Silhouette Cameo and Portrait Questions Answered!

Silhouette Cameo and Portrait Questions Answered!

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Technology can be an exciting, useful and wonderful tool!  It can also be frustrating at times.  No worries!  I’m here to answer your most frequently asked questions about the Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Portrait!
Silhouette questions answered. Mat and blade questions, how to, Cameo, Portrait

My mat is too sticky - what can I do to make it a little less sticky?

To make a brand new mat just a little less sticky, take a t-shirt and smooth it right onto your mat, then remove.  There will be just enough stick left afterwards!

My mat isn’t sticky enough - how do I make it more sticky?

Wash your mat with some soap and water and then let it air dry.  This should help bring some sticky back.  You can also try wiping it down with a baby wipe to clean off any stuck on debris.  If it’s really not sticky anymore, or if you’ve rubbed off the adhesive, a temporary adhesive spray can help “save” your mat for a while.

My mat keeps slipping around when I try to cut - what am I doing wrong?

Make sure you have your mat centered where the rollers are as far out as they can be while still being over both ends of the mat.   Check the blue lever on the right hand side of your machine as well.  If it is not in the “up” position (with the ending facing towards the top of the machine) then your roller bar is not going to hold your mat on one side and it will make it slide around.

Do I have to always put my mat in with the arrow pointing forward?

No, you can turn your mat around and put it in in either direction.  This actually prolongs the life of your mat!

How do I use a smaller mat on my Cameo?  Can I use a Portrait Mat on my Cameo?

You can use a Portrait mat on your Cameo, just adjust the white rollers.  To adjust the white rollers, just twist the white part and slide the roller over.  This gets easier as you do it though the first time might be a little hard!

How do you adjust the blade settings?

Line the red arrow up on your blade with the red arrow on your cap.  Then twist the numbers to where you want your blade setting.  You can see a visual in our “How to clean a Cameo blade tutorial.

The blade keeps scoring my mat - what am I doing wrong?

A little scoring can be expected, but if you are really cutting your mat, back your pressure up a little or decrease your blade length.  If you’re not careful, you can cut all the way through your mat!

I was cutting some vinyl and see a piece stuck inside the blade housing - how do I clean it out?

No worries- you can open up your blade and you can clean it out in a jiffy!  Check out our tutorial on how to clean out your blade.

What is the difference between the fabric blade and the regular blade?

There is no difference between the two blades aside from color.  Remember when Mom would yell at you for cutting paper with her sewing scissors?  The blue fabric blade is the same idea.  Paper dulls a blade much quicker than fabric or vinyl does, so the fabric blade is a different color to remind you not to use that blade on your paper.  This will prolong the life of your blade and make better cuts in fabric or vinyl.

When I am working with vinyl (regular or heat transfer), should I cut all the way through the backing sheet?

You do not want to cut all the way through the backing sheet when cutting vinyl.  The backing sheet can be used as a transfer sheet with heat transfer vinyl (see a heat transfer vinyl tutorial here).  To transfer a vinyl design, you’ll first want to weed your design and then use transfer paper (sometimes called transfer tape) to move your design from the backing sheet to your surface.  Transfer paper can be reused, so don’t throw it away after one use, just stick it back on your backing sheet!

What is “weeding?”

Weeding is a process of removing all the extra paper or vinyl from your design.  A hook tool is really handy when doing this process.  When you are finished weeding, only your finished design is left.

How can I adjust the white roller on the Portrait to cut a piece of vinyl less than 8″ across?

The white roller part can’t be adjusted on the Portrait.  To cut a piece of paper or vinyl smaller than 8″ on the Portrait, you’re best bet is to use some scotch tape to tape the remnant to your mat.  If you have a Cameo and want to cut using an 8″ mat, just twist the white roller towards you and move it over to the next set of indents.  The first time you do this, it might be a little difficult, but it gets easier as you do it more.

What is the difference between the Portrait and the Cameo?

The two machines use the same software, but the Silhouette Portrait cuts up to 8″ where the Silhouette Cameo can cut up to 12″. They can use the same blades and accessories, the Portrait is just a little smaller!

What is different about the Designer Edition Software?

The Designer Edition Software is an upgrade to your standard studio software and comes from code that we can email to you.  That means no waiting!  Just email our customer service team for more details!  You can also have the actual card mailed to you, if you prefer  The Designer Edition Software features the following:
Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition contains all the same functionality as Silhouette Studio® plus the following designer features:
  • Ability to open, manipulate, and cut .svg files
  • Rhinestone tools to convert designs into rhinestone templates and create your own rhinestone designs
  • Sketch tools to convert designs into several styles of sketchable art
  • Creative knife tools to allow you to clip designs using different patterns
  • Enhanced eraser set to modify designs with more precision
  • Built-in ruler and guide lines for precise alignment and drawing
  • Layers support (including ability to cut by layer)
  • PDF import
  • Nesting feature to allow you to arrange cuts as efficiently as possible—a scrapper’s dream!
  • Shadow tool—allows you to add a drop shadow to printable designs

What type of power cord comes with the machine?  What if I live in a different country?

An American power cord comes with the machine (120 Voltz).  You’ll need a power adaptor if you live in another country with different voltage.  We do carry the European power cord, however.

How do I import a new font into my library?

There are a lot of free font sites you can download fonts from, is my favorite.  Download your font and save it to your computer.  Once you unzip your downloaded file, in your Silhouette software, go to File–> Import into my library then select your file.  This should add your font to your library so you can use it.

What do I do if my machine isn’t finding the registration marks when I print and cut?

Good lighting is essential when using print and cut.  If your machine can’t see the registration marks, turn on a light and that should help.

I have a download card – how do I enter the code on the card so I can use it?

Go to your Silhouette account (click on the blue S symbol from your left hand menu in your software).  Go to “My Account” then “add a download card to your balance” or “redeem a promotional download.”

What types of writing utensils fit in the ball point pen holder?

A lot of different writing utensils work in the ball point pen holder.  Sharpies, pencils, colored pencils… if it can fit in the pen holder, you can use it!  The pen holder holds any writing utensil that is less than 1/2 of an inch in diameter.

How can I lift my paper without tearing it?

A Silhouette spatula tool is the easiest tool to use to get your designs off your mat without tearing it.  Using a heavier weight paper is also useful with intricate designs.

How do I get my designs back if my computer crashes and I need to reinstall the software?

To get any lost designs, go to your Silhouette account and the go to “Recover all downloaded designs.”  You are only able to use this tool three times, but if you need it more than three times, you can call Silhouette America and ask them for help.

Do you have to have the machine connected to your computer in order to use the software?

If you can save your files as a GSP, which is a specially formatted file, then you can save the file to an SD card and use your machine without it being hooked up to the computer.  Silhouette has this on their Silhouette Cameo FAQ page with  more details.

Do I have to be connected to the internet to use the software or machine?

No, you do not need to be connected to the internet to use the machine, but you do need the internet to access the Silhouette site.

How do I connect pieces of a word I am working on so the machine doesn’t cut through the overlapping parts?

You need to use the weld feature.  Select your entire image you’d like to weld, then click the weld button that is found at the bottom of your screen.  It looks like a little square and circle combined into one shape.  There is a full tutorial on our Baby Shower Inspiration Card!

Did I miss YOUR question?  Leave a comment below and I’ll get you some answers!


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I have a silhouette portrait can I use the silhouette cameo mat with a silhouette portrait?

Linda Peace

Can I use both the Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Portrait together on on my computer without having to switch desktop back and forth
Thank you

Cynthia Bell

Can I use an artskills cutting mat (self healing) with my cameo?

Alexis P

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