Getting Started with Silhouette Curio™

Do I have any intimidated or overwhelmed Silhouette Curio™ users out there? I’ve written this Getting Started with Silhouette Curio tutorial for beginners so you know all the basics about the base, platforms, how to load and unload, etc.

This post first appeared on the Silhouette America blog in November 2016 and has been updated here for Silhouette Studio® v4.

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio by Kelly Wayment for Silhouette


Who feels like they need some basic information about Curio before they dive into all its specialty features? Welcome to Curio 101! I’m Kelly, and I’ll be your instructor for today. 😉

This post will mostly cover the parts of the Curio machine, including:

  • Understanding Curio’s Base
  • Using Curio’s Platforms
  • Understanding Side Buttons And Lights
  • Getting Silhouette Studio® To Recognize Curio
  • Performing Test Cuts With Curio
  • Tools And Gadgets Included With Curio

Understanding Curio’s Base

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

Curio is different from any other Silhouette machine. The special base is what allows you to use a wide range of thickness in materials, from paper-thin up to 5 mm in thickness.

There are two different sized Curio bases:

  • The smaller base that comes with Curio (holds media up to 8.5 in. x 6 in.)
  • The larger base (holds media up to 8.5 in. x 12 in., purchased separately). (Affiliate link.)

NOTE: Curio cannot cut media without a mat, like vinyl or other adhesive-backed materials. (The CAMEO and Portrait machines can.) However, you can cut those materials with Curio if they are on a mat.

4 Things To Know About Curio’s Base:

  1. The base must be loaded with the arrow inserted into the front of the machine first.
  2. The notch on the right side is the other important indicator you must pay attention to when loading.
  3. You have a convenient adjustment hole for the ratchet blade.
  4. Clips on the edges of the base hold the platforms in place. They are flexible to accommodate the various heights.

Using Curio’s Platforms

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

Here’s what you need to know about Curio’s platforms:

  • The platforms plus the media thickness should total 6 mm to be at the correct cutting height.
  • Thin materials, such as paper, vinyl, and cardstock, have a minimal thickness and therefore require the platforms to total 6.
    • e.g. Paper on the cutting mat (1) + 2 + 2 + 1 = 6
  • Thick materials, such as a 5 mm piece of wood, require less platforms to total 6. The only platform you would use for a 5 mm-thick material would be the cutting mat. (1 + 5 = 6)

The platforms each have a number 1 or 2 marked on the side, which represents 1 mm or 2 mm in thickness.

Use the platforms in combination to get to the stated platform number. For example, if the platform level says 5, then use 2 + 2 + 1. Remember, the top platform is always 1 mm and is either the cutting mat or the embossing mat.

There are two ways to decide how many platforms you need to use:

1. If you choose existing media in the Cut Settings Window of Silhouette Studio®, the software will tell you which platforms to use.

Go to the Send Panel, choose your material, then click on the 3 little dots to enter Advanced options.
Getting Started with Silhouette Curio
Now choose the correct tab for your material (i.e. Cut, Emboss, etc.) and you can see the platforms to use with an existing material.
Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

2. If you choose your own media not in the presets, you must decide on the correct number of platforms. The thicker the media, the fewer platforms you will need. (See those math equations above!)

Understanding Side Buttons And Lights

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

On the right end of Curio you can see three buttons (left to right):

  • Pause (with light)
  • Load/Unload
  • Power (with light)


To load or unload the base, the indicator light by the power button must be off or flashing. A solid green light means the base is locked in place and you must not force the base in any direction at that time.

To load Curio:

  1. Push the base (arrow-end first) into the front of the machine so the guide notch is farther in than the front edge of Curio.
  2. Press the load/unload button (if on) or the power button (if off). Curio will move the base into the correct position.

To unload Curio:

  1. Press the load/unload button so the indicator light flashes green.
  2. While the light is flashing, pull the base out of the machine.


The pause button pauses the cut job. And because the base loads in exactly the same place each time, you can unload the base while paused, inspect your job, then reload and resume.

To pause Curio:

  1. Press the pause button
  2. Press pause again to resume cutting
  3. Or press and hold the pause button to cancel


Getting Silhouette Studio® To Recognize Curio

The first time you plug in your Curio, there may be a delay with the software. Be patient, and it will recognize Curio and load the accompanying free designs into your Silhouette Library.

NOTE: If your software says “Syncing,” load the base to move to “Ready” status.

Once Curio is recognized, the Emboss and Stipple panels will be available. Even if you turn off Curio at this point, those functions will remain available until you plug in a different Silhouette machine. If you cannot access the Emboss and Stipple functions, make sure your Curio is plugged in and turned on.

Performing Test Cuts With Curio

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

What to know about the Test Cut and Curio:

  • Use the arrows near the onscreen test cut button to position the blade unit over a clear area of your material.
  • You can test cut for either tool, so be sure to position the blade/tool you want to test over the area of your material you wish to test cut.
  • The tool you select (red or blue) for a test cut will cut under that tool. This will give you an idea as to how well your chosen blade settings will cut.
  • Note: as of December 2017, this still has a bug in v4, so the blade position is not necessarily where it will test cut. The issue has been reported and hopefully will be corrected with an update soon. You may choose to perform your own trial cuts with small shapes you position on your screen in lieu of the software’s built-in test cut option.

Tools And Gadgets Included With Curio

Getting Started with Silhouette Curio

Besides the basic base, platforms, and two types of cutting mats, Curio comes with some other special items you may not use often but you should keep.

Fine And Wide Embossing Tools

  • These two embossing tools can be placed in the machine’s inside storage holders while not in use.

Clear Material Fasteners

  • These clear fasteners are used for embossing and debossing jobs with the embossing mat. They are placed along the edge of material to keep the edges from curling up. New clear fasteners come with each replacement embossing mat you purchase.

Registration Markers

  • These black plastic squares are used for the very specific function of Print & Emboss. (See this Print & Emboss post.)

Spare Platform Clips

  • These clips hold the platforms in place on the base. You’ve got some spares in case any are lost or broken.

Get going with Curio!

For more information on using the various specialty functions of Curio, you may find the following posts helpful (note some of these use Silhouette Studio v3–watch this video to find the differences from v3 to v4):

What else would you like to know about using Curio?


You can purchase a Silhouette Curio™ here (affiliate link).


This post contains affiliate links. By using my links to purchase, your price is the same but I get a small commission. Thanks for your support!

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