Eek, Silhouette Cameo!

Problems with Silhouette Cameo


Well, just a few minutes after I wrote the last blog post, I faced about the next 2 hours in a crafter’s nightmare. My brand new beautiful Cameo went cuckoo. Here’s a rundown:

1. One of the first times I went to cut, it started the cutting much earlier, and the cutting mat was bored into by the blade.

2. Then, as I was working to cut the vinyl that I purchased (Silhouette brand), it would not cut completely, and the vinyl ripped. I have gone through an entire roll of 72″ of vinyl for one small project.

3. I could not find directions that said not to use the cutting mat with vinyl. When I did use the two together, the paper backing to the vinyl stuck to the mat. I cannot get all of the pieces off.
4. In addition, it would only load into the machine correctly 1 out of every 5 or 6 times.
5. When I have tried to cut with cardstock and the mat, the cardstock will not release from the matting, causing it to rip and tear. I cannot get it free without ruining the cardstock or cutout.


6. I thought that, in order to get a better and sharper cut, I could try double cutting. The machine is imperfect and will not line it up completely to cut, even if I select “double cut” in the cutting option.

So, I sent an email to Silhouette about these problems at about 10:30 PM. I got an email back from them almost as soon as they opened the next morning. Here was their response about the overly stickiness of the cutting mat:

Please note that the mat should be conducive to most materials to hold them well enough during the cutting process and then release them afterward. We are aware that some materials may not perform as well and may have a more delicate nature to rip or tear upon attempted removal. As the mat is initial fairly sticky, you may wish to take the mat prior to initial use and “relax” it a bit by placing it on a surface that is not overly linty but which would allow the adhesive to be less aggressive (such as your jeans or denim material). However, even as such, some materials may simply be too delicate or fibrous. For example, we would not recommend the use of handmade papers or construction paper since such cannot be cut well since they are not dense enough for successful cutting, but also would leave behind quite a bit of material on the adhesive mat.

As a recommendation, you may wish to explore the Spatula tool as seen at to aid in the removal of certain more delicate materials and cut out items from the mat.

As papers and cardstock materials do have micro-fibers and may leave paper flecks behind after being adhered to the mat, we would recommend cleaning the mat between uses to ensure there are no fibers or other materials which cause papers or other materials to not be gripped as well. We have had reports from some customers who have mentioned they use a disposable lint roller to clean these fibers or other pieces from their mats between usage. While this will not apply a new adhesive coating to the mat, it should ensure that it is clean. In addition to cleaning the mat, it is vital to replace the cutting mat’s liner on top of the sticky surface when not in use. If left uncovered while not in use, the mat’s adhesive surface may collect dust or other particles.

Also, as I was searching for the answers to some of these problems I was facing, here were some great responses online. I will also link to the original websites.

Cleaning the Cutting Mat:

This was the best tip that I got from the websites I visited: Simply wash the mat with soap and warm water!

Too-Sticky Cutting Mat:

“Don’t worry, this problem won’t last long. Most of us find the mat is too sticky the first couple of times we use it, and then, before you know it, the darn thing is not sticky enough!” (Source: Globugideas)

Not-Enough-Stickiness Cutting Mat:

“1. Wipe your cutting mat regularly with baby wipes… 2. Wash your cutting mat with warm water and dish soap… 3. Spray your cutting mat with re-positionable glue… Note: The majority of articles, reviews and posts that I have read recommend NOT using Elmer’s Fast Tack Re-positionable glue.” (Source: Globugideas)

The Cutting Mat Slides Around When Cutting:

“1. Check the blue lever. Make sure this lever is pressed down and making contact with the mat. If the lever is in the “up” position, it will not be able to hold your mat in place and guide it through the machine during the cutting process. 2. The rollers on the roller bar must be spaced properly to grip the edges of your cutting mat or other media. You can easily adjust the rollers by moving them along the roller bar. 3. Centre your cutting mat or other media directly under the rollers. CUTTING MAT TIP: To get more wear out of your cutting mat, turn it around and use the bottom half, too.” (Source: Globugideas)

Update: Thanks to Janet, who left a comment on this post. These directions were word-for-word from Globugideas, but she is right that they need a little editing. The blue lever will actually be in the “up” positition, which means that the roller that holds the paper will be down, thus holding the mat/paper/vinyl down.

The Blade is Not Cutting Through the Material:

“One other thing to check before the new blade arrives is to see if there is packed fibers around the blade. I tried to use a paper that really shed and the area around my blade was filled with fibers. I used a pin to dislodge the fibers & it resolved my problem.” (Source: TwoPeasInABucket Forum)

“Or you can try turning the blade housing at an angle when you put it into the machine. It may be at the wrong angle.” (Source: TwoPeasInABucket Forum)

“I had a problem with my original blade and the label was not placed on it properly. I would try increasing the depth of the blade and see if that is your problem. Increase it by one or two numbers. With my blade if it says to put it on 2 for the paper, I crank it up one notch to 3.” (Source: TwoPeasInABucket Forum)

“When I first took my Silhouette Cameo out of the box, I didn’t have the blade set right and it didn’t quite reach the paper to cut properly. Make sure you’ve set the blade in its sheath correctly so it “snaps” into place. You can see basics on how to do this in your guide that you received with your Cameo. If you don’t have that handy, you can find an online guide here.” (Source: SilhouetteCameoGuide)

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  1. JanetWhincup says:

    I would just like to comment regarding this instruction……

    ”1. Check the blue lever. Make sure this lever is pressed down and making contact with the mat. If the lever is in the “up” position, it will not be able to hold your mat in place and guide it through the machine during the cutting process.”

    This is incorrect. The lever MUST be in the ”up” position to keep the mat in place.

    thanks and kind regards

    • Hi Janet! Thanks so much for the comment! What I meant in those directions was that the roller that holds the paper should be down. You are right that the actual lever should be “up.” I’ll change those now. Thanks again!

  2. Do you know if you can use the Cameo with a Chromebook?????
    Wanting to know if it can be hooked up to that or if I have to use my PC.
    Thanks so much

    • Gena,

      Unfortunately, I don’t believe that it will work with a Chromebook because of the software, but it would be worth contacting Silhouette to see!

      • I have a Chromebook ( that i love!) You cannot use it..I have an old Laptop that I use just for my Silhouette …hope this helps

  3. I got this trick from my mom. When the mat isn’t as sticky, but still has life left, place your paper on it and use a brayer (with acrylic roller) to roll over it to be sure it sticks well. Really extends the life of the mat!

  4. Linda R. says:

    There is a place in the manual that tells you how to “calibrate” your mat/machine –

  5. Hi! I love your site….AWESOME!! So I just got a cameo and I’m still trying to figure everything out. It is so intimidating at first! Do you always have to be connected to the internet in order for your library to work? I’m finding that mine disappears if it’s just on my computer until I connect to the internet. Am I doing something wrong? Thanks!!!

    • Thanks so much for finding this blog! I never thought that you had to be connected to the internet for the library to work, but we have wireless at our house that connects automatically to my computer, so I don’t know about that. Have you tried to call Silhouette and ask them? I had a great customer service experience when I called them. Will you let me know what they say? I’ll check around and see if I can get any more info for you.

  6. I have problems with the vinyl coming loose and it begins to turn while its cutting?? (the lever is in the correct posiiton as well) and also it is cutting all the way through my vinyl, even after I have changed the blade setting to 1. (I have it on the load media option not load cutting mat) HELP ME!!!! Thanks in advance. Sincerely, frustrated silhouette owner :3(

    • I had those issues as well when I was first starting out, and I realized that I needed to use a cutting mat. As soon as I started doing that, I stopped having those troubles. The vinyl stays in place and gets cut where it should, and it doesn’t cut through the whole vinyl. Try it and let me know how it goes!

      • Well I was trying to make a merry Christmas sign that is 25 inches long. Do they make mats that big?

        • My mat is 24 inches long… Could you cut it in two pieces and then piece it together? I often do that on long signs in order to save on vinyl. Are you putting the vinyl directly on the sign or are you using it as a stencil?

          • Just as a stencil. I didn’t know you could cut it in half. Is there an icon for that?

          • I just manipulate the image and move it into two parts and cut that way. I’d love to do a tutorial for you, if you want! Would you send me a screenshot of the image you wanted to cut? That way, I can base it off of your original. Or, if you want, you could send me the Silhouette file. My email is dorydoyle at

  7. I recently got a cutter and it doesn’t properly cut on the design lines. For instance if your cutting an O it cuts the outer line to the left and the inner line to the right. It seems the alignment is completely off. Help, what could be wrong?

    • Hey Vicky! One thing to make sure is that you are using a cutting mat. Even though it can cut without the mat, I found that it was much more accurate with cutting (and stayed lined up). Also, I have found that occasionally I have had issues with the Silhouette not cutting some sections. I would recommend you to check the cuts before you remove them from the roller. If there is a section that remains uncut, you can have the whole image cut again.

  8. Bailey Dunmire says:

    Hi, I just purchased the silhouette and am thorough ly frustrated with it. Question, do you remove the backing paper from the vinyl before placing on the cutting mat? I got a test to go through on card stock then it ate the vinyl. I want to Send it back!

    • Don’t give up yet! As you can see, there is a learning curve, but you WILL get it! No, don’t remove the backing paper yet (you do that after it’s cut). You will have to change the settings of the blade (both the settings via the machine and the actual blade), speed, etc. It should do it automatically if you tell it what kind of vinyl you’re using. Also, are you using a cutting mat? I’ve found that it messes up royally if you don’t use a mat.

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