Review: Silhouette Cameo Is a Desktop Vinyl Cutter That’s Not Just for Craft

CNC & Machining Craft & Design Digital Fabrication Paper Crafts
Review: Silhouette Cameo Is a Desktop Vinyl Cutter That’s Not Just for Craft
Photo: Gunther Kirsch Photograph by Gunther Kirsch
Pro Tips
To prevent super sticky Silhouette medium-hold cutting mats from tearing away the bottom layer of sensitive materials, first press a soft, worn pillowcase or sheet to the page.
The Cameo’s feed mechanism can cut sticker-backed vinyl sheets without a cutting mat or carrier sheet.
Upgrading from Silhouette Studio to the Designer Edition or a third-party tool such as Sure Cuts A Lot Pro may be required for some high-detail custom cuts.
Why to Buy
Fast, accurate, and versatile, the Cameo is one of the few desktop craft cutters that can reach every part of a 12″×12″ sheet. The addition of the roll feeder allows the device to print long, narrow designs up to 10′ in length.

Silhouette’s flagship Cameo series has secured a strong following among Makers, papercrafters, and fab labs since it first launched in 2011. The current version cuts dependably and is easy to use, while adding nice features like touchscreen, automatic trimming capability, and an optional roll feeder that allows (much) longer prints.

Not for Crafters Only

Many craft cutter brands target scrapbook, letterpress, and home-craft customers. While the Silhouette Store does have a large and diverse premade design catalog, their Designer Edition software upgrade also allows operators to run their own designs — and their own wild ideas — earning a Maker-friendly reputation thanks to impressive projects by community members, from PCB etching to custom origami.

Although the Cameo hasn’t changed fundamentally since it first appeared, the 2014 update introduced a number of helpful new features. A large digital touchscreen replaced a set of hardware buttons, making it far easier to cut jobs and align complex projects while untethered. A handy parts compartment stores spare blades (which you should stock up on, as they are proprietary and wear out quickly), and firmware updates added new UI features.

Stay In Line

At the back of the Cameo, a slot for a crosscutting tool allows rolls of vinyl to be trimmed straight across (best suited for use with the vinyl roller add-on). Inside the machine itself, steel spring rollers maintain accurate feeds, and alignment marks help with matted and non-matted feeding.

Scrapbookers will love the preprinted 12″×12″ standard-size loose sheet sets. The size opens up the printer to 12″ rolls of vinyl, A3 and A4 papers, and grants even more territory for 3D Pepakura and kirigami paper craft projects.


For everything from cute greeting cards to sophisticated PCB etching and beyond, the Cameo is full of features that will make getting started easy, but keep experts coming back.

1 thought on “Review: Silhouette Cameo Is a Desktop Vinyl Cutter That’s Not Just for Craft

  1. Cutter Punk says:

    These types of machines are fun and definitely not just for scrapbooking. With some you can cut chipboard and balsa wood. Check out Amy Chomas’ third-party tools for the Silhouette and other cutters and the new KNK Force, which can hold a rotary tool!

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