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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Take 5: Five Things I’ve Made with My Silhouette Cameo and Why I Recommend it for a MakerSpace

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I’ve had my personal Silhouette Cameo for about a month now and last week, we ordered one for The Teen MakerSpace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County. I’ve only tapped the surface of what I can do with the machine and it has a lot of uses. For example, it can take the place of an Ellison Die Cut machine and the need to store multiple dies for doing displays and name tags.

To give you an idea of why I recommend it, let me share with you five projects I’ve done with my Silhouette Cameo.

1. T-Shirts

When you think of craft vinyl cutters, you are probably thinking t-shirts. This is what they are used most for and I’m not going to lie, I love this! I have made a ton of t-shirts. Each time I make a shirt, I learn more about how to use my machine. I’ve made my kids spirit shirts for school, holiday shirts, and just some shirts that feature their favorite characters or saying.

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I even made TLT t-shirts for all the TLTers.

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2. Tote Bags

It also transfers really well onto tote bags.

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3. Screen Printing

You can do a reverse weed on your cut and make a screen for screenprinting. I am using this process to make screens for a TMS stencil and a Libraries Rock stencil for the 2018 Teen Summer Reading Challenge.

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4. Vinyl Window Clings

You can buy special vinyl cling material to make vinyl window clings. I used this to make gear shaped clings for our Teen MakerSpace windows.

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5. Computer Bling

You can also design and make your own computer bling. Here’s a cut out I designed using a heartbeat font and the shapes feature to celebrate my love of a certain time traveling time lord. Since taking this picture I have also added a Teen MakerSpace cut out.

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As I mentioned above, I am just now learning of the various ways I can use my Silhouette Cameo. You can also cut paper, which is great for doing in library displays. In the Teen Makerspace we will be mainly focusing on paper crafts as well due to the cost of the vinyl versus paper. Though we will also use our Silhouette Cameo for special programs like our annual Summer of T-Shirts events.

Teaching the teens to use a vinyl cutter will help them learn things like layout and design, math (yes, there is math involved in making sure your design will fit onto a t-shirt), and basic technology skills.

The initial investment is quite high. A Silhouette Cameo bundle pack, and you’ll want a bundle so you get the additional tools that you need, is $269.00. And there is an ongoing cost in that you need materials to cut with your machine.

Even if you decide not to let the public have access to a vinyl cutter, I do recommend it for library use. It has a much broader range than cutting tools libraries have used in the past like an Ellison or Accucut and takes up a lot less space.

Here’s a look at some of the guides and reviews I shared early on while learning how to use my Silhouette Cameo. I will say the Silhouette Cameo is not intuitive at first and it doesn’t come with a manual, so you’ll definitely want to start with the Silhouette Cameo 101 post.

Silhouette Cameo 101: The Manual It Doesn’t Come With, But Should

MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – Vinyl 101

MakerSpace: Using a Silhouette Cameo to Do Screenprinting

MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – a review

 

Silhouette Cameo 101: The Manual It Doesn’t Come With, But Should (MakerSpace)

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I have spent the last couple of weeks trying to figure out how to use and evaluating the Silhouette Cameo for our Teen Makerspace at The Public Library of Mount Vernon and Knox County (OH). You can read my initial thoughts here:

MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – a review

MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – Vinyl 101

I’m just beginning to tap the surface of how to use the Silhouette Cameo and what types of things we can do with it. The biggest drawback for me has been the lack of a manual or handbook, so I’m in the process of putting one together for myself. I’ve collected and organized a variety of links which I am sharing with you below.

Silhouette Cameo 101

Using you’re Silhouette Cameo comes in 3 steps.

1. Designing your project

2. Cutting your project

3. Finishing your project, which involves applying your vinyl to some type of surface

We will discuss the Silhouette Cameo focusing on these three steps. But first, an introduction to the Silhouette Cameo and what you do with it once you get it out of the box. We’ll end with some hacks, project ideas and instructions, and an additional resource guide including free files and great blogs to consult for additional information.

What Can You Do with a Silhouette

Silhouette America – What Can You Make?

20 Things I’ve Made Using My Silhouette Machine

I got a Silhouette. Now what? Cameo Help, Tips, Tricks, Project Ideas

Silhouette Terms to Know

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Getting Started Out of the Box

Silhouette 101: How to Set Up Your Silhouette CAMEO

Downloading And Installing Your Silhouette Software

How To Use Silhouette Cameo 3: A Beginner’s Guide

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Step 1: Designing Your Project

Images

10 Genius Ways to Use Clip Art with your Silhouette

Silhouette 102: How to Make Print & Cut Files, From Scratch!

See all using the Trace Tool below

Trace Tool

Using The Trace Tool In Silhouette Studio

Transforming Image Files Into the Correct Format

The Silhouette Cameo requires a specific file format known as an SVG.

How to Turn Any JPEG Into a Silhouette Print and Cut

 

Working with Text

All Things Text Tool | Silhouette Studio® Tutorial

How To Use the Text Tool in Silhouette Studio

How to Make Text Curve in Silhouette Studio

Silhouette Studio Word Art Tutorial

Silhouette Studio Word Art: How to Have Text Form a Shape

How to Use Font Glyphs in Silhouette Studio

2 Ways to Thicken Fonts in Silhouette Studio

How to Create “Outlined” Text with Silhouette Studio (Underlay)

How to Turn the Shape of a Letter or Word into Script in Silhouette studio

 

Using Specific Tools and Functions

Every Silhouette Tool: WHAT it is & HOW you use it!

Grouping and Compound Paths

What are Compound Paths and Grouping

Silhouette Studio Compound Paths: Explained! – Silhouette School

Divide Tool

How to use Divide in Silhouette Studio

Make Any Design a Split Design in Silhouette Studio

Knife Tool

Silhouette Studio Knife Tool: How to Use It To Its Full Potential

Silhouette Studio Knife Tool: How to Change the Thickness

Weld

Silhouette: How to weld (joining letters and numbers)

Text Won’t Weld Correctly in Silhouette Studio? Here’s The Fix

 

Step 2: Cutting Your Project

Silhouette Blades…Which Blade to Use When, Why, How?

The Silhouette Cameo Mat: All You Need to Know (and more)

Making the First Cut with your Silhouette CAMEO

Using the Print & Cut Feature Successfully

4 Easy Steps to Cutting on the Silhouette

11 Reasons Your Silhouette Is Not Cutting

Cheat Sheet: Settings for cutting various materials on the silhouette

Silhouette 101: All About the Blades

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Step 3: Finishing Your Project

Applying the Vinyl

Applying Vinyl to the Back of a Surface

How to Put Vinyl On Painted Wood Signs

Applying Heat Transfer Vinyl on Glass

How to Use Vinyl Transfer Paper (Vinyl Transfer Tape)

Hack: Use Contact Paper to Transfer Vinyl

Layering

Silhouette Layering Vinyl Tutorial (The No-Fail Method)

Vinyl Layering 101 | A Silhouette Tutorial

T-Shirt Information

Please note: When you send a project to cut you must specify what type of material you are using. If you are using heat transfer vinyl it will ask you if you want to mirror your image and you should choose mirrored.

Chart re sizing of decals for shirts

HTV Shirt Decal Placement and Size Tips and Resources

How to Align and Size Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Designs

What Size of HTV Do You Need For a Shirt?

Heat Printing Placement Tips | Stahls’

A Beginner’s Guide to Using Heat Transfer to Create T-Shirts

 

Additional Information and Resources

Using PixScan

Silhouette America – What is PixScan™ Technology?

Silhouette PixScan Tutorial for Beginners: Part 1 of 2

Beyond Cutting: Using Your Silhouette Cameo to Draw

Your Silhouette Cameo can be used for more than cutting and it has special markers that you can purchase. Here is some information on that.

How To Use A Silhouette Cameo: Silhouette Sketch Pens

Silhouette Sketch Pens Tutorial for Beginners

DIY Art Print {Silhouette Pen Holder Tutorial}

Hacks

12 Silhouette Hacks You Shouldn’t Craft Without

Doodlecraft: Dollar Store Hacks: Silhouette Cutting Mats and DIY

Tips and Hacks for Saving Money on Cricut, Cameo, and Silhouette

Genius Freezer Paper Hack for HTV Design Placement!

Simple Silhouette Hack for Saving HTV or Vinyl

Heat Press Hacks for Silhouette Users

Project Ideas and Instructions

Silhouette media you didn’t know existed (and fun projects to do with it)

Engraving with Silhouette: 7 Tips to the Perfect Engraving

How to Host a Christmas Ornament Making Party

Secret to Easily Designing Subway Art in Silhouette Studio

How to Screen Print Using Vinyl: Silhouette Tutorial

How to Create a Simple Vinyl Monogram

How to Put Vinyl on Cups and Tumblers So It’s Straight

Silhouette Vinyl on Canvas: 6 Tips to Success!

DIY Stickers Using a Silhouette Cameo/Portrait

DIY Temporary Tattoos: Silhouette Tutorial

Cutting Cardstock with Silhouette CAMEO

 

Resources

Free Font Resources

DaFont – Download fonts

Most Popular Free Fonts – FontSpace

Free .SVG Files

Free SVG Files for Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Studio Designer

Free SVG Files & SVG Images For All Cricut Projects

10 Places to Find Free Cut Files (more of a tutorial then a listing of sites)

All Encompassing Silhouette Cameo Blogs

The Official Silhouette Blog

Silhouette School Blog

The Pinning Mama

Please note: This is just the tip of the ice berg, there is a lot more out there. This machine is very complex can can do a lot of things. I mean, a lot. This is just to get your started with the basics. Having said all of that, please share your favorite posts, tips, project ideas and resources with me in the comments.

MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – Vinyl 101

Earlier today,  I talked about the Silhouette Cameo Vinyl Cutter: MakerSpace Mondays: The Silhouette Cameo – a review. So if you buy a Silhouette Cameo, you’ll probably be making a variety of vinyl projects. Not all vinyl is the same, so here’s a little Vinyl 101 brought to you by high school librarian Dani Fouser.

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Oracal 631- Semi-Permanent

Use for walls, windows and anywhere you want to eventually remove your vinyl.

Oracal 651 – Permanent

Use for car decals, cup decals, etc. This is water proof.

Transfer Paper/Tape

Use to transfer an image onto a surface. In a pinch you can use clear contact self-adhesive shelf liner, though it doesn’t work as well as the Oracal Transfer Tape.

How to Use Transfer Paper with Vinyl | The Pinning Mama

Oracal Transparent Vinyl

Use to get a stained glass look. Best prices at www.craftvinyl.com

Heat Transfer Vinyl/Iron On Transfer Vinyl

Use this to do things like making t-shirts. It comes with transfer tape and you need print it mirrored. There are a few exceptions to this rule (like patterned paper) so be sure and read the specific instructions for the vinyl you are using.

Easy Weed Vinyl

Use this for more complicated designs that will require a lot of weeding.

Easy Weed Stretch

Has a little give in the vinyl making this good for t-shirts.

Brand Names

Siser – Most people prefer this brand

Pro-Vinyl – Comparable to Siser

As always, if you have additional tips and tricks, please add them in the comments.