46 Responses to 3 Reasons Why I Chose a Silhouette Portrait

  1. What a great run-down, Meredith! I’ll DEFINITELY be referring friends to this post as they try to decide whether to splurge for the Cameo or go with the Portrait. You clearly have not been limited in the least by the smaller Portrait…your projects are SO drool-worthy.

  2. I have both actually. I use my Portrait more than anything. The Cameo was buggy. It was a nightmare on any given day. I haven’t had any issues with my Portrait really. Minor things but nothing that causes me to waste vinyl like the Cameo did.

    • That’s so interesting! I’ve avoided most of the typical “trouble” that Silhouette users tend to report and I wonder if that’s because most of them are using Cameos. I have the occasional trouble with reading registration marks on print and cuts but no real trouble with the machine itself.

  3. Thank you for this post! I’m a bit late in the game and only really recently stumbled over the exciting world this little machine can open up. In my excitement I didn’t want to assume anything when choosing which version to go for but have struggled to find good comparisons online. People seem to be biased one way or the other, but without much of a rundown of why. This has really helped. I believe my main use will be to save some money on Etsy stickers for my planner by cutting my own and from what you have written above I think I will go for the Portrait as they’re only small stickers anyway and nothing that will go up on a wall.

    Thanks again for sharing!

  4. Hi, What a great post – I actually have someone selling both machines and I couldnt decide which. This post has really helped and answered all my questions, so thank you!!

  5. i dont understand the book as it is so pale; are there better reading material. also these cards that came w/machine; dont understand what to do w/them. im not interested in stickers. i want to make vinyl things to put on things. i think i will call the place i got my machine and see if they can help. i have to learn how to use this. i am a senior and am lucky i can do emails. :) any help will be appreciated. thank you

    • Hi Phyllis, I’d recommend you start with one of these two resources (these are my affiliate links):
      1) “Venture into Vinyl” video course on Craftsy.com – http://bit.ly/ventureintovinyl
      2) “The Ultimate Silhouette Guide” eBook – http://www.unoriginalmom.com/ultimatesilhouetteguide

      They are both great guides that will get you started on your machine! But my best advice is to just start playing around with paper to make cards. Card stock is much cheaper than vinyl and ruining some sheets of paper while you’re learning is no big deal! Then, once you get the hang of the software and the machine, start working with vinyl.

      Also, you can sign up for my Silhouette Library and emails – I’ll send you one email a week with tips, tricks, advice, and project inspiration! You can do that here –> http://www.unoriginalmom.com/SilhouetteLibraryForm

      Hope that helps! Enjoy your Silhouette – you’ll love it!

  6. You make it sound so doable. Thank you for sharing your reasons. I’ve been wanting to buy a Silhouette and was wondering if you still feel the same way about using the Portrait in 2017? If not, what are you using and/or what do you recommend now? Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa! I do still feel the same way about the Portrait…actually more so since they came out with the Portrait 2! I *just* upgraded to a Cameo this past summer, and while it is definitely nice to have the extra cutting space I find that I don’t actually use the full 12″ width that often. So if space and/or budget is a concern, I still wholeheartedly recommend the Portrait!

  7. I have a question about software. I see bundles that come with software key cards and some that come with software cds. Do these work the same and Do you have to have the software for it to be used or is it mainly used for self made cute designs?

    • Hi Kate, I think you’re asking two questions…first, the software you need to run the machine is called Silhouette Studio. It’s a free software so you can download it from Silhouette’s website even if you don’t own the machine. All machines typically come with the software loaded on a disc but you can always download it from the website too. Sometimes machines also come with a card that has credit to the Silhouette Design Store – that’s where you can purchase designs and fonts to use in Silhouette Studio with your machine. You can definitely create your own designs or find free cut files online too (I have a bunch in my library!), without paying for designs. But it is nice to have the credit to the design store to buy more intricate/specialty designs when you need them. You may also be seeing that some machine bundles come with a key card for an upgrade to the Designer Edition of Silhouette Studio – it has a few more design capabilities and tools than the free version of Silhouette Studio. I hope that makes sense and answers your questions!

  8. Hi Meredith,I’m Fatma from Indonesia. Thank you for your review on Shillouette. I’m starting my craft business recently, just thinking to invest a machine which still can’t decide potrait or cameo .. is potrait can cut something up to 10 feet long or more than 50 cm? Thank u

    • Hi Fatma, yes the Portrait can cut a roll of vinyl up to 10 feet long. Any other type of material would need to be secured to a mat, so then you’d be limited to the mat size (8×12 inches). Hope that helps!

  9. Thanks for your review. I also didn’t know what to buy and after research got the Portrait. I’ve been really happy with it. Wow, it is a real learning curve for a old lady. I use it for cake toppers from glitter cardstock. I tried to cut a stencil and it wouldn’t cut through it. I only have the blade that came with it. Should I get a different one?

  10. I’m looking at getting a silhouette and you’ve totally talked me into a portrait over a cameo. My only question is – where do you get rolls of vinyl that are 8″ wide instead of 12″? Do you just cut down the 12″ rolls?

    • Yeah that can be a tricky thing…Silhouette America does sell rolls of regular vinyl and HTV in both 12″ widths and 9″ widths, so if you need a roll, the 9″ is the way to go (even though a Portrait can only cut 8″ wide it can still feed a 9″ width…in fact that’s better to have more of a margin for the rollers). My two other go-tos for vinyl are Expressions Vinyl for adhesive vinyl and Happy Crafters for HTV, but neither of them sell the 9″ widths. I usually ended up buying sheets rather than rolls and cutting them down.

  11. Hi! I know this article was a couple of years ago but are you still using the Portrait? If so, any new pros/cons? Thank you!

    • I upgraded to the Cameo last summer…but all my reasons for choosing the Portrait still hold true! I love the Cameo, but if you’re looking for a smaller machine and/or a lower price point I still wholeheartedly recommend the Portrait.

    • Hi Maria, yes, both the Cameo and Portrait cut fabric! However, you have to use a fabric stabilizer – like Heat N Bond or something similar. Hope that helps!

  12. You mention rolled vinyl. I bought the aged attachment to hold the roll but the rolls seem to be too wide. Where do you get the smaller width rolls?

    • It can be difficult to find rolls in 9″ width. I know Silhouette carries them, but that may be one of the only places to get the narrow width to use with a Portrait – most other suppliers have stopped carrying them. If you’re not cutting an extra long design, though, it’s easy to cut down the larger 12″ rolls or sheets to fit on a Portrait size mat.

  13. This was such a helpful post. I am a planner crafter and I only plan to create planner stickers and dashboards with a cutting machine. I am glad to know this machine can go the distance and then some, if I really need to. Thank you so much for this detailed review.

  14. Hello,
    This post is very helpful. My 12 year old daughter is very creative and crafty. She has been asking for one of these cutter. She hasn’t used one before. She has just seen products that have been created using the cutter. Is this an appropriate tool for her. Keep in mind she does have a sewing machine and is proficient with this tool. Thank you for your input.

    • Absolutely! The steepest learning curve is figuring out the software…and we all know that kids tend to be better at that stuff than us adults are ;-) There are SO many kid/tween/teen project ideas out there, I’m sure she’ll have lots of inspiration, too.

  15. Hey! I am trying to figure out how to cut my vinyl on my portrait without using registration lines, but i am not having any luck figuring it out. ADVICE PLEASE

    • The registration marks are only for print-and-cut designs (like if you’re printing tags on card stock and then using your Silhouette to cut them out), so if you’re cutting vinyl, make sure you have the registration marks turned OFF.

    • It can cut out anything you design! There are tons of monogram designs available to purchase in the Silhouette Design Store too.

  16. I used my portrait to cut the heavy duty glitter HTV for the first time… I actually had a cameo 6yrs ago…. sold it for just £50… I miss it but the potrait does the same…I also bought the curio… a beast of a machine… did my first etching onto plastic acetate.. came out perfect.. ignore all the etching noises.. the etching tool cost £23.. made also by silhouette… oh and I did use my cameo to do all me vehicle decals for my then driving school including the top box

    • Yes, you can cut fabric with a Portrait – as long as you iron on a stabilizer, like heat n bond. It’s great for appliques. If you want to be able to cut fabric without a stabilizer (like cutting out pattern pieces), you can do that using the rotary blade, which is only compatible with the Cameo 4.

  17. Hi, if my vinyl words around 2 x 3 inch, can i cut first vinyl paper let say around 2.5 x 3.5 inch before insert to a machine? I can save my vinyl paper if i can do like this. Can i? Or i must insert exactly 8 inch wide paper?

    • Yes, you can do that! You’ll just need to put it on the cutting mat. I find I get much more consistent results cutting vinyl on a cutting mat anyway, so regardless of my width I usually put use a mat :-)

    • Yes, I cut glitter card stock with my original Portrait! It works best if you put it on the mat with the glitter side down, do a double or sometimes triple cut at a slow speed for a clean cut, but yes, it’s definitely possible!

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stay-at-home mom to three beautiful children, wife to an incredible husband, and daughter of a loving God. I freely admit that I am not always the most creative or original person when it comes to crafting, decorating, organizing, cooking, etc...but I love being inspired by great ideas and putting my own spin on them! Look around, stay a while, and I hope through my *unoriginality* I can provide some inspiration to you, too!

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