These are some of my favorite craft products that are essential for my handmade business. I use these very products to create the items you see in my shop. They are perfect and affordable for any crafter even if you are not looking to start a handmade business.
Note: By clicking on the links in this post and purchasing products through my links, I may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases (at no additional cost to you).
There are two popular cutting machine brands on the market for crafters...Silhouette and Cricut. Most people fall in love with one or the other and become loyal to that brand. I myself am a Silhouette Girl!
I don't remember how I found out about the Silhouette Cameo and chose this brand, but since the moment I downloaded the software and tried out my machine for it's very first cut, I've NEVER considered switching brands. The Silhouette Studio design program (that you can actually download and use for free HERE without the machine) is so user friendly and can do so many things!
What does it do?
A Silhouette Cameo is the ultimate DIY electronic die-cut machine. It uses a small blade to cut a wide variety of materials, including paper, cardstock, adhesive vinyl, heat transfer vinyl, craft foam, and fabric. The professional looking projects that you can make with it are endless!
It's easy to cut shapes, pictures, and text in a variety of different materials to create gorgeous posters, greeting cards, custom t-shirts, stencils or lettering for craft signs, just to name a few.
When I purchased my first Silhouette Cameo (yes, I use 2 machines on a daily basis), I purchased a bundle because it is the best value and in my opinion, the only way you should purchase a Silhouette Cameo. Not only do you get the machine, but you get a lot of additional materials that you will need to get started crafting with your Silhouette Cameo. It allows you to experiment with various features of your machine. Here are some of my favorite bundle deals.
Note: The machine itself, without craft materials costs (at the time this post was created) $299. For only an additional $30-$40, you receive so much more with a bundle!
...and they come in PINK!
Depending on how often you use your Silhouette Cameo, you will need to purchase replacement blades and cutting mats from time to time. If you are just an occasional crafter, your blade will last you a long time. But if you are a frequent crafter or run a business with your machine like me, you will need to keep extra blades and mats on hand. While I haven't tracked how long a blade or mat lasts in my business, even with daily use, I can go months with a single blade. Mats tend to lose their stickiness and need to be replaced more frequently than blades.
There are different versions of Silhouette Cameos, so please be sure to know which model number you have so you purchase the correct replacement blade. Not all blades work in all models.
Silhouette Cameo 3 Blades
Silhouette Cameo 4 Blades
Mats come in 2 sizes (12"x12" and 12"x24"). The size you need depends on the size of the project you are cutting. Most of the time the 12"x12" mat will do the job, but for larger cutting jobs, you'll need the 12"x24" mat.
I used to use the 12"x12" mat most of the time, but I recently switched to only using the 12"x24" mat and here's why. The larger mat can cut ANY job, large or small. And since I use my mats daily, so they wear out quicker, by using the larger mat, I just alternate the ends that I use to make them last longer. So it's like I have 2 mats in one and I have to replace them less frequently.
I also suggest always having extra mats on hand. There is nothing more frustrating than having to recut a project because your mat is not sticky enough to hold your material down!
12"x12" Silhouette Brand Cutting Mats
12"x24" Silhouette Brand Cutting Mats
Money-saving Generic Brand Cutting Mats
These are the actual mats I've been using for a couple of years now and prefer them to the brand name ones. There are many generic brands available on the market now, but Nicapa is the only generic brand I have used myself and not had any problems with.
I always buy them in packs of 3 so I always have extra mats on hand. It's also the best deal to buy them in packs. You can get 3 Nicapa brand mats for about the same price as one Silhouette brand mat.
Disclaimer: It is possible your machine's warranty could be voided by using generic materials. Use at your own discretion.
If you are just starting out on your crafting journey with a Silhouette machine, you may want to consider purchasing a tool kit so that you have on hand several handy tools you will need for various projects. I have not personally purchased one of these tool kits because I already had quite a few other options that work just as well.
The main tools I typically use are an Exacto knife for weeding HTV, a scraper for adhering transfer tape to adhesive vinyl for applying to objects, and a measuring tape to measure my products to decide on the size of the design before cutting. If you have those things already on hand, you are probably set! If not, you may want to consider purchasing a tool kit.
Silhouette Brand Tool Kits
Alternative Brand Tool Kits
A heat press is a machine used to imprint a design onto fabric materials such as t-shirts, tote bags, and canvases by applying high heat and pressure for a preset period of time.
ILYB Designs uses a heat press in combination with a Silhouette Cameo. The Silhouette machine cuts out the design on heat transfer vinyl (HTV) and the heat press is used to apply the design to clothing items or canvas signs.
(You can use a household iron to apply heat transfer vinyl, but it is difficult to get high enough heat and pressure to make the design last a long time through repeated washing. If you are running a business or considering starting a business selling items using heat transfer vinyl, I strongly believe you MUST use a heat press to achieve the highest quality product.)
MY heat press
There are so many projects you can make with stretched canvases! From painting your own original artwork to creating a reverse canvas sign, the possibilities are endless. They come in a variety of sizes for all different projects.