Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Silhouette Cameo Die Cutting Machine...

Lizzy Hill for Scrap Friends
...fondly referred to me as The Silly Machine, is now available in our Scrap Friends Store HERE, along with all the accessories to go with them.

What do you get when you buy a Silly?
  • The actual die cutting machine itself.
  • The Silhouette Software to load on your computer so you can use it.
  • A 12x12" mat that has a tacky base for your material to be placed on that then gets fed into the machine for your die cutting.
  • A blade cutter that you insert into the machine for doing the cutting.
  • The correct USB & electrical leads.
  • A $10 voucher to spend on templates from the Silhouette USA store [BONUS & FUN to spend!!] 
What else do you need?
I found I didn't anything else initially, but I DID order the spatula for helping to lift your images off the tacky mat once they are cut & I'm REALLY glad I bought that. It's been totally useful.

Are there other machines available?
Yes! The Silhouette is the 12x12" cutting machine suitable for using with scrap pages, as well as anything smaller than that size. You can also buy the Silhouette Portrait, which is exactly the same, but suitable for the A4 size, as it 8.5" wide.

Is it useful?
VERY! I've been watching my bloggy friends out there & how they use theirs, & in the short time I've had mine I find it really, really useful for creating words & shapes. Once you've gotten used to them, you can actually print a design & then cut it out on the machine. I printed then cut out this doily:

I've only had my Silly for a week & have had a BALL doing this:

Silhouette has an online store that puts up a FREE DESIGN for you to download each week, & they have a MASSIVE range of designs to buy, most at 99c each.....they're great value for money! The first thing I downloaded were some hearts & stars & a 12x12 design that I thought would make a great mask! Scrap Friends sells pre-paid cards, which are a great WTG - you load them into the store [simple] & then you've got credit til you've used up the voucher. They come in $10 & $25 amounts. Well worth it! 

Is it hard to use?
As with anything computer software related, you have to learn the technology & how to use it. The 'basic guide' booklet that comes with the machine is just that. Very basic. There is a 'help' button when you open up the program, & I ended up PRINTING IT OFF into a booklet. It's a really useful guide for learning what the icons mean & what your machine is capable of.
If you are used to more Photoshop/art style programs I think you will find it easy. I'm a word processor gal, so it's taken a bit more for me to understand how to click & drag; replicate, create shapes etc. If you're really 'into' design work, there is an upgrade available to the basic program HERE. This does extra whizz-bang stuff with advanced eraser, sketch & knife tools allowing you to do much more detailed work as well as basically converting ANY image into a cutting file!

How does the Silly machine actually work?
The idea is pretty simple. You've got a tacky mat. You attach your material [eg: cardstock] to it. You've told your computer what you want it to create [eg: an arrow], it sends the message to your machine, there are rollers that help guide the mat into the machine. It cuts the image & then sends it back out to you! You then carefully peel the image off the mat!

 You don't need a full 12x12 sheet to use over the tacky mat....just make sure the size you choose covers the cutting that will be done. Also, you can turn your mat around 180 degrees so that your mat gets 'even wear' - it works just as well & will do no harm!!!
Initial problems?
DO NOT do what I did. I figured the rollers weren't far enough apart, so I gave one a really good slipped up under the housing of the roller.....I hadn't even had it for 2 hours! It was well & truly stuck & I was so, so upset. YOU DO NOT NEED TO MOVE THE ROLLERS! Luckily, my DH is 'handy' & managed to pop out the roller with no adverse effects [phew!].

The other 'difficulty' I found is that the mat guidelines didn't match that of the grid on my computer program. The first time I cut with it, I popped my design right up the top of the mat on the 1st grid line & placed my cardstock carefully in the same place. As you can see below, it cut my words off because the cutting took place ABOVE that guide line...

It's an easy mistake, & I've since found out I'm not the only one to get confused! When you load your mat into the machine, all you need do is make sure it's set on 'LOAD CUTTING MAT' not the 'load media'...duh!!! 

Anyone who has a Big Shot or similar will know how their acrylic mats get marked? Similar thing happens with the Silly mat. It still works fine.

The cutting blade can be raised or lowered from notches 1-10, depending on the thickness of your material - REMEMBER, this machine cuts fabric, vinyl, heat transfer material etc as well as card stock up to about an 0.8mm thickness -  & I thought I'd just put it on a really high setting, so it DEFINITELY would cut my card stock. BIG mistake. It turned the card stock into minced meat & also cut deeply into my mat. Woops:)

TAKE NOTICE of the guidelines on the program. The guide is there for a reason!!! Now, if it hasn't cut properly, I just raise it 1 notch at a time! It's all in the experimenting 'til you 'fine tune' what you need from it:):)

I'm no expert AT ALL on the Silly. But I'm really enjoying getting to know it! For the BEST place to find freebies, video tutorials & a myriad of ideas, visit the Silhouette Studio Pinterest site.
For a pile of Free Silhouette projects - & to give you a great squiz at what the Silly can do, take a peek at All Crafts blog.
For a fabulous blog that helps with Silly problems you may have & has solutions for common problems, go to Globug Ideas HERE.
Hope this has been a useful starter point for if you are interested in purchasing a Silly Machine, & you've had a giggle with the mistakes that I've made!!!

And if you'd like to have a bit more of a giggle, check out this 'how to' video I had a go at making!!!!

Happy Scrapping, Lizzy


  1. Awesome, really fabulous tutorial Lizzy. Do you think you'll have to replace the mat and blade very often? If so what would be the cost?

    1. Hi Sandra! I haven't had to replace either yet, but being the organised cookie I actually bought a spare of each shortly after I got my machine. Both were under $20, so not a huge outlay. Apparently you can clean your blade & also clean your mat...not that I've done either yet. Good old Silhouette America site has info on 'how to' do both!!!

  2. Super!!! Quelle est la police d'écriture liée que vous utilisez pour les mots?

    1. Corinne, il faut choisir une police qui convient, mais le logiciel permet de lier les mots. Personnellement, j'aime beaucoup lier les polices suivantes : Always in My Heart, HaloHandletter, RemachineScript et HoneyScript. On peut trouver ces polices sur Dafont.

    2. Thanks Mariemily - I don't speak French, so I couldn't answer Corinne. I will have to look at the fonts you suggest:):)

    3. I think HaloHandletter is my absolute favorite. Love it!

    4. By the way, I couldn't answer her question. She wanted to know which font you used for the word Together. I think I recognize the font, but I can't name it. I just recommended other fonts that are easy to weld. :)

    5. Thanks for the tip with your fave font...I'll work out which one I used for together & let her know:):):) clever, bi-lingual you:):)!!!!

    6. Hi Corinne - I can't find your blog! If you read this the TOGETHER is using MISTRAL font:):)

  3. I have the Portrait and I LOVE it! It's a great machine, very versatile!

  4. Very good article Lizzy! Loved watching your video!! When I eventually get one I will come back again :)

  5. Fabulous Lizzy! I don't have one but was interested in how it functions.. A bit simliar to the cricut in the way it cuts, and yes my cricut is noisy too!!

  6. I love your silly machine wish I had one! Thanks for sharing all your cool tips too!

  7. Thank you so much for this article! It's very interesting and useful.
    I also have the problem with mat and grid on my program. Unfortunatelly I can't find the solution of this problem, cause when I load my mat into the machine it's set on "LOAD CUTTING MAT". But anyway I like this machine and shut my eyes to this problem))))
    Thanks again for you wonderful tutorial!!!


    1. Oh, that's such a shame Olga. Is it set on that on the actual machine, not just in your computer??? Maybe you could contact Silhouette America site - they may have another hint???? Or try the GLOBUG link here. She is VERY Good!! Good luck:):):)

  8. thanks for sharing Lizzy! I will for sure come back to this from time to time :)!!!

  9. I've been eyeballing this gadget for quite awhile...had a Cricut when they were big back in the day but craigslisted it once the chipboard lettering craze hit. But now I'm kicking myself because it's hard to find just the right word (in large font) for titles these days! I might just have to take the plunge...thanks for sharing Lizzy!

  10. Thanks Lizzy! I'm thinking about buying one so thanks so much for the tutorial!



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