So, are you one of the lucky Lous who got a new Silhouette for Christmas? If so, congratulations! It took me a good, long while before I really warmed up to my machine. You see I don’t scrapbook and couldn’t really see the point of having a cutting machine with that one missing bit of the equation. But my Silhouette is for so much more than than and I love it so, so much!
Now when I was just getting started I was nervous about hitting that on button. I mean, some of this stuff is pretty expensive and it’s not something you want to ruin. But I finally just decided to get into it, come what may. And, as it would happen, a lot would come of it. I’ve made some pretty awesome things with my Silhouette, but I’ve also ruined a lot of paper and even sliced through one of my cutting mats. THAT was a silly and expensive mistake! But I’m sharing what I’ve learned in a year of using my machine and sharing Cameo Help with you. I hope that it helps you out!
1. ALWAYS double check the setting on your blade. I cut something at 7 and then weeks later went to cut regular paper and the blade cut the shape out of my mat in places, too. That sucked.
2. If you shut down the program, it quits cutting. I’ve ruined a good piece of iron on flocked vinyl because I got sidetracked and shut the program down just before it would have been finished… Ugh.
3. Practice the cut on paper before you use an expensive material like flocked vinyl. I would have saved big money if I would have figured this one out sooner!
4. Lost the little cap that comes with your blade? No worries! There is a built in thingamabob that does the same thing. This took me far longer to realize than it should have.
5. Are you having a hard time getting your paper or card stock off of the mat without some of it tearing and getting stuck? Your mat is probably new-ish, right? It’s too sticky! Take a clean tee shirt or other fabric item and blot at the adhesive side like you were trying to get water up out of your carpet. Some of the fibers and whatnot will stick making it less sticky.
6. On the flip side have you used your mat to the point where it is hardly sticky anymore? Wash in warm and soapy water and allow to dry 24 hours. You should notice that the sticky is back when fully dry!
7. Not sticky enough? Use a few coats of a re-positionable spray adhesive like Krylon Easy-Tack. Just be sure to tape off the edges of the mat before spraying!
8. Are your bits and pieces curling up when you remove them, making them unusable or requiring they sit under something heavy for a few hours to straighten out? Turn the mat over so that your cut bits are on a flat surface like a table. Instead of peeling away the cut bits, peel away the cutting mat. Notice how the mat curves as you’re pulling away? That was why your paper kept coming out wonky!
9. Invest in a dust cover. I learned this one the hard way. With as many cats as I have I was cleaning out my machine way too often. One dust cover later and I haven’t had to bother with that in months!
10. Keep your blades clean to ensure they stay sharp longer. To clean the blades turn to 0 then unscrew the white cap at the end. Use cotton swab to clean out sticky, glittery or paper gunk that accumulates. If you have a blade that isn’t very old and isn’t doing a great job, try this before buying a new one!
11. If your cuts start having weird edges, and cleaning doesn’t help, it’s probably time to order a new blade. On the flip side, don’t toss that less than perfect blade out just yet. I mark mine with OLD in silver Sharpie and use it instead of my good blade when making practice cuts or seeing if my cut file works the way I want to. For these tests a perfect cut isn’t required so I may as well save my good blade for the real deal!
12. You don’t have to purchase every cut file you need from the Silhouette store. There’s a lot in there and some awesome stuff at awesome prices can be found, but if you don’t want to spend 99 cents for the perfect heart, you can totally make one yourself from a JPG image you find online. Get the tutorial for that here…
13. If your mat is getting grimy clean it with baby wipes. Yep, plain ol’ baby wipes!
14. Need a bit more of a deep clean? Remove cat hair or lint or glitter or whatever may be gunking up your cutting mats by getting after them with Duck Tape! Dab at the mat like if you were trying to remove lint or whatnot from your clothes with tape!
And before you leave, looking for some inspiration or free cut files? Check out the projects I’ve whipped up in the last 12 months of Silhouette ownership! And feel free to link up your own projects here, too!