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Let’s Explore – The Curio – Getting started

There is this little Silhouette machine called the Silhouette Curio that came into my studio and has quickly grown to be another favorite tool.

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Now, I have to admit that the first day I opened the box, I did holler upstairs to my husband and say something like “I think I made a mistake. I don’t get this machine.”
But, at that point and time there was not much out there to tell you how to get started with it.
Now, the more I use it, the more I love it!!!

So I thought I’d share a few tips to get you started with it.

Silhouette Secrets+ – Curio tips


The Curio differs from the Cameo in that it uses a platform system to accommodate thicker materials. The Curio has a clearance of 5 mm and the platforms are added or taken away from the base to bring the height up or down as needed.

This machine comes with a 8.5 in. x 6 in. base and platforms labeled 2, 2, 1, 1 = cutting mat, and 1 = embossing mat.

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The platforms are stacked on the base for a total number of 6 to reach the height for the machine to work.
Each material that is used will vary in the number of platforms needed to use with the machine.

For instance, if you have a thin material under 1 mm, you would use a total platform stack of 6. This would be for materials such as cardstock, adhesive vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, or the Silhouette metal etching sheets. These are thin materials and need all the platforms in to reach the height needed to perform the task.

What I can tell you from lots of testing is that each material you get will be different and testing is the very best answer.

For example, I get my acrylic for etching from Craft Chameleon and it is 3 mm thick. I get a good etch using a platform stack of 2+1+the cutting mat and the Silhouette etching tool. If you add this up, it equals a total of 7. Yes, that is more than 6, but my etch comes out well.


Every material and brand of material will vary in what works best. Testing is the answer.

Curio must be recognized by the software

With the Silhouette software open, plug the Curio in to the computer and turn it on.

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Next, click on the Send tab in the top right corner.

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Then gently load the base in the Curio machine and push the Load button. When the base is loaded you should get a message that a new machine has been plugged in and the Emboss Panel will then be unlocked for you.

You will see at the bottom of the Send tab that the Curio now shows Ready instead of Syncing.

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With the v4.2 software version, the Emboss Panel will not unlock the first time a Curio is plugged in until you have loaded the base in the machine. This is how it recognizes that a new Curio has been plugged in.

Curio base position

The Curio machine is unique in a way that the machine can be paused and unloaded in the middle of a project and then be reloaded and continue in the exact place it left off. This is if the Curio base is loaded into the machine correctly.

There is a notch on the side of the Curio base.

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This notch must be loaded into the machine past the front of the machine in order to orient the blade into the correct starting position.

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How far past the front? There is no magic area, just past the front of the machine. I always push mine in so it is well inside the machine before pushing the Load button on the side.

Emboss Panel

Once the Curio is recognized, the Emboss Panel in the software is unlocked. This allows you to fill designs with different patterns and fills.

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The Emboss panel is where I do most of the designing for etching. Each user will vary in what they like to use as an emboss fill. I prefer a tight etch and often use the Cross hatched fill with a small spacing. Check out this post on the Emboss Panel for a detailed explanation of the entire panel.

Test the materials and have fun!

There are so many options in creating with this machine and you will learn so much from just playing with it.

Here are a few projects I’ve created with the Silhouette Curio.


These acrylic coasters are from Craft Chameleon and etched with the Silhouette Etching tool. The Silhouette Etching tool is not typically in the original Curio purchase, unless it is a special bundle. So you will need to order that separately.


Above is a leather bracelet that I designed and tooled with several tools in the Silhouette Curio. The Curio did not cut clean through the tooling leather, but it cut most of the way through and then I could use scissors to cut the rest.


This is a Silhouette metal etching sheet and what I recommend for a beginner to start etching with and practice. I would suggest creating smaller designs and using the entire sheet to practice. It is double sided too, so more bang for your buck!

Check out this virtual demo table on my Youtube channel of many Curio projects I’ve done HERE.

Need a little more help getting started with the Curio?
These classes and tutorials may help:
Beginner Setup & First Cuts on Cardstock & Vinyl online class HERE
Beginner Metal Etching tutorial HERE
Basic Acrylic Etching online class HERE

Don’t have a Curio yet, but are in the market? Here are 3 places to shop for one:
Silhouette America
Swing Design

Save this for future reference by pinning the image below.

I would love to see what you create – feel free to post on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets+ with EllyMae.


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**This post may contain affiliate links. What that means is that I may receive compensation if you purchase through the links I have provided. The price you pay for the product or service is not higher but I may get compensated for sharing.

16 thoughts on “Let’s Explore – The Curio – Getting started”

  1. This is a great tutorial and EllyMae is so friendly and kind. Thanks for this, I was able to get my new curio to work. Thank you so much EllyMae!


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