Not every crafter wants an industrial-strength die-cutting machine, but for those of you who want a die cutter for home crafts, the Silhouette Cameo 4 may be the best die cutting machine (opens in new tab) for you. The Silhouette Cameo 4 die cutting machine is Mac and Windows compatible, and has Bluetooth connectivity for wireless cutting.
This die cutting machine comes in three colors: black, white, and pink, and can cut vinyl, cardstock and fabric. Using the variety of blade options, you can also use the Silhouette Cameo 4 to cut through materials like leather. Because of its three millimeter clearance, it may struggle with thicker materials like balsa wood.
Silhouette Cameo 4: what you need to know
Silhouette Cameo 4 has a well-deserved, loyal following as a cartridge-free die cutter. You can create beautiful designs from scratch instead of relying on cartridges with this die-cut machine, but you also get the freedom to cut without a computer when you save your designs to a jump drive. It's low cost, but not as inexpensive as the Cricut Explore Air 2 (opens in new tab) or the Cricut Joy (opens in new tab). The Silhouette Cameo 4 is the most user-friendly die-cutting machine we reviewed. We were able to operate it (and the included software) within minutes of taking the cutter out of the box, and it features modern touches such as wireless Bluetooth printing.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 features an easy-to-use, full-color touchscreen. It also has print-and-cut functionality so that you can cut around a pre-printed image of your choice. With PixScan, you can scan or take a photo of an image, import it into Silhouette Studio and add cut lines. This makes it possible to cut out handmade drawings, which is a distinct feature compared to other die cutters.
Silhouette Studio makes it easy to create original designs with drag-and-drop tools that help you move, resize and add texture to your images. If you don't want to make your own designs, you can purchase pre-made designs from the Silhouette Online Store, which has thousands. Each Silhouette Cameo 4 comes with 50 designs to get you started. That's not as much as the Brother ScanNCut SDX125E (opens in new tab), but it's not bad. In the Studio app you can access many more, and you can also work with other software to upload any image you choose.
Silhouette Cameo 4: design
This die-cut machine is average in terms of portability. There is some onboard tool storage but there's no handle, which makes it less convenient for travel. That doesn't mean you can't take it out of the house; you just need the right bag. The official Silhouette Cameo 4 tote is available on the Silhouette website. With a flash drive, you don’t need to bring your computer along.
Although it can, the Silhouette Cameo 4 is best not designed for cutting heavy-duty items. We suggest this machine for those who want to cut drawing paper, vinyl, postcards, scrapbooking paper and photo paper. Because it has three millimeter clearance it can handle a few other materials but is geared primarily for cardstock. If you plan to branch out into other areas of crafting at some point, you may want to invest in a sturdier die-cutting machine. Alternatively, there are several other blades, including a Rotary blade and a Kraft blade, which you can buy additionally to give your Silhouette some extra capabilities.
It is annoying that these need to be bought in addition to the machine itself, but they will cut through acetate, craft foam, burlap, and leather, and work with cotton fabrics, leather, felt and even wool.
Without these add-ons, the Silhouette Cameo 4 is not versatile in terms of its capabilities. It can cut well, but it is not designed to pierce, engrave or emboss. This is one of the die-cutting machines we reviewed that can draw though, which opens up a range of possibilities in crafting.
We evaluated Silhouette's customer support. We spoke with helpful and friendly company representatives on the phone every time we called, and the website was helpful and well organized. The Silhouette site itself and related social media sites offer countless ideas for inspiration.
Should you buy the Silhouette Cameo 4?
The simplicity of the Silhouette Cameo 4 is appealing. It does not tackle a wide range of materials or tasks, including engraving, embossing, and piercing, but it gives you a wonderful outlet for most of your craft-cutting ideas. You can use the Silhouette Cameo 4 to make custom clothing, cards and more. For most crafters, it's the perfect choice.