A couple of years ago, I purchased my wife a Silhouette Cameo 3 for Mother’s Day (the newest model the Cameo 4 can be found here). For those of you unfamiliar with what these handy little machines are for, think of a home printer sized device that has a small blade to cut paper, cardstock, vinyl, fabric, heat transfer material, and other material up to 12 inches wide.
The marketing for these machines is geared mainly toward women for craft projects like cutting card stock to make greeting cards, cutting heat transfer material to make custom iron-on designs, and last but not least, for cutting adhesive vinyl for custom stickers and labels. You’ve seen the product of these machines without even knowing it; “Live, Laugh, Love” vinyl sticker on the back of the SUV in front of you at your kid’s school drop off? Silhouette Cameo. Matching iron-on name labels on the backpacks of all of the girls on your daughter’s third grade soccer team? Silhouette Cameo. Monogrammed initials on your buddy’s wife’s Tervis tumbler? Silhouette Cameo.
Now, my wife will readily admit that she’s not a crafty do-it-yourselfer. She usually leaves that up to me. However, I thought that this might be something that she could learn to use and have fun making some stuff for our kids. Well, she used it a couple of times and decided it really wasn’t her cup of tea. What I’ve left out of this story so far is that I may or may not have had an ulterior motive when I bought her the gift…
Here is a picture of the first thing I used her fancy little machine for:
I’ve used Photoshop and other graphic design programs in the past, and while the Cameo uses it’s own proprietary software, it didn’t take me much time to get up to speed. I realize that I could have run down to the local sign shop and had some numbers cut for my race car, and I have before. But now, I can buy the same vinyl used by the sign shops and cut new numbers anytime. I’m a sucker for a new gadget and my mind was racing with the possibilities for this thing. Tool box drawer labels? Yep. Shop cabinet labels? Yep. Iron on labels for our camping chairs and stadium seats? On my to-do list…
And now, here is my favorite use for this thing – two words – stencil vinyl. I’ve done plenty of woodworking projects that needed custom, painted lettering, whether it is a personalized name or a sign with a slogan or saying. But what I don’t want is to cut out vinyl lettering and slap it on my project. The stencil vinyl does what it says; it has a low tack adhesive, so that you can apply the negative of your design, paint over it, and easily remove it when your paint has dried.
So, am I telling you to run out and buy a cutting machine like a Cameo, or similar offerings from Cricut or Brother, as a present for your wife? Well, it depends. Do you need to cut new numbers for your race car? Then, yes, you definitely need to buy one for her for Mother’s Day.