To all the new Silhouette owners

December 25, 2013 at 4:19 pm 161 comments

Update: A newer version of this post is available here

Congratulations to all those who got a new Silhouette machine for Christmas. No doubt you are anxious to get started…or maybe you are just anxious. Either way, here are some things I wish I had known from the get-go.

-Every machine is different. The settings in Silh Studio or that you get from others are suggested starting points. You should do your own test cuts to determine what is right for your machine, blade, material, climate, etc.

-The mat starts out waaaayyy too sticky and it WILL eat your paper or the backing on your vinyl. Then it quickly goes to not sticky enough. This is frustrating but you will learn to keep several mats on hand at different levels of stickiness for different things. Before the first cut on a new mat, “de-sticky” it by patting it with a clean t-shirt. Then use heavy card stock for the first few cuts because it is easier to get off the mat.

-There is a button and/or indicator on your machine for Load Mat (or Carrier) vs. Load Media. Pay attention to this and check it before every cut, even if you didn’t change anything! This is the number one source of cutting errors, and is easily prevented.


-The Cut Styles window (horizontal scissors with red line button) gives you a sort of cut preview and you should check it before every cut to avoid surprises. Often you will need to turn cut lines on here. This is another source of easily avoidable errors.

Cut Styles

-Pens are a great way to test “cut” and just to learn how the machine works. The character marker sets in the dollar section of Target, Michaels and Walmart (also Dollar Tree) fit the Silh machines perfectly with no adapters necessary so they are perfect for this. You can use a piece of card stock with no mat so you are not wasting paper, blades or mat adhesive while you experiment.


-The designs from the Silh store are regular cut files UNLESS they have a small S for sketch or P for Print and Cut beside them. You will not be successful cutting a sketch file, and probably not a print&cut file either. Pay attention to the codes until you get to the point where you can tell them apart just by looking at them.


-When you want to remove the lines between overlapping letters or shapes, that is called “welding” and there is a button for that on the Modify panel or you can right click.


-If you want to fatten up letters or make layered “mats” that is called “offset” and it has its own button that looks like a square with an arrow. The size of the offset is adjustable with the slider or by entering numbers or toggling the arrows.


-If you are unable to move objects smoothly on your mat, then go to the Grid window and uncheck “Snap to Grid”


-You can set a shape to any dimension using the Scale window. The button has diagonal arrows on it.


-All Youtube videos are not created equal. Seek out recommendations for the best ones, or stick with reputable channels like Under A Cherry Tree , Doodling Debbie and of course CleverSomeday.

-Vinyl is easier to cut than paper, but people are scared of it because it is more expensive. Do not be afraid of vinyl (except maybe Silhouette brand, which is junk), but do learn about kiss-cutting and transfer paper. You will quickly be addicted. Contact paper (adhesive shelf liner) is a type of vinyl and can be substituted for many vinyl tasks like practice cutting and stencil making. If you can get scraps from a sign shop, that is perfect, too.

-Try some easy projects first like simple cards or single layer vinyl. The following are NOT easy projects : Split letters, lettering on ornaments, layering on cutting boards, many-layered paper piecings, designs by Kim Bright, tracings of photographs, double-sided print and cut or anything very detailed that is cut very small.
Think of it like diving. You would start with a jump and then a simple head first dive and work your way up over time before attempting a triple gainer.

Entry filed under: Silhouette. Tags: , .

Power tips for text to path in Silhouette Studio Print and Emboss Cards

161 Comments Add your own

  • 1.  |  December 25, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Thank you so much for all this valuable information!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  • 2. Anne Kahn  |  December 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Oh-ho! Where were you two months ago when I opened the box-made my first cut…and cut the mat? Tee-hee. I am loving playing with this new toy and dread that I will have to shell out for another one once my daughter in law plays with mine.
    Thank you for all the information you so generously give and to everyone else that is also generous with their knowledge.

  • 3. Kristen Wallen  |  December 25, 2013 at 5:06 pm

    Kay I would LOVE To hear more about Kiss Cutting!
    Thank you again for your wonderful advice :)
    Happy Holidays!!!

    • 4. christine  |  October 8, 2014 at 12:39 am

      Kristen, have you figured out how to kiss cut? I’ve been messing with all kinds of settings and can’t seem to figure it out :(

      • 5. Julie  |  October 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm

        If you choose vinyl from the menu it cuts fine a my machine. What setting are you using?

    • 6. Lady A/  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm

      Is live to hear more about it to. 😊

      • 7. Lady A/  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:10 pm

        Silly autocurrect… It should read “I’d love to hear more about it to”

  • 8. arrin  |  December 25, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    This is all very true and helpful. I wish someone had told me all of this when I was new to my Silhouette.
    I completely agree with you about Silhouette vinyl. Any suggestions for brands that you have found to work well?

    • 9. Terah  |  December 27, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      Oracal 631 or Oracal 651. I have also used 3m and love it all!

  • 10. Chelsea  |  December 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you so much Kay! I got my Silh back in July, but still found these tips helpful. In fact, all of your posts are ALL brilliant and helpful and very useful. I can’t thank you enough for sharing with us.

  • 11. Rosemary Weiss  |  December 25, 2013 at 5:56 pm

    Thank you so much. I am in my 60s and was worried if I could learn all these new techniques and your article has helped me a lot.


    • 12. Pam  |  December 28, 2013 at 1:07 am

      Rosemary – I am also in my 60’s. I’ve had my Silh for 16 months and I love it! Just keep ‘playing’ with it. You’d be surprised how much you learn by using the machine. Don’t be afraid of it. Good luck & have fun!

  • 13. Myrna  |  December 25, 2013 at 6:01 pm

    Just have to tell you that your information here has been invaluable. Thank you so much. I have recently purchased the Silh Cameo and love, love it but there are so many things I need to learn yet. Your tip on the markers was a really good one for me as I didn’t want to buy the pen holder just yet but love using pens in the cutting machines. One of the things I found was that using my Cricut Expression mat was perfect for me.
    Thank you for such good information.

    • 14. Gina MacNeill  |  December 25, 2014 at 7:51 pm

      I got mine today (I had a Cricut) but this is already way above that. I’ve learned so much in a very short amount of time. Thank you so much for your help!

  • 15. Chris P.  |  December 25, 2013 at 6:05 pm

    This is an awesome piece of information! One thing I’d add. Read through the manual! :) Thanks for the time you’ve taken making all your awesome videos (you graciously left yourself out of videos to trust). When ever I want to learn to do something new, your blog is the first place I go.

  • 16. Kathie Bendinelli  |  December 25, 2013 at 6:44 pm

    Wonderful email, Kay! Whish I had gotten it when I first started.

  • 17. Margaret  |  December 25, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    Great collection of hints for a first timer.

  • 18. Ellen  |  December 25, 2013 at 9:03 pm

    Thank you for sharing your silh knowledge so freely. I would also like to know about kiss cutting.

  • 19. Donna B  |  December 25, 2013 at 11:23 pm

    What great advice. I would add one more youtube channel that has helped me tremendously-CleverSomeday. I have learned so much from what you have shared. Thank you Kay.

  • 20. Carolyn Albro  |  December 26, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Hi! I’m new to your big AND this beautiful beast of a machine. I can’t wait to start using it. Thank you for the very useful tips you provided here. One question… The main reason I bought mine is to make my own stencils. You mentioned using contact paper for cutting stencils. Can you provide more information on how that is done? Thank you sooooo much, in advance. In really excited to learn.

  • 22. VickiB  |  December 26, 2013 at 1:44 am

    Thanks , these are probably going to be very handy in days to come!

  • 23. efrat123  |  December 26, 2013 at 2:00 am

    Super intro! Thank you for the time you took to post this.

  • 24. trishreddick  |  December 26, 2013 at 3:39 am

    Well said Kay. These are great tips and I am going to forward it to my friend who just got her Silhouette. i appreciate the tip about the markers, I did’t know! You are always a source of great info!

  • 25. Jennifer Jackson-Meyerholz  |  December 26, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Thank you so much. I have never used any electronic cutting machine before and am clueless. There is definitely a lot to learn about the Silhouette.

  • 26. Cynthia Dietrich (@cynsurfer)  |  December 26, 2013 at 10:29 am

    Kay, what a great job you do explaining everything regarding the Silhouette. I hope everyone who is playing today for the 1st time sees this before they begin. You will save so many headaches!

  • 27. Kim G  |  December 26, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Great tips, thank you! I’ve had my silhouette for about 18 months and it is my go-to machine (over my cricut). I’ve not had issues with my mat and the stickiness, but then again, my mat is older, so they may have changed the formula (who knows!).

    To arrin, who asked a good place to get vinyl, I have purchased a ton of vinyl from They sell Oracal vinyl and I have never had any problems with this brand of vinyl (in my cricut or silhouette). There are other websites that sell this brand as well.

    There is a learning curve to the silhouette. I searched youtube, pinterest and the web to learn different techniques. I love this machine and am very pleased with all of the “things” it can do. Thank you Kay for this very helpful post. My apologies for taking up a lot of comment space.

    • 28. Terah  |  December 27, 2013 at 5:14 pm

      I buy all my vinyl from I get 12 inch x 30 yards of oracal vinyl for anywhere between $10-12 a roll! Check it out!

      • 29. Lady A/  |  December 15, 2014 at 7:14 pm

        Thank you for the web site

  • 30. Judith Welker  |  December 26, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Got mine last Christmas and some of this info was learned the hard way. I want to thank you for all the great info I have found in your blog over the last year. You have been entertaining and helpful at the same time. Looking forward to more in the new year.

  • 31. DKFoster  |  December 26, 2013 at 2:49 pm

    I just got mine and am still reading the instructions. You have just saved me a bundle with your recommendations.I have watched your and read your blog and now it makes sense.I didn’t have the machine before. The thought of not having to buy another punch makes my eyes light up and my heart less heavy!!!!! Thank you for taking the time to do all of this!

  • 32. Karen L  |  December 26, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    This is not just for newbies. I’ve had my machine for a while now, and I learned a few new things. As always, your posts are great. Thanks, and Happy Holidays!

  • 33. Linda F  |  December 26, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    Thank for all of these tips. I am about to set mine up and read this just at the right time.

  • 34. Virginia  |  December 26, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Thank you for all the tips! I just got mine yesterday and wished I read your post first. Count me in the bucket of not checking the “load cutting mat” vs. “load media”. Now I have a cut line at the top of my mat to remind me.

  • 35. Susan Cocjin  |  December 26, 2013 at 11:30 pm

    Ooh perfect as I just got a Silhouette Cameo (from myself) for Christmas and I am just getting to know my new toy! This was very informative and helpful, thank you very much!

  • 36. Doris  |  December 27, 2013 at 8:26 am

    Great advice.I learned all this the “hard way”.Thanks!

  • 37. Kate  |  December 27, 2013 at 10:25 am

    Got mine for my birthday beginning of December I have watched you videos on cut lines for my stamped images, successful scan and trace to create my offset outline, but my question is as I have my sketch pens and copics can I sketch the image and cut without using my printer as my printer ink bleeds on my copics have saved all my sections but have browsed for ages on your blog and cannot see this hoping you can help
    Thanks Kate xx

    • 38. Kay  |  December 29, 2013 at 12:32 am

      Kate, if your scanned image has thin enough lines you can sketch it with the offset set to no cut, then without removing the mat, switch to the blade, set the sketch to no cut and the offset to cut, and cut. I have several examples on the blog where I have done this. If the image is not thin enough, you will see that the sketch has double lines, and you probably won’t like it.

      • 39. Kate  |  December 29, 2013 at 2:49 am

        thank you, I did try this and did get the double line effect after taking down the trace to it’s lowest it then worked better but then missed one of the main lines out. I suppose that it is getting the adjustment right. I then tried to use your template method, I had my registration marks clearly marked on the stamped image but it would not pick them up. I have read that this is because it may be too dark where I have it, so going to try again this morning giving it some more light. Think your blog is fabulous, so helpful for those of us who are new to the cameo and want to get the most out of it. thank you so much
        Kate x

  • 40. Pam  |  December 28, 2013 at 1:04 am

    Kay – I’ve had my Silh Cameo for about 16 months. I am still learning new things. Thanks for all the tips.

  • 41. Sara Mahoney  |  December 30, 2013 at 8:03 am

    I’ve had my machine a year and learned a couple of things! As usual, awesome post. Thank you for your efforts!

  • 42. Carol Horton  |  December 30, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    You have by far been the best instructor I have had. thank you so much for sharing your expertise.

  • 43. Tisha  |  January 2, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    Newbie here….trying to figure out how to get my silhouette to make normal letters with the sketch pens instead of outlining it as if it was going to cut it out with the blade. I’m sure its an easy setting, I’m just lost.

  • 45. melanie marks  |  January 3, 2014 at 12:35 am

    Have you had your machine go crazy and not print/ cut straight ?I load my paper and its all lined up and than the machine starts acting crazy. I called 1800 and left a voicemail. I would love to get past this and start having fun… Any trouble shooting advice ?

    • 46. Kay  |  January 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

      I get faster results emailing also check here

    • 47. Mimi  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:50 pm

      This is just a shot in the dark but … Did you make sure the blue lever on the right side is flipped upward? That lever applies/releases pressure to the rollers, so the paper is held down firmly. I’ve had my cuts go all wonky, when I forgot to flip down that lever.

      (When you flip open the lid, it’s to the left of the controls).

      • 48. Mimi  |  February 28, 2014 at 3:51 pm

        Oops! I mean flip UP that lever!

  • 49. Lisa Martin  |  January 3, 2014 at 8:38 pm

    Kay-Once again thank you so much for all of your wonderful information and videos.

  • 50. Tammy  |  January 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    Got my machine for my birthday in December but haven’t had a chance to break it out of the box yet. I’m really excited but scared to death! I decided to scour pinterest for tutorials, etc. So glad I found you! I can tell you’re going to be an amazing source of info. Puts my anxiety at ease a bit. Thanks so much!

  • 51. Ulla Madsen  |  January 6, 2014 at 4:30 am

    Hello Kay

    Thanks you for your great tips.

    I have one tip for you as well. After ruining a LOT of pearly sheets I finally tried rubbing it with a tumble drier sheet. It seems to lubricate the knife and it glides easily now.

    That is a trick we used to rub the parchment when embossing.

    Again thank you for your YouTubes etc. They have been very helpful.

    Yours truly

    Ulla Madsen

    Queensland Australia.

  • 52. Lucy @ Patina Paradise  |  January 7, 2014 at 11:31 am

    I LOVE my Silhouette Machine and can’t imagine living without it. That said, their INSTRUCTION VIDEO is so lame and uninformative it’s not funny. I have had my machine for about 6 months and never knew about the Load Matt versus load medium feature. I love the idea of having various cutting matts with varying degrees of stickiness. Thank you so much for taking the time to share with others these wonderful tips. PINNED this to my Silhouette Cameo board! Newest follower!

  • 53. Cindy Johnson  |  January 10, 2014 at 8:46 am

    Thank you so much for the tutorials! I tried very hard to figure a few things out myself and the only thing that happened was pure frustration! :o). I am also interested in “kiss cutting”. Is the load media when you load vinyl without a mat? I am a mat user so I never thought how you would load vinyl without the mat!
    Thanks again you are an awesome teacher!

  • 54. Carolyn Bennett  |  January 10, 2014 at 7:12 pm

    Great tips! I think I found this info in my beginners facebook group as well! Your name doesn’t seem to appear on your blog so I don’t know who you are to credit with this info – but thanks!

    • 55. Karen  |  January 21, 2014 at 7:31 am

      what are the details of the beginners facebook group as looking at buying a cameo but doing my research first?

  • 56. Shelley  |  January 19, 2014 at 10:56 am

    Kay I find your blog and tutorials extraordinarily helpful, thank you. I am having trouble with one aspect of your helpful hints. I can’t seem to find any way to enter dimensions on the grid screen. My only options are: show grid, or snap to grid. Are you using the basic software or is this only an option in the designer edition?

    • 57. Kay  |  January 19, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      Dimensions are entered on the Scale Panel, not the Grid Panel and this works in standard or Designer Edition.

      • 58. Shelley  |  January 19, 2014 at 2:26 pm

        I found it! Thanks so much! Have my cameo for a year and never knew this, you are awesome!

  • 59. Lisa Trombitas  |  January 19, 2014 at 9:18 pm

    What a great, informative post. Thank you. Came to your blog via your YouTube Tracing w/out Tears series. You are a brilliant, natural instructor. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  • 60. Karen  |  January 21, 2014 at 7:33 am

    Kay am so glad I found your blog. I have a big shot and recently stumbled across the cameo and have been looking for information for a few days so found you useful tips very helpful. Am looking into whether this machine is for me but am from the UK and there only appears to be one craft shop that sells it and I would like to see it in action before I buy!

  • 61. Di  |  January 26, 2014 at 10:50 am

    Thank you so much for the valuable information and for taking the time to share!

  • 62. Blanca  |  February 18, 2014 at 1:29 am

    Kay, I am ever so glad I found you and your fabulous videos I just barely started to watch. I am interested in cutting fabric and doing stencils preferably using freezer paper to start. Just got my Cameo this past christmas so I am very new to cutters in general. I didn’t know they existed until recently! lol Was busy learning how to use an embroidery machine. And I will not talk about how bad I am at the pc.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing all your knowledge and hard work.

  • 63. Pauline  |  February 18, 2014 at 5:35 am

    Hi ,My name is Pauline and I live in the uk, I have recently purchased a cameo and am delighted with it ,I loved the information about the pens ,do you know where I can purchase the same in the uk.I am hesitant to buy the silhouette pens and holder till I know abit more .Thankyou so much for sharing this valuable information I too am in my 60s so I appreciate any help I can get .x

    • 64. Kay  |  February 18, 2014 at 10:05 pm

      Pauline I do not know any sources for the markers in the UK, but hopefully another of my readers will chime in with some info for you.

      • 65. Pauline  |  February 19, 2014 at 7:10 am

        Thanks so much for replying Kay, I will try one of our pound shops to see what I can find x

  • 66. Ruth  |  February 24, 2014 at 7:58 am

    Do you have any advise on how to combine multiple tabs (layouts) in Silhouette Designer Series Software into one file? I want to layout a project that requires many pages to cut and I do not want to keep moving images off and on the virtual mat.

    I am new to e-cutters so any help is appreciated.

    • 67. Kay  |  February 24, 2014 at 10:48 am

      Unfortunately, this is not a feature of Silhouette Studio at this time. I hope you will join me in asking for layers and/or multipage documents. In the meantime you might find it helpful to use sequential naming to keep your files together and/or make a subfolder for each project.

  • 68. Molly  |  February 28, 2014 at 11:46 am

    This was extremely useful and easy to understand. Thank you.

  • 69. Hey Mimi  |  February 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm

    Great post, Kay! I’ve used a Craft-Robo for years, which didn’t have the “Load Media/Load Cutting Mat” option. I finally broke down and bought a Silhouette Cameo recently. Add me to the list of people with a slice all the way through the edge of their cutting mat. I plan to repair it with a strip of clear packing tape on both sides. When I saw the nice clean slice, I thought “Whoa, this thing will cut through acetate? Cool! I can make rigid stencils for project life cards!” I tried it, but wasn’t able to duplicate the pressure that cut through the mat. It’s possible I was using too thick of acetate. I don’t want to ruin the blade, but I would love to cut some acetate stencils that are not flimsy.

    Thanks for the great tip about the Disney markers! I spent a bit of cash trying to find markers that fit. And on copper coupling/rubber grips to rig up my own custom jig to hold various size pens/pencils/markers. In the end, I discovered the Silhouette pen holder (with 2 screws) is only $9 on Amazon! Sheesh! Why did I bother?!

    One tip that I would add to your list is: Silhouette Cameo usually ships with the standard Silhouette Studio software. I fussed for a long time trying to erase a line in my artwork, or other tasks I thought were pretty basic. I finally realized that I had to purchase Silhouette Studio DESIGNER edition, to edit my artwork within the program. Designer Edition is pricey, I think, for customers who just paid hundreds of dollars for the machine. That’s kinda cruddy, if you ask me. But you can search online and usually find some kind of special promotion or discount code to get it for 30% off (or more).

    Gosh, I practically wrote a whole blog post here! Sorry!

  • 70. Rupa  |  March 4, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    I have no idea how I got here but I tell you, your site was meant to be found by me today :) I believe that there are no coincidences in life lol. I just got my portrait last week and I found the mat to be very sticky too despite my using thick card stock for the first ever cut. Your tips and tutorials are just AMAZING. I have much to learn from this site, thanks for your generosity!

  • 71. Shelly  |  March 24, 2014 at 9:10 pm

    Thanks for all the great tips on your website! I’ve had my Silhouette SD for a few years now and I’m still excited to learn new ways to use it. The new blade system is SO much better than the original that came with my machine. And Silhouette Studio just keeps getting better and better. I do use Cricut mats, though. I feel they work much, much better than the Silhouette ones.

  • 72. Marie / Legojenta  |  May 7, 2014 at 12:10 am

    When you say that Silhouette brand vinyl is bad, is that because of the adhesive on the back of it? And if so, can you recommend a different brand that is better in this aspect?

    • 73. Kay  |  May 7, 2014 at 8:48 am

      Silhouette brand vinyl is difficult to cut and apply. Oracal is an excellent brand. You can get sheets of Oracal 631 (removable for walls) sold under the Brookie label at Joann but other than that you need to order it online.

      • 74. gaelmcgraw  |  December 6, 2014 at 9:12 am

        Don’t forget to always use a coupon for that vinyl at Joann’s, too, because at $2.99 for 2 ft, it’s expensive. Fotobella vinyl is Oracal, btw, and they run free shipping and send coupons for new customers. Their customer service is fantastic, very personal and quick! The Silhouette Black Friday price can’t be beat, so I’m going to try it, because I’m not seeing a difference between some no name vinyl I was given and my Oracal. Also, my shopping cart is broken and won’t let me delete items, so at this point If I don’t like the first roll, I’ll return the rest. I appreciate the warning. At least I know to open a 9″ roll only.

  • 75. Lisa Olson  |  May 31, 2014 at 11:21 am

    SO helpful. Thanks so much. I feel ready to ‘dive in’- head first. =)

  • 76. Linda Mayfield  |  May 31, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Thank you a zillion times!

  • 77. anita  |  June 1, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Thank you for your help, and most important keeping it simple..

  • 78. Ginny  |  June 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    I am wanting to buy a Silhouette….BUT…what to buy..where to buy it, etc! HELP!!!!

  • 79. Judy G.  |  June 7, 2014 at 1:57 am

    Thanks for the tips. I am so frustrated at how fast the mats lose their adhesive.

  • 80. Charlie  |  June 13, 2014 at 10:58 am

    Kay, I’m from Pretoria South Africa, and after reading this page, watchin 1 of you video’s…… I could give you a big hug. I have my machine nearly a year, but it has been mostly in its box, as I battled with it thinking i needed more grey matter hehe Thanks to you, it is coming out again :-) Will start of as a newbie at 60

    Officially I’m hooked…. and signed on as follower not to miss out on anything! God bless you, hugs Charlie

    • 81. Fran Smith  |  September 7, 2014 at 6:02 am

      Hi Charlie,
      I’m also from South Africa, Durban, am also a newbie at 65 and am also battling a little with my new Silhouette. So will start following Kay’s blog and hope to get a little further than just looking at my machine which sits covered in its beautiful pink cover on my desk ! I wish there was someone in the area who could give tutorials.

  • 82. susanc222Susan  |  June 19, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I’m at the finally chose Silhouette over the new Cricut stage. That’s all I know at all. I simply want to cut fonts. That’s it. I don’t scrapbook or make greeting cards. So I chose silhouette. But now I am kinda freaking a bit. Do you have an “I know nothing and just got mine, so what first?” post?

    • 83. Kay  |  June 20, 2014 at 4:08 pm

      In general, my stuff is for intermediate to advanced users. Try for good beginner tutorials.

  • 84. jasonj1968  |  July 12, 2014 at 6:36 am

    Thanks so much for this info!

  • 85. Sonia  |  July 26, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge, very thankful.

  • 86. jean  |  August 1, 2014 at 3:47 am

    Hi kay I have just upgraded to the cameo from the portrait I am beginning to wish I had not. it just will not recognise registration marks at all no matter what I try do you know of a tutorial for it please? xxx

  • 88. Candi  |  August 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

    Hi Kay…. just wondering if you had any word if mac users will ever get the ability to open files in SSDE by dragging to the icon in our docks back… I saw 3.1 is coming soon, any chance it might be in there?

    • 89. Kay  |  August 1, 2014 at 8:10 pm

      No word on what fixes/feature restores will be in there. Anxious to find out.

  • 90. Lilliam  |  August 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm

    Thanks for the info.

  • 91. Lynda Avery  |  August 9, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    This is amazing information. Thanks so much

  • 92. Lana Kier  |  August 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Just found your videos and they are amazing. Also, love the tips for new users. I’ve only had mine for 3 days and really appreciate your site.

  • 93. Kelly  |  August 12, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    Awesome this is great advice!

  • 94. Pat Sullivan  |  August 18, 2014 at 2:27 pm

    I had the problem of paper sticking to my mat when I first used my machine, but then got over that and cut a few birthday cards that look like a birthday cake. Then, when I went to cut another. It would not cut. Kept saying “Cut Successful” although it hadn’t cut anything. I have contacted Silhouette but they haven’t come up with an answer.

  • 95. Ana  |  September 1, 2014 at 10:13 am

    I need help. I have saved my files on a drive. However, when I try to open the file in Sil it does not open. What am I missing?

    • 96. Kay  |  September 1, 2014 at 10:43 am

      Try using the FIle>Open command from within Silh Studio and if using the Windows version choose All Files from the pulldown menu at the bottom of the dialog window.

  • 97. Sonia  |  September 22, 2014 at 6:44 am

    I also need help or a tip. I can´t cut a border on the silhouette. It does´t cut 12 x 12. Doesn´t cut a inch around the paper.

    • 98. Kay  |  September 22, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      If your design is inside the red cutting margin but not actually cutting then this is a known V3 bug. Go to Preferences>Defaults and check “registration marks off”. If that doesn’t work, contact for further instructions.

  • 99. munier  |  October 11, 2014 at 5:16 pm

    Why does my artwork only trAce halfway when I select it?

    • 100. Kay  |  October 13, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      This is a bug in V3. Try making your trace box extra long below the image or resizing your image before the trace as a workaround.

  • 101. Maria  |  November 1, 2014 at 12:03 am

    I am having a problem when cutting an image. I am using Bazzill cardstock and I cant seem to get the right cutting pressure even though I use the recommended number.

  • 102. Lilian Brink  |  November 3, 2014 at 11:32 am

    I want to know if it is possible to edit a text design from the Silhouette Online store. Say for instance it is a quote saying “Wonderful summer”. Can I change it to “Wonderful Winter” and will the change be in the same font? Or the wording on a card, eg. change Happy Birthday to Happy Anniversary or something like that?

    • 103. Kay  |  November 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

      No, the word art is not editable. You can easily create your own in Silhouette Studio, though. Just type, choose a font, ungroup and arrange the spacing, etc then click weld.

  • 104. julie gorbutt  |  December 5, 2014 at 4:47 am

    can you please help me the work I have on screen I can’t do anything with it wont move, I’m trying to make my own xmas tags and I’m trying to colour fill but I can’t move anything to do this have you any ideas what I need to do

    • 105. Kay  |  December 5, 2014 at 7:36 am

      Try restarting Silh Studio and your computer if necessary.

      • 106. julie gorbutt  |  December 5, 2014 at 10:30 am

        thank you for the reply I have done both of these things many times and it still wont work

      • 107. Kay  |  December 5, 2014 at 12:43 pm

        If you have not updated to 2.9.45 or 3.3.277 I would do so. I seem to recall one version 3 that had a bug like this.

  • 108. therese  |  December 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    Is there a way to right justify my media on the cutting mat? If so, how? Basically I’m printing on 8.5 x 11 card stock in portrait. The paper automatically left justifies on the cutting mat. I know how to change the media/paper size and orientation, but is there a way to get it to right justify? The left side of my mat is getting worn out. I’ve rotated it 180 and worn out the “other left side”. Thanks in advance for any advice…I’ve been googling it and haven’t been able to come up with a solution…

    • 109. Kay  |  December 8, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Not officially, but what most of us do is set the paper size to 12 x 12 and then block off an 8-1/2 x 11 section on the right hand side (either with a rectangle, guide lines or just mentally) and place our images accordingly.

      • 110. Therese  |  December 9, 2014 at 12:43 am

        Ok. That’s what I was doing in the interim. Guess I’ll keep doing that! :)
        Was just thinking maybe there was an official way to do it. Thanks for the quick reply!!

  • 111. Diana Sheffer  |  December 9, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    I am trying to cut a template that is not from Silhouette. For some reason it is cuttung fine double lines? Any suggestions to remedy this? It’s a shame to put the knife through all that unnecessary cuttin, not to mention the fact that the cut out parts are fragile?

    • 112. Kay  |  December 9, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      If it is an SVG select all the go to the line styles panel and set the line thickness to zero. The easiest way to do this is slide the slide slightly to the right, then all the way to the left. That should take care of the double lines for an SVG.
      If you traced it, getting rid of double lines is more complicated. Please see my Tracing without Tears series elsewhere on this blog.

  • 113. Anna B.  |  December 11, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Kay, in SDE 3.3.277, the rulers on the top and side of my design space have disappeared. I must have turned them off somehow. Can you help me? How do I make them appear again? The folks at Silhouette were no help.

    • 114. Kay  |  December 11, 2014 at 3:02 pm

      Click on the grid button and then you will see a place to turn rulers on or off on that panel.

      • 115. April  |  January 17, 2015 at 9:54 pm

        Mine are gone as well. I clicked on the grid tab but once it opens there is nothing that says ruler.

      • 116. Kay  |  January 17, 2015 at 10:23 pm

        Only DE has rulers. If you had DE, then you may need to re-enter your key code.

  • 117. mandy  |  December 12, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    i cant open the store via studio any ideas as tried contacing silhouette but no response thank you in advance

    • 118. Kay  |  December 12, 2014 at 2:53 pm

      Use your browser instead.

  • 119. Vicki  |  January 9, 2015 at 1:02 am

    Just got a cameo for Christmas. Had a friend come over to help us learn the machine since she has a Portrait. She couldn’t get the active red cutting line to come up. Could only cut text inside a circle not the circle itself that we wanted. Any ideas where we went wrong? Thanks!

    • 120. Judy G,  |  January 11, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Where can I find the complete owners manual for the new edition of the silhouette Cameo? I am having difficulty saving files to a USB drive.

      • 121. Kay  |  January 12, 2015 at 11:30 am

        Good question. I haven’t found any info on this and have heard several reports of problems in this area. Will see what I can find out.

      • 122. Judy G,  |  January 12, 2015 at 7:32 pm

        Tech support at Silhouette sent me the following information to save a complete folder of designs. Go to File>Library>Export. To reimport the folder go to File>Library>Import.

  • 123. Kathy  |  January 14, 2015 at 7:09 pm

    my mat keeps slipping around. I have contacted silhouette and doe everything they have told me. no luck any suggestions.

    • 124. Kay  |  January 14, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      Sorry, I would have told you to contact support :(

  • 125. Silhouette Cameo 101 | POTM: (Project of the Month)  |  January 30, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    […] Some great sites: […]

  • 126. Eileen Blood  |  February 2, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I bought a silhouette cameo last summer and am still having great difficulty getting started. Does anyone know where you can actually get some “hands on” help with learning how to maximize the use of this machine? I live in Colorado and just need some help so badly. My technological skills leave a bit to be desired. One reason I bought the cameo was because I make a LOT of cards and boxes with Stampin Up products and want to be able to cut out the stamped images. I was told the machine will do that but have not been able to figure out how. Please help this dummy! Thank you so much!

    • 127. Kay  |  February 2, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      First off, you need to stop that dummy talk :) We all have to start somewhere. Cutting out stamps is done a couple of different ways. The easiest is with the new PixScan mat, but some hands on help would come in handy for that. Perhaps your SU rep might know someone, or check at your local Michaels, etc. Another option is Facebook. There are state specific Silhouette groups that make it easier to find resources in your area.

  • 128. malapertone  |  February 13, 2015 at 10:38 am

    This is awesome! Hey, is there a way to use both the vinyl you’ve cut out *and* the weeded material (for use as a stencil)? I can’t quite figure out how to make that work. Any ideas?

    Also, I have heard many times that you can use contact paper instead of transfer paper. But I have had horrible non-successful moments with that. Any tips on that too?

    • 129. Judy  |  February 15, 2015 at 7:44 pm

      Dear Clever Crafters,
      I want to add one of the Silhouette designs(print and cut) to a tee shirt for Easter. Most of the Silhouette Blogs call for using transfer paper, but I was not happy with the result the last time I tried to do this. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks in advance for the help.

      • 130. Kay  |  February 17, 2015 at 9:20 am

        Judy, if you want to do print and cut on a shirt, then transfer paper is your only option. If your design is simple enough, you could use heat transfer vinyl instead. You cut each piece from the appropriate color and apply. It is very professional looking and holds up well.

  • 131. malapertone  |  February 17, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I just found out that transparent Contact paper works great as a transfer paper! You might have to play around with different kinds. The one that works perfectly for me, fresh from the roll is:

    For stencils or for something you’ll paint over and then pull up, you can also use colored contact paper (but not all types are the same so you might have to try several kinds to get it to work. The kind I settled on is Creative Covering in the Contact brand – I think. The cover paper is long gone but I’m pretty sure that’s what it is.). Anyway, trying a few rolls of contact paper is still much cheaper than using expensive vinyl! (oh, and use blade setting 1)

    • 132. Kay  |  February 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm

      While I do recommend contact paper as a substitute for vinyl on test cuts and stencils, I do not recommend it as a substitute for commercial transfer tape. I used it exclusively for the first 6 months or so of my vinyl career and once I switched to the real stuff it was night and day difference in ease of use with a negligible cost differential per square foot. Because the adhesive in contact paper sets up over time, I ruined several vinyl pieces that I did not transfer right away. In some climates and with some types of contact adhesive, contact paper can leave a residue on your vinyl, too. So while this is a very common recommendation, it is one I do not make.

  • 133. Sara  |  February 18, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Kay I was just reading your post on using gel pens with the silhouette and the Chamos holder that you did back in 2011, I was wondweinf if you had done an update on that since Silhouette came out with the new pen holder that has the three different size pen holders?

  • 134. Angie  |  February 20, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    Thanks so much! I have a question and I dont know where to start looking. Do you have a tutorial: I want to make a project with multiple names that are all the same size (length and height). Can I draw a table so that when I type the names they all auto resize?
    Thank you!

    • 135. Kay  |  February 21, 2015 at 10:07 am

      Silhouette Studio’s text boxes do not hold their position, but change based on the length of the text, and it does not have tables. You will need to use the scale panel and/or the alignment panel, along with the letter spacing on the text panel to achieve what you want.

  • 136. Mary  |  February 26, 2015 at 9:19 pm

    Your site is very helpful!

  • 137. Judi King  |  March 9, 2015 at 8:45 am

    Your site is excellent! I have been using my Silh for over a year and love it. The best advice I can give anyone is take it out of the box and USE it. I didn’t do that for the first three months because I was intimidated, but the only way to change that is to dive in. You will have mistakes but you will learn something from each one. As a long-time Photoshop user, the main thing on my Silhouette software wish list is the addition of keystroke shortcuts. It would speed up all my Cameo work and just makes sense. Thanks for your excellent videos.

  • 138. Shonahmarie  |  March 13, 2015 at 11:20 am

    Thank you so much for this! Learned most of this the hard way. Love the marker suggestion. Silhouette pens are so expensive I’ve just stopped incorporating them in my designs.

  • 139. Pete  |  March 14, 2015 at 11:21 am

    I’ve had my Silhouette 2 whole days and have learned a lot. One tip I might add is when you have a lot of debris left on the mat to clean off, get yourself some of those plastic razor blades and stick one in a razor blade scraper. Works like a miniature bulldozer across the mat.

    • 140. Sara  |  March 21, 2015 at 4:06 am

      Where do you find the plastic razor blades, I do not believe I have heard of those.

  • 141. brie  |  March 22, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    I just bought a second hand silh. machine & it seems to work very well, except. It does not have a cutting mat (but came with a ton of vinyl- which is what I wanted to use- & it seems that no matter what I change the settings to, it starts cutting about 1/2 into the page & runs off the end. I have googled & checked the settings. Idk if it needs calibrated, but idk what else the problem could be.

    • 142. Kay  |  March 22, 2015 at 7:13 pm

      Sounds like you have it set to load mat instead of load media.

  • 143. Theresa  |  April 17, 2015 at 1:45 pm

    I’ve used my Silhouette a lot. MOstly with vinyl for stencils which I find a waste. I see that you have used Contact paper for stencils. I have tried that but even on the lowest blade setting of 1, the blade cuts right thru the contact paper and the backing. Is there another setting I need to change? Thx in advance for any tips you can provide. I’m tired of spending a fortune on vinyl for stencils :-)

    • 144. Kay  |  April 17, 2015 at 1:54 pm

      Back off on your thickness, or try a different type of contact paper.

  • 145. Bonnie  |  April 29, 2015 at 9:47 am

    I just purchased a Silhouette Cameo today on Amazon for $199.99, it’s a starter bundle but I only plan on using it for cutting stencils so thought that was a great price! I’m wanting to purchase sheets of vinyl to make the stencils but not sure which type to purchase, I want the stencils to be reusable. Someone above mentioned Sign Warehouse so could you direct me to what I need to purchase for a 12 inch roll? Excited!!!!

    • 146. Kay  |  April 29, 2015 at 4:09 pm

      The people at signwarehouse can probably help you pick something out, based on what you are using the stencils for.

  • 147. Sue  |  May 2, 2015 at 11:50 pm

    Purchased my Silhouette from Amazon too, today I finally loaded everything, updated the software, updated the firmware, spent 4 hours trying to cut, none of it was successful, the mat is cut up! It decided to go back and cut 12 X 12 when I had it set for 8.5 X 11, that’s when the mat was cut up, after using up a bunch of card stock, I unplugged everything and put it away, so very frustrated right now, thinking about sending it back! UGH!

  • 148. Ellie Mae Tucker  |  June 4, 2015 at 1:25 am

    I am new ;0# and of course experiencing lots of problems. My machine will make a click and not start, but say it’s cutting. THEN, a cursive font I am using Procelin, cuts tiny little HOLES in my font!!! Goodness, what do I do? I’ve cut it now 3 times!

    • 149. Kay  |  June 4, 2015 at 12:06 pm

      The first problem is usually because you do not have any cut lines activated. Porcelain is a “grunge” font that I do not recommend for cutting, especially for beginners. It has “holes” in it on purpose to achieve the vintage look.

  • 150. Terry Strom  |  June 9, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    I’ve had my Silhouette since May, LOVE it, anything new is frustrating but its the unknown that is the frustration not the machine. I’ve been in IT support for almost 30 years so I know it takes patience and lots of testing aka playing.

    My question is you mention “-The Cut Styles window (horizontal scissors with red line button)” I don’t seem to have this. I have purchased the Designer Edition what am I missing??

  • 152. Matthew Wilkins  |  June 14, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I apologize if this has been answered. So I’m
    Looking to buy the Silhouette Cameo so that my fiancé and I can create some vinyl graphics and stencils for seating charts and signs and such for our wedding. I’ve settled on this brand and was looking at their pricing which I’m fine with. I was looking at their vinyl and find it to be expensive. I have read through most of he comments and seen the links to sign warehouse. I’ve looked at the suggested vinyls. I know silhouette brand vinyl is 9″ wide. Can I still by the Orca 12″ rolls and that be ok, or is there a reason it’s not made at 12″ by the company? Also, would the orca 641 vinyl be ok since we need it for our door display. We eventually want to start a small business probably on etsy after our wedding making signs for others. Sorry again if my question is a broken record and thanks in advance to those that respond!

    • 153. Kay  |  June 14, 2015 at 11:11 pm

      Congratulations on your wedding! The width vinyl you need would depend on which machine you buy. If you buy a Portrait, the 9 inch width is preferred. If you buy a Cameo, the 12 inch is preferred. Please see this post to help with vinyl selection

  • 154. cheryl  |  August 23, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    Do you have any suggestions for making stickers for my planner on vinyl ?

    • 155. Kay  |  August 24, 2015 at 8:51 am

      Many people are making planner stickers using full sheets of sticker paper and Print and cut.

  • 156. Mary Ann Hall  |  September 3, 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I just found your website and can I say you are AWESOME!!! It’s nice to find a tutorial where the person teaching knows what she is teaching about. You have been so much help and now I feel courageous enough to try some new techniques. Thanks so much!

  • 157. carolyn  |  September 17, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    What does “regular cut” mean in the design store? Does that mean I can use it for vinyl and every other material to be cut? Thanks! I just unboxed mine today! :)

    • 158. Kay  |  September 17, 2015 at 1:05 pm

      Yes. A regular cut can actually be used for cutting on any material (subject to size and detail, of course), or converted for print and cut. It can also be drawn with a pen, but since the pen follows the cut of the blade, only the outline will draw. So a regular cut file is versatile and can be used for cutting, printing or sketching, while print or sketch files are limited to their labeled purpose.

  • 159. patricia  |  December 22, 2015 at 9:23 pm

    where can you find the cutting blade holder. mine came with all sorts of supplies but not the blade or the blade holder. i have two different cricut machines and neither of the housing will fit.

    • 160. Kay  |  December 23, 2015 at 8:54 am

      The blade and blade holder are integrated, so it is one part. If you bought new, check the packaging carefully because it will be in the box. If not, you can find the replacement blade/housing at any craft store or online. Also contact Silhouette for a replacement if yours was missing.

  • 161. Shazni  |  January 7, 2016 at 12:02 am

    I’m a new Silhouette user and I just love your site and videos! Tracing without tears really helped me :-)


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