Cutting without a mat on the Cameo

Did you know you could cut without a mat with the Cameo? Yes! You can! The Portrait and all the Cameo machines have the ability to cut certain materials without a mat.

IMG_2940 copy

I see this asked a lot so let’s take a look at how to set it up properly to get a good cut.

You can only cut materials that have a backing without a mat on the Silhouette machines. Materials that have a backing would include adhesive vinyl or Heat Transfer vinyl (HTV), these are the most common ones I see. Single layer materials such as cardstock or fabric need to be placed on a mat or you risk jamming your machine when it cuts.

First, you want to set up the software to tell the Cameo that you are cutting without a mat.

No Mat setup copy

  1. Change the Page Size to the size of material you are using.
  2. Change the Cutting Mat to None. The arrow on the screen is indicating where the material will be loaded into the Cameo.
  3. Check the box to “Show Cut Border”. This will bring up a red cut border and will show you the maximum cut-able area of your vinyl.

No Mat setup - cut space

Next, something to keep in mind when cutting without a mat, you lose 1/4″ of cut-able space on your material on the left & right side and 1″ of cut-able space on the backside. This is so that your Cameo can hold the material securely in the machine while it cuts.

I have seen many times when someone tries to “trick” the machine to tell it the material is longer than it is, so they can get the design to cut in that last 1″ space, but most times, it will lose grip on the material and fall out the backside. Then you have wasted that cut of vinyl. So I don’t recommend that. Just know in advance that you have to work within those parameters on your material and checking the “Show Cut border” helps visualize that.

So now that we’ve told the software we are cutting without a mat, let’s set the machine up.

First, you need to make sure that your blade is installed correctly. The #1 issue I see is not having the blade installed in the machine with no gap. It should look like this with no gap at all between the blade and the housing. This is for all blades, not just the Autoblade, but it is especially important with the Autoblade as it cannot adjust correctly if it is not in properly.

Autoblade with arrow

Next, you want to move your right roller in to grab the edge of the vinyl. There are 4 positions that the right roller can be locked on the roller bar. These are all indicated by the blue arrows, which line up to grooves on the roller bar that the lock sits in.


These are the only places that the right roller can be locked in on the roller bar. If you do not have the roller securely set in the groove, it will not lock in place. It may look like it’s locked but it is not.

Now, to move your right roller. Flip the roller bar lock down to release it (unlock). This lifts the right side of the roller bar, so you can move the roller.

Roller bar lock copy

Next, turn the right side of the Roller lock to the unlocked position. It is very difficult to see but there is a definite lock and unlock and a notch that has to be securely in place.

Roller bar lock zoom_edit

Once it is in the unlock position, you can carefully slide it along the roller bar until it securely sits in the groove that you want it in. Then make sure to turn the roller lock back to the locked position and turn the roller bar lock so it is pointing up. The terminology can get confusing so here is a visual.

Roller bar vs roller lock copy

Now, once your roller is securely locked in place and your roller bar lock is pointed up in the locked position, we want to make sure we are loading our vinyl correctly.

Place your vinyl next to the blue line on the left side, just like you would load the mat and the top edge of the vinyl up against the rollers. Don’t push it in, just hold it up to the rollers, so when you push the load button it will pull the vinyl into the machine.

Blue line

Now, see how the rollers are firmly gripping the edges of the vinyl.

Vinyl edges

Remember what I said earlier about losing 1/4″ of cut-able space on your left and right side of your vinyl? This is why. The rollers need that space to securely hold the vinyl in the machine.

Also, something to take note of is that your design will start cutting exactly at the top of your vinyl that is loaded in the machine. As you can see in this photo, the red cut border starts at the very top of the vinyl.

Cut at top of vinyl

It does not have to account for the extra space of the mat, so it begins cutting immediately.

Once your vinyl is loaded, you may also choose to advance the vinyl through the machine in order to see how it will track. On the Cameo touchscreen, click on the directional arrow icon in the bottom right corner.

Track feed

Then press on the down arrow to get it to feed through the machine.

Track through

This can help you identify any issues you may encounter with it feeding through the Cameo straight.

Now, that the software and the Cameo are set up correctly, we are ready to Send the design to Cut.

Creative cut

You want to keep the vinyl as straight as possible going into and coming out of the Cameo. If you are cutting something that is really long and have the vinyl hanging that can create an issue if the vinyl is pulling. Or if the vinyl doesn’t have room on the backside to pass through, then it can cause issues too.

It will depend on the length of the vinyl you are cutting, but I prefer to use my Silhouette roll feeder when cutting long length. I feel that I don’t have to babysit the cutting as much once I have the roll feeder set up, as long as the backside is clear.


Now, I know it doesn’t look like much but it will hold your 9″ and 12″ vinyl rolls in place. I will be completely honest and say that I didn’t think I would have any use for it. But, I was wrong! I use this every time I have a large vinyl decal to cut.

The Cameo machine sits securely on top of the Silhouette Roll Feeder and the vinyl is fed through so it goes into the machine straight.


Here is the video I watched by Silhouette to set up the roll feeder – The Silhouette Roll Feeder.

You can find the roll feeder here: Swing Design Silhouette America Amazon

I would highly suggest practicing this technique of not using a mat before you are under pressure to get a project done. And I still will always recommend that a beginner start by using a mat, so you can see how the machine works before you start changing too much of it.


This is a great feature to have the ability to cut materials without a mat for things longer like this 12″ x 33″ wall decal!

I used Oracal 631 for this project and used the Vinyl, Matte setting in the Silhouette software to get a beautiful cut.

Cut settings

Can’t wait to see what you decide to cut without a mat! Share photos of your creations on my Facebook group at Silhouette Secrets+ by EllyMae.

Enjoy !

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26 thoughts on “Cutting without a mat on the Cameo”

  1. I have a cameo( think it’s the first one) is it able to cut without a mat too? Would be really good as l sometimes need to cut stuff bigger than the mat


    1. Yes, all of the Silhouette Cameo machines & Portrait machines can cut without a mat. However, the rollers are a bit different. You may have to work on moving the rollers on a Cameo 1….. they can be a bit tricky….. I have a Cameo 1 as well, but use my Cameo 3 without the mat as the rollers are easier to move.


  2. I know this is probably the dumbest newbie question ever but you said to use the mat for cardstock. How do you do this and it not stick to the mat. I have wanted to do this but didn’t want paper stuck to my mat


    1. You want the cardstock to stick to the mat so it can make a clean cut. However, when you first open a mat, it can be super sticky. Apply it to a clean cotton t-shirt or towel to help de-stick it a little bit. Then after the cut is complete, flip the mat over and peel the mat away from the cardstock. The mat is very flexible, so you can peel it at a sharp angle while holding the material down on the table surface. This will help with the cardstock curling as well. As you use it more and more, you will pick up tips and tricks to getting it to release from the mat.


  3. Hi. What cut settings do you put it on when youre cutting htv? Smooth and glitter. My blade is cutting through the material.


    1. The advertised length is 10 ft long. Ultimately it will come down to how you have it set up, your cut settings & of your vinyl is cut straight & the Cameo can grip it the entire time. For long cuts like that, I would highly recommend the Silhouette roll feeder.


      1. Thanks a lot sir for instant reply. But in India roll feeder cost is almost INR 6000 too much on higher side.
        SM Jadhav


  4. is the max cutting lenght with a role limited to 10 ft or “open end”? with cameo 4 the lenght seems to be limited by the cutting software to 3 meter (something like 10ft).




    1. No. I have tested in v4.3.353 and a Beta testing 4.4 version and in both I can still adjust the height beyond 10 ft. The max I could enter was 196.85 inches.
      10 feet is declared as the max because beyond that, it is harder and harder to keep the vinyl straight when feeding through the machine.
      There is no difference in what the Cameo 3 vs the Cameo 4 can cut lengthwise.


  5. Hi, I can see you have a lot of knowledge about Silhouette Cameo, could you tell me do I need to use Silhouette Studio to make Silhouette Cameo 3 to work or can I import from Adobe Illustrator straight to the device?


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