Silhouette Cameo: using the right paper makes all the difference!

Is all cardstock created equal? Uh…no-o!

I was busy making a birthday card for my mom, today, when I discovered–or, let me say, confirmed–that the Cameo definitely works better with some papers than others. Here is a perfect example…

Shown in this first photo, is what happened when I tried to cut out some small autumn leaves, using Michael’s Recollections 80 lb. cardstock. What a mess!  I’m using the Silhouette Studio Designer software, with the upgrade that Silhouette America released, recently.My settings were: Speed 5; Thickness 30; Blade 6.Pretty disappointing results, right? In fact, I couldn’t even get it off the cutting mat because it wasn’t cut all the way through. Also, because this cardstock has what I call a “looser construction,” it pulls the paper fibers apart very easily and clogs the blade housing.

In this second photo, you can see that the cuts are very clean and the excess paper pulled away from the mat easily. I used exactly the same settings as I did with the Recollections cardstock. Just to give you an indication of the sizes, the smallest leaf is the size of the top third of my baby finger.

This time, I was using Stampin’ Up Whisper White 80 lb. cardstock. What a difference! This particular cardstock, along with Stampin’ Up’s Very Vanilla, is smooth and always cuts like buttah! I think of this cardstock as, “tighter, smoother, shinier,” and it doesn’t pull apart and leave bits of paper debris in the blade housing.

Does any of this make sense. As  you can tell, I am struggling to articulate exactly how the paper feels. I hope you kind of “get it!”

So, a rose is a rose is a rose, as they say…but not all cardstock is created equal.

Final thoughts:

  • Recollections cardstock from Michaels is great for the card base and for many other crafting projects–it just doesn’t work for me, when it comes to running it through the Silhouette Cameo.
  • Stampin’ Up cardstock is very reliable in the Cameo.
  • Before you blame your blade, try a different cardstock!

I hope this helps those of you who have been experiencing similar problems. If you have any suggestions or advice, please, oh please, let me know so we can help other crafters.

By the way, you can see my finished card in the next post. I came it quick and simple!

Silhouette Cameo: problems and solutions

Do you have a love/hate relationship with your Silhouette Cameo?

If  you answered, “yes,” then you are amongst the majority. I have received so many comments and e-mails from crafters who love what their Cameo is capable of doing, but hate the fact that it just doesn’t do it all the time!

But, alas, between blade problems and cutting mat problems, the Silhouette Cameo is making many of us wonder if we will ever see the full potential of this, otherwise, amazing cutting machine. So, after much research, I have compiled a list of the common Silhouette problems and potential solutions.

By the way, if you find this article helpful, or if you have other problems, solutions, experiences with your Silhouette Cameo (both good and bad), or crafting ideas that you would like to share, please leave me a comment and I will respond to you promptly. And now, here we go…

Silhouette Cameo: the most common problems and potential solutions

The Cutting Blade

PROBLEM: The blade works fine for a few days and then it just tears up the paper. Just about everyone who has written to me is having this problem. In addition to several days of on-line research, I have spoken, at length, with the tech support folks at Silhouette America and here are some potential solutions.

1.  Clean the blade housing. Tiny bits of paper debris gets stuck around the blade, making it impossible to perform a clean cut. Use a sewing needle, piercing tool or a straight pin to clean any bits of paper from around the blade. Note: The blade is located inside the little hole in the white part of the blade housing (see photo above). Doing this regularly should keep the blade housing clear of any paper debris.

2. Defective blade? Silhouette America has had many, many issues with defective blades. If  you have tried cleaning the blade housing and you are still not getting clean cuts, it is very possible that you have a defective blade. Call the Silhouette America support line, explain the problem and they will send you a new blade. (They have sent me two within the first month). The contact information follows at the end of this article. Important note: When replacing the blade in the Silhouette Cameo, just drop the whole new cartridge right in the machine and throw away the old one. That’s it, and Bob’s your uncle (actually, Bob’s my brother, but whatever)!

3. Your blade is worn out.  If you had lots of great cuts with your blade and it starts tearing your paper or making sloppy cuts AND you have tried cleaning it, it could be that it’s just worn out and it’s time to buy a new blade. You can buy a new blade from Silhouette America for $12.95 USD or from  Amazon.com for $16.95.

The Cutting Mat

12" REPLACEMENT CUTTING MAT New Silhouette Cameo Digital Design Cutter Machine

PROBLEM: The cutting mat is too sticky.

Don’t worry, this problem won’t last long. Most of us find the mat is too sticky the first couple of times we use it, and then, before you know it, the darn thing is not sticky enough!

PROBLEM: The cutting mat is not sticky enough.  This is a really common problem, but luckily, there are a number of good solutions for it.

1. Wipe your cutting mat regularly with baby wipes. For a quick cleaning method, many crafters are recommend using baby wipes to clean your cutting mat regularly.

2. Wash your cutting mat with warm water and dish soap. This is a more thorough cleaning method that gives your cutting mat a good, deep cleaning. Once you’ve washed it, rinse off any soap and dry it well. You should see a noticeable improvement in it’s sticking ability.

3. Spray your cutting mat with re-positionable glue. If washing your cutting mat doesn’t completely solve your problem, try spraying it with a re-positionable glue. The most popular brand among crafters seems to be  KRYLON Easy-Tack repositionable adhesive. Note: The majority of articles, reviews and posts that I have read recommend NOT using Elmer’s Fast Tack Re-positionable glue.

You will probably be able to buy Krylon Easy-Tack at your favourite craft store or on-line scrapbooking store. You can also buy it at Amazon.com for $6.85.

Easy-Tack™ Repositionable Adhesive

PROBLEM: The cutting mat is slipping around during the cutting process.

1. Check the blue lever.  On the right hand side, just in front of the roller bar, you will see a blue lever. Make sure this lever is in the “up” position and the rollers are making contact with the mat. If the lever is in the down position, it will not be able to hold  your mat in place and guide it through the machine during the cutting process.

2. Are the rollers on your cutting mat spaced properly? The rollers on the roller bar must be spaced properly to grip the edges of your cutting mat or other media. You can easily adjust the rollers by moving them along the roller bar.

3. Centre your cutting mat or other media directly under the rollers. Make sure your cutting mat or other media is position so that the rollers are directly over each edge.

CUTTING MAT TIP: To get more wear out of your cutting mat, turn it around and use the bottom half, too. So, instead of always putting the end with the arrow into the machine, turn it around and put the opposite end in (that means the arrow will be pointing toward you). This can really prolong the life of your cutting mat!

If, after trying these solutions, you are still having problems, it’s time to contact Silhouette America Support. I’ve talked with several of them and found them quite helpful.

Other Silhouette America Resources

Silhouette Studio User’s Manual

Silhouette Downloads, latest software and drivers.

Silhouette Tutorials

Silhouette Blog

Once again, if you found this article helpful, or if you have other problems, solutions, experiences with your Silhouette Cameo (both good and bad), or crafting ideas that you would like to share, please leave me a comment and I will respond to you promptly.

Thanks, crafters and good luck!