Silhouette Cameo Basics

I recently got a silhouette cameo (pausing for applause) and i’m going to be doing some how-tos here at the expressions blog each month…..! For the first post I thought I would start with a basic rundown. So when I start getting into the down and dirty (aka..super fun things that you didn’t know your silhouette  cameo could do) you aren’t left scratching your head!

Silhouette Cameo - A Girl And A Glue Gun

Each silhouette  cameo comes with the silhouette studio software that you upload on your computer. (the silhouette cameo also works with other programs (I have the SCAL (sure cuts a lot) but as I go along and learn more and more..there is stuff this program does that scal can’t even compare with!!!!)

once everything is all downloaded…your screen looks like this….

Silhouette Cameo - Silhouette Studio screen shot
the first thing you are going to do is pick what size (number 1). you can do a letter…12×12 or customize to whatever size you are doing (if you are using a scrap piece of vinyl)
Number 2 is mat size. i have a 12×12 mat so i never adjust that button but if you have another size mat (do they even sale them?) then it would be handy to have…

one thing scal doesn’t have is open files like in the bottom left corner…makes it nice that you can jump from project to project…

and all the things up in the right corner are coming soon so stay tuned!

okay. to start….the software is pretty basic…

new document, open, save, save to sd card, send to printer, send to silhouette, copy paste cut, undo redo, zoom in and out with a button and with your mouse, and that last one is to make your screen resume to the normal view

the one you need to know is the A. (on the left hand side of your screen)  it’s the text button. you are going to click on that and then click on your mat

then type in what you want…
on the right hand side there is a text box that comes up….it is where you can change your font ( i have over 500..i’m a bit addicted)
pretty self explanatory…
but it does some pretty fun stuff….
push the arrow in the top left corner…and then click on your text…you can move it, make it bigger, stretch it, turn it, etc.
if you right click on the text and hit ungroup, it will disconnect each letter and you can move it how you want it..
if you want to regroup them all back together you can drag a box over all the letters (or whatever you want grouped and then right click and push group.)
another fun feature is….
see that fun gray bar after the text i just typed in?

if you take your mouse and drag it over to the left..it will smoosh in your words

and on the text bar on your right at the bottom…
you can adjust character spacing..
see how it spreads the circles out?
(you can make them go closer too)
and the line spacing….
spreads out the lines of text?
are you hopelessly lost?
if you are..go back up and read it again.
back? okay. let’s keep going!!!!
let’s cut.
the button right up there…will send it to your silhouette cameo..
(make sure your machine is hooked up!!!)
on the side of the screen will pop up
this…
when you click change settings you get the picture on the right…
you get to pick exactly what you are cutting with…cardstock (all thicknesses) vinyl, heat transfer….even fabric!!! it automatically will adjust the settings you need..you just have to adjust the blade to what number it says and then you can do a test cut to make sure it works!!!
then you just click send to silhouette (after you load the paper under the rollers) and cut away!!!!
okay..another two buttons you are need to know about is…
the silhouette store first (the mouse button) : you click right on it…and it takes you to all the clipart that they have…it’s pretty awesome and overwhelming and you can buy about 3000 of them *luckily they have a wishlist…to keep track of all the lovelies that you want.

there is also a free image every week…so make sure you go in and get it each week! they are so cute!
this is the cute one i just downloaded!!!! happy 2012

when you get them they go into your library…(the book button) this software came with 51 free ones….(the ones you see here are all free) some great basic ones that can come in handy!

my very first project with the Silhouette Cameo was this open and closed sign i made for my sister in law salon…
I choose this frame from the free library..
I adjusted it to fit the size of wood I had…(the same way you adjust the text..just click on that arrow button in the corner and resize it)
cut it out….
and then before I deleted it, i opened up a text box and typed open to make sure it fit inside
(if I was making them the same color I could have just printed them in one big whack..
I used the negative space of the frame to do the closed sign (cause I can’t waste ANYTHING!)

so. there you have it! the very basics of the silhouette cameo!

I mean..there is still a lot on the left sidebar…but they are pretty basic stuff…..
cut was a little tricky at first..
but I can see how you can use it in a variety of ways…make you are doing polka dots and need some half dots for the edges…
or to rearrange the shape

or to just get rid of a part of the shape.

it only cuts in a straight line though…so that’s a little limiting.

now go play around with it and get comfortable with it so next month we can start doing something fun…..
PLEASE let me know if you have questions about anything silhouette cameo related; I want to make sure this is as helpful as can be!!!!

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