I’ve discovered a whole new category of paper crafts to do with my Cricut the other day, it’s layered mandalas.
I’ll admit, I had seen a couple of these on Pinterest and vinyl mandalas are hugely popular but to be honest, I’ve never been super into that whole bohemian vibe unless it’s the more modern boho chic beach look so I wasn’t super motivated to design a mandala.
But then, I was flipping through the Restoration Hardware catalog which is like my version of window shopping and I saw this piece of wall art that was almost $1000. I looked closer and realized, I can make that!
If you’re interested in this art piece, here it is from RH.
You see, I like to really step up my DIY game. I’m not into slapping together some art project that looks like my kids did it. I want the real deal, I want to make $1000 art pieces that look like I shop at Restoration Hardware but in reality only spend like $10 on cardstock.
Who’s on board?
Ok, full disclosure, I haven’t gotten around to replicating this look just yet. I only practiced on some smaller cardstock with different colors so I can see the shadow effect more clearly. It still looks pretty neat though.
I used the designs from RH as inspiration but the basic concepts are same for making layered mandalas in general.
The key difference between a 3d layered mandala intended for the Cricut versus a regular mandala drawing is in the simplicity of the design. It is best to make 3d mandalas from medium to heavy cardstock and if you have a bunch of floating pieces or thin lines in your mandala designs, you’re going to end up with a shredded mess.
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Materials for 3D Mandala
Cardstock – I would recommend cardstock that is at least 60lbs/m^2 which is the standard medium weight cardstock. You’re going to need a lot, my designs have 8 layers each. Here are some of my favorites:
- Recollections 65lb Cardstock from Michaels
- Favorite Assorted Pink/Blush 12″x12″ Recollections Set
- Favorite Assorted Purple 12″x12″ Recollections Set
- Metallic Shimmer Assorted Set from Amazon
- Neenah Collections Assorted Set from Amazon
- Kraft Cardstock from Michaels
Adhesive – My preference is the adhesive dot rollers and especially the Scotch brand one because it has the best dispenser. You could also use a glue pen or just regular pen, I just feel like it doesn’t stick as well and it’s harder to use. I also tried rubber cement which worked well but it smells so I don’t like to use it. Just don’t use polymer glue because it warps the paper.
Lint Roller – This is an absolute necessity in my book for this project for clean up.
Template – I made 2 shadow box versions of the layered mandala and one standard 3d mandala. All of them are available for free in my resource library.
How to make 3d mandalas
Step 1: How to cut mandalas on the Cricut
I prefer to use a fresh light grip mat with a fresh blade. Even though the design is not as complicated as a regular mandala, it is still a lot of cuts. And even worse, it’s a lot of little scraps to clean up. I find the standard grip green mat a pain to clean.
After I make the cut, I peel the mat away from the design, not the other way around. It minimizes the warping of the piece.
I then you my lint roller and pick up the scraps. It takes like 5 seconds with the lint roller. It takes me about a couple of minutes picking things off with tweezers.
Step 2: Assembling the layered mandala
I like to use an old magazine flip the piece I’m gluing over and just roll my dispenser around with the magazine in the back to catch the overflow.
Step 3: Option spacers to create a more 3D effect
I didn’t do this because I thought it looked 3D enough but some other tutorials will tell you to use spacers.
There are a couple of ways to create spacers. First, you can just cut each layer multiple times.
The second way is to use foam or mounting tape.
Both methods seem quite tedious so I’m not sure which one I’d recommend.