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Should I buy a Silhouette Cameo?

Don’t miss this new machine >>> ** The NEW Silhouette Cameo 3 Compared to the Silhouette Cameo 2 **

Should you buy a Silhouette Cameo? This helpful post helps you determine which die cut machine is right for you. #SihouetteCameo #Cricut #KNKZing #SizzixEclips

There are other die cut machines and I’ve tried almost all of them but these are the ones I recommend.

People ask me all the time which die cut machine they should buy.  Well, it really depends on what you want to do.  For example, if you like using a cartridge based system, where you have to buy individual cartridges for the images you want, you’d like a Cricut Expression, Expression 2, Personal or Create.  These days you’re also able to buy some individual images from them using their free Cricut Craft Room.  To do that you’ll need a computer.  If you don’t want to use the Cricut Craft Room, you won’t need a computer.  Many people don’t want to use a computer with their crafting, so (any Cricut prior to the Cricut Explore) machine is a good option for them.  The Cricut Expression is a great die cut machine.  I’ve made tons of things with it.  The biggest drawback it has is that you can’t use .svg files or any outside software with it.  Did you hear that you could?  Yeah.  That used to be true.  Sadly, it no longer is.  But wait!  (UDATE: You can now use .svg’s with the new Cricut Explore.  Here’s my review of that machine.)  There are other machines options for you!

Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Eclips & KNK Zing

***UPDATE: There is a new Silhouette Cameo available.  You can read about it here.

Being able to use .svg and other cut and draw files is what makes the Silhouette Cameo, Sizzix Eclips and KNK Zing better options for me.  I want to be able to use .svg and other files that I buy from different individuals or companies, like Lettering Delights or SVGCuts.  I also want to be able to make my own.  Is that what you want?  You might like one of these machines.  No need to buy a whole cartridge for a single image.  YAY to that!  All three of the machines I’ve just mentioned can import .svgs (and other file types).  In my opinion, the Sizzix Eclips is the best machine.  It can handle tougher materials than the Cameo.  For those who like cartridges, the Eclips does offer a line of them but you don’t ever need them unless you just want them.  If you use the cartridges with it, you don’t need a computer.  I always use it with a computer.  Although I have used the cartridges, it’s rare that I do.  The Eclips is a solid, well built machine.  It’s easier to use than the KNK Zing, which is the sturdiest machine by far.  (Like if you want to cut balsa wood or engrave things, it’s your buddy.)  All that being said, I recommend the Silhouette Cameo  due to it’s very easy to use software and the ability to easily order from their store.  Most of their files cost .99 and are excellent.  They download seemlessly into the software and you can get back to crafting.  I just dig that simplicity.

Curious about the Sizzix Eclips?  Here’s a video I made showing my first impressions of it.  There is a Sizzix Eclips 2 available now.  I have not purchased the 2.

Hey Gorgeous Silhouette Cameo Vinyl Iron On Dust Cover #SilhouetteCameo #IronOnVinyl

The Silhouette Cameo Software

The Silhouette Cameo comes with the basic Silhouette Studio software.  It’s very easy to use and makes buying from the Silhouette store a breeze.  There’s one drawback.  If you want to import .svg files from places other than the Silhouette Store, which most people do, you’ll need about $50 to upgrade to the Silhouette Studio Designer Edition.  I think that that should be part of the software anyway but it’s not.  Fork over $50 (or less if you can find a deal somewhere) if you want that ability + a few more.  Here is a comparison between the Silhouette Studio vs. Silhouette Studio Designer edition according to Silhouette America themselves.

Check out my Silhouette Tutorials!  Read about the newly released (2014) Silhouette Cameo here.

NEW!!  Want to use Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW® with your Silhouette Cameo?  You can!

Silhouette Connect™ gives you the ability to send projects you’ve designed in Adobe Illustrator® or CorelDRAW® straight to your Silhouette electronic cutting tool with no need to convert them to a Silhouette Studio® compatible format.

This Software Also Works With the Cameo

  The Silhouette Studio software is not the only software that will work with the Cameo.  It also works with Make the Cut (MTC), Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL), and Artistic Suite V6.0.  You can try out MTC and SCAL for free and see if you like it.  Until you purchase it, it will cut with a line through your design.  The Artistic Suite software is very expensive.  It also works with embroidery machines so it’s a cool two for one piece of software.  Embroidery machine software prices are much higher than what you might be used to seeing if you don’t sew.  If you do sew or you’re looking to be able to do both, consider Artistic Suite V6.O.

NEW!!  Want to scan something, like a stamped image, into your Cameo and have it cut around it? PixScan mat!

I bought one but haven’t tried it yet.  According to Silhouette, the new PixScan mat can help your machine cut precisely around a printed design or position cut lines in a specific location on your material.  It can make your hand-drawn sketches and lettering cut, digitize fabric patterns,  digitize your stamp collection into corresponding cut files and more!  All you do is place your material on the PixScan mat and take a picture of the mat with your material on it.  You can use your phone, a scanner or a camera to take the photo.  Import your image into Silhouette Studio and add cut lines.  It’s sounds pretty cool!

Don’t have a Cameo but want to check it out?  You should download the software.  It’s free to download but will only cut with a Cameo.  You can download it for FREE here and see what you think.

Should you buy a Silhouette Cameo? This helpful post helps you determine which die cut machine is right for you. #SilhouetteCameo #tutorials

The Boring Stuff – Warranty & Contacting Silhouette

Curious what the warranty covers?  Here’s a link to that.  Need to contact Silhouette?  They’re open Monday through Friday, 7am to 5pm US Mountain time.  Here’s how to reach them.

How big is this machine compared to the SD and the Cricut Expression 2?

How does the Silhouette stack up to the SD and the Cricut in size?  Like this.

These are just my opinions based on my years using these die cut machines.  I hope this helped you!

Happy Crafting!

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  1. Phyllis Muscolino says:

    I have both the Cricut Expressions and the Cameo Silhouette. I love them both each for what they can do. I would not give up my Cricut as I have way too many cartridges and I love using it. BUT the Cameo does amazing things the Cricut isn’t made to do. One is to my right and the other to my left. Both connected to my computer.

    1. I love so many of the machines! I think the best machine really is the one that best meets your needs. 😉

  2. Thank you for the info. I have a Cricut and am ready to up grade.

    1. You’re so welcome, Debbie! Thanks for the sweet comment!

  3. vanessa bradshaw says:

    I would really appreciate some advice on these m achines. Im travelling to the states in the summer and am going to treat myself to one but really dont know how to choose it !!!! I work mainly with card/paper and would really like one which I can download designs on to – ideally though it would be one I can buy in the states and bring home to England to use as they are so much cheaper in the U.S. Can you also reccomend a chain of craft stores please !!!
    Thank you in anticipation :-)))))

    1. Hi Vanessa!
      I recently wrote this post discussing some of the different die cut machines. I hope it is helpful to you as you try to choose. It can definitely be difficult to decide! My recommendation for US craft store chains are: Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore and Joann. I’ve linked to each of them so you can identify the chains. I hope that helps! Happy Crafting!

    2. Vanessa, I just realized that I linked to the same page you commented on. Sorry about that! However, the machines that I discussed here are the ones I recommend. You can download designs to all of them now but be sure to read about each one to make sure it fits your specific needs. 🙂

  4. Is there any way possible to take a file – just an outline for a gasket for an antique tractor and convert it so that it will cut with my original expression. History – I created the file in a jpg and used the trace function in the Cameo design studio. All I need is the cutting ability for one file with the Cricut due to the fact that it will cut the material just a little deeper to cut through the rubberized material which I can not get the Cameo to do. It can do all of the others I need with ease as they are a thinner material. If anyone understands this and can give guidance, I would be grateful. This is our only holdup to getting done what we need! Thanks in advance to anyone who reads and tries to help us in our conundrum!

    FYI – Gasket paper is similar to cardstock covered in a slight rubberized covering that just coats it thinly.

  5. stephanie says:

    Hi, i already have a cameo, i love it. I want to buy another one cause i use it for work and i have a lot of orders now, but i wonder how would de program would work? Do i have to install de new one in other computer? Can be both in the same one? How do i know in wich one im going to cut? I only have one pc at work and the idea its to put them to cut at the same time so the orders come out faster. Please if someone can helpme with this. (Excuse my english if i wrote something wrong)

  6. Hi Joy! I have a question. I am thinking about investing in a die-cut machine, but after talking with various sales people which I am sure work on a bit of a commission or own the store themselves (one lady I know does own the paper crafting store I went into looking for something else and asked her about the machines…I am still puzzled a bit. I want to be able to use my own designs, but cut vinyl, light material (like cotton blends), jersey, and craft felt. Are any of the machines able to do this? I have a computer, but (like you stated in the “cricut” article) I don’t want to rely on the internet unless I absolutely HAVE TO because it would be my only option. Thanks. 😀 Happy Holiday Crafting!

    1. Hi DeAnna,
      All of the machines can cut vinyl. With the help of fabric stabilizers they can all cut light material, maybe not jersey due to the stretching. I’ve cut craft felt and adhesive felt with the Cricut Expression and I’m sure the Zing can handle it but I haven’t tried it with the Silhouette. My best experience ever has been cutting felt with the Cut ‘n’ Boss. I am on their Design Team but you can judge for yourself how well it cuts detail. I was really impressed. Silhouette has just come out with a new machine, so be sure to take a look at that too. If you’d like to see what you can cut with vinyl using the Silhouette and the Cricut you’re in luck. I have over 100 vinyl craft posts for you to check out. 😉 I hope that helps!

  7. shannon wells says:

    I want to buy a a die cut machine that does monograms for my daughter for Christmas which one should i buy ? Thanks Shannon


    1. SharonK,
      Yes, MTC & SCAL work with the Silhouette SD and the Cameo.

  9. Hi , I don’t understand what difent on Silhouette cameo America and silhouette 2.

  10. Does the Silhouette Cameo take non-Silhouette brand paper? Can I just load in my own scrapbooking paper and cut things out? Or do I need to purchase Silhouette brand papers and vinyls?

    1. Hi Sara,
      You can use any brand of paper or vinyl! 🙂 Happy crafting!

  11. Hi, I’m looking for something relatively easy to use with my Mac or iPad for creating and selling planner stickers. I wish to design the icons myself and just use my own images, then have the machine kiss cut the sticker paper. From everything I’ve seen, it seems like the Silhouette Cameo v2 (or v3?) is the best option. The other option I considered was Cricut Explore Air, but it seemed like the software was a bit more limited. Specifically for designing and cutting stickers, how would you say the Silhouette Cameo stacks up next to the Cricut Explore Air? Or is there a better option altogether? Drawbacks or things to consider?

  12. Hello, I have been researching cricut machines but I’m very confused. I will obviously be a first timer, and I do not have internet available to me due to where we live. I am especially interested in iron on vinyl. I’m always ordering shirts and decor and thought I could do it myself. What would you recommend for a first timer with no internet??

    1. Hi Racheal,
      With no internet at all, you might want to stick with one of the earlier Cricut’s, like the Expression, that use cartridges. Even though you can use a Silhouette without constant internet, you will need it to register your machine and get updates, and if you want to download .svg’s and other images from the Internet or Silhouette’s store. I hope that helps!

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