Silhouette Cameo 5: Guide for the New Cutting Machine

Created on:

February 9, 2024

Updated on:

February 16, 2024

Written by Kelsey Sergi

The Silhouette Cameo 5: A Game-Changer in the Crafting World

the silhouette cameo 5 cutting machine in white. A 12 Inch cutting plotter for crafters and small businesses.

The Silhouette Cameo 5 is a fast and accurate cutting machine that has been updated to bring you to the peaks of your crafting capabilities. I cannot stop stating how grateful I am to be gifted the new Silhouette Cameo 5 and the electrostatic mat attachment. This cutting machine is fast and reliable and I have not looked over at my Cricut machines since I plugged it in. From its advance print and cut options and the amazing auto blade, this machine is marvelous for crafters. Let’s dive into what I have learned so far!

*I was gifted the Cameo 5 & accessories from Silhouette Inc, however all opinions are my own.

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The New Silhouette Cameo: Key Features and Innovations

Let’s start by looking at the various sizes of the Cameo 5 - we have a 12 inch machine and a 15 inch which can expand your crafting! Think larger vinyl cuts for amazing decals! According to the product page the 12 inch comes in classic white, matte black, matte pink, and a marble called Bianco Carara while the 15 inch is only available in white. I am lucky enough to have a 12 inch white machine to craft with and I have been beyond impressed. On top of being super precise and now accommodating smaller (and larger with the 15 inch machine) sizes, there are also new options in terms of “blades” for this machine which we will get into later in this blog.

The Silhouette Cameo 5 also has cut length of up to 16 feet in length compared to the Cricut Maker which will max out at 12 with repeating patterns. In terms of height clearance, the Cameo 5 can cut 3 mm high which means the materials you can use are vast!

I have done multiple print and cut projects now (even in my first week - I told you I haven’t used any other machine) and the improved registration marks are real. Every print and cut has been flawless. This makes the cutting process easy and worry free.

The roll feeder of the Silhouette Cameo 5 which is included in the box for no additional fee.

Heres a huge bonus: there is a roll feeder in the box! So, if you're looking to make those larger vinyl projects you can remove the bottom and attach the built-in roll feeder with ease. The machine features have truly blown me away and it just might be the best Silhouette Cameo yet (but I am bias, this is my only Cameo). I do have a Portrait 3 and it's an incredible machine that helped me being to learn Silhouette Studio.

Whats Inside the Box

Starting from the top down inside the box:

  • The Roll Feeder - this piece is separate and detachable so you can easily switch between vinyl, mat, and the electrostatic mat.
  • The Auto Blade - this blade has a greater material diversity than I expected. You also have an included blade adjustment tool and although I have been on the Silhouette shop everyday, I haven't bought any other blades yet.
  • Of course it comes with the AC adapter and power cable, we have to be able to turn on our machine.
  • Once regular 12x12 sticky cutting mat - I ended up ordering more because I know I will go through them. These mats are great for textured cardstock and other materials like felt compared to a Standard mat from Cricut. It's a little less sticky but still hardy.
  • The Cameo Machine itself and I have to say, it is a big machine and she now has her own desk in my craft room

In terms of digital, if you order from the Silhouette America website you will get Silhouette Studio® software (download), 100 exclusive designs (available with registration) and a 1-month Silhouette Design Store subscription (available with registration).

The machine connects via bluetooth so there is no plug in cable included but my set up was quick.

Silhouette America offers free shipping to all Club Silhouette members (a $9.99/month membership which I don't have) and sometimes offers it on certain orders or during promos. You can also see their full return policy here.

Setting Up Your New Machine

The Silhouette Cameo 5 unboxed and ready to be plugged in for first use.f

I had upgraded to the Business version of Silhouette studio previously since I have used one of the silhouette machines but that will be your first step. You can start with the free version but keep in mind you will be more limited in terms of use. Make sure you have the right software version for your computer. You can subscribe to my newsletter below to keep up with my new Silhouette news, tutorials, and Cricut v Silhouette comparisons.

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What I like about the Silhouette studio software is that it's a little more advanced than Cricut Design Space. Comparing Cricut and Silhouette is easy - I will say Cricut is beginner friendly but Silhouette really has the power both in terms of design capabilities and the actual machine.

Now, I highly suggest to check out the FAQ machine setup Silhouette has provided but here are the easy steps I took to get my machine up and running.

The power button to the Silhouette Cameo 5 machine, long hold to turn on.

Step 1:
I plugged in my Cameo - make sure to take off all the tape and take out all the cardboard.

Step 2: Next, turn it on, on the side. This is a long hold so don't just press in and release. The LED screen will light up and your machine is on.

Step 3: You will have to connect via your bluetooth and then run a firmware update for the new machine. Do not turn your machine or computer off during this time. Once everything is updated, your Cameo is ready to go!! I had my first cut going within 10 minutes of unboxing.

Now keep in mind, Silhouette studio is not as easy as Design Space and I still have so much to learn but start small and work through mistakes. The most important factors are knowing how to change between various material types and knowing where the emergency stop is. (I joke, but not really)

I would start with something basic and small to test your machine. I started with a lightening bolt on paper and the electrostatic mat. Let's dive into how that went.

The Electro Static Mat Add On

This is a game charger for paper crafters. Now, it's going to work better on non-textured paper - and I tested this myself but the cuts are beautiful when clings! No rolling or sticky mats. Amazing.

The optional Electrostatic Mat is an extra $99 and comes with the mat itself, a sheet of non-adhesive vinyl and the side roll tape. To use this add-on you will first attach it to the bottom of the machine, remove the bottom piece of your Silhouette Cameo 5 and then align the prongs and push until you hear a click. To remove, there are two buttons to hold down in the corner.

The Silhouette Cameo 5 with the optional Electrostatic Mat add on.

Using my ES mat the first time, I caused a scratch in the plastic and couldn't get it to go in but with trial and error I figured it out and now it's all smooth sailing.

Add your protective vinyl sheet and then to add on your material, first make sure its compatible - as mentioned before the Electrostatic Mat works its best with smooth, non-pourus materials and it's going to struggle with textured card, fabrics, and felts. I tested my 80 lb textured card (one side is smooth) and it was slipping and sliding.  Then, turn on the ES mat and be careful - I have been shocked more than once. It reminds me of when you rub your socks on carpet and then touch a doorknob.

Placing the protective vinyl sheet on the electrostatic mat from Silhouette to use with the Silhouette Cameo 5.

Once you have your material loaded, you'll slide the mat up and press the in arrow on the LED lit touch panel. Make sure to move the adjustable pinch rollers so that everything lines up beautifully. Go back to your computer and check your cut settings. It will double check that your machine and mat are ready and in place and then you can send.

To remove the mat when you have had a successful cut, just his the down arrow and pull out the tray. I tend to leave the mat off because you can get that little shock again.

One thing I have noticed, if there is any material debris on the mat, this can cause a stall in cutting which makes for a very unpleasant noise - so keep your mats clean and use that emergency stop button!

Sending my first cut through on my Silhouette Cameo 5 machine.

Other Things to Note

  • This machine is top notch in terms of ultimate cutting precision - its intelligent path technology means that cutting thin papers and layers is a cinch.
  • It's lightening fast, the Cameo 5 doesn't play around once it gets going and I am able to going through a design quickly and efficiently.
  • Have a repeat job? No problem, on the LED screen there is a circled arrow, just unload your last project, slide in a new mat and go. No need to re-hit settings.
  • I haven't gotten here just yet but there are new tool options for the Silhouette Cameo 5 like the heated pen foiling tool (WHATTT???), embossing, and even a new updated pen holder which now has the option for calligraphy.
  • Some more common cutting concerns with Silhouette have some from the loudness of their machines, and although this isn't the quietest machine out there, I am not covering my ears as it goes.
  • You don't have to use Silhouette materials but they do have a great variety to choose from, in my opinion the best vinyl out there is teckwrap and paper is anything over 80 lb and textured (no white core) but everyone is different!
  • Silhouette Studio as mentioned before is a full design software and you can even offload and download your SVG files from there unlike Cricut Design Space, which is excellent. Keep in mind that might make the creative process a bit harder since you are going to have more expansive tools and new things to text out.
  • Sending to be cut and prepping your cutting order can be a little confusing but each time you make a new craft it will be easier and easier, remember to give yourself grace when trying something new.
  • This is not a laser and does not have laser cutting capabilities - from what I have heard right now everyone is loving the xTool P2 and if you're looking for something smaller check out the Glowforge Aura.
Kelsey, a crafter and owner of Dinosaur Mama LLC holding her new Silhouette Cameo 5.

Overall the Silhouette Cameo 5 has immediately won a space in my heart and is perfect for both small businesses and home crafters alike. I am excited to explore more with this cutting machine with the blades and the pens and don't get me started on the scoring, this is sure to be my go to right now for crafting. It's super fast, precise, and reliable.

Come back soon for Silhouette Studio tutorials, my set up of the Electrostatic mat, and any new blades I might try out!

Stay crafty!

Kelsey Sergi - the owner and crafter at Dinosaur Mama.

Hi crafters! I'm Kelsey and I am here to bring you new original craft projects and free SVG files for your cutting machines every week!

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