Four Silhouette Projects for Beginners
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Learn how to make cool stuff with these Silhouette projects for beginners! They’re fun, easy, and will help you learn how to use your machine.
I’ve owned my Silhouette machine for a few years now and it has honestly changed the way I craft. I like to joke and say it makes me look super professional, but it’s true!
A Silhouette machine can open you up to a world of possibilities when it comes to the types of projects you can do with it. I have still only scratched the surface of all the things I can do with this machine and I’m constantly finding out new things I can do with it.
I won’t lie and tell you that there is no learning curve when it comes to using your machine because there always is when you’re trying something new. But it is well worth it to put in the time and effort so that you can start making projects that bring you joy!
When I was originally looking at machines I was trying to decided between the Silhouette Portrait or the Silhouette Cameo. At the time we were living in a small apartment and there wasn’t a lot of room for craft supplies. That had a lot to do with my decision and why I went with the Silhouette Portrait.
Why the Silhouette Portrait was the smart choice for me at the time:
Chris and I lived in a very small apartment where I did not have a designated craft room. My “office” was a small nook in our living room and the desk was very small.
I didn’t want to have to worry about the Silhouette Machine being too big for my desk because (at the time) you had to plug your machine into the computer to be able to cut your materials. Since my desk was so small the size of the machine was a factor.
There is a significant price difference between the two machines, and since I was just starting to get serious about blogging at the time I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on a cutting machine.
While the cameo offers a bigger cutting area (12×12) I did not feel that justified the $100 price difference between the two. I was content with the idea of cutting smaller designs and paying a little less. It worked out well for me!
The real reason I wish I had gone with the Cameo instead of the Portrait from the beginning
Cutting Mat Size
Even though the Portrait worked out well because of the compact design, I still look back and wish I had went with the Cameo from the start. It would’ve been more money up front but it also would’ve saved me some time and materials.
The Portrait could only cut materials that are 8×11 while the Cameo can cut materials that are 12×12. Because of this I had to cut down every single piece of vinyl I bought because they only come in 12×12 sheets. That meant I wasted 2×4 inches on every single sheet.
That was a lot of cutting and a lot of scrap vinyl.
Imagine that you want to make a large wooden sign but your machine cannot cut the width or the height that you want. While you can cut out a stencil that is larger than your machine (check out the tutorial here for this Hand Lettered Rudolph sign) it is a HUGE pain if your machine can only cut something that is 8 inches wide.
The less you have to cut and piece together the easier it will be for you in the long run.
What materials do you need to start using your Silhouette machine right away?
This is all relative because it really depends on what you want to make and focus on. I really love using vinyl so I always suggest buying a few sheets to play around with.
Materials for Vinyl Crafts:
- Oracle 651 (permanent vinyl) from Expressions Vinyl
- Heat Transfer Vinyl from Expressions Vinyl
- Oramask 813 Stencil Vinyl – the best stencil vinyl for wood signs!
- Weeding Tools
- Cricut EasyPress 2 (only if you’re looking to make t-shirts!)
- Grid Transfer Tape – this is my favorite to help me line up the design
- Paper Transfer Tape
- Scraper Tool
Materials for your Silhouette Machine:
- Cutting Mats – these are the stickiest mats I’ve ever used and I love them!
- Silhouette Deep Cut Blade – I use this blade to cut intricate details and small designs
- Silhouette Pens – these are fun to use to make cards or address envelopes.
- Sticker Paper – I mostly use these to make stickers for my planner but you can also use them to make address labels for holiday cards.
While there are way more things to do with your Silhouette Machine than what I’ve listed here, you can easily get started with just a few of the products above. The best thing is is that you don’t need all of these things straight away, and if you buy a machine bundle you will probably get lots of these items with your machine anyway.
These are all just products that I use often and I highly recommend. But you do not need all of them to start making projects that bring you joy. Pick and choose what you want to do and go from there!
These Silhouette Projects for Beginners are:
- easy to try,
- have easy-to-follow instructions and
- will help you learn your machine.
more Silhouette projects to try!
Was hoping for a tutorial:(
Hi Shelley, if you click on the links within the posts it’ll take you to the tutorials for the projects.
Thank you just bought the camo ecited but didn’t know what to learn on. You gave me some great ideas.
I’m so excited for you Wendy! You’ll love your Silhouette. I hope you come back and share some of the projects you do with yours, I’d love to see what you create. 🙂
Can you do the same projects with the cameo as you do with the one you have? I want it to make portraits of my grandkids for their parents…plus anything else it can do.
Hi Cathy! I actually upgraded to the Cameo a few years ago and yes, you can do anything with the Cameo that you could do with the Portrait machine.