Download the Crystal Shape

Download the crystal pattern. I also have a couple other shapes available for download from my Etsy store (along with pre-cut crystal kits if you're in a hurry!). The design has two pieces that connect together with locking tabs.

If you don't have a vinyl cutter you can still do this project. Just print the shapes out and use them as a template. The dotted lines are score lines and the solid lines are cut lines.

My chandelier has 8 crystals that each vary in size by about 1/4". You can resize the pattern before printing, just be sure to resize both pieces by the same amount.

Laminate Your Cellophane

Unroll your cellophane wrap and cut pieces that are the same size as or slightly smaller than your laminating pouches. 

I use a rotary cutter for this and find it goes quickly and gives me nice clean straight edges.

I'm using 3 mil thickness laminating pouches. The 5 mil will also work, but the extra stiffness makes the cutting and folding a lot more difficult, so stick with 3 mil if you can. 

Crumple up the cellophane and then flatten it out again to give your material some fun texture. Place the cellophane inside the laminating pouch so no edges are poking out. 

Run it through your laminating machine. I find it helpful to smooth it gently as it comes out of the machine. The flatter and smoother you can get your sheets, the better they'll work with the cutting machine.

A Note about Laminating Machines

You can find these for very inexpensive prices (around $20) on Amazon or other online retailers. I started out with a slightly pricier Scotch brand machine, then replaced it with a less expensive Amazon brand one when it finally gave up the ghost (after faithfully laminating around 600 sheets, bless its heart).  

I've had a lot of trouble with the new cheap machine jamming and crumpling up my materials. I came up with a fix, which I'll explain below.. but if I had it to do over again, I'd spend the extra $10 and get a good quality machine. Quality tools make for far fewer headaches.

If Your Machine Keeps Jamming

My sheets kept getting stuck and not emerging cleanly from the machine. I fixed this by adding a stiffener across the very top of each sheet. I took one sheet that had laminated successfully, and cut a narrow strip off one edge, then slipped this up inside the unlaminated pouch, against the sealed edge, before running it through the machine. This kept the top edge nice and stiff and really minimized the jamming.

Place your laminated cellophane sheet onto your vinyl cutter's sticky mat and press it down firmly. I use a wallpaper scraper for this -- they're almost free at the hardware store and I haven't found a tool I like better for the purpose. They also work great for cleaning the mats in between use.

Cutting on Cricut Vinyl Cutter

Open the Cricut Design Space app and choose "New Project". Click "Upload" and upload the crystal design of your choice. Choose "Simple" on the next screen, then "Continue" on the next screen since there is no background to remove. On the third screen, select "Save as a Cut Image".

Do this for both halves of the gem.

Import the uploaded images into your project. I like to make them a color other than black, so they are easier to see and work with. You'll need to resize them as well -- I've given you high resolution 300dpi images, since the Cricut software does a much better job with those, but that does mean you'll need to size each crystal down.

Be sure to resize both images at the same time so they keep the exact same size ratio.

Recommended Sizes

My tallest gem is around 6" high when assembled, and my smallest gem is around 4" high. Each gem is around 1/4" taller than the next one. Making the gems too much smaller than that will make them difficult to assemble and the pixel won't fit as well in the top.

Click the icon in the upper left and select Custom Materials. Scroll until you find "Stencil Film 0.4mm" and select it. Make sure the settings read:

  • Fine Point Blade
  • Off (single pass mode)
  • Pressure should be around 325

Close out of the Custom Materials menu. Once you're happy with your sizing, click "Make It". You have an opportunity to change your layout here, so make sure your crystal will fit nicely on your material.

Set your Cricut dial to "Custom" and select the Stencil Film 0.4mm. Load your sticky mat into the machine and press Go.

Crease all the fold-lines and tabs. Line up the tabs on either side of the hole segments and crease to the point of the crystal.

Insert the tabs from the outside in, so they end up on the interior of the crystal.

Here's an assembly video to help you out.

Crease all the folds on both pieces, then assemble, leaving the three tabs between the two light holes open for now. Cut and crumple a small piece of un-laminated cellophane and tuck it inside to create the illusory "occlusions" that catch the light and make this crystal so convincing.

Insert the Individual Pixels

Unfold the top tab and slip the individual pixel inside the top of the crystal. You can trim the crystal just a bit to allow the wires room to pass through and sit neatly. 

Secure the pixel with a dab of hot glue.

Add weight to your crystal and cover up the small wires by stringing a few beads down the outside of the wire.

This guide was first published on Jan 27, 2021. It was last updated on Jan 27, 2021.

This page (Make the Crystals) was last updated on Jul 29, 2021.

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