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Tag Archives | Paper Punches

Review | The Card Album

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

I enjoy finding new and interesting storage products for my finished projects.  It is even better when the product has problem solving applications like the Card Album.  At first glance, it is not very impressive looking.  However, Stefanie Girard (designer & patent holder), who is a friend of mine, is pretty patient, so she took the time to explain how the Card Album works and the reasoning behind the design.

The Card Album was created for people like me who like to make their own cards.  In the past when I made a card I would stick in a file or in a drawer.  More often than not, the handmade card would get squished, bent, or even misplaced.  To avoid this type of disappointment, Stefanie Girard (author of Sweater Surgery ) created a special elastibind construction on the Card Album to hold greeting cards and other projects for crafters and artists alike.

She wanted to create an organized solution for folks to be able to store their handmade greeting cards without having them become damaged or misplaced.   She also recycles envelopes and uses them in these binders to hold an assortment of different items.

The Card Album holds up to 24 of 5″x7″ cards even if you have a variety of different sized handmade cards. I like how easily this systems allows me to keep my cards organized and accessible. 

You insert the finished or even unfinished card through the band and its stays in place until you need it again.

The fun did not stop there! I attended a “Card Album” decorating class at the winter CHA show, and we decorated the outside of these cool card albums with die cuts, stickers, buttons and other ephemera. Since the decorative craft class was offered at the CHA show, there was an amazing assortment of items (both cool tools, fun decorative embellishments, and other tidbits) available to use.

Stefanie showed us how we can uses our altered art supplies, scrapbooking supplies, etc. to decorate the outside of the Card Album to reflect our own artistic style. If you can not attend one her classes, she does have a blog (The Card Album Blog) where she often posts card making ideas.

Rubber stamps work great on these. The stamped image, on the above Card Album is done using StazOn ink which works great on so many surfaces. The next album I decorated I wanted to have a Halloween theme. I found some cool templates on the Martha Stewart crafting site to use. I printed out the witch silhouette and used it as a template. The templates have some really convenient measurements so you can adjust the print to the size you need (on your computer).

Then I used a glue stick to attach the witch to the book cover.  It stayed on really well, which surprised me since glue stick glue does not always hold well on plastic.  I also used my Martha Stewart punch around the page crackle punch to outline the cover.  I love her punches and will use them in any craft I can.

It was a simple craft project that did not take a lot of time or supplies. I only used items that I had on hand and I was pleased that it came out just the way I wanted it to. Now I can store my Halloween-themed cards in this book.

I have a tendency to save the special cards that friends have made me over the years. Each one holds a special memory for me, and I  treasure these mementos. So I also made one that is just for those cards, out of leftover bits and pieces.

The card album offers me a great way to store these cards, yet have easy access to them when I want to look through my collections. All in all, I really like this Card Album. Stefanie was happy to sell me a few to hold my favorite treasures.  At a price of $9.95, it is an affordable way to display and hold both my own handmade cards and those given to me.

Pros:

  • Holds up to 24 cards of different sizes
  • The designs of the books makes it easy to access my cards
  • Great way to show off handmade cards at Gift Shows
  • Very affordable at $9.95

Cons:

  • Only comes in two colors
  • I wish it came in a larger size to hold some of my larger projects
  • Only available online

Do you make handmade cards? What are some of your favorite cards that you have received?  How do you store these treasures?

Vendor Spotlight: Martha Stewart Double Edge Punch

Reported by Taylor Usry

I received a Martha Stewart Double Edge Punch (along with some wonderful paper) from Martha Stewart Crafts recently, and jumped at the chance to test this new product out. The punch I’m sharing with you today is called the Bangle Chain Deep Double Edge punch; there are several other styles available in stores and online.

I started by comparing the overall size of the double edge punch to several of the other Martha Stewart Punch Around the Page edge punches I currently own. Wow – this new double edge punch is much bigger! You can see above how much taller it is.

Here are the punches viewed from the front. The beefier one on the left is the Double Edge Punch.

Looking down at the punches it is easy to see the difference in length as well. For this shot I unfolded the sides of both punches. The Double Edge Punch also has a heavier weight than a regular edge punch, and a larger handle.

The Double Edge Punch is very simple to use. When viewed from underneath, you should see the wrong side of your paper – so you put the paper in the punch right side up (the side you want to see on your project).

It take a bit more force to squeeze this punch, but that is attributable to its considerable heft. I often hold my regular punches upside down to punch them, and that made this one a bit harder for me to squeeze (Note: I have nerve damage in one arm, which is why I do it this way. They are designed to just press down on). It still punches through card stocks and patterned papers just as well as the regular Martha Stewart edge punches. To line up the design and punch correctly, you want to make sure to place the punched-out image directly above the guidelines. In the picture above, you can see some of the cream-colored punch base. That is the incorrect placement for your paper.

Always line up your punched paper as shown above, precisely over top of the cream-colored outline. This will ensure a perfect punch!

The finished piece is about an inch and a half thick, as you can see when it’s placed on my Martha Stewart Scoring Board. Isn’t that wood grain paper gorgeous? It’s from the In Nature collection, and I was lucky enough to receive it in my goodie box from the kind folks at Martha Stewart Crafts!

Here’s another close up shot of the intricate design of this punch. You can see how cleanly the punch operates. There are no jagged or frayed edges, and every segment lines up really well, thanks to those guides on either side of the punch.

I made a few quick projects using this punch. The first were little paper cone treat holders for party favor treats (my son’s first birthday party was this weekend, and this seemed like a great idea for kids of different ages!). Doesn’t this Double Edge Punch make a gorgeous handle? And I love the yellow paper (also from the In Nature collection).

I also made a simple, botanical-themed card. I used the punched piece in lieu of ribbon, and set it with jumbo eyelets to create a raised ripple effect.

On the edge I placed a little butterfly, created using a Martha Stewart Stamp and Punch set. I love that Martha’s products work well together.

I am absolutely enamored with this Deep Double Edge Punch from Martha Stewart Crafts! It punches a variety of card stocks and patterned papers quickly and cleanly, and the possibilities are endless with it. I’ll be able to easily make borders for scrapbook pages, cards, altered and 3D items….my head is positively swimming with ideas!

Pros:

  • able to create quick borders and accents
  • easy to use guides make proper punching a breeze
  • available in a variety of designs
Cons:
  • larger size doesn’t fit in the same drawer as my other punches (I’m being nitpicky, I know!)
  • due to the heavier weight of this, it may be a bit harder to squeeze the handle together
  • I’d like to see this offered in matching patterns to existing edge punches, so people (ok, ME!) can create sets of coordinating items
The Deep Double Edge Punch is available online and in retail stores, and will jump right into your shopping cart with a budget-friendly MSRP of $17.99. 
Do you have one of these punches, or have you tried one before? Tell me all about it! What amazing projects have you made with it?
Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!

Fiskars Squeeze Punches

Reported by Jessica Ripley


Good old reliable paper punches. If you are a scrapbooker I’m absolutely certain you have at least 2 or 3 in your crafty arsenal (but if you are a scrapbooker like me, most probably more like 9 or 10). Before there was a die cutting machine for every taste and budget, we collected punches in every shape that appealed to us, from stars to lizards, and every size imaginable, from the tiny to the huge. Unfortunately for most though, we also suffered for our craft… those punches are hard on the hands! There is one brand out there however that in this crafter’s opinion rises far above the rest when it comes to just sheer comfort of use, and that is the Squeeze Punch from Fiskars.

The only paper punch to be awarded the Arthritis Foundation Ease Of Use Commendation, Fiskars Squeeze Punches come in over 50 designs. Besides being very easy on the hands due to the ergonomically designed handles that are easy to operate, another plus is that the punch is meant to be used face up so you can see exactly what you are punching out.


It’s nice to eliminate the guess work that some punches require when you have to place them on a table to punch out your shape (and then push with all your might with both hands, jump up and down, and grunt).

As mentioned above the punches come in many shapes. If I’m going to purchase a separate punch for my stash it has to be a shape that I can use again and again, and Fiskars understands the importance of that. Their designs for the Squeeze Punches include standards like circles, squares, flowers, and even corner rounders. They do also include a few holiday themed punches for Christmas and are currently featuring a special Fall edition. My absolute favorite design is their Seal of Approval scalloped edged circle used to make the tree leaves in the layout below:


Most shapes are also offered in different sizes, from small to extra large. The card below uses the Round and Round design in these two different sizes for example:


There are a few drawbacks of course, size for one. Because of that wonderful design that makes these punches so easy to use, they take up quite a bit more space than a smaller punch would in your drawers. A lot more in fact.


At an average MSRP of $14.00 (going up or down depending on the size), they are also about twice as expensive as their counterparts, and I rarely ever buy them unless they are on sale or I have a coupon.

As far as materials which can be punched, Fiskars recommends that the punches are used only with 65lb card stock or lower. This is definitely not a rule to test, as I have actually damaged one of my squeeze punches so that it no longer lines up properly to punch after trying it on thin chipboard. However, this isn’t something I hold against them at all, considering most other punches can’t handle thicker materials either.

Out of curiosity, I also tried out the Seal of Approval punch on a transparency, but it definitely won’t work. It barely cut out just a portion of the design:

Stick with paper for these punches as you would with most others, and save the thicker materials for your die cutting machine.

With that in mind, if you have a die cutting machine why even bother with paper punches? Honestly even though I do own one, I find myself constantly still reaching for a paper punch just to add a quick element or two to a project, to carry with me if I’m crafting away from home, or if I want to just cut out several of one shape super quickly. And while I may not be collecting as many punches as I would have before die cutting machines, when I do pick one up in the store, it will always be a Fiskars Squeeze Punch. The ease of use and the visibility in punching far outweighs any draw back on size or price for me.

In summary:

Pros:

  • Extremely easy on the hands when using, no grunting and jumping up and down when trying to punch!
  • Open faced design lets you see exactly what you are punching out. Great for when punching out certain details of patterned paper.
  • Comes in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, especially shapes which can be used again and again (like circles, squares, and corner rounders).

Cons:

  • More expensive that many other punches in stores.
  • Harder to store due to the large size, the handles take up a lot of room.
  • Punching through material which is too thick can damage the punch, stick to the 65lb or lower paper recommendation.

What’s your current paper punch collection like? Do you own any squeeze punches? We would love to hear what you love or dislike about them in the comments.

Disclosure

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