Reported by Erika Martin
I’m always looking for new ways to create altered art or 3-D projects, but sometimes it’s hard to find a tool that will punch through odd materials (think: book covers or CDs). I had looked into purchasing a Japanese screw punch, but the cost had always deterred me. When the Crop-a-dile came on the market, I knew I had found just what I needed.Not only does the Crop-a-dile punch through some of the thickest crafting materials, but it also doubles as a silent eyelet and snap punch and setter. If you’re one of those crafters that likes to stay up late at night (when you get your best crafting mojo), but you don’t want to wake the rest of the house with those noisy hammer/punch/setter tools, the Crop-a-dile is a great alternative and much easier to use than the passe hammer/mat sets that first debuted on the market when eyelets were all the rage.
Depending on where you look, you can find new Crop-a-diles anywhere from $14 to $30. It’s a hefty tool to hold in your hand, but the weight of it is indicative of its sturdy construction. A look over the mechanisms of this tool and you know you have a durable tool that will last a good, long crafting liftetime.
The Crop-a-dile has dual purposes – to punch holes and to set eyelets/snaps.
To use the tool to punch holes, you have your choice between a 1/8 inch and a 3/16 inch hole. You can also set the little slide rulers on each of the punches as a guide for up to 1 inch in depth – meaning, your punch can go up to 1 inch in on the surface you’re punching. Simply slide the punch part of the tool over your surface and squeeze the handles together. You’ll be amazed at how effortless the punching process is. The sharp pointed tip of the punch makes it go through the surface like a hot knife through butter.
The eyelet/snap setter part of the tool works for both mini and regular size eyelets/snaps. Just as the punch part of the tool is clearly labled with size and measurements, the setter is also clearly labled as to where to put the base of the eyelet/snap and where there top of the eyelet/snap should be placed. The setter and base both swivel out easily by pulling on them to move them around as you choose which size you’d like to use. As mentioned before, using this setter is virtulally noise-free and just as effortless as punching the hole. If you’ve been holding off on using snaps and eyelets because of the noise and hassle of all the different tools, the Crop-a-dile eliminates those problems. You don’t need a mat or a hammer….the Crop-a-dile will do the punching and the setting for you, with the ease of just one tool.
As I’ve tested this tool out, I’m amazed at how many surfaces the Crop-a-dile will punch through. I love to create altered books, but finding a cost conservative tool to punch through book covers was a problem. The Crop-a-dile will easily punch through most book covers with ease. I’ve also punched through a small stack of book pages without any trouble, even after I’ve glued many of them together. My Crop-a-dile has been used by quite a few high schoolers during altered book courses and it still looks and performs like it just came out of the package. It’s seen a lot of love and some abuse, but this tool holds up to even the most forbmidable of users (scores of high school freshman boys).
I recently completed a class using old CDs and used the Crop-a-dile to create holes that were used to thread book rings through to make a mini album. Even with something as potentially brittle as a CD, the Crop-a-dile was able to make holes in the CD without cracking, bending or breaking the CD. It seems this tool is not only strong, but gentle as well.
Thick coasters are also something I use quite often for crafting projects and a regular hand held punch only made a dent in the surface, but was not strong enough to go through the entire coaster. The Crop-a-dile punches through the coasters with no difficulty at all. Besides being able to punch with ease, I really like the fact that there are the sliding rulers on the sides of the tool. When creating a project that needs at least two or more holes punched in a straight row, the sliding ruler gives you a stable guide and eliminates the need to measure out and eyeball your punches and hope that you got them straight.
I am always finding new surfaces to use my Crop-a-dile on and I’m sure you’ll love yours as much as I love mine.
- Virtually silent punch and eyelet/snap setter. Great for late night crafting or to eliminate all the “extras.”
- Clearly labeled/measured sliding rulers to use as stable guides when punching mutiple holes in a straight line.
- Will cut through a multitude of thick and hard surfaces, which most hand held punches can’t handle.
- Range of depth into a surface only extends up to 1 inch with the sliding rulers and eyelet/snap setter. If you’re punching or setting, you won’t be able to reach further into your paper/surface more than an inch.
- Only two sizes of hole punches (1/8 and 3/16 inch).
Where to buy:
I find that even with the cons of this product, the pros are what bring me to take this tool out again and again. With all the bizarre and unqiue surfaces I use in my crafting, I would find it very hard and frustrating to work without my Crop-a-dile. I recommend this tool as an all-around necessity for your crafting stash.
So, what kinds of things have YOU punched through with your Crop-a-dile? Any tips or suggestions you’ve learned along the way that you’d like to pass on to other Craft Critique readers?
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