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