Materials Silhouette can cut
Silhouette cutting machines are designed to cut a variety of materials including vinyl, paper, specialty patterned papers, cardstock, vellum, iron-on heat transfer material, fabric (when using our Interfacing products) and sticker paper among other materials. They will also cut a variety of other specialty materials, many of which can be found from Silhouette in our Shop section.
The Silhouette Portrait 1 - 3, Cameo 1 - 3, and Curio models have a cutting force of 210 gf and include a blade that can extend to approximately 1 mm in depth when using the standard blade. Other blades and tools are also available allowing you to cut select materials up to 2 mm in depth.
The Silhouette Cameo 4 series offer two different tool chambers that have different cutting force capabilies. The first tool chamber has a cutting force of 210 gf while the second tool chamber accomodates a cutting force of up to 5,000 gf that is compatible with additional tools sold separately. The Cameo 4 series also includes a blade that can extend to approximately 1 mm in depth when using the standard blade. Other tools sold separately offer longer lengths of up to 3 mm.
However, there is still a limitation depending on the material type's density and make up. Certain materials that are overly dense (such as thin metals or acetate, for example) may not be able to be cut well or at all and can impair the blade. Certain materials that have abrasive natures (such as thicker chipboard or sandpaper) may also impair the blade or dull it very quickly. On the other side of the spectrum, certain fibrous materials (such as select handmade papers) may not be held together densely enough for successful cutting.
Testing can be performed on special material types to find whether or not they can be cut sucessfully by using the Test Cut feature.
Some specific materials frequently asked about are listed below for further reference.
You may cut select fabrics (depending on material thickness) in one of the following two ways:
Using a Cameo 4 series cutting model with the Rotary Blade
Using another model Silhouette cutting machine with a fabric stabilizer, such as Silhouette Fabric Stabilizer
When using the Rotary Blade, no special interfacing or backing is required to cut the fabric material. Depending on the fabric type, a Strong Tack variety cutting mat is recommended.
When using the second method, fabric stabilizers are generally either ironed or pressed onto your fabric. Once applied, the fabric with the interfacing is placed onto a cutting mat with the interfacing side face-down, fabric side face-up.
General recommended settings for the fabric type in question can be found in the Silhouette Studio® software program. Depending on the fabric, you may want to double-cut your design for cleaner cutting results.
Once you have cut your design, you may opt to take scissors or a craft knife to quickly trim any threads which may be connecting your cutout design to the rest of the fabric.
Silhouette brand Wash Away Fabric Stabilizer is pressed onto fabric backing by hand. Then, after the cutting process has been completed, the fabric can be washed in order to dissolve the fabric stabilizer backing, thus leaving you with just the cut-out fabric project. This fabric stabilizer is perfect for appliqués where a permanent backing on your fabric is not desired.
We are aware of other similar fabric interfacing products which work very similar to our own branded interfacing product. In our testing, we have found that some other interfacing products may work but that there are many similar products which do not and which are not conducive to cutting well with the Silhouette system. If you have a preferred interfacing brand, you may certainly attempt to use it to determine if it may be compatible with cutting in our tool, but we are not able to endorse or guarantee any other brands for use with the Silhouette other than our own Silhouette brand interfacing.
Select felt materials can be cut with most Silhouette cutting models if the felt material is stiffened.
Many general felt materials, including non-stiffened felts, can be cut successfully with the Cameo 4 model series when using a Rotary Blade.
Please note that not all felt materials can be cut well with Silhouette cutting machines. The ability to successfully cut felt will depend on the thickness, density, and flexibility of the felt material, as well as the level of stickiness of the cutting mat in use.
Fondant / Gum Paste
Silhouette does not claim to be able to cut fondant or gum paste.
We have no current plans to create another cutting unit specifically made for the purpose of cutting fondant or gum paste materials. We are aware that some users have claimed to have made modifications to their Silhouette cutting machine to cut such specialty materials. Silhouette does not offer support for machine modifications. We also do not have special blades or mats that would be required for cutting such materials specifically.
The Silhouette can successfully cut wax paper and freezer paper on the Print Paper default setting.
Silhouette machines that have a 2 mm or higher clearance can cut fun foam when using a Kraft Blade or Deep Cut Blade. Fun foam is too thick for the standard blade and some older Silhouette models do not have the proper height clearance for such thicker materials.
To adjust the blade the correct number for your foam, you can extend the blade and line it up nest to the material's width. Your blade should rest on the material and the blade tip should extend just enough to touch the cutting mat lightly.