Silhouette CAMEO 101 – So you bought a CAMEO?

That beautiful box is in your possession…you are the pinnacle of excitement. The wait is over and you want to crack that sucker open and get started. But before you make that first cut there are a few things you may want to do.


For Starters:

Go and buy some take-away dinner. Trust me on this. Chances are good that once you get cracking your family will not see a home cooked meal or see you out of your pajamas for at least a week…ask me I know from experience.


Unpacking & Software:

Take your CAMEO out of the box. Remove all foam pieces and all green tape. Even the piece on the blade holder. Check through the contents of the bags in the box. You should have a blade, mat, transformer and power cable, some CDs and a Quick start book. There should also be either a $10 gift card for the online store or a one month subscription. This depends entirely on the date of manufacture of the machine.

Silhouette CAMEO 101

Install the software from the CD supplied and follow the instructions on the screen. Be aware that there are TWO parts to the installation. The first one installs Silhouette Studio, then the second one asks you to connect up your CAMEO and installs the drivers. The drivers allow your computer/laptop and CAMEO to communicate. Do not skip a step or you will not be able to cut.
Once you have installed the software, if you click on Help there is a User’s Manual. Please take the time to read it.


The Mat:

When it comes to the mat there are a few things to remember here. Firstly do not use a cloth or towel to reduce that extreme stickiness off the mat. Just massage the mat with the palms of your hands until it goes from sticky to tacky…this takes a few minutes and should be done before using it for the first time. Then, after each use keep the blue cover on the mat. Leaving it open will “dry” the stickiness and it will not last as long.
When you have made a cut with the mat remove the mat from the paper and not the paper from the mat…this will ensure that the paper does not curl.
NEVER re-stick the mat with adhesive, spray glues etc. These products void your warranty and can gum up your motor and rollers. If your mat starts losing its stickiness and the paper moves around while cutting, clean the mat with a baby wipe and leave uncovered overnight to dry.


The Rollers:

The diagram below shows the position the roller lock lever must be in to ensure your mat moves correctly within the machine. If it is not locked the mat will slide around and you will not get a decent cut.

Silhouette Roller Lock

The Blade:

The mat and the blade are the two most important components of the machine and collectively they are responsible for the quality of your cuts. I pay careful attention to the settings suggested by Silhouette Studio when I cut my designs. The only setting I do not agree with is the one for “Textured Cardstock” The software suggests turning the blade to 5. I never take my blade about 4, except when cutting Stamping Material (this will be covered in another Silhouette 101 post). Kaisercraft patterned paper and cardstock can be cut with the blade set to 3.
Always make sure your blade is clean. Turn the little white cap off and clean out any bits of paper that is accumulating inside. This stops the blade from turning and results in messy cuts or ripping.

Silhouette CAMEO SILH-BLADE-3-3T

Ensure your blade is installed in the holder correctly as per the picture below, with the black notch pointing at “6 o’clock”.

Silhouette Blade Position

These are just some beginner pointers for all you new CAMEO owners out there. They are just little things I have learned along the way. I look forward to sharing more tips and tricks with you and will be back with more Silhouette CAMEO 101 posts soon.


Remember that you can find all your Silhouette electronic cutting tools here! Happy Cutting.


Bridget Louw - Profile

Post by The Wholesaler’s Designer Bridget Louw.
Many of you will remember Bridget’s extraordinary off the page designs using our favourite bugs, the Cricut and Cuttlebug! Now Bridget is going to be sharing her other love with you – Kaisercraft.
Bridget Louw, Die Cuts, Die Cutting Machines, Silhouette, Silhouette CAMEO, Silhouette Studio
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  • I am struggling with print and cut – 1. The Silhouette doesn’t recognise my registration marks, and 2. I don’t know how to align the paper

  • Hi everyone, I hope you found my article helpful. Let me know if you have any questions. Hugs, Bridget

  • Hi
    I have had my Silhouette for over a year now and can’t say that I am very happy with it. I have tried to get help but to no avail.
    Does anyone know of someone somewhere in the Midlands where we can go to have lessons on this machine as I am highly frustrated.
    regards Bev

  • Hello Bev :)

    I am sorry to hear that you are not happy with your Silhouette yet. I’m sure once you have worked out how to use it correctly, you will be over the moon!

    We are planning quite a few 101 tutorial on our blog so please stay tuned for more. You can always use this link to see the Silhouette post here: http://bit.ly/Silhouette-Archive

    You could also contact some of the craft stores in your area to find out about classes near you. Click here for the store locator: http://bit.ly/craft-stores

    Silhouette has a in-depth FAQ section which is full of answers to the most common queries. Troubleshooting » Read more here «. You can also download the Basic Instruction Guide here (PDF 5.66MB)

    Have you tried following some of the online video tutorials? For a starter you could take a look here: http://bit.ly/1DybApX You will find even more if you simply type your specific question into YouTube.

    I hope this helps a little.

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