Have you seen the layered mandala files that have started circulating?
They are becoming extremely popular and I’m hooked!
Coming into the Silhouette world, I was a papercrafter. What am I saying? I still am a papercrafter, but now I have so many other materials I use as well.
These layered mandalas are pretty simple to cut and assemble.
Of course, that is designer dependent.
While I was browsing Pinterest one night, I pinned this to my future Silhouette projects and it came up in my Facebook group this past week.
So that means it was time to grab these files and create!
This is a free layered mandala alphabet svg file by Special Heart Studio.
Now, that you have the files. Let’s take a look at how to use them in the Silhouette software.
Like I said above, it’s pretty easy with these files the way they are created.
When the file opens, all of the layers are ungrouped.
Select the entire design and you will see the selection box around each of the layers.
If the file is grouped together, right click on it and then choose Ungroup to separate the layers.
Draw a rectangle on the left side of the cutting mat in the gray holding area.
I am working with a frame that is for a 8″ x 10″ photo.
Using the Transform Panel – Scale Tab, change the dimensions to 8″ wide by 10″ high.
I am using this 8″ x 10″ rectangle to size my design so I know it will fit in the space I have in my frame.
Next, select all the of the layers of the design.
Left click in the top left above the design, hold the left mouse button down, and drag it across the entire design to the bottom right.
This will select any object that the mouse cursor touches.
Move the design into the drawn rectangle on the left side. With the entire design still selected, use the corner bounding box to scale the design down to fit inside the rectangle as you chose.
Once you have the size you want, you are ready to start cutting the layers.
I started with the bottom layer and worked my way up.
Grab the layer you want to cut and move it to the top left corner of the cutting mat.
I use the Transparency (reveal) option on the Page Setup Panel to see the grid lines of my cutting mat so I know how much material that I need for the design.
I grabbed some Recollections Paper packs from Michaels that work great for these projects and the different shades of color for the mandalas. Great quality cardstock and takes the guessing game out of me trying to match colors up.
Then I cut my material down using my paper trimmer to the size I need. I find that this helps to save the adhesive on my cutting mat, which makes it last longer and gives me scraps of material that are even sizes for future projects.
More tips on getting the most out of the cutting mats HERE.
Load the cutting mat into the Silhouette machine.
Click on the Send tab in the top right corner.
Choose Cardstock Textured as the material. I use this setting for cutting almost all cardstock and it works well. While the Silhouette can cut textured cardstock, I prefer to cut smooth as it is much less of a headache. Depending on the textured nature, it can be a bit more finicky to get clean cuts on.
Click Send in the bottom right corner and watch it work.
After the cut is complete, unload the cutting mat, flip it over and peel the cutting mat from the cardstock. This will help it to release from the adhesive.
Click back on the Design tab.
Move the first layer off to the right side and grab the next layer to cut and place in the top left corner of the design mat.
Click back on the Send tab and verify that the Material has not changed.
Place the next color cardstock on the cutting mat and load it into the machine.
Then click on the Send button in the bottom right corner of the Send tab.
Repeat this process until all layers have been cut.
*Note: as you cut a lot of cardstock, you may find that your not getting as clean of cuts. This can be due to the blade getting duller. As the blade dulls, you can increase the blade depth or force if necessary to get a clean cut. I have used this blade to cut lots of cardstock and during these cuts, I did increase the blade depth by 1 to get a cleaner cut.
I found that this gave it a bit cleaner cut on the corners for the top layer of this design.
With the top white layer, be gentle with it getting it off the cutting mat and take the time to carefully remove the cut pieces from the design. I promise it will be worth it.
Once all the pieces are cut, you are ready to assemble.
Since the top layer was rather intricate, I used a Broad Tip Glue pen from Close to My Heart to add adhesive to the backside. Then I glued it down to the first color.
Then I used foam tape to add dimension between the layers.
I used the Thin 3-D Foam Tape by Close to My Heart since I was putting it in a regular frame, I didn’t want to add too much thickness to it, but I still wanted it to have some dimension.
And then sometimes, even when you think you have the right size and you use a rectangle to draw out the size of space you have, don’t always assume the frame/mat is the size it says.
Turns out that my K was just a bit too wide. I should have measured to double check and after cutting the first layer, looked to see if it would fit.
But, I turned it and it fit perfectly the other direction in this frame. If it had not, it wouldn’t have been a lost cause. I would have just reassessed the game plan.
I love the dimension on this!
Once you start, it is hard to stop. I grabbed another layered file from Special Heart Studio for a layered floral heart mandala and started cutting using the same steps as above.
I am loving all the detail and dimension on these layered mandalas.
These layered mandala designs are picking up in popularity and I am seeing them all over Pinterest and Facebook group. Grab one and play today!
I would love to see your Silhouette projects!
Feel free to post photos or questions on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
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