If you have a Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait or have been dreaming of getting one, this is THE place to find everything you might would want, need, or LOVE to have. From beginner basics to organization, to the little extras that come from the pros, this list has you covered.
In our Silhouette facebook group (Request to join here if you want some awesome Silhouette Inspiration and some new crafting friends), everyone from newbies to pros loves both sharing things that are must haves for the Silhouette crafter AND asking for advice on the things that they need. We thought we could put together the ultimate resource and one stop shop for a comprehensive list of everything recommended and why. Save this post for reference and make sure to send it on to your husband, sister, friend or grandma when Christmas or your birthday is just around the corner to help them with the best ideas for gifts for you. This is the longest post I have ever published, but it is because it really is the ULTIMATE resource!
So hold onto your boots because we are about to go craft crazy in here! I divided up the list into categories to hopefully make it helpful to pinpoint exactly what you think would be best for you. Make sure to leave a comment if you have something on your wish list that we don’t cover here!
The Basics- What Every Silhouette Crafter Should Have in Their Toolbox!
1. Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait – If you don’t have a Silhouette yet, what are you waiting for!?!? If you have been drooling over all the amazing projects you have seen friends and bloggers do it is for good reason. The Silhouette makes it so easy to make stunning custom works of art. You are going to seriously love it. If you have the budget I would definitely recommend going with the Silhouette CAMEO. The biggest reason is that it cuts a 12″ width. While in theory this might not seem like a big deal, in reality when every form of media pretty much comes in a 12″ width it can be a real pain to cut down. With that said, if you have a limited budget, a Portrait is still a great option! You get the completely amazing design software and can cut all media that you can with a CAMEO, you just have some size limitations. Make sure to check out current sales at Silhouette (Use coupon code PINNING) and Amazon.
********Silhouette Black Friday 2015 Coupon Code PINNING! To Black Friday Deals will be posted on Silhouette and you will need to use DISCOUNT CODE PINNING to get the additional discount taken off at checkout!********
2. Cutting Mat– If you machine doesn’t come with one you definitely need to add one on your list. Also, I have found it really helpful and a time saver to have an extra so you can prep the next cut while the first is going through the machine. If you have a portrait, you will need to get one that is 9″. You can grab a portrait mat here.
3. Hook Tool– I don’t really think all of the tools that Silhouette offers are necessary, but the hook tool is definitely one you will find yourself using frequently! It is great for helping you weed vinyl and grabbing the edges of cardstock to lift the design up.
4. Scraper Tool– This is another must on your list of tools. You will use this for everything from applying transfer tape to getting the edges down well before etching glass, to clearing your cutting mat of any extra paper scraps. If you are stocking up on tools you might just want to get the tool bundle to save a few dollars!
5. Light Table– When you cut intricate fonts or designs on vinyl many find that it is incredibly helpful to have a light table to use to weed the design. It can be a real pain to figure out what little details stay and which go, and the light table makes the process much easier. You can get pretty pricey ones, but this Crayola brand light table meant for kids art is perfect and usually around $20 on Amazon!
6. Craftsy Silhouette Class– The good news is that the Silhouette is an incredibly powerful machine, it can do almost anything you can dream! The bad news is that the Silhouette is an incredibly powerful machine, and you have to learn all the ins and outs of how to do it. If you are new to the machine and learn best by seeing it, Craftsy offers a video based class on how to use the machine. It is geared toward paper crafting, but is a great introduction on how to use the features of the machine and software and is very affordable!
7. Silhouette School Book– This is a great book for the beginner all the way up the intermediate Silhouette user. Hey, even advanced users might learn a thing or two! It gets one of the best reviews in the industry. If you are new to the machine or still just a little intimidated on how to use, it this book might be the best money you could spend!!
8. Extra Blade – Repeat after me… ALWAYS have an extra blade on hand. There will come a time when your project just isn’t cutting right. You try everything and think, it can’t be the blade. (But of course it is!) You would try a new blade but it is Wednesday night at 9 pm and of course no stores are open and you need the project for tomorrow morning. I ALWAYS keep an extra blade on hand. I learned this the hard way and ever since, keep an extra one. I can’t even tell you the number of times it has saved me!
9. Designer Edition Software- The basic Silhouette Software is awesome and powerful and you can even download it and start playing with it before you have a machine. The word on the street though, is that upgrading to the Designer Edition is totally worth it! The big reason is that you can access .SVG cut files. This opens up a whole extra world of files and designs you can get for your machine both free and paid. If you don’t have the Designer Edition you can get files through the Silhouette Store or make your own, but all of the files sold on Etsy, other design shops and other places will be .svg and not accessible without the upgrade. The other big reason is that you get extra features like being able to design Rhinestone templates which you can’t do without the Designer Edition. The software retails for $50 but you can often get it on sale for around $25-30 on Amazon.
10. Gift Cards to Silhouette Store – This is a great gift from anyone to complete newbie to expert because EVERYONE loves to add to their library of designs. Designs start around $0.99 so you can get quite a few with a gift card. Also, you can frequently find the gift card on sale which makes the designs in the shop even a better deal! At the time writing this post you could get a $25 Gift Card for only $18 on Amazon.
11. Dust Cover- Even though you are probably using your machine so much it rarely has time to collect dust, you have to sleep sometime so it is a good idea to spend a couple of bucks to get a dust cover to keep it clean and in top notch working shape. If you are just getting your machine, then you might want a tool bundle with a dust cover.
12. 12×24 Cutting Mat– Although this isn’t a total necessity, it is something you will LOVE having! It gives you the ability to have more stability on larger projects (up to 24″ long.) Everyone I know that owns one uses it like crazy!
You can also check out my post here on Hacks and Ideas for your Silhouette CAMEO. There are lots of extra tips from Silhouette Crafters in there!
The Extras- All the things you want to make your own awesome projects with your Silhouette!
1. Font Bundle– One of the most fun and addicting things you can do with your machine is use different fonts to do everything from cutesy phrases to monograms, using ANY font on your computer is one of the best things your Silhouette does. You can grab a font bundle to give you TONS of premium fonts (I am talking beautiful swashes, hand brushed, and immaculate swirls) for pennies each, and the best part is if you decide to sell any of your creations, then all of the fonts in the bundle from Hungry Jpeg (our favorite) give you commercial use rights, so sell away!
2. Designs from Silhouette– The biggest library of Silhouette designs anywhere is right at Silhouette itself! Silhouette offers a free design you can find on the sidebar of their blog each week or for a great gift or when you want to stock up for a project, grab a gift card to the Silhouette Store to get designs. You can frequently find the gift card on sale which makes the designs in the shop even a better deal! At the time writing this post you could get a $25 Gift Card for only $18 on Amazon.
3. SVG Cut Files– Outside of buying directly from Silhouette, you can buy SVG files from everywhere from Etsy to private websites that open up a whole new world of designs for you to cut with your machine. If you aren’t familiar with it, an SVG is a universal file type that is recognized by the Silhouette software (when you have the Designer Edition upgrade.) All you have to do is save the SVG, open it in Silhouette Studio, then select cut edge in the cut settings window and the design already has the cut lines defined with no tracing at all. Since .studio files outside of the Silhouette website, this is how all 3rd party designers can create and sell beautiful files for you to use with your machine. We have our own store where we sell SVG files of everything from cute phrases, to hand lettered designs and even holiday and monogram designs. We would love for you to check it out and I hope you love what you see! Also, here is a great resource on places to find free SVG cut files.
4. Designer Edition– I have mentioned above quite a few good reasons to upgrade to the Designer Edition. Just remember that you can usually get it on sale on Amazon!
5. Monogram font– From vinyl, to heat transfer, to stenciling and beyond, one of the most popular things to do with your Silhouette CAMEO. It is pretty much essential to have a few good monogram fonts! They are frequently included in font bundles at a spectacular deal, or can can find a whole slew of Monogram Fonts on Creative Market!
Paper Crafters- The Necessities for Paper Projects with your Silhouette CAMEO
1. Craftsy Silhouette Class– If you are new to the Silhouette or still a little apprehensive on how to use it, you might want to consider taking this video based class from Craftsy. It is a great way to learn many of the features of the machine and specifically geared toward paper crafting.
2. Light Hold Mat– Many a Silhouette Crafter has wanted to pull their hair out when their regular Silhouette mat has had a little too much stick and paper projects rip up instead of releasing off the mat after cutting. To remedy this Silhouette came out with the light hold mat which is awesome and absolutely a must have for paper crafters!
3. Silhouette Mint- This awesome new little machine is new and being welcomed with RAVE reviews! The Silhouette Mint allows you to make your own custom stamps and is a stamp lovers dream! You can see more about the Silhouette Mint and all it can do here.
4. Awesome Printer– If you plan to do absolutely ANYTHING with paper you are going to really want a great printer. From making party decor to things for the home, or even homemade cards, the Epson Workforce 7620 is so amazing because it not only has a phenomenal print quality, but also because it prints up to 13″x19″. That means it can print on 12×12 cardstock which is music to the ears of anyone who loves to make things with paper.
5. Gelly Roll Pens – One of the most fun things to do with your CAMEO on paper is sketch designs. With the Design Studio Software you can design almost anything and being able to have a hand drawn look by sketching it out with your machine is seriously cool! Think subway art, custom chalkboard designs, perfectly addressed envelopes with a calligraphy look. Swoon! We love the Gelly Roll pens best for this. Use the classic colors or our favorite, white Gelly Roll pens on black paper for a chalkboard look. Make sure and grab the Silhouette pen adapter below so they fit in the machine
6. Silhouette Pen Holder– If you want to sketch with your Silhouette, other than using the Silhouette brand pens, then the pen holder is what you need! It is an adapter so that pens that are not as thick at the blade holder can snugly fit in the machine. Our favorites to use it with are the Gelly roll pens above or the ultra fine point sharpies!
7. Pix Scan Mat– This is a crazy awesome new feature that Silhouette released this year. It allows you to take a photo of something then print the picture and perfectly cut around it. There are so many uses for it, but my mind just gets super excited for using it for party decor! If you are swooning over all the possibilities about the thought of this grab a Pix Scan here and learn more about how Silhouette Pix Scan works here!
8. Minc Foiling Machine– Okay, okay, this isn’t directly related to the Silhouette, but if you love to work with paper this can take your Silhouette projects from gorgeous to OVER THE TOP AMAZING! You use the machine to apply foil in any color to your projects for a truly stunning effect! They have two versions, a 12″ inch Minc (which I would prefer) and a 6″ Minc which is great for a budget! And don’t forget to get a foil variety pack!
Vinyl Crafting- The Necessities for Vinyl Projects with your Silhouette Cameo
1. Vinyl Starter Kit- If you are new to vinyl crafting the starter kit can be really great for getting you everything you need to get up and running in one easy box. Some people will say they don’t like the Silhouette vinyl, but I personally use it a lot and really like it. I recently talked with someone “in the know” at Silhouette and was told that the Silhouette branded vinyl is sourced from one the major vinyl manufacturers that everyone loves, and is the exact same thing they sell! So if you are new and want to build up your supplies, go for the Vinyl Starter kit!
2. Vinyl Multi Pack (indoor)– One of my personal must haves is both the indoor and outdoor vinyl multipack. I am just one of those people who doesn’t plan out my projects but likes to create when I get inspired, so having a little of everything on hand is a must. I can’t tell you haow many times this has been perfect when “THE IDEA” hits. I just go downstairs, raid my stash and start crafting!
3. Vinyl Multi Pack (outdoor)– Outdoor vinyl, also called permanent vinyl is used on projects that will have more wear and tear. Anything that will be used outdoors should use this. Also, people often use permanent vinyl on sippy cups, water bottles, coffee mugs, or plastic drinking cups. I probably use indoor and outdoor equally so I keep a stash of each.
4. Transfer paper– This basic is something I always keep on hand. They make two varieties, clear and translucent with a grid. I prefer the grid because I think it helps me get things lined up more easily.
5. Chalkboard Vinyl- Because we are obsessed with chalkboard everything! Make labels for jars, a menu board for a cabinet or the fridge, or a chore chart for the kids rooms! The possibilities are endless!
Heat Transfer Crafting- The Necessities for HTV Projects with your Silhouette Cameo
1. Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV) Starter Kit- I think of everything my CAMEO does, I might most love Heat Transfer projects. I am from the south and addicted to personalization!! The fact that I can whip up a custom outfit for a holiday or just monogram an everyday outfit in minutes blows my mind! It is seriously cool! If you are new to Heat Transfer Vinyl, then getting a starter pack is perfect to get everything you need in one easy box.
2. Heat Transfer Vinyl multi pack– Just like on the regular vinyl above I tend to craft spur of the moment so I like to keep a stash of colors available. I always order the multipack so that I have a little of everything, because who knows what idea I will come up with next!
3. Heat Transfer Vinyl: Glitter– Glitter HTV might be my most favorite of my favorite! Because what isn’t better with glitter? Seriously though, projects with glitter HTV are stunning! Like I said above, I love to buy multi packs. You have to be careful though on HTV because many of the packages sold on Amazon are larger than the 12″ width of the CAMEO. You can still use it by cutting it down, but I prefer to get it cut to the right size already. You can grab several colors all cut to a 12″width here!
4. Heat Press- If you love customization as much as I do, it won’t take you long to want a heat press! The Heat Press is not mandatory for doing HTV projects but it sure does save time and effort. This Heat Press has great ratings and is used by many Silhouette Crafters!
5. Parchment paper– HTV usually comes with a small piece of parchment in the box, and in the instructions they tell you to use a towel between your design and the iron, but I have found that parchment works best for me. I like to keep a roll in my craft room because inevitably I can never find the one that came in the box when I am ready to do the project.
For some great tips on Heat Transfer for Beginners make sure to check out my post!
Glass Etching- The Necessities for Vinyl Projects with your Silhouette Cameo
1. Glass Etching Starter Kit– Glass etching is another one of my favorites from the Silhouette. This might be the one that impresses people the most. When you etch glass with the Silhouette you make a stencil, apply cream that has a chemical reaction to the glass and produces the etched look on the exposed part of the glass. You can get everything you need in one stop in the glass etching starter kit. You can see a step by step and my most popular glass etching project here!
2. Contact paper– When you etch glass you will need to create a stencil to stick to the glass, you can commonly do this with vinyl, but I like to use contact paper since it is just something I will be peeling off and throwing away. Contact paper tends to be quite a bit less expensive than the quality vinyl that I buy so it makes each project a little less expensive.
3. Glass etching creme– There are a few brands out there on the market for etching cream. All of them work, but I have had great results from the Silhouette brand and the Martha Stewart brand personally.
4. Transfer Paper- Like with any vinyl project you will go through a good bit of transfer paper when you do glass etching projects. Make sure you stock up and always have some on hand, but in a pinch, you can also use more of your contact paper!
1. Fabric Blade– Cutting fabric with your Silhouette CAMEO is absolutely amazingly cool. If you like to sew or work with fabric this is definitely a must do with your machine. The only special thing you need to start cutting is a fabric blade. The fabric blade is no different than a normal blade, it is just like having fabric scissors, you need a dedicated blade so that paper and other media doesn’t dull it. I usually find that fabric blades can be even less expensive than normal blades, so keep your eye out for either, but make sure you mark the one you want to use just for fabric so you don’t ruin it! Although there is no official fabric cutting starter kit there is a fabric cutting bundle with most of the materials you need on Amazon.
2. Stabilizer– The other thing you will need is some sort of interfacing to keep your fabric stiff enough to cut and apply. You can get the Silhouette brand, or Heat and Bond works just fine too! Just follow the directions on the package of the product you get to apply it to the fabric, then cut with the machine and iron on to your item.
3. Fabric Starter Kit– Although there is not fabric cutting starter kit, there is a starter kit that helps you stencil designs onto fabric. Many crafters love to use ink or fabric paint to custom paint t-shirts, pillows, bags, backpacks, shoes, or anything you can imagine! This will get you started with everything you need to start making those projects.
4. Freezer paper– This is a staple for many Silhouette Crafters! You can use freezer paper to create a design to paint on to most anything fabric and even other media like wood. It is a simple and reliable way to customize things!
5. Rhinestone Starter Kit– If you like to leave a little sparkle where ever you go then this might be just the gift you need. The Rhinestone starter kit gets you everything you need to get started making custom rhinestone designs with your Silhouette. This is something super fun and a totally creative way to use your machine.
6. Rhinestones– If you have the basics, extra rhinestones are a great thing to keep on hand. You never know when you will need to pump out a rhinestone monogram and these little guys don’t take up much space so they are easy to add to your stash. Also, don’t forget to pick up some rhinestone transfer tape and a pick me up tool to help place the stones!
7. Designer Edition– If you want to do Rhinestone projects, you will need to have the Designer Edition upgrade to the Silhouette Software. This version of the software has a feature that allows you to convert a regular design to rhinestone template.
Organization- The Necessities for Organizing All of Your Silhouette Cameo and Crafting Supplies
1. Raskog Rolling Cart– This cart is one of the most coveted organizing carts in the craft world. It is cute, trendy, has three awesome deep buckets, and it is on wheels. What more could a girl want?! You can get the Raskog cart at Ikea, and occasionally they have a very similar one at Sam’s Club, and if you are like me and nowhere close to an Ikea, you can order it on Amazon here.
2. Closetmaid Shelves– These my friends are BRILLIANT! The Silhouette CAMEO fits perfectly between these shelves when they are stacked and provide a beautifully organized desktop. There is really nothing better than this for storing your CAMEO on a work station.
3. Ikea Bag holders- Vinyl crafters go nuts over these inexpensive little guys! You can mount it to the wall and then slide your rolls of vinyl right through the holes in the sides. It looks cute and keeps the vinyl out right where you can see it and decide what you have and what you need!
4. Scrapbook sized storage bins– I have about 5 of these in my craft closet. They are really important because it keeps your 12×12 cardstock and vinyl from getting the corners bent and the edges dinged. These are definitely one of my organization must haves!
5. Silhouette Rolling Tote– If you are on the go, then a Silhouette rolling tote will be your best friend! If you travel to see relatives of friends or even just drive a few miles to craft with friends, this keeps your machine safe and your hands more free to carry all the other crafting stuff you need. As a bonus, isn’t it just the cutest?!
6. Wide 10 Drawer Cart- Last but most definitely not least in the organization category is this cart. An oh my goodness is it awesome! You have 10 drawers to keep organized and this specific one has extra wide drawers giving you enough room to even store your 12×12 paper in it. Perfect for a craft room or just a room your crafts might be taking over (guilty!)
For the Pros! Those that are the super crafters day in and day out might want some of these really awesome extras to take their projects to the next level!
1. Scroll Saw– This is seriously the next level of awesome for a crafter. A scroll saw lets you cut designs in any shape and can take your projects to the next level. This Ryobi scroll saw not only has excellent reviews, it is coveted by crafters everywhere!
2.Heat Press- If you love customization as much as I do, it won’t take you long to want a heat press! The Heat Press is not mandatory for doing HTV projects but it sure does save time and effort. This Heat Press has great ratings and is used by many Silhouette Crafters!
3. Embroidery Machine- There is nothing that makes my heart go pitter patter like a little embroidery. Having a machine that can embroider takes the fabric crafts not just to a new level but to a whole new world! This is a nice entry level machine that can let you dip your toes in the water.
4. Work/Craft Table- When your heart is stolen by crafting, slowly your house is too! Setting aside a dedicated space can give you a haven and allow you to keep the projects (mostly) contained to one area. I love the compartments and features of that this craft table offers as well as the fact that it is counter height so you can sit or stand comfortably.
5. Silhouette Curio- If you really want to up your game, I am talking about working with leather, wood, metal. Doing things like embossing and stipling, then the Curio is something you need to add to your toolbox! It’s capabilities to do unique things and work with out of this world materials compares to none.
6. Minc Foiling Machine– If you love your Silhouette and you love a little glam, this will take your projects from gorgeous to OVER THE TOP AMAZING! You use the machine to apply foil in any color to your projects for a truly stunning effect! They have two versions, a 12″ inch Minc (which I would prefer) and a 6″ Minc which is great for a budget! And don’t forget to get a foil variety pack!
Crafting Extras- These are the little things you always need on hand! They make great stocking stuffer ideas!
1. Craft Paint– If you have made it this far in the list, then you know I like to have my craft stuff on hand for when inspiration hits. For nothing is this more true than craft paint. You never know what color you will need for a spur of the moment project so getting a good variety is definitely a must.
2. Spouncers- When you have a Silhouette, it is inevitable you will spend time stenciling. Grab an inexpensive package of spouncers so you have the right tool to stencil when the need arises.
3. Foam Brushes- I always need them, and they disappear around here like nobody’s business. Keep a pack or tow stashed to avoid crafter’s rage (ie realizing they are gone when you are in the middle of a project!)
4. Double sided tape- This is one of those things that just has endless uses! I love to have a roll around and this is the brand I use for pretty much everything!
5. Glitter- Because glitter. Again just have a variety so you have whatever you need when the time comes. This is one of my favorite multipacks.
6. Ultra Fine Sharpies– A girl can never have too many shoes or sharpies. The ultra fine tip sharpies work especially well for crafting and can be put in the machine to sketch with the pen holder.
7. Chalk Paint– My newest obsession! Chalk paint is beautiful and hard to mess up which is a great combination for a crafter with three kids! I just found this multipack from DecoArt and HAVE to have it! If you don’t want to go with the multi pack, my favorite color is treasure!
Gift Cards- When all else fails, ask for a gift card. These are the stores that crafters LOVE!
3. Hobby Lobby
6. Home Depot
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