Silhouette Cameo 101

My January Project of the Month was learning how to use my new Silhouette Cameo.DSCN3601

I have never had a Silhouette or Cricut machine before so I am a total newbie.  Of course I had to try everything.  So January was about creating projects using the Silhouette.

DISCLAIMER:  Few of these ideas are my own.  I owe a ton of gratitude to other bloggers, YouTubers and Pinterest sharers far better than myself and will try to include their tutorials and links (if I can find them again).

1.  Silhouette Basics for Beginners:  Like what happens when you can’t see anything on your computer screen (sooooo frustrating!  And I can’t seem to find the solution at the moment.  I believe it was a quick fix to one of the settings in Preferences), how to de-stick a new mat (stick and un-stick a piece of material a few times to “season it”), how to use the software once you can see it, what a test cut does (it cuts a tiny triangle inscribed in a square in the upper left corner which will save you from wasting TONS of material unnecessarily), etc.  Basically YouTube, Google and Pinterest are your new best friends.

Some great sites:

basic hints:

importing pictures:

font help:

DSCN36282.  Card Stock:
I started simply.  Using card stock I tried the print and cut feature on the Silhouette.  I printed (then cut) the white portion of the tags with a to: (for the front) and a from: (for the back) with the top of the ornament in gray.  Then I had the Silhouette cut the tags and the circles inside the tags.  Using the Offset function I created a slightly larger tag which I cut from red and white patterned cardstock.  Then I simply assembled the tags white/red/white, punched the hole and added the ribbon.  Yes, I could have had the Silhouette cut the hole for me but I thought the chances of lining everything up was risky and I wanted to try out the ribbon punch my husband bought me for Christmas anyway.


Thank you via Buzzfeed for the inspiration!

3.  Heat Transfer:  Next I tried the heat transfer vinyl kit.  I had picked up some canvas bags at the craft store.  My first project was for my sister-in-law.

DSCN3324  Although I was happy with the end result, it didn’t come easy and it wasn’t what I intended.  There was supposed to be a saying under her name:  “It isn’t drinking alone if the dog is home”, but the heat transfer vinyl lettering was too thin and it buckled and warped and generally made a terrible mess.  I have since learned that my iron was too hot and too wet.  I have also learned that the flocked heat transfer vinyl is MUCH easier to work with, so now I just use that.  Biggest lesson was remembering to reverse the lettering before printing!

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4.  Vinyl:
Compared to heat transfer vinyl this was a snap.  No worries about reversing lettering before printing.  No overheated irons.   The biggest issue:  what to put it on.  Solution:  If it wasn’t moving it got a monogram:  my car, my husband’s car, our passport covers, our travel folders, glass dish from the Dollar Tree, my iPad, my laptop.  Even my Silhouette Cameo did not escape unharmed!

Thanks to craftytexasgirls among many, many others for the ideas:

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5.   Etching:
Once I was comfortable with the vinyl, the next step was etching.  I made my stencils with contact paper because it was cheaper and easier than the vinyl.  I used Armour Etch and followed great YouTube advice ( and voila!  The glass all came from the Dollar Tree so I figured I could afford to screw it up.  I left the etching cream on for about 20 minutes and didn’t repaint it as many times as done in the YouTube video.  One thing to keep in mind is that it is much easier if the object you are working with is either a flat surface or only curved in one direction like the cylindrical vase.  The other two vases which curve both up/down and left/right were much more difficult to work with especially if the stencil was large.

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6.  Sketch Pens:
For some reason this was my last project.  I guess I didn’t know what I would use it for but of course that didn’t stop me with the vinyl so why hold back on the sketch pens.  I ended up making a Valentine’s card with the bicycle created with the sketch pen.  I did the Happy Valentine’s Day greeting using a banner from Silhouette.  I first printed the banner with the sketch pen, then used the offset feature to cut it out.


Thank you to on Flickr via Pinterest for the idea: