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Technology @ Marston Science Library: Silhouette Cameo

Guide to technologies and tutorials available through Marston Science Library, including augmented reality, 3D printing, Arduino, and 3D cameras.

What can I do with the Silhouette Cameo?

The Silhouette Cameo can be used to cut materials like paper, cardstock, vinyl, and can be used to sketch with the sketch pens. You could cut materials to design your graduation cap, sketch addresses on graduation envelopes, cut designs for bulletin boards or dorm room walls, there are so many possibilities!

How To Cut and Etch (overview)


To start, download the Silhouette Studio to your computer (
Once you have downloaded and launched Silhouette Studio, select File>New.
In the far right sidebar menu, select the top icon, Page Setup.
In Page Size, select your pre-made page size (the most common are 8.5x11 or 12x12 inches), or you can custom select a size.
Note: If you are cutting anything intricate, it is recommended you use the Cameo cutting mat (12x12)
For your design you can either 

  1. purchase designs from the Silhouette Store,
  2. export .dxf files from Adobe Illustrator and open them in Silhouette Studio (, or
  3. add shapes, lines, and text using the left sidebar menu in Silhouette Studio

Once you have created your design, select the Send Icon in the top right hand corner.


In Tool 1, select your material, and action cut, tool auto blade. It will automatically select the blade setting, speed, force, and number of passes. Before you select SEND, you must load your material.


In Tool 1, select your material, and action Sketch.
In Tool 2, select your material, and action Sketch.
In the left design area, select any elements you want to be sketched in your first color and then select Sketch Edge under Tool 1 (They should be outlined Red). Then select the remaining elements and select Sketch Edge under Tool 2 (They should be outlined Blue).

Cutting Mat and Silhouette Cameo

First plug in the Silhouette Cameo power cord into the machine and an outlet.
Turn on the Power Button on the far right side of the machine.


Open the cover and load your autoblade into the left slot (red circle) for Tool 1. Press all the way down and then push in the lock. You will see a teal circle.


Open the cover and load your sketchpen(s) in Tool 1 (and Tool 2 if you have a two-color design). Press the pen all the way down and then push in the lock. You will see a teal circle.
Turn the release lever inside to the right clockwise from North to East to lift up the loading bar.
Adjust the rollers to whichever size paper or mat you are using.
Lock the lever by turning counterclockwise from East to North.
Adhere your cutting material to the cutting mat. Note: If the mat is new, it will likely be too sticky. Untack it with a cotton cloth. If it is not sticky enough, you may need to purchase another mat.
Align your mat or paper to the teal line and arrows on the left and line up straight against roller bar.
Hold your mat or paper so that the roller bar will grip the paper and select LOAD on the touchscreen. It should roll and load a few centimeters.


Connect the USB cord from the machine to your computer.


If you are unfamiliar with the machine or cutting material, you can run a TEST, which should cut a small triangle and rectangle in the top left hand corner.
If you are ready to cut, select SEND. The Cameo and your computer should sync and send your design to be cut.


Select SEND to send your design to the machine to be sketched.


Silhouette Cameo


NOTE: You may want to gently guide the paper and mat back and forth so it does not get caught and create a paper jam.
WARNING: Immediately hit pause or power off the machine if the blade sputters or the paper jams. Turn the machine back on after a few seconds and unload.
Once your cut or sketch is complete, select UNLOAD from the touchscreen.


Cutting Mat

Gently remove your design from the mat by peeling from the top corner.

Sihouette Cameo 3 (Tutorial)

How to Use the Cameo Cutter:


The Cameo Cutter is a device that cuts thin materials—like paper and vinyl—into preset designs and patterns.  Designs and patterns are created and used via the free software Silhouette Studio.  This software is located on the computer in the Marston Library Makery.  You can also download this free software onto your personal computer by going to:

 This tutorial will show you how to

  1. Create simple designs using the Silhouette Software.
  2. Cut out these designs using the Cameo Cutter.

Additional information, learning guides, tools, and parts are available here:

Machine and cords needed:

  • The Cameo Cutter itself
  • Cord that runs from the Cameo to an electrical outlet
  • Cord that runs from the Cameo to a computer/laptop

Cameo Cutter Accessories:

  • Autoblade (various other types of blades are purchasable)
  • Cutting mat (12 X 12—other dimensions available for purchase on the website)
  • Sketch pens (24 available)

Parts of the Machine:

  1. Power Button
  2. Port for attachment to computer/laptop with preloaded software
  3. Port for attachment to electrical source
  4. LED touch screen
  5. Metal Roller
  6. Plastic Feeders
  7. Dual Carriage
  8. Autoblade Adjuster
  9. Compartment and extra blades


For detailed instructions on using the Cameo Silhouette:

Tools and Materials

Auto Blade

Sketch Pen

Cutting Mat

Silhouette Cameo 3 and Power Cable

USB Cable


Materials That Can Be Cut or Etched

Cardstock, Adhesive-Backed
Cardstock, Chalkboard
Cardstock, Glitter
Cardstock, Plain
Cardstock, Printable Adhesive-Back
Cardstock, Textured - Heavy (80 lb)
Copy Paper, Medium (20 lb)
Cork Sheets
Corrugated Paper
Cotton Canvas, Printable
Cotton Fabric, Printable
Coverstock, Heavy (105 lb-122 lb)
Craft Foam
Double-Sided Adhesive
Duct Tape, Printable
Fabric, Thick (Canvas)
Fabric, Thin (Cotton Print)
Faux Leather Paper
Foil Transfer Sheets
Foil, Embossable
Foil, Printable
Heat Transfer, Iridescent
Heat Transfer, Flocked
Heat Transfer, Glitter
Heat Transfer, Metallic
Heat Transfer, Printable (Dark Fabric)
Heat Transfer, Printable (Light Fabric)
Heat Transfer, Reflective
Heat Transfer, Smooth
Image Transfer Paper
Kraft Paper, Adhesive-Backed
Magnet Paper, Adhesive-Backed
Magnet Paper, Printable
Metal Sheets, Etching
Metal Sheets, Stippling
Patterned Paper, Glitter/Flocked
Patterned Paper, Medium (65 lb)
Rhinestone Template Material
Score & Emboss Paper
Scratch-off Sticker Sheet
Shrink Plastic
Stamp Material
Stencil Material
Sticker Paper, Clear
Sticker Paper, Glitter
Sticker Paper, Glow-in-the-Dark
Sticker Paper, White
Temporary Tattoo Paper, Metallic
Temporary Tattoo Paper, Printable
Vinyl, Carbon Fiber
Vinyl, Chalkboard
Vinyl, Glossy
Vinyl, Glow-in-the-Dark
Vinyl, Matte
Vinyl, Metallic
Vinyl, Printable
Vinyl, Reflective
Vinyl, Whiteboard
Vinyl, Wood
Washi Sheets
Window Cling, Printable
Wood Paper

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