There are so many materials that you can cut with your Cricut, and today I want to show you a Cricut faux leather project. I completed this project with my Cricut Explore machine. I have linked to the products I used in my supplies list to make shopping easier for you.
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Cricut Faux Leather Keychain Supplies
- Cricut Explore Machine – You can use the Maker but cut settings could be different
- Cricut Design Space software
- Faux Leather – I used a leftover piece from an old project
- Cricut blade
- Cricut Strong Grip Mat
- Crafting squeegee – Mine is from My Craft Source. Use code ShawnMosch for 5% off your order!
- Heat Press
- HTV/Iron on vinyl
I prefer to use Siser brand vinyl for my iron on projects. I feel that is the best quality brand of iron on vinyl out there, and it weeds the easiest. For permanent vinyl I like StarCraft vinyl.
Over the years I have gotten Siser vinyl from a variety of places, including My Craft Source. When you shop at My Craft Source be sure to use code ShawnMosch to get 5% off your order!
I have also ordered from Expression Vinyl and Heat Transfer Warehouse. All of these stores carry Siser brand vinyl and I love that I can order large rolls or small sheets. This can give you a larger variety of choices and allow to to save money on larger orders. To make sure you are getting the best price for your vinyl, make sure to check out my Vinyl Buyers Guide.
You can also purchase items from my Amazon store HERE
Designing a Cricut Faux Leather Keychain
First, we will start with creating the design of our keychain in Cricut Design Space. Originally I was going to do a Mickey Mouse keychain, but once I made it I wanted more than the one flat color of the faux leather, so I decided to make a Minnie Mouse keychain so I could add a fun accent bow to the leather.
I started off by looking under Images in Design Space by typing Minnie into the search bar. There are a lot of amazing Minnie Mouse images already in there, but there was not one that showed her bow front facing just like I wanted it for this project. I did a search on the internet and found the perfect Minnie Mouse bow clip art image.
First I had to save that image to my computer and turn it into an image I could cut in Design Space. This process is sometimes called cleaning up an image. Because of how the Cricut software works, it does not detect the color differences in an image, so we have to help it see those and tell it where we want it to cut.
I have a really detailed post all about uploading images to Cricut Design Space, so please take a minute to review that. If this is your first time uploading an image, make sure that before you begin to remove the white areas from the design you use the Advance button on the left side of the screen to reduce the number of colors the Cricut is looking for. I talk about that topic more HERE. I will also go over the process in the video for this project that you can find HERE.
Next I went to the Images button on the left side of Design Space and found this Mickey Mouse icon. I am going to attach the bow to this to create my own Minnie Mouse image since none of the existing Minnie Mouse images were exactly what I wanted for this project. If we look at the parts of this image in the layers panel, we can see there are 4 layers. All I really need for this is the black layer so I am going to click on all of the other layers, from the layers panel, and click the Delete button in the upper right corner of Design Space.
I like to make the colors in my images match the materials that I plan to cut them out of. Since I am using a creamy color for this Cricut faux leather keychain project I am going to click on the black Mickey Mouse icon and change the color of it to cream. I do this by going to the square right next to the Operations button on the top panel, that I have circled in the image below for you. If you click on the Advanced section there are even more colors to choose from.
Now I am going to move the bow over the top of the mouse head icon and resize it to fit how I want it on top. To resize an image just click on that little double arrow that I am pointing to in the image below, and you can drag that in and out to increase or decrease the size as needed.
When you look at the bow shape, you can see both the mouse icon and the grid lines of the Design Space canvas through the bow. This is because right now the bow is just set to cut the black outline. Since we want to have a fully colored in bow we need to set that up next. To do this I am going to duplicate the existing bow. Duplicate is like doing a copy and paste of something all in one move.
There are two ways to duplicate something. You can either click on the item you want to duplicate and then click on the Duplicate button in the upper right corner of Design Space. I have this pointed out in the image below. The other way is to right click on the image you want to duplicate to get a little pull down menu to show up. Then, just select Duplicate from that pull down.
Now you can see in the image below that I have two bows. I am going to edit the one on the right to be the inside color which I will cut out of iron on vinyl for this Cricut faux leather keychain project. To do this I click on the bow and on the top panel I click on the square that you see circled in the image below. This allows me to set the color I will cut the bow from.
Next we want to edit that bow so that the Cricut will cut the three inside pieces of the image. To do this we click on the Contour button in the lower right corner of the screen, which I have indicated with a blue arrow in the image above. This will open up a new pop up window, which looks like the image below.
In this Hide Contour pop up window we are able to see each section or area that the Cricut will cut, and we can turn these sections on and off as we would like. For this image we want to turn off the outline of the full bow so that it only cuts the three inside pieces. The easiest way to do this would be to click the first button on the right hand side where I have the big blue arrow pointing in the image below. After you do that, you can click on the X in the upper right corner to close out of this window.
You can see in the image below that the three inside sections of the red bow are now filled in. You have now successfully created a new layer in Design Space! Now we can look at the black bow. For this Cricut faux leather keychain I want that part of the bow to be a solid piece, so that I can press the red part of the bow right on top of it. We will use Contour again for this process.
Click on the black bow, and then click on the Contour button in the lower right portion of the screen. I have it indicated with a blue arrow in the image above. This time when the Hide Contour window pops up we are going to just click on the button in the lower right corner that says Hide All Contours. I have this indicated with a blue arrow on the image below. Once you do this, click on the X in the upper right corner to close this window.
By hiding all of the contours, we have made this image a solid filled in shape. You can see the results in the image below.
Now I want to join the solid black bow shape to the mouse head icon so that I can cut that all out of faux leather with my Cricut and then apply the red bow on top of the faux leather with iron on vinyl. To join or connect the mouse head to the solid bow piece I will select both of those shapes and click the Weld button in the lower right corner of the screen. I have it indicated with a blue arrow for you in the image below.
Here is a step that a lot of people will forget to do. I am going to position the red inside of the bow over the top of the cream colored piece and group them together. Group allows each layer to retain their attributes, like color, but also allows you to work with them together.
For example, I want the same image on the front and the back of my Cricut faux leather keychain, so I will need to make a copy of the image I already have. So if I group these two layers together, I can now duplicate them at the same time. Just select both of the layers and click the Group button that I have indicated in the image below.
Once they are grouped, size the whole image to the size you need. I made my overall image 2 1/4″ wide. Next you can either right click on the image to Duplicate, or click on the duplicate button in the upper right corner of the screen, just like we did when we duplicated the bow. Now you will have two copies of this full image, like I show below.
Place one Minnie Mouse slightly above the other and click on it, then choose the Flip button from the top panel and pick Flip Vertical, as I have indicated in the image above. Next I looked at the gridlines in Design Space and moved the two Minnie Mouse heads a little over inches apart. This gives space for the faux leather strap that will connect the two halves of the keychain.
Next we want to make sure that those two Minnie Mouse icons line up with each other, so that when we fold our Cricut faux leather keychain in half they line up. To do this I will use the Align tool. Select your two grouped images and go to Align on the top panel, and choose Align Left. I have this indicated in the image below.
Now we can make and connect the strap for the loop of our Cricut faux leather keychain. To do this I will insert a square from the shapes button, which I have indicated with a blue arrow in the image below. Next you will click on the padlock icon, which I have indicated with the purple button in the image below.
The padlock icon allows you to lock and unlock an image. When the padlock is in the locked position, when you resize an image the length and width will stay proportional to each other. This means that a square will always be a square. But if that padlock is in the unlocked position you can now stretch and distort that image, so you can make a square into a rectangle.
I decided to make my strap .35 inches wide. The overall length does not matter as much, just as long as it will connect and touch inside both of the Minnie Mouse images. I can now use the Align tool again, select everything and click Center Horizontally. This will move the strap piece so it is exactly centered between the two Minnie Mouse heads.
There are two ways you can complete this next step. We are going to weld the strap for the Cricut faux leather keychain to the Minnie Mouse head. You can either ungroup the Minnie Mouse images, so you can select just the two mouse heads and the strap and then click weld or you can use the layers panel in a little trick I want to show you, and detailed out in the image below.
When you click on things from the right side layers panel, instead of clicking on the full image on the Design Space canvas you can select just the layers you want to work with. So for this example I will start by clicking on the rectangle that is the strap for my Cricut faux leather keychain. I have this indicated with the first blue arrow in the image below.
Now here is the trick . . . hold down the shift key on your keyboard.
While holding down the shift key on the keyboard, go back to the layers panel and click on just the mouse head icons. You should have a total of three layers selected, which I point to in the image below with the three blue arrows. You can also tell that these three layers are selected because the gray area of the layers panel for those items is a darker gray than the rest of the layers panel.
Once you have just these three layers selected, click the Weld button in the lower right corner of the screen. Weld joins or connects anything that is touching or overlapping. It will transform these three separate pieces into one continuous piece. If you look at the image below you can see how our Cricut faux leather keychain is coming together.
One thing you might notice in the image above is that it looks like our bows have disappeared. Do not worry. They are still there. The Design Space software just moved the Mouse head image to the top of the project when we welded it to the strap of our Cricut faux leather keychain. To fix this we just need to click on the mouse keychain shape and use the Arrange button and pick Send to Back. I have this pointed out with a blue arrow for you in the image above.
And there you have it! Our Minnie Mouse Cricut faux leather keychain is ready to cut out!
Cricut faux leather keychain video
Before we move on to the cut settings for our Cricut faux leather keychain, I wanted to share this video with you. This will show you all of the steps I just detailed out above for how to design a Cricut faux leather keychain. I like to do this because I know that everyone learns differently, so I want to make sure I have options for you. Also, make sure you follow me on YouTube to see all of my Cricut tips and tricks!
Cutting a Cricut faux leather keychain
Now it is time to start getting ready to cut our Cricut faux leather keychain. Remember, every brand and piece of leather that you use might be a different thickness, so you might need to experiment with your cut settings. This is why I used a piece of faux leather than was left over from a sewing project. I did not want to invest a lot of money on faux leather to practice on.
Once you find a brand of faux leather you like, then you can stock up on a variety of colors and know that you can always use the same cut settings. You can even add your own custom material settings. I have a video on that topic HERE.
I placed the faux leather on the Strong Grip Cricut mat, with the colored side down. Then I used my craft squeegee to really smooth down the faux leather and get a good strong hold. You do not want your faux leather to move around on the mat, since the Cricut will be doing a multi cut. A multi cut is when the Cricut goes over the same image several times to complete the cutting process.
Because I am cutting this keychain with the faux leather face down on the cutting mat, I need to remember to mirror my image before I hit cut. I set my Cricut to the Custom settings and picked the Cricut faux leather setting that indicated it was for paper thin materials. I used my standard fine tip blade. For the vinyl I used the standard iron on setting on the Cricut.
I did watch the project as it was cutting the faux leather and if I saw the material start to move at all I just pressed on it with my fingers to get it to stick down better. Next time I might go over the whole piece with a brayer to really make sure it is secure.
Once the Cricut faux leather keychain is cut I placed the red glitter iron on vinyl that I cut the bows out of right on top of the faux leather piece. I used my heat press to adhere the bows to the faux leather. Make sure to use a piece of parchment paper over the top of this so you protect your design. Once it was pressed and cooled I removed the clear carrier sheet.
Now you just have to thread the keychain through the key ring, like I did in the image below. Since the faux leather is flexible I was able to fold it over to slip it through the keyring.
I used some tacky glue and applied it to the back of one of the Minnie Mouse shapes. To complete the Cricut faux leather keychain I lined up the other Minnie Mouse right on top of the glue. Just make sure to not get any glue on the strap piece that forms the loop for your keychain. I allowed the whole project to dry overnight.
I hope that this project inspired you to try making your own Cricut faux leather keychain, or at least to experiment with some different materials. You can use this same process to make faux leather luggage tags or embellishments to hang from a purse or bag. Create for every holiday or make them as gifts!
I hope that you enjoyed this post, and that you stop back every day from now until Christmas to see what other Disney Christmas crafts I have planned for you! I am doing 25 Days of Disney Christmas Crafts to inspire you to add more Disney to your life while using your Cricut for crafting. If you want to see the whole line up of crafts you can go HERE.