How To Change The Scale Of A Pattern

Even though I have a couple of previous posts regarding scale, the one question I receive over and over again is how to change the scale of a pattern. The questions usually fit into one of 3 categories:

  • If you know the current scale of a building, how do you actually change it to a different scale in Cricut Design Space.
  • If you don’t know the current scale of a pattern, how do you determine it?
  • What to do if you think the pattern you downloaded isn’t to any particular scale or is between scales.

There are many different sources of building patterns for your village, and most of them are different sizes or scale. If you want all of the buildings in your village to be the same scale, this can be very frustrating until you learn how to calculate and change the scale of different patterns. However, I do want to share once again a picture of a village effectively using buildings of different scale. In this village, smaller buildings are placed towards the back, thus creating the perspective of those buildings being further away. This was Joyce Gross’ entry to the 2021 Paper Glitter Glue Miniature House Contest and is an excellent example of this forced perspective.

“Christmas Eve on Aurora Lane” by Joyce Gross

All of the patterns on my website are S Scale except for the ones made by guest designer Steven Leeds. This is closest in scale to the Original Tim Holtz Big XL dies. For the first year or two of building my village, I made buildings exclusively with the Tim Holtz dies. Then when I learned to make my own patterns, I wanted to make buildings that were the same scale as the original buildings I had made.

When I started offering kits, at first I offered them only in S Scale. I was quickly approached by people who wanted the buildings in different scales, often to fit in with existing villages or to go with train sets. I now offer my kits in 4 scales: O scale (1:48), S Scale (1: 64), OO Scale (1:76.2) and HO Scale (1: 87).

O Scale ~ S Scale ~ OO Scale ~ HO Scale


Change a Pattern to a Different Scale in Cricut Design Space

If you already know the scale of your pattern, it is pretty straight forward to change your pattern to a different scale. While I show how to to do this in Cricut Design Space, the steps will be the same for Silhouette or Scan n Cut.

Though my example below shows re-scaling S Scale to O Scale, the steps are the same no matter which scale you are changing to. You just need to use this chart. To do so, find which scale you you currently have across the top. In my case, S Scale. Then find what scale you wish to convert to along the left side, in this case O Scale. Where the two meet, you will find the percentage you will use to change the scale. From S Scale to O Scale, that is 133%.

1. Import the pattern into a new canvas in Cricut Design Space. For most of my patterns you can import the one file that says All (i.e. Retro Ice Cream Stand All) If you need to use any other pattern that is not included in the All file, import that into the same canvas. Check to make sure that the pink 1″ square is correctly 1″ square.

2. Group all of the pattern together. Note the size of the grouped pattern.

3. Use the conversion chart above to determine the conversion rate. The scale you are starting from is across the top, and the scale you are going to is on the left. Hence S to O is 133%

4. Multiply the grouped width on your canvas by the percentage from the chart. Hence 20.505 x 1.333 = 27.333. Enter this new number into the width box at the top of the canvas, making sure that the little lock over the numbers is locked. Click in the white area next to the little lock. Your pattern will be resized.

5. Confirm that you resized the pattern correctly by looking at the new size of the pink square. It should now read 1.33” square.

That’s it!

If You Don’t Know the Current Scale of a Pattern, How Do You Determine It?

My first suggestion is that you ask. Most designers will size all of their buildings to fit together, and they will usually know the scale of their patterns. There are a few designers, however, that design differently. Steven Leeds, whose patterns you can find on my website in the Guest Designer Patterns, designed his buildings so that each would fit on an 8.5 x 11″ piece of chipboard. Hence his buildings vary in size depending on how complex they are.

Otherwise, if you are trying to determine the scale of a pattern, or to match the size/ scale of your existing buildings, you can use the following rule of thumb:

Measure the height of the door on the pattern or on one or more of the pieces you own to get an average. If it is around 1.25″, it is closest to S scale. If the door is around 1.66″, it is closest to O scale. If the door is around 1.05″, it is closest to OO scale. And if the door is around .9″, it is closest to HO scale.

This is just a round approximation. A Tudor style house will have a shorter door than a castle. However, using this has worked well for me.

What To Do If You Think the Pattern You Downloaded Isn’t To Any Particular Scale Or Is Between Scales.

Even if I am fairly certain I know the approximate scale of a pattern, unless the designer tells me the scale, I always do a test of my resized pattern.

I found the pattern below on Cricut Design Space under “Gingerbread House.” I opened a copy of the pattern, and first thing looked at the size of the door. It is 1.75″ tall. Closer to O scale, but probably even larger than that.

I want to convert the building to S Scale. Using my rule of thumb, I will want to start with a door that is 1.25″ tall. 1.25/1.75 = 71.43%. Once again, I group all of the pattern together and note the size of the grouped pattern.

Now I multiply the grouped width on my canvas by the percentage I calculated above. Hence 27.399 x .7143 = 19.571. I enter this new number into the width box at the top of the canvas, making sure that the little lock over the numbers is locked. Click in the white area next to the little lock. The pattern will be resized.

Confirm that you resized the pattern correctly by looking at the new size of door. It should now be approximately 1.25″ high

Cut out a draft of the house. You can cut out just the front, the front door, and windows. Prop up your draft next to some of your completed buildings. Does it look like it will the correct size when completed? If not, I am usually close enough that I increase or decrease the the size of the pattern by 5% and try again.

When I am happy with the size of the front draft, I will often make a full draft of the building using scrap cardstock. This way I am not only sure that the size is correct, but I also know how to put the building together before I use more expensive cardstock, paint, or stencil bricks to make a finished building.

That is all I have for now! I hope this helps you resize patterns you find on the internet to create a cohesive village.


3 thoughts on “How To Change The Scale Of A Pattern”

  1. Thank you so much. I was just resizing until I got, aproximately, the right size. I do use smaller ones for dioramas, though.

  2. This is fabulous! Thank you for taking your valued time to help us make heads and tails of this. Just printed my copy to keep for reference. I am a silhouette user, but this will be so helpful!! Thank you again!
    A valued follower for sure!!

  3. Thank you for this. You have explained how to do the resizing in a precise but easy to follow way. It will come in very handy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top