Silhouette Studio, the software required to operate the Silhouette Cameo 4, Portrait 2 and Curio machines is free to download and use for everyone. This free version has some limitations, but it enough to produce high quality results with your cutting machine.
Silhouette offers paid upgrades to their software to greatly expand its functionality, but upgrading the software is not a requirement to operate the machine. The different tiers of Silhouette Studio are:
- Silhouette Studio – free
- Designer Edition – $50
- Designer Edition Plus – $75 (or $25 to upgrade from Designer Edition)
- Business Edition – $99 (or $25 or $50 to upgrade from Designer or Designer Plus Edition)
Silhouette also offers users two different subscription services; both are offered on a monthly or yearly basis, but both are completely voluntary. Enrollment in Club Silhouette and the Silhouette Design store can be beneficial to your crafting experience, but joining is not a requirement to operate or maintain your machine.
Club Silhouette is a monthly or annual subscription that gives users access to freebies and discounts on physical goods from the Silhouette store. It costs $10 per month or $100 per year and users receive the following physical and virtual perks:
- one free blade and one free mat delivered three times per year
- 10% discount at the Silhouette America store for materials, accessories and tools ( but that excludes new machines, software, other subscriptions or gift cards)
- Free shipping over $50
- 10 free digital designs per month
- members earn Club Silhouette points on purchases at Silhouette America (1 point per $10 spent). Members can use those points at a value of one point/$1 toward future purchases. ($100 earns 10 points; 10 points equals a $10 future discount)
Subscriptions to the Silhouette Design Store earn subscribers special credits and discounts on digital images, fonts and projects every month. In essence, you pay for a subscription and get 2x (and up to 8x) the value in store credit.
For example, if you join at the Starter level for $4.99 per month, you can spend $10 in credit at the Silhouette Design Store. Since most images cost $1, you double your buying power – you can buy 10 images for the $5 you spend, and non-subscribers can only buy 5 images for $5.
The pricing structure is complex, so here’s a chart that lays it out, but to re-iterate, this subscription is handy (especially around the holidays) but not required to operate your machine.
Premium ($150 credit)
Diamond ($250 credit)
To read more about the Silhouette Cameo 4 and how it stacks up against its main rival, the Cricut Maker, click here.