The Silhouette Cameo does not have the muscle to power through materials like balsa wood or leather, but it is an excellent die cutter for most crafting projects. Not every crafter has an interest in an industrial-strength die cutting machine, and the Cameo is a great fit for them.
Cameo has a well-deserved loyal following as a great cartridge-free die cut system. You can create designs from scratch instead of relying on cartridges with this die cutting machine, but you also get the freedom to cut without a computer when you save your designs to an SD card.
This is among the most user-friendly die cut machines we considered. We were able to operate this machine and the included software within minutes of taking it out of the box. That is worth some consideration if you are new to the world of die cutting crafts.
You make designs for this die cutting machine with Silhouette Studio, the software that is included with the machine. Silhouette Studio makes it easy to create original designs with drag-and-drop tools that help you move, resize and add texture to your images. If you don't want to make your own designs for cutting, you can purchase premade designs from the Silhouette Online Store, which has thousands of them. Each Cameo comes with 51 designs to get you started.
Weighing in at 12 pounds, this machine falls somewhere in the middle of the pack for portability. There is no onboard tool storage or carrying handle, which makes it a little less convenient for travel. That doesn't mean you can't take it out of the house. You just need the right bag. The official wheeled Cameo tote is available on the Silhouette website, but another bag might do just as well if you are concerned with both portability and price. We love that you do not need to bring your computer along to cut with this unit. An SD card is sufficient.
As mentioned, the Silhouette Cameo, like its predecessor the SD, is not really designed for cutting heavy-duty items. It is made to cut drawing paper, vinyl, postcards, scrapbooking paper and photo paper. It can handle a few other things, but it is geared primarily for cardstock – cardstock with up to a 90-pound rating to be exact. If you plan to branch out into other areas of crafting at some point, you may want to invest in a sturdier die cutting machine.
Silhouette Cameo is not terribly versatile in terms of its capabilities either. It can cut – and cut well – but it is not designed to pierce, engrave or emboss. This is one of the die cutting machines we looked at that can draw, though. That capability has a number of applications in crafting, which might go without saying.
We spoke with helpful and friendly people on the phone every time we called, but the Silhouette website was not our favorite. More video tutorials would be nice. However, there are many related social media sites, which is nice for a sense of community with fellow Cameo users. The Silhouette site itself and related social media sites offer countless ideas for inspiration. This die cutting machine makes it really easy to create temporary tattoos, for example. You can just select or create a design, manipulate it in Silhouette Studio and then have the Cameo cut it out on temporary-tattoo paper.
Although it is not our favorite die cutting machine, the Silhouette Cameo may become yours. It is the perfect tool for crafters with certain interests. This die cut machine does not tackle a wide range of materials. It does not engrave, emboss or pierce. It does give you a wonderful outlet for most of your craft cutting ideas, though. Use the Silhouette Cameo to have fun making custom clothing, cards, magnets and more.
The Silhouette Cameo can help you make great vinyl lettering.
It cannot cut materials like leather and metal.
This die cutting machine lacks some versatility but will facilitate many lovely paper projects.