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Craft Punch Secrets

Paper crafting has been my passion since I was a child. I love sharing paper projects, ideas, and products. Get more from your paper.

Punches have always been a popular paper craft tool

Punches have always been a popular paper craft tool

Craft Punch Inspiration

If you are into paper crafting, then chances are you have at least one or more craft punches. Many of us when we started out as hobbyists, bought punches as the less expensive alternative to manual or electronic cutting machines. If you are like me, your collection of craft punches has increased like little bunnies. Even though I have a Cuttlebug ( a manual cutter),a Gemini, and a Cricut Explore ( an electronic cutter) I still use my craft punches quite often.

There are advantages that make them popular:

  • They are portable. You can take them to crops, classes and when you are crafting with a friend
  • They don't use electricity. They can be used anywhere
  • Their price point. You buy them once and use them over and over again
  • You can use every piece of scrap cardstock. No waste at all !

So what do you need besides paper and punches? Really, the only other thing you need is a pair of tweezers and an embossing tool to add detail

I save my scrap pieces from other projects where I have used card projects. These pieces provide my stash for most of my punched embellishments. I store them by color in a file drawer.

Where You Can Use Your Punched Pieces

There are multiple places where you can use your punched pieces. That is why you will use them over and over again.

  • Punched flowers can be used on scrapbook pages and cards. They can be used on floral themed wreaths, They can be used on art journals and mini albums
  • Tags can be used to journal on scrapbook pages. They can always be used as gift tags. They can make mini journals
  • Tiny punches can be used as confetti in a shaker card. They can also be used a flower centers
  • Border punches can be used in many configurations on scrapbook pages. But they can also be used on cards and journals
  • Shape punches can be used to create a "quilt effect" as a background for any card or scrapbook page
Punch your paper scraps and make flowers easily ! Just glue layers of punches. Add a sequin and a half bead

Punch your paper scraps and make flowers easily ! Just glue layers of punches. Add a sequin and a half bead

Quality Punches Make A Difference

If you are going to buy a paper punch then seriously think about buying the best punch that you can. Think quality over quantity. Cheap punches will not stand the test of time. Often if you keep your yes open, you can get one of those nice 40% off coupon from your local box store. You should also look to find sales on name brand punches like Fiskars.

Here are the features to look for when buying a paper punch:

Craft Punch Basics

Button punches are the smallest punches

Button punches are the smallest punches

Button Syle Punches

These are the smallest punches. They come in just about any shape the you can think of. They are perfect to make confetti for parties. They are so small, that you virtually can use a thumb to make your punch. You can use them for greeting cards, the center flowers and to add a little something to letters.

Punches come in all shapes and sizes

Shape punches are some of the most popular punches. They come in an endless variety of shapes and sizes

Shape punches are some of the most popular punches. They come in an endless variety of shapes and sizes

Hand Held Punches

Hand held punches are a staple for all paper crafters. They are operated by squeezing a handle. The most popular hand held punches are hole punches. You can use hole punches to make confetti, holes for a card or mini album, and scrap page décor. You should have several in different sizes. Some will only accommodate holes in the distance of the punch. Others make holes anywhere on your paper. You should consider a couple to have in your craft area.

Hand Held Project Ideas

Anywhere Hole Puncher

Can create a hole anywhere on page

Can create a hole anywhere on page

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Circle Punches

These make the shape of a circle. They can be a basic circle or a more designed circle. Think of a doily. They come in different sizes and are easy to use.

More Ways To Use Corner Punches

Squeeze Punches

Unlike other punches where you use pressure to create a punch, you squeeze the handle to create the punch. This makes it easier on your hands. Especially if you are doing multiple punches.

Corner or Corner Rounder Punch

The one punch that you will find yourself using the most is the corner rounder or corner punch. This punch has so many uses that you will find your self grabbing for it daily. It can be used to round the edges of photos, scrapbook pages and cards. There are decorative edges too. These really add some detail and design edges to your projects. Even if you find yourself using an electronic cutter, this is the one punch that you will find the most use for.

They come in a standard rounder and there are others that have designs to make a unique coner.

Even the smallest piece can be transformed into a journal piece or a border for a card or scrapbook page

Even the smallest piece can be transformed into a journal piece or a border for a card or scrapbook page

Border Punches

Some of my favorite punches are border punches. They can add a lot of detail to your cards, scrapbook pages and paper crafts. They are easy to use and store. There are those that run a straight border and some that add a corner to match in the same pattern. These are sold in sets as well as separately.

Each of these punches have a punch mounted on a guide. After you do your first punch, you simply move the paper so that the design matches the guide. Your punch will be perfect every time.

Tag Maker Punches

There is an endless variety of tag maker punches in all kinds of sizes and shapes. Some even come with eyelet setters or hole punches, so all you need is one punch to complete the project. You can chose between plain edges and decorative ones. They can make tags for a gift, journaling for a scrapbook page, a mini scrapbook album and more.

Most tag punches come with a hole at the top. You can add an eyelet to make it more secure. Decorate it to your hearts content. You will have something special and original. Your own art.

Tag Punch Project Ideas

Ideas For Using Punches

Here are some ideas for using your punches

  • Punch multiple circles and attach them onto card stock to make a polka dot back ground
  • Use an embossing tool to add detail to your punches
  • If you are cutting tissue paper with punches, place the tissue paper on top of some card stock to get a clean cut
Corner punches add pizazz to your paper projects

Corner punches add pizazz to your paper projects

Organizing Your Punches

How you store your craft punches will largely depend on how many you have. If you have a great many of them,, the best thing that you can do is to create a catalog of your punches.

The first step is to gather all your punches on a table where you can sort them.

Designate a specific spot for your punches. That spot can be on a shelf, in boxes, in a drawer or in a over the door storage space. You can also use a rail like you would use in a bathroom. Decide the amount of space that you have and what works best.

  1. Number each of your punches with a permanent marker or a label maker
  2. Punch an example of each punch. If a particular punch can be used for different occasions or projects, make as many examples as the categories where it will appear
  3. Decide the categories that you will use for each punch. Categories can include Christmas, birthdays, wedding, baby, ect.
  4. Or they can be sorted by the kind of punches they are corners, border, shapes, ect.
  5. Create a catalog for your punches using your categories. next to each example, write the number of the punch that matches the example.
  6. Store the punches

More Punch Storage Tips

1, Use a shoe rack that stands on the floor. This is especially useful if you have some larger punches. Make sure that the rack is against a flat wall for support

2.Over The door shoe holder. Find a clear shoe holder and install it on the back of a door. Perfect for smaller punches and it saves space

3. Store them in a drawer unit. Group them by type of punch and place them into drawers. You can use a anything from an inexpensive plastic drawer unit all the way up to an ikea system drawer unit

4.Store them in a plastic box with a lid

4. Rail system. Mount a metal rod on a wall and hang them on the rod

Maintaining Your Punches

Paper punches are an investment. You will want to keep them for years to some so some simple maintenance will keep them cutting sharply.

  1. Lubricate them. Wax paper is perfect to help you lubricate your punches. Simple punch through a piece of wax paper. Test the punch on a piece of scrap paper after each punch. Repeat till your punch cuts smoothly.
  2. Sharpen them. Cutting through aluminum foil will help sharpen your punches. They get dull over time. Think of it like sharpening knives. Cut into the aluminum foil, then test it on a piece of paper. Repeat as often as you need to. If that has not worked, try punching through very fine sandpaper, about 400 grit.
  3. Loosen a jammed punch. If your punch has become jammed, try putting it in the freezer for several hours. That will cause the metal to contract and hopefully release the jam. If that does not work, try using WD-40. Let it sit for several hours and then try to punch through several pieces of scrap paper
  4. Check your punches for loose paper and residue. Pull out any paper or residue so that you do not get paper jams

Got A Stuck Punch? Here Are Some Fix Ideas

It happens after a lot of use. You can get a stuck punch and might be ready to heave it away. But before you do, give these tricks a try:

  • Put the punch in a freezer-Sometimes the metal will contract after being in a freezer for about 2 hours. It may be more useful for simple punches, but it is worth giving it a try.
  • Use a penetrating oil-Oils like WD-40 might just do the trick to unstick your punch. Spray a little on the cutting edge of the punch. Let the oil seep into the punch for an hour or so. Try to use the punch several times. Clean the oil from the punch. Punch through some scrap paper several times till there is no oil left on the punch.
  • Take the punch apart- As a last resort, try taking the punch apart. If you are able to take it apart and reassemble, you will have a usable tool again

Projects With Punches

How Have You Used Punches?

Linda F Correa (author) from Spring Hill Florida on March 10, 2017:

It's important that when we invest in products we get the most use out of them. Thanks for your comment

RTalloni on March 09, 2017:

This is really useful for learning to make the most of paper punches. Love the projects included. Especially appreciate the care tips!

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