I’ve been seeing a lot of frustration on the Silhouette Facebook groups lately and that prompted me to create a list of the 5 most common causes that might cause this frustration.
5 Silhouette Tips
Tutorial created in Silhouette Studio v4.3.372
Tip #1 – Make sure the USB cord is plugged in correctly.
While this may sound silly, this is especially important to take note of with the new Cameo 4 machine.
The USB plug has a specific way to go into the port on the Cameo 4.
The curve of the USB plug should be facing down and the straight part facing up. Do not force the USB plug into the port or you could damage the connection.
If the USB plug is not inserted correctly, the Silhouette software will not pick up the Silhouette machine connection.
Tip #2 – Make sure the blade is installed properly.
There should be no gap at all between the lip of the blade and the housing of the machine.
To ensure that the blade is completely down in the housing, lift up on the front of the lock carefully as you install the blade. Then hold pressure down on the top of the blade as you push the lock in.
If you still have questions on proper blade installation, check out this video from Silhouette on installing the blade in the Cameo 4 – HERE.
If you are using a Silhouette black “ratchet” blade, make sure the fin of the blade is at the 6 o’clock position and there is no gap between the housing and the lip of the blade.
It does not matter which Silhouette machine you are using.
The blade installation applies for all Silhouette machines.
If you are using a black “ratchet” blade, premium blade, or deep cut blade in the Cameo 4; make sure you are using the correct adapter and installing in the Tool 1 housing.
Tip #3 – Make sure the mat is loaded properly.
There are only 2 ways the Silhouette cutting mat can be loaded properly in the machine. The cutting mat has specific dimensions and the left and right sides are narrower than the top and bottom margins.
With a new Silhouette cutting mat, there are 2 arrows designating the top and bottom of the mat. The cutting mat can be loaded in the machine with the arrow in.
On an older Silhouette cutting mat, there may be only 1 arrow. The cutting mat can be loaded in the machine arrow in or arrow out.
Place the left edge of the cutting mat next to the line on the left that the arrows point to.
Gently hold the cutting mat up to the rollers and then press the Load button on the Cameo and the machine will pull it into the machine. If the cutting mat does not pull in evenly, press the unload button and load it again.
If you are using a Cameo 3 or Cameo 4, the Autoblade needs access to the adjustment holes on the left side. If the cutting mat or material is loaded too far to the left or sideways, the blade cannot hit those adjustment holes properly to adjust the blade correctly.
Tip #4 – Make sure the Page Setup Panel options are set correctly.
The Page Setup Panel is where you tell the software what you are working with.
This is where you set up your machine, cutting mat, and media size.
Setting up the Page Setup Panel is very important in knowing where the design will cut.
For more information on the Page Setup Panel check out this post “Let’s Explore v4” post HERE.
If you are cutting without a mat, the cuttable area is different than cutting with a mat.
For more information on cutting without a mat click HERE or on this post about the roll feeder HERE.
Tip #5 – Make sure that the design is set up with cut lines.
When you are ready to send the design to cut, make sure there are bold red cut lines showing on the Send tab around the design.
If there are no bold red cut lines around the design, the software has nothing to communicate to the Silhouette machine to cut.
Click on the design to select it. This is the most important part.
If the design is not selected then there is nothing to change.
Once the design is selected, choose Cut on the right side and bold red lines should appear.
If bold red lines do not appear around the image where you want to cut, what file type are you cutting?
A .studio file from the Silhouette Design Store, cut lines should turn on.
A .svg file, the cut lines should turn on if you have the Designer Edition upgrade or higher and have opened the file correctly.
Find out more information on svg files HERE.
A .jpeg or .png file is a graphics file only and does not have cut lines. Most often when you choose cut the bold red cut lines show up in a rectangle or square around the design. Jpeg or png file will need to be traced to get cut lines.
Find our more information on tracing HERE.
And just because I can’t stop there, here are a few other tips.
Bonus Tip #1
Make sure you have the correct material chosen on the Send tab before sending to cut.
Bonus Tip #2
Do a test cut.
This will save you frustration and materials. You can either use the test cut in the software or create your own by typing out a capital ‘B’ to use.
Check out this Beginner HTV post for more information on using your own test cut.
Make sure to unload the mat and reload it before you send the design to cut. There are currently some versions of the software that do not reset the blade housing to the same location after a test cut and the design may not cut in the correct location if the mat is not unloaded after a test cut.
Bonus Tip #3
Make sure the Registration marks are OFF.
These are marks that are only used for print and cut, but I see many new users accidentally turn them on without realizing it.
If a new user is trying to type out text and presses the ‘M’ when not in text typing mode, the registration marks will appear on the screen.
The keyboard shortcut is the letter ‘M’ or they can be turned off on the Page Setup Panel – Tab 3 – Registration Marks.
If you run into cutting issues and post on a Facebook group asking for help, post a photo of the blade installed in the machine with the mat loaded.
If you have followed me on Facebook, you have probably noticed that is the first question I will ask a user when they are experiencing cutting issues.
It is the #1 place to start no matter if you are a new user or experienced user.
Most issues start with the blade, however, there are many things we can tell by looking at a blade photo such as: which Silhouette machine it is, alignment of the blade housing, are there cracks in the blade, is there material stuck in the housing, is the mat loaded properly, has the packing material been removed, etc. and YES – is the blade installed correctly.
But, it is not always just about the blade being installed correctly in the machine.
And sometimes, it is not what we are looking for but what might be off. It is not always easy to explain what we look for when troubleshooting but it is the first place to start when troubleshooting.
If you are just unboxing a new Silhouette machine check out these 2 unboxing videos:
Unboxing the Cameo 4
Unboxing the Curio
If you are still having issues getting started or are feeling overwhelmed, check out the new Beginner Video Class I created after so many users struggling with the same issues when getting started.
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I’d love to see what you are creating with your Silhouette!
Feel free to post photos or questions on my Facebook group at
Silhouette Secrets with EllyMae.
3 thoughts on “Let’s Explore – 5 tips for Silhouette users”
What are registration marks used for?
Registration marks are used when you are doing a print and cut project – here is a little bit more information on how to set that up. https://silhouette-secrets.com/2020/01/28/lets-explore-v4-print-cut-basics/