Honor your loved one with a personalized DIY celebration of life memorial lantern made with love by you on your Cricut.

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I have had multiple customers ask me to make a memorial lantern. If you follow me, you know my projects are fun, light hearted celebration type projects. I don’t normally deal with serious topics, so I’ve always declined.

However, I started thinking about how crafting can not only be my happy place, but it can be a stress relief and a way to funnel your grief, love and emotions into creations. So I decided to finally make a celebration of life lantern. A memorial lantern has to be personal, so I set it up so you can personalize it using Cricut Design Space.

Materials

Featured Video

Watch for a step by step tutorial. Prefer written instructions, keep reading.

Uploading the File in Cricut Design Space

Need help uploading the file in Cricut Design Space? How to Upload Files to Cricut Design Space

Which SVG File do I select?

Now you have all of your materials together, you have a decision to make. What size do you want your lantern? The lanterns come with two different files.

Each file comes with a piece for the lantern itself, pieces for vellum cutouts (the portion that goes behind the lantern), and a bottom piece.

  • Smaller Size Lantern
    • This comes in one piece and you use one 12×12 piece of cardstock to make it
    • Each assembled panel measures 7.4″h x 2.8″w
  • Larger Size Lantern
    • Per customer requests, this comes in two pieces and can be sized up or down in Design Space. The only limitation is the size of your mat and cardstock.
    • Each assembled panel measures 11″h x 4.1″w.

The smaller size is personally my favorite. It uses one piece of 12 x 12 cardstock for the lantern and I like the size. But many of my customers have requested a larger sized lantern, so I provide both options.

Delete Off Instruction Box

Once you have your file uploaded, the first step is to select the Ungroup button and delete off the instruction box.

Cricut Design Space - select ungroup button

Selecting the Font

Selecting the font is the most important part of this project. You want to select a font that is:

  • Thicker
  • Relatively the same width (no skinny pieces)
  • Easy to cut

Where You Can Find the Fonts

While in Cricut Design Space there are different fonts you can use:

  • Cricut Free Fonts – (no membership needed)
  • Cricut Access Fonts – (free with Cricut Access Membership)
  • Cricut Paid Fonts – (fonts you can purchase at checkout)
  • System Fonts – (fonts you download elsewhere – like DaFont – and bring into Cricut Design Space)

For this tutorial I am going to use a free Cricut font so everyone can follow along. Of course, you have many more options with Access, Paid or System fonts.

Different Styles of Fonts

For the purposes of this tutorial we are going to look at three different styles of fonts that we could use:

  • Serif – this font style has little lines at the end of each letter
  • Sans Serif – this font style has no lines at the end of each letter
  • Script / Cursive 

I think serif fonts are the easiest to use for this project, but many sans serif fonts can work well too. I would stay away from script / cursive unless you are a Cricut pro. Those can be very tricky to cut without tearing.

Preparing the Name

I am going to show you how to prepare the font with two different font types; serif and san serif.

For the sans serif font I am going to use Cricut Sans.

For the serif font I am going to use Song Myung.

Remember, these free Cricut fonts can be found by going into fonts, selecting the filter lines on the right hand side next to Any Language and selecting Free as your filter.

  • You will want to use all capitals for your name. 
  • Next, you will want to make all of the letters in the name touch the letter next to them, so if you were to cut the name out alone it would cut in one solid piece. Remember, this is a cardstock lantern, so we cannot have any loose pieces falling out. 
  • To do this, select the name and go to Letter Space.
  • Select the down arrow. The numbers will go into the negative. Do this until all letters are touching.

  • You can also manually adjust the letters so they look better. For example, my R and Y look more crowded than the rest. I want to move the Y over a little. To do this, Ungroup the name. The letters are now individual and can be moved. Highlight the Y and move it over a little. 

  • Next, we want to make the name one solid piece. If you look at my name right now, you see black lines separating the letter. These are the cut lines. If we sent to to Make now, the Cricut would cut the name apart. We need to get rid of these lines by fusing all of the letters together.

  • To make the name one solid piece and remove the cut lines, highlight the entire name.
  • With the name highlighted, go down to Unite
  • Note: Weld also merges the letters and gets rid of the cut lines, but weld cannot be undo. Unite does the same thing, but you can always undo Unite. I always go with Unite because why make it permanent if you don’t have to. 

  • The name is now one solid piece.

  • Troubleshooting: After you Unite make sure you look closely at your name to verify that there are no black cut lines. In the example below and R and Y are not united together. 

  • No problem, that is why we used Unite. Go ahead and select the name, go down to the bottom and select Combine. Within Combine, select Undo Unite.

  • Move your Y closer to your R and then Unite once again. Do this until all of your letters are united together with no cut lines in between. 

Placing the Name

The name goes in the middle rectangle just below the “In Loving Memory” oval. The placement of the name in this rectangle depends on the length of the name. 

  • Longer names = must touch each side (left and right) and the bottom
  • Shorter names = must touch the top and the bottom

For example, Harry is a longer name. I need to keep him within the rectangle. I am going to resize him to make him touch the left side, right side and the bottom of the rectangle. He will not be touching the top, but that is fine because he is united together and touching three sides, so he will be secure.

Now, let’s take a look at a shorter name, Ed. We cannot make Ed touch the right and left side. He’s too short. But we can make him touch the top and the bottom. Again, because his name is united and he’s secured to the top and the bottom, he will stay put in the lantern and cut out without issues. 

So go ahead and resize and place your name accordingly. Remember to keep the height and width locked so the name doesn’t get distorted when you resize it.

Remember, to copy and paste the name once you have the correct size and place it in the other panel. 

Placing the Dates

The birth and year of death date go into the rectangle with “to” in the middle. You do not need to make the numbers touch each other using letter space like we did with the name above. The year is 4 digits. The rectangle was designed to have each year touch the top and bottom of the rectangle.

I still used letter space to move the numbers a little closer to make them look better and fit in the space better, but that is up to you. Also, I like to use the same font for the years that I used for the name.

To create the birth year:

  • Create a new text box. 
  • Type the birth date.
  • Move the numbers closer together if you desire, but they don’t have to touch.
  • Size the birth year so it overlaps the top and the bottom of the rectangle slightly.

To create the year of death:

  • Since you have the birth year set up perfectly, copy and paste the birth year. 
  • Change the birth date to the year of death.
  • Make sure the year of death overlaps the top and the bottom of the rectangle slightly.

Remember to copy and paste these years and line them up in the second panel. 

Merging the Names and Dates Into the Lantern

IMPORTANT: Before you go ahead and Unite the name and dates into the lantern, you will need to hide the future score lines. You will learn how to change these from cut to score in the next tutorial. 

Go over to the layers panel, find the Memorial Lantern piece. Select the arrow beside it. The lantern and score lines are grouped together. Do NOT ungroup them. When you select the arrow you will be able to see the score lines. Select the little eye next to them to hide them. Now you don’t have to worry about merging them into the lantern by accident.

With the score lines hidden, take one last look at your names and dates and make sure they are overlapping all the sides they should be. Then, select the lantern and the names and dates. I like to drag my cursor over them to select them. Do not select anything else (the vellum pieces or bottom). 

With everything selected, go down to Combine and select Unite.

Congratulations, you have one beautiful personalized memorial lantern, but you aren’t done quite yet.

  • Troubleshooting: After you Unite make sure you look closely at your lantern to verify that there are no black cut lines. In the example below my dates in one of the panel did not overlap with the bottom of the rectangle enough, so my black cut lines remained. 
  • Since we cannot have that, go to Combine and select Undo Unite. 
  • Fix the issue and redo Unite again. 
  • Continue this until all the black cut lines are gone and the lantern is united into one solid piece.

Finally, go back to the layers panel and find your score lines, unhide them by clicking on the eye icon again. 

Cutting and Assembling the Lantern

Now that your lantern is personalized you can prepare it for cutting and assemble it. Please read Step by Step Instructions for Making a Lantern for your next steps.

 

  

 

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