Silhouette Cameo 3 Review | Magnetic Chalkboard Weekly Menu DIY

I’m here to share my free weekly menu cut file and my review of the Silhouette Cameo 3, as per the “making” part of this blog’s name!  If you’re as astute reader, you’ll remember that I previously shared a review in my Halloween post.  However, I totally forgot that I was planning to share this project with my review.  So I’ve moved it here.  First, I’ll give you the low down on the Cameo, then I’ll share how I made my menu and how to get your hands on my free file!  (Plus, one of my fave Whole 30 friendly recipes I used on this week’s menu.)

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Silhouette Cameo 3 Review

Machine

Short version: I’m completely impressed with the Cameo.  As I mentioned in my 5 Tips for Beginners post, there is definitely a learning curve on both the actual machine as well as the software.  Thankfully, there are a LOT of resources available online for anything you’re trying to do.  The Cameo 3 comes with an autoblade, which adjusts depth automatically depending on what you set it to in the software.  I’ve heard some people don’t like the autoblade, but I had no issues with it and liked it.  I also used the ratchet blade and liked using it as well.  The machine can essentially cut anything, to an insane amount of detail.  It’s just an incredible tool to have at your disposal, especially if you are a crafter.

Pros:

  • Highly detailed cutting ability
  • Multiple blade types available (auto, ratchet, deep cut, etc.)
  • Bluetooth enabled
  • Tons of accessories available
  • Fast!
  • Can score and draw in addition to cutting
  • Great value for the price when you consider the wide variety of uses

Cons:

  • It is somewhat loud when cutting
    • Especially the autoblade, though this doesn’t bother me
  • Bluetooth can be buggy
    • Frequently “forgets” the machine between uses and I have to reconnect on my computer
    • It is quicker and more reliable to use USB
  • If you’re new to this sort of machine, there is a learning curve to using it

Software

Coming from the Adobe Creative Suite as my background, I wasn’t sure how much I’d use Silhouette Studio to design (you must use it to send jobs to the machine).  Well, I actually found Studio pretty easy to use after you get past some of the initial “what I am even looking at here?” stuff.  As I said, I do tend to use Illustrator to design, but it’s relatively easy to use and I found the trace functionality particularly helpful and accurate in Studio.  I used this to create cut lines from JPGs or other non DFX or SVG files (which already have cut lines within the file).

Pros:

  • Free
  • TONS of functionality, powerful features
  • Very accurate when lining up designs in the software vs. how it actually cuts
  • Able to create your own designs fully in Studio
    • You may need the paid upgrade to Designer Edition for some features
  • Easy to import and use pre-made designs
  • Cloud library of your Studio files
  • Runs without internet connection
    • Big bonus points here for me!

Cons:

  • A bit of a learning curve, may be somewhat overwhelming to new users
  • Sometimes feels a bit dated (compared to Adobe)

Summary

All in all, I certainly recommend the Silhouette Cameo 3 if you are in the market for a cutting machine or a crafter in general.  It’s true when people say that you may not think you need one of these until you try it, then you don’t know how you lived without it.  It’s just so fun to be able to make customized shirts, home projects, party decor, and anything else you can think of.  I know I’ll continue to put mine to good use for a looooong time!  Check it out here.

Magnetic Chalkboard Weekly Menu

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Is this not the cutest thing ever?!  I decided I was sick of using post its and random pieces of paper to plan our weekly meals.  So I whipped up this design and used lots of fun Silhouette materials to put this together.  Here’s how I did it.

Materials

I linked to the materials I used below.  Technically you could use regular sticky vinyl, but I used heat transfer because that was what I had, but also I feel it may stick better for the tiny dots, etc.

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Download the Free Cut File

  • I’m making this Weekly Menu cut file available for free for members of my Facebook group!
  • Join here, and find the file in the pinned post.
  • My group was initially targeted towards my sewing company customers, but I’ll be posting other crafting goodies there too, from time to time. 😉

What To Do

  • Choose how big you want your menu to be.
    • I made mine about 9″ x 12″, but in hindsight it is easier if you keep it within the 8.5″ x 11″ size of the materials.  If you do choose to make it larger, you may need to piece together your materials when cutting to make them larger than their original size.  I simply lined them up to the needed size on my mat, and stuck them together.  (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures!)
  • Cut the pieces!
    • Be sure to adjust and test your settings for your unique materials.
    • If you want it to look like mine, you’ll do this:
    • Cut the floral designs, days of the week and dots with the white HTV
    • Cut “Weekly Menu” with metallic HTV
    • Cut chalkboard vinyl with rounded corner shape
    • Cut metallic paper with rounded corner shape
    • Cut card stock with rounded corner shape
      • Optional, gives added stability
  • Weed carefully.
    • You’ll weed each of the materials you cut.
    • Disclaimer: The dots might be a pain, it helps to go very slowly.
      • You can always switch these out to straight lines or remove them completely using your Studio software, if you don’t want to deal with the dots.
  • Peel the backing off of your chalkboard vinyl, and apply optional card stock for stability.
  • Line up your HTV on your chalkboard, iron or heat press into place.
    • Make sure it’s fully stuck down and the clear sheet pulls up easily.  If not, use heat again.
  • Peel the backing off of your magnetic sheet, and stick to the back of your menu.
    • Mine didn’t line up totally perfectly, but that’s ok!
  • That’s it!  You’re done!

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Now meal planning is painless, ingredients shop for themselves, and I always have dinner ready on time.  Ha!!!  Not.  But it’s cute and does motivate me to actually plan meals.  I had this idea in my head for quite a while and it’s good see it happen!

See before and after below:

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Lastly – check out one of my favorite (Whole 30 approved!) recipes I used on this week’s planner: Nom Nom Paleo’s Vietnamese Lettuce Wraps!

Now go and make your own – let me know how it turns out (or post in my Facebook group).  You definitely don’t need to use these exact materials, maybe try turning something you can use dry erase markers with?  Though I was very pleased with the quality of the Silhouette magnetic sheet, it is quite strong.  And the chalkboard vinyl is pretty awesome.  Can’t wait to see what you do!

Elisabeth

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