How adorable is this Engraved Acrylic Mermaid!?! It’s truly amazing that we can engrave gifts like this with our Cricut Makers. I feel blessed to be in this era and it’s only going to get better as time goes. Once you create your first engraving project, soon you will be engraving acrylic with a Cricut Maker in no time! It’s that EASY 😊
When Cricut released their Engraving Tip #41, I was so darn excited and could barely wait to get my crafty hands on it! They seriously upped their game when they released this bad boy out!
I’ve pretty much been an engraving fool around here. I engraved some dog tags and a canning lid and acrylic labels. Yay! And I have more engraving projects coming soon, so stick with me for a while as I show you some awesome projects and amazing gift ideas.
How to engrave with a Cricut Maker
First I’d like to provide some helpful information before we proceed as I want your project to be amazing!
Important Engraving Tips
- You can not cut Acrylic with your Cricut Maker – Helpful video on how to cut Acrylic products
- Acrylic scratches easily, so be careful cleaning, or if you need to sand some rough edges, use finishing grit sandpaper (360-600 grit)
- When engraving acrylic is complete, I highly advise getting as much of the engraving particles off of the project by rolling up some masking tape and tap up and down lightly to remove. You can also use a lint roller, but I found the tape seemed to work better for me. And same goes for the Cricut Maker where you see the acrylic engraving particles. I also explain and show this process in my video 😉
- Your engraving tip will lift and spin several times during your project. (For this mermaid size project it spun 7 or 8 times) This is normal and per Cricut, “it helps mitigate wear on the tool”
- Be sure to move your white “star wheels” to the far right before loading your Cricut mat.
- I have successfully engraved acrylic that is 1/8″ & 1/16th”, which is safe with the Cricut Maker. Keep in mind though Acrylic (plexiglass)by nature will vary in depth by some degree from piece to piece. As an example see the chart reference here. This is where I purchased my sample piece of Acrylic and had them cut me some 3X6″ Pieces as well. So on the first line of the chart, you can note they will guarantee a depth for 0.118″ to be between 0.088″ – 0.122″
- I highly recommend getting a digital Caliper. This has been such a small yet mighty investment for me, to ensure I’m not putting anything too large depth-wise, whether it be leather, metal, or acrylic through my Cricut Maker. The one I got measures precisely in inches and millimeters, win-win! ✔
Where to find Acrylic (Plexiglass) Blanks
Keep in mind when you search for Acrylic, it’s also called Plexiglass. So it helps to search for both terms.
I will only recommend products I’ve used and am happy with. I will keep this list updated per my use of happy outcomes I come across and use.
- Mermaid DS File
- 3″ X 6″ Acrylic Rectangle Blanks 2 mm (0.0787″) depth
- Cute Canning shaped Acrylic Blanks 1/8″ in depth (2.5″ tall)
- Cut to order locally or online – Tapplastics in the US (today’s project piece was purchased here as a sample rectangle piece then Gary cut the circle shape for me) 💰 saving tip!
- (Most recent find, love these!) 4 Pieces Acrylic 2 mm thick that fits the light bases ✨
- (Recent Find) Great selection of Acrylic Blanks in various shapes
- What did Gary use to cut my rectangle piece of Acrylic into a circle with a tab? A bandsaw and a wide belt sander.
- Want to see my dream machine for cutting Acrylic? OK, wake up, silly girl 😁
inches versus mm help
Supplies for Engraving Acrylic
Choice of Acrylic Blanks
USB Dual Plugs – Optional
Digital Caliper – Optional
I wanted to mention how awesome these White and Black light bases are. They come with a USB to outlet plug end. They also have the option to add 3 AA batteries to the bottom if you want a wireless method.
I purchased a USB separate plug that enables me to move the lighted base anywhere I have a plug. Or you can plug it anywhere you already have a USB port such as your computer.
Grab the free Cricut DS file that I created in my resource library here The file is ready to go just click on Make it
I already designed this project but I did want to mention why I used the scoreline as my template, then proceed with steps to finish the project.
Whenever I design a file that will be engraved I always create my own template so I know how to size my images/design to fit my material (today the material is Acrylic) perfectly.
So to make this template in DS I simply used 2 shapes. A Circle and a square. I then resized the shapes to form the exact size of my Acrylic Blank. Then I welded the 2 shapes together to form my template.
I then changed the line type in DS to “score” instead of “cut”. So now what takes place, is when you load your mat, it will go through the motion of scoring the exact shape of your blank, then begin its engraving process. The only thing left for you to do is ensure your image is on the DS Mat in the same place you tape your blank to on your “strong grip mat”
This may seem a bit confusing in writing and may be easier to grasp in my video shown below. Feel free to leave a comment, ask a question or email me if you need further clarification. I will respond 😊
Engraving Acrylic Process
Once you’ve clicked on “make it” Cricut DS will want you to do just a couple of things.
- Mirror your design only IF you want the engraving done on the backside of the Acrylic (this is my preference) I like this method for several reasons. It puts the rough side on the back. It seems to let more light show through if using a lighted base.
2. Click on the Mermaid and drag the image to where you want it to be, just like on the “actual physical strong grip mat”.
I wanted it to be towards the bottom of my Cricut Strong grip mat so I chose to line up the bottom tab of the circle on the 11″ mark and the 4″ mark. When you watch the video below it’s very helpful to visualize it.
I find it helpful to increase my mat size to 100% to see the lines very well.
Choose your material. I used Acrylic 1 mm (even though my acrylic was not exactly 1 mm) It was engraved perfectly.
How to set up the scoring feature but not actually score with a scoring tool 😀
Choose: Edit Tools
Choose: Scoring Stylus
Ensure you have your engraving tip #41 in Clamp B. You do NOT put any scoring tool or stylus in Clamp A, just leave it empty 👌
Be sure to move your star wheels (white rollers) to the far right of your Cricut Maker.
YaY! You are ready to Engrave Acrylic
Remove protective covering only off of the top of the acrylic. I like to keep the protective covering on the backside to prevent any scratches.
Place your acrylic on your strong grip mat in the exact same place as your Design Space Mat. I placed my tab at 11″ and 4″.
Then use your blue tape or masking tape to secure the Acrylic Blank to your Strong grip mat. Be sure to not place tape where there will be engraving.
Now you will be putting your mat into your Cricut maker but this time it’s best to try to line the mat up exactly in the center between the two tabs on the Cricut Maker. If you slide your mat all the way against the left or right tab your design, believe it or not, will be slightly off to one side.
Once lined up, press the “Load” button, then the “Go” button.
Now the Cricut Maker will go through the motion of scoring the outline, then it will proceed to engrave the acrylic.
While the Cricut Maker is engraving the acrylic, the engraving tip and housing will stop multiple times and spin in place. This is normal and to be expected.
When the engraving is complete, you will see the load arrows flashing. It is now time to unload your mat being careful to not spill any of the acrylic powders anywhere.
It’s best to use a lint roller or my favorite choice is some blue tape rolled up on your hand and tap lightly anywhere there is any Acrylic powder, including on the Cricut Maker where you can reach.
You do not want to just wipe-off the surface with a micro cloth yet as it could scratch your acrylic piece. Trust me, I did this very thing, oopsie, it’s how we learn tho! 🤦♀️😊
Admire your Beautiful Engraved Acrylic Mermaid 😍
Video of Engraving Acrylic with a Cricut Maker
There you have it. It seems like a lot of steps but once you’ve done it, it’s super easy and the end result is truly impressive. I believe the lighted base also kicks it up a notch, don’t you think?
Just imagine the possibilities!
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If you have any questions or comments, please scroll all the way to the bottom of this post, or contact me on my YouTube video!
♥ Create with Love ♥