Vinyl Cutter

Cut cardstock, vinyl decals, fabric, and more with the Silhouette Cameo vinyl cutter.

The Cameo uses a blade to cut material by following a path defined in a digital cut file, allowing you to make precise, complex, and repeatable designs. Load premade images or design your own, using Silhouette Studio or a vector drawing program such as Inkscape.

What kind of projects can you make with our vinyl cutter? Check out our example project tutorials and online hobby and craft resources.

Drop in to the Makery during our open lab hours to use the vinyl cutter.

Using the Silhouette Cameo Cutter

This guide takes you step-by-step through preparing a file in Silhouette Studio, setting up the machine, and cutting your design.


  1. Plug the Silhouette Cameo power cord into an outlet and the USB cord into your computer. Press the power button on the right side of the Cameo to turn it on.
  2. Open Silhouette Studio.
  3. Maximize the Silhouette Studio window so all icons and settings are visible.
  4. Load a drawing (or make one in Silhouette Studio*).
    • Studio can open .DXF files from Inkscape or Illustrator if you already have an image.

Silhouette Studio settings

  1. Open the Design Page Settings silhouettestudio_designpagesettings panel from the upper right corner.
    1. Set Page Size to the size of the material to be cut, either using the sliders or entering the dimensions directly.


    2. If you’re using the gridded cutting mat to hold your material in place, set Cutting Mat to Cameo 12 x 12”.


    3. Check Show Cut Border. Make sure your entire design fits within the cutting area, indicated with a red box. If it doesn’t, select the entire design, and move or scale it to fit.


  2. Open the Cut Settings silhouettestudio_cutsettingspanel from the upper right corner (open image)
    1. Set Cut Style to Cut. Your design should now be outlined in red, indicating the path of the blade.


    2. Select your Material Type from the list of presets, including cardstock, plain paper, vinyl, and more.


    3. Scroll down within the Cut Settings panel to find the appropriate blade setting for your material. You’ll use this number in the following steps for machine setup.


Machine Setup

Set the blade, using the blade adjustment tool.

  1. The blade and adjustment tool are stored in a compartment on the left side of the Cameo. The blade assembly is a black tube with numbers along the bottom, corresponding to different blade settings. Don’t touch the white part of the blade assembly; it’s sharp.


  2. The blade adjustment tool is a grey, plastic barrel with an arrow on one side. Align this arrow to the red dot on the bottom of the blade and insert the white part of the blade into the narrow end of the adjuster. Now use the adjuster to turn the blade to the appropriate setting: turn the adjustment tool until the arrow points to the number indicated in the Cut Settings panel.


Install the blade.

  1. Lift open the front of the machine. Find the white barrel on the left that will hold the blade. Turn the locking mechanism on the front of the barrel to the left, so the blade can be installed (or later removed). Insert the blade numbered-end-first and push it down gently (the ridge on the blade between the smooth and ribbed plastic will rest on the top of the white holder).


  2. Lock the blade in place by twisting the mechanism on the front of the blade holder to the right until it stops. You shouldn’t be able to move the blade now.


Load Material

  1. Most thinner materials should be used with the 12×12”, gridded cutting mat, because it prevents the material from moving during cutting. Align the upper left corner of your material with the upper left corner of the cutting mat. The top of the mat has a black arrow for orientation. The right side of your material (if there is one) should face up. Press down to secure the media to the mat.
  2. Insert the cutting mat sticky-side-up and arrow-first into the Cameo. Align the left edge of the cutting mat grid with the teal arrows on the left side of the machine’s feed area. Push the mat in gently until it just reaches the silver roller shaft.


  3. Press the Load Cutting Mat (or Load Media) button on the Cameo LCD screen. The rollers should pull the mat into the machine partially. If it doesn’t grab your material, you may need to adjust the position of the rollers or insert the mat a little further.



  1. Double check cut settings in Silhouette Studio. If you aren’t sure if they’re right for your material, you can perform a small test cut:
    1. The Test Cut button is at the very bottom of the Cut Settings window. You must have a material type selected for this option to appear.
    2. The test cut is a small square about 1 cm across. You may want to perform a test cut on a scrap of material.
  2. Click Send to Silhouette when ready (at the bottom of the Cut Settings window).
  3. When the machine finishes, press the Unload button that appears on the LCD screen.
  4. Peel off your design slowly from the cutting mat. You’re done.


The Makery