DIY $1 Shirts Awesomeness with the new CAMEO

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This last weekend I had a chance to try out the new Silhouette CAMEO.

Oh wow.

You guys know how much I love the original Silhouette machine that I got back on 2009 and have made several projects for THRIVE using it.

And while I love—LOVE—that little machine and will keep using it for years, the new CAMEO is amazing with lots of awesome new features. To name a few: it’s wider, it’s faster, it’s quieter and it cuts through super intricate designs like a champ.

{I keep walking by it and petting it. Gotta stop doing that.}

Michelle from Someday Crafts asked me to try it out for her so I thought I’d show you some of the projects me and my Dirty Half Dozen came up with before the flu knocked me out. I was sent a fabric ink kit and had one goal in mind:

Could I transform cheapie $1, plain white t-shirts into something cool?

Could I transform worn out t-shirts and scraps into something my kids would actually like?

Oh heck ya.

October 2011 BLOG3-14

Behold the custom shirt goodness.

My kids and I had so much fun designing these and were thrilled with how they turned out.

I started out small using a this ballet shoe design on a nail-polish-destroyed polo shirt scrap. Technically the shape was designed to be used with rhinestones, but I thought it would look cute even with just paint. I cut the shape out of the starter kit vinyl, applied it to my scrap ...

... pounced on the color using the foam brush and then gently removed the vinyl stencil.

The ballet shoe scrap was allowed to dry, trimmed down and then added to this worn out little shirt to make ...

... this!

A few black bows add the final touch.

My 9 yr. old son who's totally into dragons helped me design the next shirt using a free download font called Tattoolike. This is simply the letter "E" cut in a 10" circle  (yeah for the larger cutting area on the CAMEO!)

My son says this is "Sick!" so I'll take that as a good sign.

The last design came from my 10 yr. old son who has a thing for race cars.

We started out with the muscle car shape from the Silhouette store and wanted to add some tire tracks. I really wanted a "grunge" looking design so I found a royalty free image on Google. (Image will appear after download)

Just like with the custom shape for the Declaration of Independence background, I was able to use my Google image in the Silhouette program to create a new design to apply to the shirt. And thanks to the new larger cutting area, I was able to make each tire track 12" x 3".

We used the sea sponge again to get that perfect, uneven finish to our tire tracks racing along the left side of the shirt.

The muscle car shape and one of my favorite quotes from Steve McQueen were cut from the fabric ink vinyl and applied to the shirt once the tire tracks were dry.

I love the font for this quote -- it's called Magneto and it came with our computer. No need to buy a special font cartridge -- yeah!

Once everything was dry I set the design using a hot iron.

(Make sure you set all ink designs with an iron once they're dry.)

I love how this shirt came together using shapes from the Silhouette store, fonts from my computer and a custom design using internet images.

My son loves his new shirt which makes me one happy momma.

Not bad for a $1 t-shirt, eh?


Just like with my original Silhouette, there are four big reasons that I decided to go with the Silhouette over any other digital cutter on the market:

1. No cartridges! Can I get an amen? Digital craft cutters are a serious investment and I appreciate that Silhouette respects that by not gouging customers further with expensive cartridges with only a handful of images.

2. The Silhouette Shape Store - so amazingly cool. It's like the iTunes store for graphics with most shapes costing .99 each. Yeah ... a buck. Oh, and they giveaway a free shape every week, too, just because they're cool like that. There are thousands of images to pick from and they add new stuff each week. Here's a small sample of this week's additions including adorable Thanksgiving shapes, 3D Thanksgiving treat bags, 3D Christmas ornaments, LDS temples, Looney Tunes characters and full color print-n-cut shapes from Harry Potter. Um, hello?! Awesome.

3. Font Freedom! You can use any True Type font on your computer and then go nuts downloading a bajillion more awesome free fonts from the web. I may have done this one hundred times.

4. DIY Shapes - I cannot stress enough how amazing this feature is. I usually can find exactly what I want for any project in the Silhouette store, but if not, I can create my own from any image online like I did on the pony tail silhouette and muscle car shirts.

You'll love this machine and all of the scrapbooking / card making / fabric cutting / vinyl cutting/ shirt designing / rhinestone blinging magic that it brings!

And I’m just curious:

For you Silhouette owners - What's your favorite thing (or things) to make with your Silhouette?

If you don't have one, what project would you make first with a new machine?


*Disclaimer: I received a free Fabric Ink Starter Kit from Silhouette, but all opinions are 100% mine. I wouldn’t be recommending anything that required spending money without being willing to spend money on it myself. And I have – I love my Silhouette!

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  1. Uuuuuuuuuuuum, holy wow. Those are incredible shirts, I absolutely love your designs. Honestly, they are unreal.

  2. My hubby is dying to get one of these. We have a Cricut and are frustrated with the limitations. Thanks for showing off the new machine. I sure hope we can get one some day so I could make a fun t-shirt with a very custom look.

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [27 Oct 02:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  4. i love my silhouette and have also used it to make shirts, with great success. I used freezer paper to cut out the designs and then ironed them down to the shirt. it worked great, even for turning over to kids so they could do the painting. freezer paper works great! I think my roll will last forever and it is way cheaper than the vinyl stuff.

  5. Amazing! Those look better than most of the styles you find in stores... and they certainly don't cost $1!
    I wish I had the money to invest in one of these machines. I've been drooling over various projects that utilize them for weeks!
    Since I can't get my own, do you mind if I feature this post next Tuesday on Ceelo's Corner?
    Again, amazing work!
    I may have to commission you to make fancy towels to wipe up all this drool!

  6. Oh, I've been wanting one for ages...but as we're in the UK for another 2 years, I can't invest on anything else electronic over here that I can't take home. I'll just live vicariously through you and keep bookmarking the heck out of your blog until we move back......

  7. Fantastic shirts! But $299 is a LOT of t-shirts. I would run out of ideas before I got my $$ out of the machine! What else can you use it for?

  8. Team Suzanne, you're right - $299 is a LOT for shirts! I use my silhouette for vinyl for around my house, creating my own stencils for decorating, kids craft/school projects, cutting fabric for clothing and decor, creating glass etching templates, making cards and invitations, scrapbooking, making party supplies (love the cupcake wrappers,mini gift bags and banners) and new for this Christmas ... 3D ornaments! Hope that gives you some more ideas :)

  9. can you post the exact directions for taking a google image and putting it into the silhouette cameo. I am a new cameo user. Thanks

  10. @Rwanstall, I tried to email you, but you don't have an email listed on your blogger profile. I'm working on a video tutorial right now and will post a link on this post to YouTube when I get it finished.

  11. I also would like to know how to get a google image to my silhouette. Please email me how or post a link. Thanks so much.

  12. I think you just sold me on buying this for my business. I am a children's clothing designer and have been contemplating this purchase but now I have no doubt. Thank you!


Thanks so much for the comment love! I do cartwheels when I read each one. Well, I imagine my pre-pregnancy self doing cartwheels, but you get the idea ...