Whether you’ve had your CAMEO for a day or a year, supplies and equipment can feel overwhelming at times. You’ll find much variety in prices, quality, and service, and even availability. I want to warn you, though, that deals sounding too good to be true usually are. Plus, brand really does make a difference, especially with vinyl. So choose wisely.
Here are some of my favorite supplies, suppliers, tools, and equipment.
Most people like to start with vinyl. There are 2 major types of vinyl: regular adhesive and Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV).
For adhesive vinyl often referred to as just “vinyl,” Oracal is a very reliable brand. 651 is for outdoors and more permanent use such as on windows and cups while 631 is for indoor and more temporary use such as on walls or for stencils. Most of us use Oracal 651 the most because it is more durable and holds up for all our crafting needs.
While you can find vinyl many different places, I usually buy mine on Amazon in packs like shown here. Often times you can find it for almost 50 cents per square foot.
Transfer tape is used to transfer your adhesive vinyl from its original location to the item you are applying it to. You don’t want to compromise and get something that’s not really meant for the job because chances are your design will become ruined before you’re finished.
I recommend 2 different brands of transfer tape: Oracal & Cricut. I really like both of them, so take your pick. I like that you can see through both quite easily and there are grid lines to help with lining things up and cutting straight lines. I’ve never had trouble with them being too sticky or not sticky enough so take your pick.
Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV)
HTV is the type of vinyl we use on clothing, blankets, hats, and other fabrics. The heat from an iron or heat press help adhere the vinyl to the fabric. With the right temperature and enough pressure, your vinyl gifts will last for years. My favorite and most trusted brand is Siser. New brands are cropping up every day, and I know there are some other good ones out there like ThermaFlex and Sparkle Berry, but I have stuck with what continues to work day in and day out providing everyday reliability.
When it comes to where you should buy your HTV, there are lots of options. Personally, I am a huge fan of heattransfervinyl4u.com. They have competitive rates and free shipping on orders as small as $35. In the beginning, this allowed me to get what I needed and grab some small 12 inch square samples of other colors and types. They also carry adhesive vinyl now, as well. Plus, you get a discount for ordering quantity but they allow that quantity to be in different colors, which is awesome for the small business getting started and the crafter enjoying their hobby.
Some of the first tools you’ll want to get are for weeding. I personally love this set.
The spatula is great for lifting your material off of the mat, which you’ll definitely need help with from time to time. It has a tapered edge making it much easier to wedge between your material and mat.
The weeding tool helps you remove the negative space (extra vinyl) from your design leaving you with only the material you still need. In some cases, that may be just the opposite – you remove the design and leave everything else. I’m quite picky about my weeding tools and love the sharp tip, curvature of the end, and grip on the tool.
The scraper is exactly what you need for smoothing your vinyl and adhering your transfer tape to your vinyl and then your vinyl to your finished product. That wide edge helps you cover more surface area. It has a slight curve making in more ergonomic and comfortable for you.
The pick me up tool is perfect for those working with rhinestones. It has a sticky tip allowing you to pick up a single stone and place it exactly where you want it. It works for anything small you need to pick up, move, and place with precision.
The ruler is something we can’t have enough of. I’m always measuring my vinyl and putting just the size I need on the mat so I can save vinyl and cut multiple colors at once.
The microfiber cloth is perfect for cleaning your items before placing your vinyl. If it won’t damage your item, I highly recommend using a dab of rubbing alcohol to clean the surface removing all oils (from our skin), dust, and debris. This microfiber cloth is great at keeping the dust away from your item.
As mentioned in this post, there are a few major differences between the CAMEO 2 and CAMEO 3. They’re both great die cutters, so you can’t go wrong. I prefer the CAMEO over Portrait Silhouette because the CAMEO allows you to cut up to 12 inches wide, which is more suitable for my designs and projects.
This die cutter is great for the simple crafter or someone who works in a much smaller scale. Its maximum cutting width is the same as paper at 8.5 inches.
There are multiple types of mats, but these are essential for cutting vinyl, paper, fabric, and many other material types. You can cut vinyl without a mat, but there’s a lot more that goes into cutting without a mat. This post describes the different types of mats and their uses.
As mentioned in this post, there are several different types of blades and it can be a little overwhelming making sure you have the right one. The most common is the ratchet blade, but with the CAMEO 3, the AutoBlade is also becoming a staple. Most importantly, make sure you have several blades tucked away for later, because when you need a blade, it is usually an immediate situation and pretty much always happens when you are in the middle of a project, so stock up regardless of the type.
I consider a heat press an essential piece of equipment if you use HTV. It makes life approximately 1000 times easier if you have shirts to press. Once you try one, I can’t imagine you’d prefer to use that iron instead. Surface area, temperature control, and pressure control are just 3 little reasons to grab one today. You can thank me later.
There are two main styles of heat presses: clam shell and swing away. It’s a personal preference as to which you prefer. You can read more about heat presses in this post.
This clam shell style heat press is a work horse! I know many people who love it, and it’s great for the small footprint. It’s a simple open and close and has all the basic features you need. At this price, it’s hard to pass up this one.
This swing away style heat press is what I prefer. I love moving the top press plate to the side so I can more clearly see and access my project. I have my press on a rolling cart and can move it slightly if I need more clearance to swing the top press plate farther away. This particular one comes with sublimation equipment, as well, though I tend to use them for HTV instead. All these attachments make it easier when pressing mugs, cups, plates, hats, and such.
You have lots of choices when it comes to supplies, tools, and equipment. In the end, just make sure you’re happy with the quality, service, and performance.
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Note: I am using Silhouette Studio Business Edition. Therefore, small differences may occur when displaying options, details, and some functionality within Silhouette Studio.
Have a great and successful day!
All opinions are my own. Some links may be affiliate-related (allowing me to keep sharing content with you) where I receive a small commission if you purchase through the link, but the price remains the same for you and purchases are completely anonymous. It is important to note all content is based on my own knowledge, skills, and experiences.