Sung to the tune of “My Favorite Things” from the classic musical, The Sound of Music:
Heat transfer vinyl and rhinestones for onesies,
Printable foil in gold: also fun-sie.
Tattoos to print out and cut ‘n any size,
These are a few of my favorite supplies!
(Rogers and Hammerstein are rolling in their graves right now, so we’ll stop there.)
The reason for my lame attempt at a song parody? Well, one of the most frequently asked questions I receive from new Silhouette users is:
In terms of Silhouette supplies, what are the essentials? The must-haves?
And so, when I learned about Silhouette America’s special 30% off sale which kicks off today in honor of the The Crafts & Hobby Association’s (CHA!) Mega Show, well the timing couldn’t be more perfect for me to share about my favorite Silhouette tools and materials.
First, here’s a quick run-down of what the 30% off discount covers when you use my affiliate code CLOSET over at the Silhouette Shop:
- All physical tools, materials, and supplies that are in stock.
- The Silhouette Studio® Designer Edition Software (no shipping costs on this one!)
Pretty sweet, right? And while the sale doesn’t cover machines, gift cards, download cards, shapes, subscriptions, or out-of-stock items, I do have the awesome opportunity to give away a Silhouette Portrait to one lucky Thinking Closet reader! So, stick with me to the end of this post to enter to win!
Lauren’s Favorite Silhouette Supplies
Since I know that some of your are newbies and others might be more experienced Silhouette users, I’ve created a few different recommended supply lists to cover different experience levels and interests. You’ve got what I would call, “The Essentials,” then “The Spice of Life Variety Pack,” then “The Fabric-Lover’s Wish List,” and lastly, “The Supply List for the Seriously Obsessed.”
My hope is that I can use my experience with a vast number of Silhouette supplies to help newbies and veteran Silhouette users alike determine which supplies are worth their while.
Now things to remember as you review my favorites:
- I’m only recommending tools and materials I have had the opportunity to try out myself. So there may be some additional supplies not mentioned that are worthy of trying…I just want to be sure I can stand behind my word.
- Since I’ve worked with all of these supplies before, you can see them in action over in my project gallery, The Mother Lode of Beginner Silhouette Tutorials, which is organized by both material and project type. There, you’ll get a sense for the process of using each material or tool.
- Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning if you make a purchase using one of them, I may earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site! Read all the fine print here.
Here’s what I recommend for ALL Silhouette users. So, if you could only purchase a few things, these are what I would highly suggest!
- 1 EXTRA BLADE: I recommend having at least one extra blade on hand for when the blade that came with your machine goes dull. I was able to make it through 8 months on my first blade, but it will all depend on how frequently you use your machine and what materials you’re cutting. You’ll be glad to have a back-up blade on hand when you need it! (And it’s always right in the middle of a project, isn’t it?)
- 1 EXTRA CUTTING MAT: The same goes for the cutting mat; I recommend having at least one extra mat on hand. There are some creative ways to prolong the life of your mat (cleaning it with baby wipes or warm water and soap, for example), but after 8 months of using and abusing my first mat, I needed to bust out my back-up!
- HOOK: This is an essential tool if you ever want to work with vinyl or heat transfer vinyl. It will help you weed out (or remove) the unwanted parts of your design. If you decide to invest in any of the starter kits, just be sure to check to see if they come with a hook tool. Many do! (Like the Vinyl or HTV Starter Kits.)
- SCRAPER: Another tool you’ll need if you work with vinyl is the scraper; you use it to smooth out the vinyl and transfer tape. While you can use a credit card as an alternative, now that I have an actual scraper, I much prefer it! It’s not as flimsy. If you decide to invest in any of the starter kits, just be sure to check to see if they come with the scraper, as many do! (Like the Vinyl or Glass Etching Starter Kits.)
- DUST COVER: To protect your machine from those dust bunnies, I recommend investing in a dust cover. Or if you’re sewing savvy, you could DIY your own! Though Silhouette has some pretty fun colors that might catch your eye….
- CARDSTOCK: The very first cuts I made on my Cameo were on cardstock! Between cards and banners, you’ll find endless uses for this material, so it’s best to have a nice stack on hand. Silhouette America doesn’t sell plain cardstock on their site, so you’ll want to hit up your local craft store; just be wary of “cheap” or textured cardstocks as they can be difficult to get a clean cut with. American Crafts cardstock cuts really cleanly.
The Spice of Life Variety Pack
If you’re just starting off and are wanting to experiment with a few of the most popular Silhouette mediums (that are also my favorites), here’s what I would recommend:
- VINYL STARTER KIT: The nice thing about the vinyl starter kit is that it comes with the hook tool, scraper, and a nice variety pack of vinyl in 4 different colors; plus you get a roll of transfer paper! So, you have everything you need to tackle vinyl projects galore. You can also buy vinyl and transfer paper by the roll if you become obsessed like I am; I have rolls of black, white, frosted glass, chalkboard, silver, and gold! Plus a few rolls of transfer paper, which is essential to have when working with vinyl.
- HEAT TRANSFER VINYL STARTER KIT: I’ve gotten great use out of the HTV in my starter kit (which comes with 5 different colors, with both smooth and flocked HTV). Flocked HTV might be my favorite because it is fuzzy to the touch and extra easy to apply with a hot iron. This starter kit also comes with the hook tool.
- ADHESIVE CARDSTOCK: Okay, this stuff might take the cake for my all-time favorite supply. It cuts like a dream and is so easy to use! I can’t sing its praises enough. I’ve plowed through most of my essentials 16-pack and already purchased a 20-pack of black for my upcoming projects.
- SKETCH PENS: So, if you’re new to the Silhouette, you may not know this yet, but in addition to cutting pretty much any font or image imaginable, your machine can also sketch those designs! You just replace your blade with a sketch pen (it’s a lot like a gel pen), and let your machine work its wonders. The glitter and metallic pens are my favorites.
- PRINTABLE FOIL: It’s funny, at first I was scratching my head about how to use the printable foil, and now I can’t stop thinking of opportunities to use it! Jar labels, paper bag seals, certificate medallions, advent calendar numbers…this stuff is fantastic! And it’s also a great way to dip your toe in print-and-cut projects.
- PRINTABLE TATTOO PAPER: When you see how easy it is to create your own temporary tattoos, you’re going to wish there were more than three sheets of it in one pack! A must-have for anyone with kids, nieces and nephews, or a child-like spirit.
The Fabric-Lover’s Wish List
For those of you who are really excited about creating apparel items or embellishing canvas totes and pillows, this is your wish list!
- FABRIC BLADE: Just like you have a separate pair of scissors for cutting fabric, so you should have a separate blade for cutting fabric. This is exactly the same blade as your regular black one; it’s just blue to help distinguish it. If you want to cut fabric (and who doesn’t?), definitely invest in one of these.
- SEWABLE FABRIC INTERFACING: This is thin iron-on material that allows you to temporarily adhere your fabric cut-out onto a soft surface while you sew or stitch it into place (i.e. appliques). You’ll apply it to fabric prior to cutting it with your Silhouette!
- CLEAN-CUT FABRIC INTERFACING: This is thicker iron-on material that allows you to adhere your fabric cut-out onto cards and scrapbook pages or hand-stitch it onto other materials (i.e. fabric flower embellishments). You’ll apply it to fabric prior to cutting it with your Silhouette!
- HEAT TRANSFER VINYL (HTV): You could try the starter kit that I linked to in the previous supply list or if you have some favorite colors that you know you’ll be using more frequently, you can buy HTV by the roll. I recently purchased some metallic silver HTV that I’m eager to try on black apparel.
- FREEZER PAPER: Okay, this is not an item you’ll find in the Silhouette Shop, but I had to include it nonetheless. You can usually find it at your grocery store, local Walmart or Amazon.com, but it’s a really inexpensive medium that you can cut into a stencil using your Silhouette. Then, just iron it on, paint on your fabric paint, and you’ll be surprised at how crisp the lines are when it’s all said and done. Be sure to check out my gallery for some freezer paper stenciling tutorials.
- FABRIC MEDIUM: This is also not in the Silhouette Shop, but I recommend picking up a bottle of fabric medium at your local craft store or from Amazon.com. This stuff is amazing because it allows you transform any kind of acrylic paint into washable, dry-able fabric paint.
Supply List for the Seriously Obsessed
These are supplies I would recommend for someone who has had a little bit of Silhouette experience under her belt and is ready to broaden her horizons with some fun, new supplies! These are more challenging materials to work with, but are worth your while to learn how to use!
- DESIGNER EDITION SOFTWARE: The first thing I’d recommend for the serious Silhouette user is the Designer Edition software. You can read all about the features of the software HERE, but I really like it for the built-in ruler for precise measurement, rhinestone tool, and enhanced eraser and knife tools. Also, if you want to open, manipulate, and cut svg files, you’re going to need it! I love that you don’t have to pay shipping on it either; when you buy it, you get an electronic code to access a download of the software.
- 12″ x 24″ CUTTING MAT: If you’re seriously obsessed, chances are, you’re going to want to cut some designs longer than 12″. I personally really like having a longer cutting mat on hand for moments like those!
- GLASS ETCHING STARTER KIT: Glass-etching is all the rage these days, and it’s no wonder. You can transform even the simplest piece of glass into a personalized elegant gift using stencil vinyl and etching cream. The Glass Etching Starter Kit has everything you need to see one of these nifty projects through to completion!
- DOUBLE-SIDED ADHESIVE STARTER KIT: For glitter-fanatics like myself, the double-sided adhesive is a fun material to play with, allowing you to create intricate glitter or flocked embellishments. The kit comes with everything you need, including the glitter and flocking powder.
- RHINESTONE STARTER KIT: If you like a little bling in your life, then you’ll want to try out the Rhinestone Starter Kit. It takes a bit of patience, but is worth the effort to create some of the cutest onesies you ever did see.
So, these lists should keep you plenty busy as you explore the Silhouette Shop, drooling all over the fun supplies there are to play with. Don’t forget to use the code CLOSET at check out to get that 30% off of all supplies that are in stock! And that includes the Designer Edition Software.
It brings me great joy to have the opportunity to giveaway a brand new Silhouette Portrait machine to one lucky Thinking Closet reader!
This giveaway has a short-run: from today through Monday, January 13th at 11:59 p.m. eastern and is open to anyone with a U.S. shipping address, 18 years of age and older. Be sure to check out the rest of the giveaway terms and conditions in the Rafflecopter widget below. And here’s to hoping it’s YOU!
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, meaning that if you make a purchase using my code or after clicking on an Amazon link, I receive a small commission. Please rest assured that as always, I only recommend products that I use and love like my Silhouette Cameo! (In fact, I would fall in the Seriously Obsessed category.)
P.S. I like to link up at these parties!