How to Make 3D Paper Mandala with a Cricut

How to Make a 3D Paper Mandala with a Cricut

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Have you wanted to make mandala with your Cricut, but have been too scared because it seemed complicated and intimidating? These Thanksgiving mandalas were my first mandalas, and come to find out, they are not hard at all! I am hooked! I love the 3D effect with the multi-colored layers. In this post, I will walk you through how to create a mandala using your Cricut cutting machine. You'll get step-by-step instructions to make the process of a mandala easier. 


Cricut machine
Cardstock in various colors
Adhesive Foam pads
Cricut LightGrip Cutting Mat
Cricut Tools
Thanksgiving SVG Design Files

The candy corn and turkey mandala SVG's were found on Pinterest, and I uploaded them to Design Space. I am not ambitious enough to try to create one of my own, at least not yet. Here they are in my uploads.

I started a new project in Design Space and brought the designs onto my canvas. I simply browsed for them in my Uploads and dropped them in. Here is the candy corn design after I added it. I started with that one since it was simpler.

The next step was to size it to the dimensions I wanted. I would put these in 9" x 9" shadow boxes, so I sized them accordingly, keeping the dimensions locked so the design layers would remain proportional. I also allowed extra space to add scrapbook paper around the edges.

Mandala designs are made of different layers, and they are all separated to be cut individually. This design had 9 layers, and you can see most of them in the Layers Panel in Design Space below.

The beauty of these mandala design SVG's is that they already come in separate layers, so you don't have to separate them manually. All you have to do is cut them with your Cricut.

I recommend getting all your cardstock colors together first, making any color changes desired for your project. I tried to keep the colors as close to the original design as possible. However, I sometimes used the same color for more than one layer. 

To change any of the colors, go to the Layers Panel and click on the layer you want to change to select it.

Then go over to the color box next to the Operation menu and select the color you want for that layer. Repeat these steps for any other layers you want to change.

For the candy corn mandala, I used only 5 colors for the 9 layers. I made all 3 top layers white and doubled up on the orange and gold.

The layers with the same color will be cut on one mat, which saves time.

I chose the material setting, opting for medium or heavy cardstock depending on what type I was using. I always select a cardstock option that is "thicker" than what I am using. For light cardstock, I choose medium, etc.

To cut the cardstock, I like to wait until I see the layers shown on the mat in Design Space to size them properly. I used my Cricut Portable Trimmer to cut all the cardstock colors I was using.

Then I applied each color to a Light Grip cutting mat, one at a time, and began cutting them with my Cricut Maker 3. Some of the designs were rather intricate, so I was careful pulling them off the mat.

One of my layers did not cut properly, and I had to recut it, not once but twice. It was kind of a mess.

I cleaned my fine point blade by sticking it into a wad of aluminum foil repeatedly and set the Pressure in Design Space to More instead of Default and cut the layer again. 

It still did not work, so I then chose Cardstock for Intricate Cuts as my material and used a textured cardstock instead. This time, it worked better. Sometimes you have to troubleshoot to overcome obstacles, but don't give up.

I learned that not all layers of a mandala have the foam pads underneath them. Some layers are just glued on. That was the case with the bottom 3 layers of this design.

I began adding the other layers with the 3D foam pads, using Cricut tools to punch them out and place them, removing the tiny pieces of liner that covered the sticky sides. 

I used the larger square foam pads when there was more space to put them and the smaller round ones when the designs were more intricate. I didn't want the foam pads showing through to the front.

I may have gone overboard with the foam, but I did not want any part of the cardstock layer to sink in.

Here is how the candy corn mandala looked with all the layers applied. Too cute.

For more instructions and tips on making mandalas, check out this post: DIY 3D Cardstock Disney Princess Mandalas with Cricut

Now I was ready to tackle the turkey, which had even more layers and colors, 15 specifically. I won't show you that whole process, but it was basically the same as the candy corn one.

Fortunately, these mandala designs came with directions on how to put them together. I would have been lost without those. However, I have figured out that each layer usually has increasingly more intricate cuts as you add them. 

I chose the colors, again doubling up on some, and I labeled them to avoid getting confused, even writing the numbers of the layers that each color would be used for.

Here are all the layers cut out and ready for assembly.

And here is my turkey completed and cute as can be.

If you would like to make this turkey mandala, you can find it on Pinterest here. The SVG is free from She has the cutest designs.

This was so much fun! I think I will do a pumpkin, too. Then I will have 3 mandalas to hang up for Thanksgiving.

I wanted to put each of these in a white shadow box but found it would be too expensive to buy 3 of them. I decided to make my own frames, using a faux frame template I created for a different project - Faux Wood and Metal Sign with Cricut Includes Free Template. This frame obviously does not have a glass front, but I did not want one this time.

Here are my completed frames with the mandalas inside and some cute scrapbook paper behind as accents. I even got the pumpkin mandala done! I can't wait to display them and impress my family when they come over for Thanksgiving.

I hope you try doing a mandala if you haven't. They look intimidating and impressive but are not hard. They require a little patience. If I can do it, you can, too!

Here is another great project for Fall/Thanksgiving décor: Splatter Guard Pumpkin with Cricut Wood Veneer. I plan to make this one soon. In fact, I already purchased some of the supplies needed.

The thankful heart opens our eyes to a multitude of blessings that continually surround us. (James E. Faust)



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