The Silhouette Curio is on the lighter side when it comes to the best die cutting machines (opens in new tab), but it has enough capacity to work with most common materials and can perform a variety of different jobs. It comes with a cutting force of 210 grams, which isn't staggering, but makes up for this in versatility. The Silhouette Curio can cut, draw, weld, pierce, emboss, engrave and deboss.
It works wonderfully as a standalone machine if you don't have space for multiple specialized devices. Despite this, the Silhouette Curio is marketed as a companion device for other die cutters, giving you a greater range of tasks you can perform and materials you can work with. The Silhouette Curio works with wood, leather, rubber, and foam, which not all die cutters can handle.
Silhouette Curio review: Features and performance
The Silhouette Curio requires a computer, and it comes with software to get you started: Silhouette Studio. This means you can avoid cartridges altogether and create or download your own designs. Silhouette Studio has a familiar workflow if you've used common photo-editing or image-processing software, but it's quite intuitive if you're new to die cutting. Once we installed the software, we were able to get started cutting and embossing within minutes.
The Silhouette Curio has a larger clearance for material than many die-cutting machines, allowing for materials like foam, metal, wood and leather to pass under the carriage. This also means that thinner materials like paper and vinyl will need to be raised to meet the blade. The Silhouette Curio has a series of platforms that stack together to reach a specific height based on the material you're using. Until you master which materials require which setting, Silhouette includes a handy quick reference chart specifying the blade depth and base for each type of material.
In our tests the Silhouette Curio managed all of the materials we tested, including more than what many of the expensive machines on our lineup could handle. The biggest drawback was the width of material that can fit in the machine. Most die-cutting machines could fit at least 12-inch sheets of material, and many could do rolls of vinyl or other material up to several feet long. The Silhouette Curio appears, though, to be better suited for smaller projects, as the base can hold only materials measuring 8.5 inches wide by 12 inches long.
Silhouette’s customer service was easy to contact. Representatives were helpful and friendly, and the Silhouette website was easy to navigate and packed with helpful information. Silhouette has a large user community, so we were able to find a huge cache of user-made videos online to walk you through projects and setup.
Should you buy the Silhouette Curio?
The Silhouette Curio's software is easy to learn and use, but it lacks the freedom and convenience of die cutters that can cut untethered from a computer. The base is the smallest among those we tested, so large projects can be tedious on the Curio. You do have a lot of flexibility on the type of material you can work with, and you aren’t limited to just cutting. The Silhouette Curio would be a great companion to larger die-cutting machines that are lacking other options, such as embossing, debossing, etching, scoring, stippling and drawing.