Get Perfect Cuts With Your Silhouette Cutting Mats
First Cut

Get Perfect Cuts With Your Silhouette Cutting Mats

Welcome! I’m so happy to be back here on the Silhouette America blog!

Today I’ll be showing  you a few tips and tricks to help you get perfect cuts with the Silhouette Cutting Mats.

We’ve heard lots of chatter and questions about the cutting mat and how to troubleshoot when things go awry, so I’m here to help. In this article, we’ll cover Cutting Mats for the CAMEO and the Portrait and I’ll show you how to work through a few common mat issues using the CAMEO for my demonstrations.

Your new cutting mat

When using the Portrait or the CAMEO, Silhouette offers three different sizes of cutting mats and two different hold strengths.

Silhouette Portrait® mats  

  • 8 in. x 12 in.
  • 8 in. x 12 in. light hold

Silhouette CAMEO® mats

  • 12 in. x 12 in.
  • 12 in. x 12 in. light hold
  • 12 in. x 24 in.

Mat Strength

Regular mats are perfect for a wide variety of media, from copy paper to cardstock, fabric, specialty media (such as sticker paper, vinyl, magnet paper, chip board, stencil sheets), and so on.

When you get a new cutting mat you’ll notice it’s pretty sticky. You can take a little of the excess stickiness out by using your hand or a clean piece of cotton (such as an old t-shirt) to gently blot the whole mat. This will remove a little of the stick so that your papers are less likely to tear.

Light hold mats are perfect for light weight, more delicate and thiner media such as vellum, copy paper, and so forth.

(We’ll cover the Pixscan™ and Curio Mats in separate articles)

You’ll find that the more you use your mat, the less sticky it will be. For the best results, you’ll want to buy a new mat once your old mat loses its stick.

If you’re worried about your media sliding around on the mat,you can temporarily hold papers in place with painter’s tape or washi tape.

Loading and using the mat

To get the most accurate cut, line up your material with the grid on the mat. Top and Left edges should be lined up perfectly.

How to properly align material on a Silhouette cutting mat

It’s important that you use the markings on the Silhouette machine to line up your mat when loading it in the machine. At the front left of the machine you’ll see a vertical blue line with two arrows touching it. The left edge of your mat should be touching this line with the front of the mat against the white rollers.

how to make accurate cuts with your Silhouette cutting mat

The mat can be loaded with the black arrow either facing or away from the machine. When I’m doing a mass run of the same cut I like to alternate sides that I feed into the machine for less wear and tear in that specific area on the mat.

When loading the mat, press the “Load cut mat” button, not the “load media” button to ensure proper placement of your cut.

It’s super frustrating to have the perfect file set up and beautiful paper loaded only to end up with your cuts off and paper wasted. Just a quick double-check before loading can save time, money and frustration.

Using the Test Cut feature will also help cut down on frustration. Click here for a how-to on the Test Cut feature.

Did you know you can use the Portrait mats in the CAMEO?

Quickly and easily change between mat sizes with a simple roller adjustment.

1. Release the roller shaft by turning the release button towards you (or down).

2. Grasp the grasp the bar with one hand and the roller with your other hand.

3. Twist the sliding roller until the pinchers are free from the notches.

Adjusting the slide rollers on the Silhouettte CAMEO

4. Slide the roller to the notches that correspond with the size of your mat and lock the roller in place.

5. Return the release lever to the lock position.

Make Sure the roller rolls over the non-sticky part of your mat to avoid the rollers getting gummy. Adjust the rollers as needed.

Is Your Mat Slipping? Try This!

If your mat is slipping, check to make sure the white release lever on the right is locked in place, facing up. This ensures the rollers grasp the mat and hold it securely in place as the Silhouette cuts.

prevent the Silhouette mat from slipping by locking the rollers in place


Removing materials from the mat

The easiest way to remove material from your mat is to flip your mat upside down and pull your mat away from your media as opposed to pulling your media away from your mat.

The Spatula and Hook tools are also super helpful when removing fine detailed cut materials from the mat.

easily remove material from the Silhouette Mat

I hope this answers some of your questions and helps you get perfect cuts on every project. If you have a question that isn’t addressed here, please leave a comment and ask away! We’re happy to answer; our goal is to help you in any way we can.

What questions do you have about the Silhouette cutting mats?

Alissa Lines

Hi there! I'm so glad you're here today. Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Alissa and I blog at Big Ideas Little Cents where I share all kinds of DIY tutorials, printables, recipes and help you with projects you have in mind, all on a small budget. I'm passionate about teaching you new skills as you enjoy the work of your own hands. I have an amazing husband of 21 years, and we have 6 kids (yes! I just said SIX kids) ranging from 18 to 7. I've been a stay at home mom since our oldest was born. In High School you would most likely find me in the choir room. I really had no crafty ambitions at that time. But I fell in love with crafts when I taught myself sewing and stamping for "sanity time" when my oldest was very little. I know that even if you may not be crafty to start with, you can learn anything you set your mind to. Silhouette America is a great place to start!

Products Used:

New Silhouette CAMEO®



Portrait Cutting Mat

CAMEO Cutting Mat - light hold

CAMEO Cutting Mat - 24 inch

Silhouette Portrait®

Portrait Cutting Mat - light hold


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  1. Thanks so much for putting this together! Even though I’ve owned my Cameo for several years, I guess I’ve never paid attention to the lever on the right. Thank you!

  2. The question I have on my Cameo when I place my paper on my mat it seems to be off like a 1/4″. I have to place my paper to the bottom of the arrow on the mat to be very close. If I put the paper inside the square it will sometimes miss that 1/4″ on top. I hope this make since what I am saying.

  3. I have the original Cameo, so, I don’t have the blue line and arrows you refer to in this posting. I have especially been confused the entire time I have had my Cameo which line to align the mat with on the left. Is it the shorter vertical line that is furthest to the left or the last vertical line on the left that is the same size as all the other vertical lines? I would appreciate your help. Thank you.

  4. My matt shows wear on the edges. It seems like the rollers are causing it. It eventually causes the edges to catch on rollers and won’t feed. Does this happen to anyone else? I have a Cameo 3 and have only used my matt about 4 or 5 times.

  5. This blog is really cool. I have bookmarked it. Do you allow guest
    posting on your page ? I can provide hi quality articles for you.
    Let me know.

  6. Just got my new Cameo! It’s so intimidating. Thanks for posting this info on the load technique. I’m about to give it a try!

  7. All your info is really good and I’ve checked through I am doing all correctly, but my silhouette is cutting everything 1/4″ to the left of the grid lines, please can you advise.
    Could you please e-mail me.

    1. Please contact the Silhouette America Support Team at and they can help you troubleshoot your problem.

Comments are closed.