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How to Bring Your Stairs to Life With Stair Riser Decor: A DIY Tutorial With Your Cricut Machine

Our entryway was always missing something in my opinion.  There was plenty of decor, but there was always something that wasn’t quite right.  As soon as the door opens, the dining room is for the first thing you see.  The second thing is the stairs to the second floor are visible as soon as you walk into our home and they were just boring, drab and white.  It was like an isor in our entryway.  I’m probably being a bit dramatic, but I think you get what I’m saying.

I’d been looking for some type of way to decorate the stairs and as much as I loved Joanna’s herringbone stairs, it just didn’t match our decor.  My inspiration for the stairs came one day when I saw Toolbox Diva’s Instagram post about the stair risers she created with her Cricut machine and I immediately fell in love!

I grabbed my Cricut Maker and got to work!  Like a crazy woman, I decided it had to be done before our annual MLK Weekend Couples Date Night Party.  Don’t ask me why I needed it to be done for that party, but in my mind, it had to be.  It took me four days to complete the stairs and I finished 3 days before the party!

Stair risers with your Cricut machine

I absolutely adore the stairs and so did our guests.  It has the warmth and coziness in our entryway that I’d been looking for since we purchased our home.  During that time, I mentioned that I was going to create a step-by-step tutorial on how I did the stairs and I finally did it!

These instructions are pretty detailed, but if you have any questions, please let me know!

So the first thing I’m going to start off with is the supplies and tools that you’ll need for your stair risers.

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.  You can learn more about my disclosures here.

Supplies needed to create your stair riser decals

Creating the risers with the decal isn’t difficult and there aren’t a lot of supplies needed.

How to create your stair riser decals

Step #1

The first thing you want to do is to measure your stair risers.  Measure the height and width.  I always measure 3 times because I’ve been known to not have my tape measure in the exact same spot or I’ve written the measurements down incorrectly.

I recommend measuring each stair riser.  Why?  Because while to the naked eye, the stairs may look like they are the same size they may not be.  This happened to me and it cost me extra money because I had to pay for expedited shipping to make sure I had everything completed since I put myself on a time crunch to have them done before the party.

Because I have different sized risers, I grabbed a pad of Post-It notes and once I was sure of my measurements for a riser, I would number the stairs and write down the measurement.  Because I decided to alternate my risers, I would also write if it should have a solid (full) decal or hollow decal.  You’ll thank me for this later!

So a Post-It Note looked like this:

Stair riser post it note

 

Stair riser post it note

Step #2

Decide what color you want your decals to be.  Our walls are a blue-gray and so I chose a darker gray for the risers, Storm Grey.  You want to make sure that you purchase Oracal 631 vinyl.  Why?  Because 631 is removable.  There are several places to purchase your vinyl, but you also want to make sure that you purchase 12” x 24” vinyl or it also comes in rolls.  It will be more cost-effective to purchase a roll if you have a lot of steps as I have.

3 of my favorite places to purchase vinyl are Amazon and if I can’t find it there, I go to Brilliant Vinyl and 651 Vinyl (the name is soon changing to 143 vinyl).

Step #3

Now that you have your measurements, your vinyl has come in, if you don’t already have an idea of what decal you want to use on your stairs, Cricut has many to choose from.  If you don’t like any of the images you see on Cricut Design Space, you have a couple of options because all you really need is an SVG file.  So, you can create your own or you can also take a look at Etsy for something you like.  

Step #4

It’s time to get to start designing in Design Space!  If you aren’t familiar, Design Space is the software that you use with your Cricut machine to create what you want the machine to cut and or print.

In the next few videos, I’m going to show you how I created the two different versions of my stair riser decals.  It’s really only one version, but I had to create the other one by slicing.  I’ve tried to keep the videos short which is why there are so many.

Cricut Design Space

How to create your stair risers in Cricut Design Space – Part I

In this video, I show you how to:

  • How to find a design you like 
  • Purchasing images in Cricut Design Space
  • Find your decal
  • How to purchase your decal

How to create your stair risers in Cricut Design Space – Part II

In this video, I show you how to:

  • Sizing your decal/tile
  • Slice to create a second decal/tile

How to create your stair risers in Cricut Design Space – Part III

In this video, I show you how to:

  • Slice to create a second decal/tile

How to create your stair risers in Cricut Design Space – Part IV

In this video, I show you how to:

  • How to attach your tiles/decals to fit your length and width so that it is one piece
  • How to weld your tiles/decals to fit your length and width so that it is one piece
  • Why you can’t make your images the exact size of your mats
  • Cutting your tiles/decals

Preparing your decals for application

Now that you have all of your decals cut, of course, the fun part of weeding begins and adding your transfer tape to each piece and cutting.  

A few things to keep in mind.

  • As you are cutting your decals, write down which stair number it is, size and if you are alternating between hollow and solid, add that too on the back so that you know what decal is for what stair.
  • Place each decal on each stair.  That way it’s right there for you and you aren’t having to dig through decals.
  • Cut close to the edge of your decal once you’ve added your transfer tape, except for the top.  You’re going to need to get as close to the edge as possible, but you also need a lip to be able to pull the transfer tape off.

 

Applying your decals

It’s time for application.  Isn’t this exciting?  You’re just a little bit away from having beautiful stairs!

Hopefully, you laid each decal on its stair so that you’re ready to go!  If not, please do this now as it will save you time later.

Tips:

  • Keep that scraper handy!  You’re going to burnish, burnish, and burnish some more!
  • This is where you will spend your time when it comes to this DIY.  Make sure you carve out time to work on this.  I wouldn’t work on this more than 1 hour at a time just because it is tedious work.  Allow yourself breaks.  I would do 2 stairs per session, take a break and come back to it.
  • Peel off the transfer tape a bit at a time and place it on your decal.  Don’t tear off your transfer tape and apply it to your decal or your stair riser at one time.  This will ensure you’ve got it on there straight and you won’t have to waste transfer tape because you placed it on your decal crooked and now you have to add more.
  • Do not rip off your transfer tape in one big pull.  In other words, this is not a band-aid you’re trying to rip off.  Take your time and do it slow and steady.
  • While you are peeling off your transfer tape to apply to your stairs, you also need to hold onto your decal to make sure it doesn’t tear or lift.

In the next few videos, you’ll watch as I apply the decals to my stairs.

Applying your decal to your stair riser: Part I

In this video, I show you how to:

  • Apply your decal to your stair riser:
  • Many do’s and don’t when applying your decal

Applying your decal to your stair riser: Part II

In this video, I show you how to:

  • Place your decals next to each other so that it has the appearance of one decal, rather than 2 or more 

Applying your decal to your stair riser: Part III

In this video, I show you:

  • More tips on applying your decal

Bonus: Removing your decal

Now, let’s be honest.  Our stairs are used a lot and this is removable vinyl, which means there may come a time when you see a scuff or tear on your stair risers.  And if you’re like me you look like a deer in headlights because you know how hard you worked to design, create, and apply them.  

I know when I saw the first tear on my risers, I was so upset!  I thought how on earth did this happen?  I spent hours putting these together!  Guess what?  That’s the joy of the removable vinyl.  Take it off, cut a new one, and apply.

I’ve had the stairs done since January and I’ve had to re-apply to one stair so we’ve done a pretty good job of watching out and yes when I have guests, I make sure to point out that they need to be careful when going up the stairs.  LOL

In this video, I give you:

  • How to remove your stair riser
  • Tips for removing your stair riser

This that tired, proud, I’ve stayed up late and woke up early for the past 4 days look!

Okay, so there you have it!  This is how I designed, created, and added the decals to my stair risers with my Cricut machine.

You can so do this friend!  Take your time and have fun!  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below or you can just send me an email!

If you’re one of those who just say, “Lynn, I want this, but I don’t want to do this work.”  If you’re one of those people, that is so okay!  If you’re local and in the Raleigh-Durham area, you can hire me to create, design, and apply decals to your stair risers.  Go to my contact page to let me know you want to chat about your stairs and let’s create an entryway that’s warm and inviting!

Have you ever thought about decorating your stair risers?

 

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