Top

Tag Archives | punch

Vendor Spotlight | Spellbinders Presto Punch

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

The Presto Punch is one of many interesting innovative products for scrapbookers and crafters from Spellbinders. I saw coverage on this machine on blogs and YouTube. The reviews have been pretty great. It retails around $69.00 depending on where you purchase it. I have found some pretty good deals at local scrapbooking shows and online.

The Spellbinders Presto Punch is about 7” x 5″ x 4½”. The size makes it super portable because you can easily fit the machine in your average insulated lunch bag along with some templates be ready to craft on-the-go.

The great news on this product is that the company took into consideration that some of us face the challenge of using various punches due to arthritis, hand injuries, carpal tunnel, hand strength issues, and other similar problems. You now have a choice between the familiar push down type of punches and a punch that works with the push of a button. 

The Spellbinders Presto Punch is an automatic punching and embossing machine, that works with the simple touch of a button. 

Additionally, the Presto Punch works on either batteries, or you can purchase a power adapter that is sold separately.

To use the adapter, you have to remove the battery case and then plug the adapter into the back of the machine.

The Presto Punch comes with the machine itself, an assortment of templates, and two folders (one for punching and one for embossing) to get you started.

The size of the templates is significant compared to traditional punches, when you consider the challenges of storing a large collection of punches. 

In the picture above you can see that the four traditional-sized punches take up significantly more space than the four Spellbinders Presto Punch templates do.

The Presto Punch templates can be used to punch, emboss, and stencil. They vary in size and are thinner than chipboard which means they do not take up a lot of space to store, unlike traditional punches.  The Presto Punch templates take less space than a credit card to store (once out of their retail packaging). So if you are challenged for storage space the Presto Punch may offer you a solution with their vast line of templates.  

Below is a small sampling of some of the other templates for the Presto Punch that you can purchase from their website or your local craft/scrapbooking store.  The prices varies from $9.99 and up depending on the template set you decide on.

This is what the template looks like face up. Note the cutting ridge on the outside edge of the template.  

The Spellbinders Presto Punch templates are really simple to use. To punch out a die cut, you need to place the template face down onto the card stock and then place it into the cutting file.

Once you  have placed the folder into the Presto Punch, just press the down button which is on the left.

The machine will made some funky noises that let you know to stop. That is the signal that you are done. Then you need to remember to press the up (on the right) button to be able to remove the folder.

If you want to see a demonstration of how the machine works and some cool ideas of things you can do with the punched pieces, I recommend going onto “YouTube” to watch one the Spellbinders technique videos that demonstrates how to use the templates and/or the machine.  The video below shows how easy the Spellbinders Presto Punch machine is to use. 

So once you have removed the folder from the machine, you will then remove the die cut from the machine and put into the white embossing folder.

Run it through the machine like you did with the cutting folder. 

If you look closely, you can see how well the machine embosses these little templates.

Then if you want to stencil, just leave the die cut piece in the template and paint.

I used a marker but you can use ink pads, chalks, etc. I like that these templates are multi-functional.

I tested the machine’s ability to cut fun foam, sparkle foam, handmade paper, watercolor paper (cold press), parchment paper, and glossy card stock. The fun foam worked great which I was a little surprised about. The sparkle foam did cut but you can see that it did not cut as cleanly as it did the other materials. I am assuming that this is because the sparkle foam is a little denser than the other materials I tested. It also worked on craft foil, sticker paper, thin clear plastic crafting sheets and various handmade papers.

My favorite was the parchment paper die cut because the embossing really shows up on this paper.

The real surprise was that it cut through aluminum.  I had an empty can of my favorite energy drink and decided to cut it up to see if it would work. I cut a piece to fit and it did a perfect punch. Even the embossing function did not have any trouble embossing the leaf marks onto the recycled tin can materials.

As for what did not work, well I tried a piece of heavy card stock. It did cut but not completely. I ended up tearing the paper trying to remove it from the template. On the other hand, regular card stock works just fine in the Presto Punch machine. You just need to cut it to fit within the folder. 

I have to say this little machine survived my experimentation fairly well. I really enjoyed cutting a variety of materials with the different punches. One of my favorites is the heart mini punch. I used it to make a gift tag.

There is no waste with these templates because I was able to use both the punched out heart and the paper I punched it from.

I also really liked the leaf template. I used the recycled aluminum tin can punched pieces to make a pair of earrings. I sanded off the sharp edges so they would not nick or catch on hair.

I also decided to punch out the little red bull animal images on the can and use them to make a pendant.

The templates make it easy to target specific items on paper and other materials.  These are just too much fun.   

(Note:  The template folders will get all funky looking after a bunch of uses, especially if you try to cut metal with it. You may want to keep it in mind if you decided to run a few tests on your own machine. You will have to replace the folder faster testing it on the non-traditional materials than if just stick to punching with traditional materials.)

I did have some issues. First of all, the machine opening is small . So take that into consideration when it comes to what materials you choose to put into the folders to cut or emboss.

Second, I want to take a moment to address the sound that the machine makes during use. Some folks may find it a little annoying. Since I have a hand injury at the moment, I think the ease of use (just a press of a button) more than makes up for the sound that the Presto Punch makes when cutting and embossing. I was still able to craft even though my hand movements are pretty limited (which why the jewelry designs are simple so my daughter could help me by working the jewelry making tools). I also found that I could use my other Spellbinders die templates as long as they fit inside the folders.

Overall, I think this is a pretty cool machine and look forward to making more fun things with the punched out pieces.

Pros:

  • Offers the crafter portability by using either batteries or a power adapter (sold separately).
  • The templates are multi functional. They cut, embosses and can be used as stencils.
  • The Presto Punch and the Presto Punch templates are easy to use and store.

Cons:

  • Works on batteries which can lead to waste. Consider using rechargeable batteries or purchase the adapter (sold separately).
  • Only comes with one set of folders which will get trashed with consistent use. However, they do sell replacements on their site for $5.99 for three (which isn’t a bad price).
  • Sorry, it was hard to come up with any when I am having so much fun with the machine!

We would love to hear from you and find out what your favorite punches are and how do you use them in your crafting?

Vendor Spotlight & GIVEAWAY: We R Memory Keepers Crop-A-Dile III

Reviewed by Julie Tiu

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

We R Memory Keepers has done it again, bringing us a multi-use tool for our scrapbooking, cardmaking, paper crafting needs. Joining the Crop-A-Dile family (Original Crop-A-Dile and Crop-A-Dile II: Big Bite) the Crop-A-Dile III Main Squeeze is an embellishing tool using squeeze plates to die-cut, emboss, or set corners and tabs. What a nice complement to the eight-tool punch, eyelet and snap original, and the longer setter, the Big Bite!

Sold separately from The Main Squeeze is a base which turns your handheld squeeze tool into a desktop version. I found it to be extremely useful, but more on that in a moment. The Main Squeeze is nicely designed, too, with ergonomic grip handles spanning 4-1/2″, so if you have petite hands, you may feel that it’s a stretch. But, it’s not bad since the scissors-like motion is really smooth, and it’s not too heavy at 1-1/3 lbs.

Then there are all the fun accessories you need to buy to use with your Crop-A-Dile! The only item that actually comes with the Main Squeeze is a pair of squeeze plates that you use with the Squeeze Tabs (pictured above, bottom left). The assortment makes me drool (in a good way). So, does the Crop-A-Dile III try to deliver too much in an all-in-one tool? Let’s take a look.

The whole idea is to interchange the set of plates for whatever purpose you need, and it is so simple to use. The packaging has basic instructions, but you can go online to find more detailed tips. The plates, labeled top and bottom, slide on easily. I have to admit, there was one plate I tested that was more snug than the others, and I used my pliers to help ease it off. This was not the case with every piece.

As a squeeze tool for placing and crimping “do-dads” like the decorative tabs or corners, all you do is place your embellishment and squeeze. The corner pieces can accommodate scrapbook paper, cardstock, and some chipboard. They stay on like a charm…

These were supposed to be miniature Asian priest robes, but they look like totes or purses.

The Squeeze Tabs, with most designs double-sided, are just as easy. There was some slight movement of the tab before I set it in place, so in its finished position, it wasn’t flush with the paper edge. But, it was really minimal. To remedy that, maybe it has to be temporarily taped or glued? Again, the tabs crimped just fine.

But my favorite uses of the Main Squeeze are die-cutting and embossing. I don’t own any tools for this purpose, but I’ve used a few in workshops; you can only imagine how excited I was to try this! I found that there’s a little learning curve with regards to how much pressure to use when embossing. Be careful not to squeeze too hard, it can lead to some paper damage at creases or depressions, but this could happen with any embosser. Otherwise, I was totally satisfied with my embossed greetings.

And now, the die-cutter. This is last for a reason. It’s the feature I am most excited about, yet had the most trouble at first. Understand, I was sent this product to test, and We R Memory Keepers generously supplied all the pictured items, so you can imagine the disappointment when I first attempted cutting cardstock and it turned out like this:

I squeezed until a “pop” could be heard, but it just didn’t cut through. Time to break out the base. With the Crop-A-Dile in position, I tried again. No such luck, though, it worked extremely well with text-weight paper (newsprint and copy paper). The die-cut shape always cut funny in the same place, the edge furthest away from the lever, or hinge, spot.

A call made to We R Memory Keepers set everything straight. The die-cut I had was just a dud, totally inferior, and they sent me a replacement, along with other shapes to try. I’m happy to report everything worked. The one thing I considered was that you are limited in the size of your die-cuts and embossed images. The plates are not that large which translates into smaller shapes.

My featured projects were made with these We R Memory Keepers paper collections:

Family Keepsake (available now)
Tres Elegant (new this Spring 2011)

I truly enjoyed using the Crop-A-Dile III, despite the rough start with the die-cutter. Customer service was fantastic, and I’d recommend giving this a try for those who haven’t bought an embossing or simple die-cutting machine, or those who might be tight on storage space.

Pros:

  • Versatile and accessories are plenty
  • Easy to store
  • Downloadable tips and tricks available online
  • Customer service is great

Cons:

  • Limited plate (working) area so a larger scale die-cut would still need to be done on another machine
  • Clumsy for me to use as a handheld tool
  • Call your local stores to see if they are carrying the Crop III – mine does not

Costs (online) can run $25-$30 for the Crop-A-Dile III Main Squeeze, $3-$6 for the embossing shapes and die-cut shapes.

Have you tried the Crop-A-Dile III yet? What do you love about it or what would you change? What new designs would you like to see next?

**Giveaway is closed. Thanks for entering!**

Fiskars Squeeze Punches

Reported by Jessica Ripley

Disclosure: This site is a participant in the Amazon.com affiliate program.

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.