Tinkering with the Silhouette CAMEO

How it works

The Silhouette CAMEO uses a blade to cut out stencils of any image you design, modify, or purchase using simple software. It cuts a variety of materials including cardstock, adhesive cardstock, adhesive vinyl, heat transfer material, fabric, adhesive fabric, stamping, faux etching, magnet paper, and more.

Products and cost

Silhouette has developed a variety of products. Prices from SilhouetteAmerica.com:

  • CAMEO ($299.99) – Cuts a variety of materials from a thickness level of copy paper to chipboard
  • Portrait ($179.99) – a smaller version of the CAMEO that has similar functions
  • Mint ($129.99) – Primarily a stamping machine
  • Curio ($249.99) –  A new product available in Fall that will cut, etch, or indent thicker materials such as wood or thin metals
  • Silhouette Studio Designer Edition ($49.99) – Allows for more customization & design.

We were able to find good deals for the CAMEO bundles on Amazon.


Programming with the CAMEO allows kids and teens to collaborate, design, and create. We typically set up two participants to a laptop so that they can help one another learn the design elements of the software with some instruction from the library staff. The basic software is free and can be downloaded to Macs and PCs. After they have their designs, we hook the laptop up to the CAMEO and show them how to check their designs, then cut them out. The majority of the program is spent in the design stage and appeals to boys and girls. It’s fun because it incorporates crafting and technology. Kids and teens get to control the design and make something unique to them. The software, in contrast to Cricut and traditional die cuts, allows for a lot of flexibility and doesn’t restrict to a preset collection of designs.

Learning how to use the CAMEO is fairly simple. YouTube has a lot of video tutorials and the Silhouette America website does as well. We’ve enjoyed using it and walking teens through troubleshooting their designs and thinking through all the steps toward how it will be used in their projects.

A few program ideas:

IMG_3395 IMG_4862 IMG_4991

  • Vinyl decals for your house/room/cell phone
  • Heat transfer t-shirt design programs
  • Scrapbookers stenciling event
  • Temporary tattoos for teens
  • Wedding craft night

For more information on Silhouette and to contact us:


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