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Best Silhoutte Tips and Ideas

Professional scrapbook artist, paper crafter, and author, I have taught people how to make family memories into legacies for 20 years.

The Silhouette Cameo offers lots of features that make it one of the most popular cutting machines

The Silhouette Cameo offers lots of features that make it one of the most popular cutting machines

Learn And Create With Your Silhouette Cutting Machine

The Silhouette Cutting Machine has been popular for a long time with lots of crafters. But any cutting machine is an investment and you will want to get the most for your investment as you can. We are sharing ideas and tips for making the most from your Silhouette machine. We'll be adding more information weekly, so make sure to stop by often.

About The Silhouette Cameo 4

The Cameo 4 is one of the most popular of the Silhouette Machines. There are special tools available for use only with this machine. The Rotary Blade cuts fabric and other material. The Kraft Blade cuts acetate, craft foam and burlap. The Punch Tool punches holes in the spaces you need to weed vinyl or heat transfer, making weeding faster and easier. These are separate purchases above the cost of the machine.

What You Get With The Package

  1. Silhouette Cameo
  2. 12 inch cutting mat
  3. AutoBlade
  4. Silhouette Studio Software
  5. 100 exclusive designs
  6. 1 Month Silhouette Design Store Subscription
  7. Adapters for standard blade. premium blade, deep cut blade, 2mm Kraft blade, and Silhouette Sketch pens
  8. Basic Instruction Guide
  9. USB cable and power cable

It features:

  • Built in roller feeders that allow to you reed rolls of materials and flat pieces
  • Built in crosscutter that allows you to cut vinyl off a roll
  • 12 inch cutting area when using a cutting mat
  • Cuts up to 60 ft of certain materials
  • Has matless cutting capability
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Print and cut capability
  • Pix Scan compatable

Cost-$299.99

Cameo 4 Projects

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Silhouette Cameo Plus

The Cameo Plus offers a wider option in your crafting experience

What You Get With The Package

  • Cameo Plus
  • Cameo Plus Cutting Mat (14.6" by 15")
  • Autoblade
  • Silhouette Studio Software ( digital download)
  • 100 exclusive designs
  • 1 month Silhouette Design Store subscription
  • Adapters for standard blade, premium blade, deep-cut blade, 2mm Kraft Blade, and Silhouette sketch pens
  • Basic Instruction Guide
  • Power cable and USB cable

It Features

  • Can accomodate materials up to 15 inches wide
  • Built in crosscutter trims vinyl and heat transfer material from the roll
  • Cuts select materials up to 60 ft long
  • Some matless cutting options
  • Automatic tool detection
  • Bluetooth capability
  • Print and cut registration capability
  • Pix Scan compatible
  • Dual cartridge-one for regular cutting -one for accessory tools
  • Uses Silhouette Studio
  • 3 times faster than other models

Cost -$399.99

Cameo Plus Projects

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Silhouette Cameo Pro

This is the largest machine in the Silhouette line. It has all the features of the Cameo line with one distinct feature.

What You Get In The Package

  • Silhouette Cameo Pro 4
  • 24 inch cutting mat
  • Autoblade
  • Crosscutter
  • Silhouette Studio Software (download)
  • 100 exclusive designs (download)
  • 1 month Silhouette Design Store Subscription
  • Power cable and USB cable

It Features

  • It features a 24 inch cutting width for your largest materials.
  • It also features pinch rollers that allow you to adjust the right hand rollers to fit the width of the materials that you are cutting.
  • You can also use the specialty cutting tools ( the rotary blade, the kraft blade and the punch tool) These are separate purchases.

Price $499.99

Cameo Pro Projects

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The Silhouette Portrait 3

The Silhouette Portrait is the smaller version of the Cameo.It is the perfect on the go machine for letters and A4 sized projects.

It has a smaller cutting area. 8" x 12" (20.3 x 30.5 cm) with a cutting mat, and 8" x 10' (20.3 cm x 3 m) with a lined media. It comes with the Silhouette Design software as well as 50 designs. It has an 8 " cutting mat instead of the larger mat in the Cameo.

What Is Included In The Package

  • Silhouette Portrait 3
  • 8" cutting mat
  • Autoblade
  • Silhouette Studio Software (digital download)
  • 50 exclusive designs (digital download)
  • 1 month subscription to the Silhouette Store
  • Adapter for Silhouette Sketch Pens
  • Basic instruction guide (digital download)
  • Power cable and USB cable

It Features

  • It will cut any materials that are 8 inches wide. and 60 Ft long (with select materials)
  • It can cut some materials without a mat. It creates what is called a "kiss cut" The kiss cut cuts through materials, but not through the backing.
  • Another cut that does not require a mat is called the "pop out cut". This creates perferations along the cut line. It does not require a mat. The card stock or other material just pop out.
  • Automatic tool detection means that your Cameo always knows when you insert a tool. So you always get the right cut settings
  • Bluetooth compatibilty means that you have wireless connection to your computer.
  • Driven by Silhouette Studio Software-you can create your own designs, import designs or use designs from the Silhouette Store

Price-$199.99

Portrait Projects

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Silhouette Curio

The Silhouette Curio adds more functions to your crafting experience and is a compliment to your other machines. It allows you to stipple, etch, deboss, emboss and works with the Silhouette Studio software.

What Is Included In The Package

  • Cutting mat
  • Embossing mat
  • Fine embossing tool
  • Wide embossing tool
  • Power Cable and USB cable
  • Silhouette Studio software downloaded
  • 50 designs downloaded
  • I month free use of Silhouette studio

Price-$249.99

Curio Projects

Silhouette Tools

These are the tools available for the Cameo 4 models

These are the tools available for the Cameo 4 models

How You Can Use Your Old Tools With The New Models

If you have upgraded your Silhouette to a newer model, you will still be able to use your old tools, providing you have the right carriage adapter

  • Blue Adapter are for sketch pens
  • Grey Adapter is for the deep cut blade
  • Black Adapter is for the standard blade, premium blade and the fabric blade
  • White Adapter is for the 2mm Kraft blade


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Silhouette Mats

There are three basic mats available for Silhouette machines.

  • Light Grip Mats-Light cardstock, paper, and lightweight fabric
  • Regular Grip Mats-Vinyl, heavier card stock, felt
  • Strong Grip Mats- Heavier materials like wood

Each machine has it's own line of mats.

  1. Cameo 4 -has a light tack, standard tack and strong tack. Mat size is 12" by 12" (these mats can also be used with the older Cameo models)
  2. Portrait -has a has a light tack and a strong tack. Mat size is 8" wide by 12 " long
  3. Silhouette Pro- has a light tack, a standard tack and a strong tack. Mat size is 24" by 24"
  4. Curio-has a cutting mat in two sizes-5 1/2 " by 6" and 8 1/2 " by 12" and embossing mats in the same sizes

Mat Tips

  • Always peel the mat off the material rather than the material off the mat, Turn the mat over and curl the mat away from the project. That way you will get very little curling
  • Always keep the mat covers on the mats. That way they will not get dusty and the stickiness will be retained longer.

Cutting Tips For Silhouette

While the autoblade function is available in the Cameo 4, Cameo 3 and the Portrait 2 models, other models will require that you adjust the blade manually for cutting functions.

How To Change The Blade Setting

To change the blade setting, remove the blade from the tool holder by twisting the knob counterclockwise and removing the blade.

Place the blade into the adjustment socket so the arrow on the socket lines up with the red line on the blade. A the blade into the adjustment socket so the arrow on the socket lines up with the red line on the blade. A ratchet cap, which is included with each blade can also be used.

Turn the blade to the desired number

Replace the blade back into the tool holder

Turn the knob clockwise to lock it back into place.

Doing a Test Cut

The test button allows you to do a test cut of your material. It is located on the bottom of the Send Panel. It is called, "test". It allows you to make a square cut with a triangle on the inside of your materials to make sure that you have the right settings.

To know if you have had a successful test cut, you need to be able to weed the square and leave the triangle alone/

Cutting Tips

  • If you are having problems with the Autoblade, you can always go back to the rachet blade. Rachet blades are cheaper to replace than the autoblade.
  • Always use a wedding box if you are cutting vinyl, It will cut a box around your vinyl and allow you to keep the rest of the vinyl in tact.
  • Make sure that there is no gap between the lip of the blade and the housing.
  • If you are using a Silhouette black “ratchet” blade, make sure the fin of the blade is at the 6 o’clock position and there is no gap between the housing and the lip of the blade.
  • When you are ready to send the design to cut, make sure there are bold red cut lines showing on the Send tab around the design. If there are no bold red cut lines around the design, the software has nothing to communicate to the Silhouette machine to cut. Click on the design to select it. This is the most important part. If the design is not selected then there is nothing to change.
  • Make sure you have the correct material chosen on the Send tab before sending to cut.




Silhouette Blades

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Types Of Silhouette Blades

There are several different options when it comes to blade choices. Choosing the right blade for your machine and project can make all the difference in the world.

Self Adjusting Blade

This was the stock blade with the older Cameo 3. It uses material presets and tapping to self adjust to the desired blade length. Does cut a variety of materials.

Ratchet Blade ( also called Standard Blade, Black Blade, Replacement Blade)

Can cut through a large variety of materials like paper, cardstock, vellum, vinyl and more. To adjust the blade, you use a ratchet adjustment cap. The Ratchet Blade can be used with the Portrait, Curio, Cameo 1, 2, and 3.

Fabric Blade

Similar to the ratchet blade, but is colored blue to distinguish it from the black ratchet blade. It is used only to cut fabric. It will last longer than some of the fabric blade. This blade can be adjusted between 1-10. You adjust it upward for thicker materials. Can be used with SD, Portrait, Curio, Cameo 1, 2, and 3

Premium Blade

Similar to the ratchet blade, but lasts up to three times longer ( under normal cutting conditions). Is marked with a blue cap to keep it separate from the other blades Can be adjusted for settings from 1-10.Can be used with the SD, Portrait, Curio, Cameo 1, 2, and 3

Deep Cut Blade

Cuts through thicker materials with its 2m long blade .It features a sintered tungsten alloy blade with extra durability, This blade can be adjusted between 1-20, making it the longest blade. Can only be used with the Curio and the Cameo 3


Silhouette Blade Setting Guide

Blade SettingMaterial

1

Thin materials like vinyl and smooth heat transfer material

2-3

Medium weight materials like paper, cardstock and flocked heat transfer material

4-6

Thicker materials like textured card stock

Cutting Without A Mat in Silhouette

There are two systems that the Silhouette uses to cut without a mat. They are easy to distinguish the difference. Cutting without a mat saves you money. You do not have to replace your mats as often !


Kiss And Cut

This function allows you to cut the top material but not entirely through the backing of the material. Think of things like stickers.

Pop Out Cut

This cut allows you to cut through cardstock without a mat. It is available in the Cameo 4.line It makes perforations so that you can pop out your cuts. Neater and easier than other cutting options. Less wear on your mats. This function is not intended for flexible material like fabric or copy paper.

Matless Tips

  • Always do a test cut so that you are sure that your settings are correct
  • Make sure you have adjusted your rollers for the width of your material


Print And Cut Option

The print and cut option is available in the Silhouette Cameo, Portrait or Curio machines. An inkjet printer is recommended for most materials. You will need to use Silhouette Studio 4.2 or higher for this function.

You can print on materials like sticker paper, printable adhesive card stock, printable vinyl, printable heat, printable magnet paper, printable cotton and shrink vinyl.

The Print And Cut feature uses registration marks that are printed on the project. These registration marks is how the machine knows where to cut.

Print And Cut Tips

  • The the machine fails to read the registration marks, try "retry manually" in the Send Panel. Use the arrows to position the carriage above the marks and select “Register.” After the machine registers the mark, it will cut like usual
  • If you are using any metallic materials, it is recommended that you use the registration marks as the default setting, You should also increase the force to the max.

Using Sketch Pens in The Silhouette

Drawing and sketching is another function option in the Silhouette line. There is a line of Silhouette sketch pens that fit into the tool holder. All you have to do is remove the blade.

Basically, anything you can cut, you can also draw.

Sketch Pen Tips

  • :If you do not have the dual carriage and want to use more than one color, just create pauses in the Action Panel. When your job pauses, swap out the pen colors.
  • The pen and marker adapters make it possible to use pens other than sketch pens

Stamping With The Cameo

One of the most popular features of the Silhouette program is the ability to make custom stamps with the program.

You purchase a kit to get started. The kit includes three sheets of stamping material. The sheets are 7.5" by 6 ". You also get three acrylic blocks for mounting and stamping. An ink pad is also included. You also get a stamping mat to use with your machine. An instruction video and booklet are also included.

Tips To Create Stamps

  • You must remove the white covering off the protective mat before you start your project
  • If you are doing words or lettering, make sure to weld the letters together.
  • Press the ink pad onto the stamp to get a better image.
  • Rub a pink eraser or some fine grit sandpaper over the stamp to get the best image.
  • Pigment inks work better than dye inks on these stamps

How To Create A Stamp With Silhouette

Silhouette Studio And Upgrades

This is free software for use with Cameo, Portrait and Curio models. There are upgrades for SVG designers as well as a business edition for an additional cost.

The Silhouette Studio basic is always free. You will never have to pay for it. While you cannot open an SVG file in the free edition, you can use DFX files.

In the upgraded versions, you are purchasing a key which activates the program. Each upgrade builds upon each other.

In the Designer addition, you can open and import SVG files. This is not available in the basic free edition.

More about Silhouette Studio And Upgrades

Silhouette Studio For Beginners

Silhouette Studio Tips

Best Silhouette Websites-We Did The Legwork - Get lots of information, tutorials and ideas

We searched out some of the best Silhouette websites and rated them by content, ideas and free information. Hope you enjoy them. Let us know in comments if you want to make a suggestion for this list

Keep A Can Of Kylon Easy Tack In Your Craft Space

Mat stickiness does not last forever, But you don't have to throw them away when they start losing their ability to hold. Just use some Krylon Easy Tack to quickly recondition your mats !

Silhouette Resources

Silhouette ideas And Projects

Favorite Silhouette Tips

Gathered from experienced users, here are my favorite Silhouette tips

  • Always Check The Blade Setting Every Use - I know that we all get busy and excited about your project, but this is one habit you really have to adopt. Forgetting to change the blade setting will really cause you lots of frustration
  • Invest in a dust cover so your machine stays cleaner and will function better
  • To keep the blade lasting longer, turn the blade to zero, unscrew the white cap at the bottom of the blade. clean the area out with a q-tip
  • If your mats are getting grimy, clean them with baby wipes
  • Use a safety pin to weed tiny pieces of vinyl.
  • Use an old gift card to clean pieces of vinyl or paper off your mat
  • A fine tipped tweezers may be the better alternative to a weeding tool. The tweezers are easier to get into tiny areas.

Introduction To Vinyl

There are a few things to know before you get started with Vinyl using your Silhouette.

Adhesive Vinyl

Adhesive vinyl is usually sold in 12" by 12" sheets to fit most craft cutting machines. You can buy it in rolls. But if you are a beginner, the sheets are the best to use because they fit right on your cutting mat. Start out with the solid color adhesive vinyl, because it is easier to use and more cost effective.

Oracle 651 is the most popular of the adhesive vinyl. It is considered a permanent vinyl. You would use it to make a car decal or a sign. You would not want to use this vinyl on an interior wall of your home, because it would peel the paint off your wall. Specialty vinyl like glitter vinyl and holographic vinyl is considered permanent vinyl.

Oracle 631 is a temporary adhesive vinyl. It is a good vinyl to use for interior wall decor.

Most adhesive vinyl comes with a paper backing.

Once you have created your design, you will use transfer tape to remove the vinyl and place it on your project.

You always want to have the glossy side up when you are loading the vinyl into your machine.

Heat Transfer Vinyl

Heat transfer vinyl is often referred to as HTV. There are lots of choices when it comes to HTV vinyl. You can get solid, glitter, flocked and a lot more. The image is transferred to a garment by using heat to adhere it.

With HTV vinyl, the glossier side goes down on the mat. In HTV, the side with more gloss is a built in carrier sheet. There are no transfer sheets needed. Because of that, you always have to mirror your image. That way when you adhere the image to your project, the image will have the right orientation.

With pattern HTV, the rules are different. You cut and weed with the pattern side up. You also need a special patterns mask to create your project.

No matter where you purchase your vinyl, they will have guides for your machine settings for their products. You will want to follow these guides to get the best results.

How To Cut Vinyl With The Silhouette

Tips For Using Vinyl

  • Always do a test cut before you cut the project
  • Make sure to place the vinyl with the shiny side down
  • Remember, in a hot peel vinyl, you can remove the backing right away. In a cold peel, you must wait until the vinyl totally cools down.
  • Patterned HTV requires a special patterns mask. When you are purchasing this type of vinyl, check in the manufacturer's description to see if the mask is included with the purchase. If not, make sure to purchase it with your order.

Vinyl Settings For The Silhouette

MaterialSpeedThicknessBlade

Glass And Matte

7

5

2

Easy Weed HTV

7

5

2

Glitter HTV

5

10

5

Pattern Glass

7

5

2

Florescent Vinyl

7

5

2

StripFlock HTV

5

33

2

Chalkboard

8

9

3

Dry Erase

8

9

3

Ultra Glitter Gloss

7

5

2

Etched Glass

8

6

2

More Vinyl Ideas

© 2014 Linda F Correa