded onto different mats. Don't worry, you still only need one mat. You will just need to load and unload the mat several times.
Make sure your Material Size matches the size of your paper. In this case, it is 8.5 x 11 inches.
Note: Don't worry about the placement of your images on the mat. Each of them are designed to be 7 inches by 7 inches when they're cut out. The Cricut just aligns them so that you have the most reusable space left on your paper, should you choose to use scraps for another project.
The only thing you need to be sure of is that your paper matches the same orientation as the preview image.
As you can see, only one mat is selected. This will be the image we are cutting now. Select the paper that you will be using for this cut image.
At this time, you should align your paper on your mat.
When you're ready to cut your project, click the Continue button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
You will be taken to a new screen and prompted to connect and turn on your Cricut. Do this now.
When you connect your Cricut Maker, you'll see the following screen:
Select Light Cardstock as your material. It will cut up to 65 lb cardstock. Keep the default pressure.
After you select your material, it will prompt you to load your tools and mat:
First make sure you have the proper tool loaded into Clamp B. For this project, you need the Fine-Point Blade.
Load your mat into the Cricut as you did with your starter project and press the Load Button.
Your mat will move into position with the rollers - if it does not, press the Unload/Load button, reposition the mat, then press the button again while gently pressing the back of the mat as it loads into the machine.
I recommend not using Fast Mode for this project.
At this point, you should be ready to go! Press the flashing Go button with the Cricut logo.
Repeat these cutting steps with each of the mats in this project until they are all cut out.
Note: If you want to print the optional spacing Frame, you will need to cut a separate Frame to fit between each layer for a total of (at least) five spacing frames. I recommend using a less expensive card stock for these layers. We'll talk about this in just a moment.
- For Non-Cricut Users -
Print: Print your designs using a printer you're comfortable with. Just don't select "fit to page" when preparing to print each design.
Prepare: Lay you paper on your self-healing cutting mat, outline side up. As mentioned before, you'll notice that your designs are backwards. This is okay.
Cut: Using your X-ACTO knife, carefully cut the designs out along the indicated lines, using your steel ruler when needed.
Step 3: Assemble
Stack your images on top of each other in the order listed at the beginning of this tutorial. Here is an image of the layer order as well:
When you finish stacking the images, they should look like this (of course, in the c