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Silhouette Curio vs CAMEO (or Portrait)

I've had my Silhouette Curio now for several weeks so I'm slowly beginning to see more and more major (and minor) differences between it and the CAMEO and Portrait.  If you read my first impressions of the Curio (not quite a review) you know we got off to quite a rough start.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison
This post, however, isn't about what I like and don't like about the Curio, it's just about straight up facts so you can decide if you need to add a Silhouette Curio to your crafting tool belt.
So here are some of the big differences between the Silhouette Curio vs Cameo:

Cutting Clearance & Area:

The Silhouette Curio has a larger clearance which means it can cut 5x thicker materials, however the cutting area is smaller. The max cut size area on the Silhouette Curio is 8.5x12 (it comes with 8.5x6 cutting and embossing mats).

The Silhouette Cameo has a lower clearance (1mm), but can cut 12x12 on the standard cutting mat or 12" by 10 feet without the mat or with the Silhouette Roll Feeder.  The Silhouette Portrait can cut up to 8.5" across by 10' long.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison


The Silhouette Curio's dual housing can handle two cutting/embossing tools at one time whereas the Silhouette Cameo and Portrait can only hold one tool at a time.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison, dual housing, dual carriage


The Silhouette Curio comes with several mats and platforms.  The user needs to build platforms based on the thickness of the material being cut or embossed.  The mats are then snapped into a large tray-like base that is loaded into the Silhouette Curio.   The Silhouette Cameo and Silhouette Portrait each use a sticky cutting mat with no platforms or base necessary.

The Silhouette Curio embossing mat does not have grid lines on it, while the Curio cutting mat and the CAMEO and Portrait mats do.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison


All of the blades and tips that fit in the Silhouette CURIO can also fit in the blade housing in both the Silhouette CAMEO or Portrait.  All blades are also available (or will be available) to be purchased separately from the machines.

Also, there is built in blade ratchet on the Silhouette Curio, but it's on the platform and not the base of the actual machine like on the Cameo and Portrait.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison, bladesSilhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison, blades

There are four slots on the Silhouette CURIO to hold cutting blades and tips.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison

Cutting Materials: 

The Silhouette CAMEO and Portrait can cut a wide variety of materials including vinyl, htv, paper, cardstock, foil papers, magnet material, rhinestone template, stencil material, contact paper...the list goes on and on and on.

The Silhouette CURIO can cut the same materials - but on a MUCH, much smaller scale.  See 'Cutting Areas' above.  The Curio is meant, however, more as a specialty tool for embossing and stippling metal sheets, paper, and foil as well as deep cutting.

Downward Force/Depth of Cut/Emboss/Etch: 

A side by side comparison of several different materials with several different blades and tips put into both the Silhouette Curio and the Silhouette CAMEO found that....

Scoring and embossing and etching on foiled cardstock worked similiarly on both machines.  It's tough to photograph this paper, but I was pleased with the results.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison

Here's another side by side...the results were so similar I had to write on the back of one of the sheets which machine cut/embossed it.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparisonSilhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison

Scoring and embossing on CAMEO using the Curio embossing mat and fine embossing tip was almost non existent on white cardstock - so much so that I could not even get the score or emboss lines to show up in a picture. The Curio results, below, were better (score on blade 0, emboss 2 passes)...relatively.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison

Software/Silhouette Studio:  

The Silhouette Curio gives additional editing and design tools and options in Silhouette Studio.  Unlike the Silhouette CAMEO and Portraits, the Curio's USB must be connected to the computer where Silhouette Studio is being used to access the embossing and stippling tools - or it has to have been the last machine plugged into the computer.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison, stipple, Silhouette Studio

The Silhouette Curio cut settings windows include two panels for tools - a red and blue - since the carriage can hold two tools at a time for a single pass.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio, comparison, Silhouette Studio, cut settings

The Silhouette Curio embossing auto-mirror function does not give you a preview in the software of where the mirrored design is placed.  In addition, with Curio the software mirrors the entire page as compared to the mirror functions in CAMEO and Portrait which mirror directly right or left. 

Loading and Unloading Mats and Material: 

With the Silhouette CAMEO and Portraits the users lines up the mats along a line on the left side of the machine, presses load material or load mat and the mat is pulled into the machine automatically by the rollers.

On the Silhouette CURIO the users must manually pull the tray through to the back of the machine then press the load/unload button on the side of the machine.. At this point the CURIO will detect the mat and position it exactly where it should be to cut/emboss.

When unloading on the CAMEO or Portrait the user pushes the "unload" button on the control settings and the mat is spit out.  On the Curio the users must press the unload button on the side of the machine and physically pull the tray with the mat on it out of the machine. 

Admittedly some differences between the two machines are more significant than others.   If you're interested to know my honest, no sugar-coated opinion on the Silhouette Curio rather than just a side by side comparison of the stats - head over here to see my first impressions of how the Curio cuts/embosses.

Silhouette Cameo, Silhouette Curio

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I receive a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine!

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!
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  1. How did you put the Curio embossing mat on the Cameo?

  2. Thanks for the comparison of the two machines. Like Isabelle (above), I'd like to know how you were able to emboss with the Cameo. But, having posted comments on your blog before, I know you won't answer us - sigh!

  3. Okay, here is a geeky thought. I wonder if printer A/B switch would work on enabling the Curio's screens? The Cameo uses a printer/USB cable.

  4. Hi,
    Thank you for your post!
    I would like to know how to use my CAMEO to emboss! did you download the new software and used the base and embossing tip? Does it work easily?
    Because I read I would not be able to use the new software if a curio is not plugged in.
    Thank you!!

  5. Just got a Curio for my birthday (brand new to doing this) ... would you return it an get a Cameo instead if you were a newbie? Thanks!

    1. I would keep it and buy its big sister, the cameo. its a companion to the cameo, its not really supposed to take the place of your cameo, its a little friend for the cameo to play with.

  6. after a couple of months of saying "i don't see myself having a use for this" I actually caved in a bought it. I took the time to actually watch a video on the embossing and stippling....i'm now eagerly awaiting my curio. (I can't play with it until Christmas though) I have to say I was actually impressed!!! I know the mat area isn't that big, not a 12x12, but honestly that really doesn't bother me. i'm make cards so the smaller work area isn't a big bug bear to me. I love the fact that now I can turn any design into a really good stippled sketch, I sketch with my cameo all the time, but I personally think the stippled effect can look better and it also fills in the font that you couldn't fill with the cameo, well you could but its a huge pain in the bee hind to do so. so yes after I watched a couple of videos ...I decided, lets just see what this little sister to cameo can really do.

  7. I am probably posting this in vain because people always say you never respond to comments, but maybe someone else will jump in!

    I just bought a Curio, but have not yet received it. I need to cut thicker fabrics, but on a small scale. I do not have the funds to keep this machine and buy a CAMEO. Can anyone tell me whether I should return the Curio and buy a CAMEO or keep the Curio? Thanks.

  8. My husband gave me a coupon good for a Silhouette for Christmas this year and I'm really excited to get one! Do you offer any kind of discount code on your bundle?

  9. I am not finding the Curio user friendly at all. I am proficient in Photoshop but I am finding the Silhouette software confusing, and am super frustrated at the lack of tutorials out there. I have just found this blog and am so grateful. If it helps I won't have to return this machine. I've only had it a few days and it's already making me very cranky trying to figure it all out.


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