I have had my eye on a Silhouette Cameo for a loooonnnnggggg time now. I would have normally purchased my Cameo on Amazon because I always feel like I am getting more for my money there and to be honest, I am a bit afraid of Ebay. This time, however, I decided to get this little gem at Michael’s because I had a gift card that the chicks at work so kindly got me for my birthday because even though we have only been working together for 6 months, they get my weirdness. I purchased the Cameo at Michael’s for about $220 along with the Pixscan Mat that I wasn’t sure I even needed but figured I would for about $15. Now, the bundles online run around the $250-270 mark and they come with a whole lot of things that I did not feel that I needed but if you do then that is definitely the way to go. The only other thing that I feel I need to mention about the purchase is that Michael’s has a NO RETURN policy on the Silhouette Cameos once opened so just keep that in mind too.
Since I am the crafty person that I am, I feel like the Cameo will allow me to embark on all kinds of new crafty adventures but for now, I would simply like to embark on making stickers and stencils for my bullet journaling addiction. So far I have had the Cameo for about a week and even though I am learning a lot, I feel like I have yet to even break the surface of what this amazing machine can do and I have spent countless hours just trying to learn the few things that I want it to do for me at the moment.
For stickers, I wanted to do a test run and so I bought some Avery Label paper from the office supply store near my house (Officemax, Office Depot, One of those) and I found some really good YouTube videos. Although I was not pleased with the quality of the print, I was happy with the way that it cut. These were the first stickers that I made and I originally wanted to kiss cut them but I did not follow the instructions and I caused it to kiss right through the whole thing. They are images that I created of my dogs for my new and still a work in progress Etsy shop.
Next, I wanted to try to make stencils so of course, I began my journey into the world of YouTube to find som good resources on how to make stencils with the cameo. I found a few that said to use the plastic dividers that you use in binders. So I bought some of those and they cut perfectly with no issues but I found them to be a bit too flimsy to use for drawing in. I think that material is better suited for painting that what I wanted. Then I found a video that called for a Hobby Lobby product called Show Offs so off to Hobby Lobby I went. The video suggested the 12 x 18″, 3 pack of stencil blanks but I found a 12 pack of 11.5 x 8″ for a better price considering the amount that you got and I figured it would be easier to handle smaller sizes. Boy was I WRONG. I could not figure out why my Cameo was not cutting like the videos until I realized that the smaller sheets were just a tiny bit thicker and too thick for the Cameo. So these two products were pretty much useless to me but hey, you live, you learn. I will be buying the 12 x 18″ ones next time.
Back to stickers. I found some higher quality matte finish sticker paper on Amazon it ran about $15 for 100 sheets and this is some great paper. In fact, I made some stickers today that I might share later that turned out wonderful.
And that is where I found that the Pixscan Mat that I purchased but didn’t really know why as actually something that I needed. The reason is that I have used Adobe Illustrator for about 3 years now and I know that program like the back of my hand so using the Silhouette design software is kind of like taking 10 steps back. I was finding it really difficult to navigate through it and I felt like it was missing some key design feature that I was used to having in the Adobe software. So let’s say that I design something in Illustrator and save it as a JPG or PNG file then open it back up in the Silhouette software to print the registration marks so that the Cameo knows where to make the cuts. Well, when I was placing the image files into the Silhouette software I noticed that I was losing quite a bit of resolution. In fact, the images were down right blurry to the poit that I thought there was something wrong with the sticker paper or the ink.
My solution was that I could print the file from my Illustrator software, stick the printed design onto the Pixscan Mat, take a picture of the design on the mat, upload it to my computer, place my cut marks, and vuala, we have a crisp image with perfect cut marks and I did not have to spend countless more hours trying to figure out how to use a program I was not familiar with.
With all of that said, so far I love the Cameo, I plan on making some videos to cover some of the things that I learned along the way, and I have some pretty awesome stickers and even more ideas now that I know how to make it all happen. I would recommend this product and if you have any questions about my processes please leave me a comment.