Silhouette Cameo for Quilting

My Silhouette Cameo is one of my favorite crafting tools.  If you’ve never heard of the Silhouette Cameo, it is a digital cutting machine. I would describe it as a printer that instead of printing the design, uses a tiny blade to cut the design on paper, fabric, vinyl. etc. It even looks like a printer (it does have a sketch feature that I haven’t used). There is also a smaller (and less expensive) version called the Silhouette Portrait:

I got my Cameo last year and have almost exclusively used it to cut paper – banners, stuff for Project Life albums, etc.

2012-06-06 22.43.59
Moroccan tile film I cut for our bathroom cabinet
2012-10-18 12.13.27
Bat garland in our front window

It’s a really fun tool, and I’ve enjoyed designing graphics and word art for my Project Life albums and to hang on our walls. But I’ve found a new use for it that I had to share. I just started working on an applique-intensive project {Green Tea and Sweet Beans} and the thought of tracing all of the templates made me feel tired. So I did what any crafty gal would do and figured out an easier way. Freezer paper is my preferred method of applique so this may not be helpful to you if you do back-basting or some other method. (Here is a quick run-down of how to do freezer paper applique.)

1. Scan your templates.

2. Open up the scanned image in the Silhouette Studio software and crop out everything except the part you need.

3. Use the trace function to create a cut line for your shape. Ungroup or “release compound path” to clean up any little dashes or marks that don’t belong.

4. Trim some freezer paper to 12×12 (or whatever the size of your cutting mat).

5. Place freezer paper with the shiny side up on the cutting mat. Load in the Silhouette Cameo and cut! Use gentle cut settings. The built=in setting for 65lb pattern paper works okay for the shapes I was cutting, but I’ll go down to a 2 or 3 on the blade setting next time. You do not need to double cut.

Then all you do is apply your templates to your fabric with a hot iron and applique using your preferred method. I finished two blocks for my quilt last week:



My Little Helper

I’ve already cut the templates and started prepping some more blocks for an upcoming road trip I’m taking. I love this quilt!

8 thoughts on “Silhouette Cameo for Quilting

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  2. Marian Pena says:

    I have been contemplating the purchase of a silhouette cameo, but until tonight I really didn’t think I needed it. Then I created a small applique design where cutting the parts out with the freezer paper was just to difficult, so I got to looking around here on the web for ideas on how I could still do needle turn applique but have the pieces cut out by some sort of auto cutting system. I happened upon your post about this and I’m thrilled to find that it’s easy.. So that did it for me, I’m off to purchase that cameo. Thank you sew much!!

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  4. Gail says:

    I’m having trouble cutting fabric for quilting it frays and doesn’t always cut hope you can help me other wise I maybe should return it

  5. Laura says:

    I am having problems with tendons in my arms. We don’t know if this will be a chronic problem or not so I am looking for ways to simplify cutting fabric for quilts. Standard blocks, triangles, rectangles and such. Would you recommend the electronic cameo for this?

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