Sneaking up on Cricut masks

As I thought about it, it seemed that the problem with the Cricut masks was that the vinyl material relaxed out of the grooves in the combine’s siding. Almost by the time I had finished thumb-nailing the mask down firmly, the other end had begun to lift out of the grooves. While the aero modellers like vinyl masks for their ability to stretch around compound curves, they’re not reliable with scribed siding.

I decided I would try a different material and Frog Tape for delicate surfaces seemed appropriate. This is a very fine masking tape, too rich for me to use when painting a room, but okay for model purposes. I’ve never used the legendary Tamiya stuff, which is available in large sheets for cutting camouflage patterns; I imagine it is similar, and if it had been available locally after 8 PM on a rainy Friday night, I would have tried it. It will probably be the next thing I do try.

To cut the tape, I stuck it to a piece of plastic, which I stuck in turn to the Cricut cutting mat. Using transfer tape, I then pulled the mask parts from the plastic and applied them to the model. The Frog Tape is much thinner than Vinyl, and even on the “Paper” setting, I found the cutter passed through into the plastic. I’ve been chipping away at the lettering for 622 itself, and cut a test mask for that as well.

The Frog Tape was indeed able to hold the grooves between boards on the side of the combine. However, I found that it was not as dimensionally stable as the vinyl. Notice that the two 2’s in 622 are not exactly the same shape. This, I believe, is due to the masking tape stretching and moving as it disengaged from the plastic cutting surface and as the transfer tape lifted in turn from it.

In any case, the cutter does not seem to be able to resolve the 1.5 mm “Canada Atlantic” lettering, and so, I am going to finish making enough numerals for a full decal set, and get a number of copies printed. I may still paint the big numbers, after a few more experiments.

3 thoughts on “Sneaking up on Cricut masks

  1. Hi Rene. I’ve read on some Cricut forums that if you material is being distorted by the drag knife, try the washi tape setting. Next time I cut masks, I’m also going to try the Maker rotary blade.

  2. Rene::

    I have used the Tamiya Tape Sheets and have worked out very well. If you can, try to get the version with a printed grid as this helps with aligning the mask on the model.

    If you intend on using tape without a backing try flipping the cutting mat over and using the ‘plain’ side. Leave the protective film on the sticky side and load as usual with the plain side up.

    If you haven’t already, you may want to look at the following Facebook group:
    The Cutting Edge scale modeling plotter/cutter users
    both for inspiration and helpful advice.


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