This year we’re working on a slightly non-traditional tree… a collection of all the ornaments I’ve collected over my cruise travels! And while one day I may have a specifically themed cruise tree this year we’re using my rose gold Christmas Tree to display these cuties… which means hardly any of the tree is actually cruise themed. So I decided to whip up a little DIY Christmas Tree Topper with my Cricut to specifically show that this was a cruise tree.
Y’all… it turned out soooo cute!
And the best part is that it’s simple, easy to make and could be easily changed out as often as my plans for this tree. We could make a different one every year! You can completely customize it based on the theme of your tree!
I’m so excited.
Let’s get started.
- Cricut Maker 3
- Knife Blade
- Strong Grip Mat (that’s the purple one)
- Basswood Sheets
- Corrugated Cardstock
- Painters Tape
- True Control Knife
- Hot Glue Gun
Step 1: Grab a Cut File from the Cricut Access Library
First things first… we need a cut file! I wanted something that specifically read cruise but I didn’t want anything too busy or complicated. We needed a nice, bold, simple shape we could cut out of basswood for the top of our tree. So I headed for the Cricut Access Library and started searching for images.
I decided on an anchor (that’s cruisey!) and picked this cute one with the little heart cut out. I want my tree topper to sit on the tree easily and not be quick to fold or be damaged… so we’re cutting it out of basswood. It will be super sturdy but basswood takes a while to cut on the Cricut so I needed a simple image with bold lines. This anchor was perfect.
I placed the image on my canvas and deleted the top outline later leaving only the bold blue image to cut with my Cricut. I set it to 6 inches tall and moved on to cutting… but after all was said and done 6 inches was way too small for my tree. I fixed this by adding a corrugated cardstock outline to my anchor (which turned out super cute… it’s optional step 4 down below) but if you want JUST the basswood layer then size your anchor up.
8 inches would be a better size for this tree topper to stand alone.
Step 2: Cut your Design
Now that everything is sized and ready to go let get started cutting this anchor. You’ll need a Maker or a Maker 3 to cut basswood and it will give you all the prep details on the screen before you hit cut. Select Basswood as your material in Cricut Design Space and the prep details will appear before you can hit cut.
For example, you’ll need to move all of the white star wheels on your maker to the right so that they don’t overlap your basswood while it’s cutting. Then you’ll need to place your knife blade into the machine (and make sure it’s sharp)!
From here it’s all about the prep work. Make sure you place your basswood down firmly on your strong grip mat… I use my brayer to make sure it’s evenly bonded across the cutting mat. Then secure your edges with a bit of painters tape.
The Cricut will do multiple passes to cut all the way through the wood so you need to make sure nothing moves or shifts during the cut.
Once everything is taped in place you’re good to go! Go ahead and load your cutting mat into the machine and hit go. The cut will take a while and you’ll want to watch to make sure it’s cutting properly… when it’s done make sure that the piece is cut through before ejecting the cutting mat. If It’s not cut through you can hit the play button to do another pass of the design before removing the cutting mat from the machine.
Step 3: Remove your Basswood from the Cutting Mat (and Paint)
Once everything is cut all the way through you’re in the home stretch! Remove everything from the cutting mat… very carefully checking that each section is cut as you go. 90% of my design was cut through but two small pieces weren’t.
I just cut them free with my true control knife and moved on… easy peezy.
Once it was completely free I sanded the edges and painted everything white. I want it to pop on my tree!
Optional Step 4: Add a Background (with Corrugated Cardstock)
Unfortunately this is the part of the project where I figured out 6 inches was too small of a tree topper. I didn’t want to waste basswood by cutting a bigger anchor so instead I decided to create an offset and cut out a background that would go behind my anchor.
In Cricut Design Space I selected my anchor and then clicked offset at the top… it will show a preview of the offset as you play with the settings which makes it easy to decide what you want. The default was 0.25 but I needed at least an inch more of design to make my tree topper big enough for my tree.
So I changed the offset to 0.5 (which would add half an inch to all the sides) and it looked great. I hit ok and then turned off all the other layers so I could cut just this offset layer out. Then I had to pick a material and since I wanted something sturdy (flimsy paper behind sturdy basswood would look silly) I went with corrugated cardstock.
I know it’s super sturdy from all the shadow boxes I’ve made from it and it holds up beautifully to cuts (I literally compared cutting a bunch of cardstocks side by side a few months ago so I know my favorites by heart now). There is a trick though… you’ll want to place your corrugated cardstock face down on the cutting mat so your cricut can cut into the smooth back and not the textured front.
Then you’ll get clean cuts every time.
So I hit go on in Cricut Design Space and selected the mirror option so my design would cut into the back of my material properly… then I hit go.
Step 5: Place on your Tree and ENJOY!
From here we’re finished! I hot glued the painted basswood anchor to my corrugated cardstock and then hot glued a piece of wire to the back of the entire piece so I could tie the tree topper to my tree.
Instant Christmas Tree Topper!!! I love it so much and while I wasn’t planning to have two layers seeing the corrugated cardstock layer peek through the cut out’s in the anchor is actually amazing. It looks better than I planned!
I think I actually prefer this to the plain basswood tree topper I was planning to make!
Plus adding the pink background helps tie in the colors on the rest of the tree. Of course, I could have used regular cardstock but I love the texture the corrugated cardstock gives to the topper. It’s so cute!!
I kind of want to make a bunch of these now!
They’re so cute!
BONUS: I wanted both ends of this tree to be cruise themed so I decided to customize my tree collar. Check it out HERE.