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Makerspace Equipment Guides: Silhouette Cameo 4

Instructional content for users of the Makerspace.

Silhouette Cameo 4: General Information

Getting started with the Silhouette Cameo 4

Silhouette Cameo 4 Parts Map


A map of the Silhouette Cameo 4, with 3 angles of the machine.

Loading and Unloading Material

Place vinyl, shiny side up, on sticky mat.

Line up the mat with the grey guidelines.


A close-up of the Silhouette Cameo 4 cutter, with one blade loaded in the slot marked "1". A mat with grey vinyl is lined up with the guidelines. A red arrow points to the guideline with the text "Align Here" in red.

Press LOAD.


A close-up of the Silhouette Cameo 4 cutter, showing the load arrows. A mat with grey vinyl is loaded. A finger points to the load arrow.

When your project has finished cutting, click UNLOAD, wait for machine to eject the vinyl and mat, and remove vinyl and mat.

Cutting an Object from the SIlhouette Studio Library

Open the Silhouette Studio software.

Select file/image from Library tab in upper right corner.


A screenshot of the "Library" tab of the Silhouette Studio software.

This will cause the image to open in the software in a new window. 

Click on the image. You can resize by inputting specific dimensions in the top toolbar, or by dragging the corner of the image. 


A screenshot of Silhouette studio, showing two ways to resize an object.

Drag image to the top left corner of the template. This preserves vinyl because it will cut out of the top left corner. 

Preparing and Cutting a Bitmap Image (JPEG, PNG, etc.)

In order for the Silhouette to cut an image file, it must trace the image. A raster image (JPEG, PNG, etc.) is simply a collection of pixels. In order for Silhouette Studio to recognize the image as lines and shapes, we must turn it into a vector image. We do this by using the Trace Image function in Silhouette Studio.

Select File>Open in the Silhouette software

Select your desired image file. 

Adjust image to desired size (see box above for resizing instructions).

For the following image, we want to cut out the bird silhouettes:


Silhouettes of a flock of geese flying across a sunset.

Select the TRACE tool from the right side of the window tool bar. (Hint: It looks like a butterfly!)



A screenshot of Silhouette Studio with Trace Image selected.

Drag box over image, which will highlight areas for cutting in yellow.


A screenshot of Silhouette Studio, showing the Trace Image tool in progress


Adjust THRESHOLD to select only the areas you want cut.


A screenshot of Silhouette Studio, showing the Trace Image tool with trace area selected.

In the above image, we changed the THRESHOLD from 50% to 30%, eliminating the extra yellow at the top of the image and leaving only the geese. 

When image is highlighted as desired, hit TRACE or TRACE OUTER EDGE

TRACE will trace internal and external lines 

TRACE OUTER EDGE will only trace the outside edge of the image

Now, you will see red lines indicating the trace. The red lines are what the Silhouette will cut. 


A screenshot of Silhouette studio showing red outlines around flying geese.


Sending a Job to the Silhouette

  1. Click Send in the top right corner.
  2. Under TOOL 1, select material.  For this project, select Vinyl-Glossy. 
  3. Click SEND at the bottom of the screen. 


A screenshot of the Silhouette Studio software showing the steps to send a project to the machine.