The Silhouette Portrait is one of the most affordable and portable digital die cutting machines on the market. Not only is it one of the more affordable options, and portable, weighing only 3.5lbs, but it also cuts well and is used with powerful software to create or import your own designs. If you are looking for something affordable, portable, and accurate, this Silhouette Portrait review is for you!
Note: There is a new version of the Portrait called the Portrait 2
Silhouette Portrait Design and Features
- Cut and draw
- 8″ x 12″ (20.3 x 30.5 cm) cutting area with mat
- Cut up to 10 feet with a lined media (such as vinyl)
- 210 grams of cutting force
- PixScan™ technology compatibility – create designs from pictures
- Print then Cut
- Weighs only 3.5lbs, making it great for travel
Differences between the Cameo and Portrait
If you are looking at the differences between the Cameo and Portrait, here is a list of major differences:
- The Cameo is a larger machine, cutting up to 12″ wide
- The Cameo can work without a computer, reading directly from a USB drive
Both the Cameo and Portrait cut equally well with the same amount of cutting force (210 grams), so they will be able to cut the same types of materials. They will also run on the same software, so both machines can share the same files.
Using the Silhouette Portrait
Using the Silhouette Portrait requires a computer. Unlike the Silhouette Cameo which has an LCD screen and can work without a computer, the Portrait can’t. Designs are created with the included Silhouette Studio Designer (basic edition).
The Portrait machine isn’t designed for heavy use, so you won’t be able to cut materials like balsawood. This digital cutting machine is more for cutting paper and cutting vinyl. There is a ‘double cut’ feature to help cut heavier materials.
Below are some materials that the Silhouette Portrait can cut:
- Paper/Cardstock up to 350 gsm thick.
- Tissue paper
- Iron-on transfer
- Cereal box chipboard
- Craft foam
- Light weight fabric
- Rhinestone template material
As far as the quality of the cuts, the Silhouette machines cuts are top-notch. Designs can be complex and intricate and the Portrait machine will do a fine job of cutting them.
If you are cutting materials such as paper or fabric, you’ll need to use the included cutting mat. The cutting mat stabilizes the material when being cut. One of the biggest complaints about the Silhouette cutting mats is that they are too sticky. When mats are too sticky, it can be difficult to peel the material off from the mat without ripping. If this is the case, press a pillow a t-shirt against the mat to make it less sticky.
Print and Cut
One feature of the Silhouette Portrait is the Print and Cut feature. Images can be sent to your printer to be printed off in full color. Registration marks are printed around the image. Once the paper is loaded into the machine, the Portrait will detect the registration marks to know where to cut around the image.
Another feature of the Portrait machine is the PixScan technology. This feature is similar to the Print and Cut, except that images are placed on a special mat. Once the image is on this special mat, you can take a picture with your camera or smartphone, and upload the image to the Design software for the image to be cut.
Drawing is another neat feature of the Portrait machine. This is great if you want to sketch designs or sign cards for wedding invitations.
There are two ways you can sketch with the Silhouette Portrait.
- You can purchase the Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit
- Or, purchase the Silhouette Pen Holder
The Silhouette Sketch Pen Starter Kit comes with an array of 24 colored pens. To use these pens, simply swap out the blade and insert the pen. It’s that easy.
The Silhouette Pen Holder allows you to use your own standardized pens. To use the pen holder, swap out the blade, insert the pen holder, and then insert your favorite pen.
Create custom designs with the Silhouette Portrait
One of the biggest advantages of the Silhouette cutting machines is the powerful software that comes included with the machine. This means there is no money to spend on cartridges. With the included Studio Design Software, users are able to create, import, or purchase their own designs.
There may be a learning curve if you are creating your own designs, but there are plenty of Youtube videos and tutorials online to help you learn. If you do have some design experience already, you catch on more quickly.
The basic version of the Studio Designer is free. To use the more advanced features, you’ll need to upgrade. See the Silhouette Design Software feature chart below:
The software is compatible with Windows Vista and higher, and Mac OSX 10.6.8 & higher.
If you like the size and portability, the Silhouette Portrait is an excellent machine. The price can’t be beaten. It’s not the most powerful machine, but if you want to just cut vinyl or paper products, you’ll be happy with the machine.
One of the cheapest places I’ve found to purchase the Silhouette Portrait is from Amazon. Click below to read reviews from Amazon and purchase, or leave me a comment!