TLC for Paper Punches

TLC and general care for Paper Punches

Through the years I have learned many tips and tricks for punching and caring for punches.  Punch care is simple and easy, takes little time and will maintain your punches in excellent condition.  Maintaining your punches will give you years of easy punching.

General Punch Care:
Keep punches clean and dust free. 
A soft paint brush is ideal for getting inside the punch to remove any dust or fibres.

To keep your punches sharp:
Sharpen your punches with aluminium foil.
Just punch through the foil several times.  Kitchen foil can be folded double to do this.
In extreme cases try punching through very fine sandpaper.

To keep your punches from sticking:
Use wax paper to keep them lubricated.
Punch through the wax paper several times.
Another suggestion is to have a stiff bristled paintbrush and coat the bristles by brushing on an old candle, then brushing the cutting plates of the punch until well coated with wax.  Test the punch with no paper first.

Correct punching:
Never try to punch more than one sheet of cardstock at a time. (Sometimes thin paper needs to be double sheets.)
Punch with a quick downward motion.
Slow punching causes the paper to tear.
Use a balanced pressure over the centre of the punch.

Clearing a stuck punch:
Any attempt to unstick a punch should be done with care to yourself  and to your punch.
.Sometimes you can release a stuck punch just by carefully rotating the button on the top.
Sometimes you can release a stuck punch by wedging a thin screwdriver between the punch plates, or by pushing on the centre punch plate from the bottom of your punch.
If that doesn’t help try putting your punch in the freezer for a few minutes.
The metal should contract releasing the punch and paper.

Fine Intricate Designs:
These punches are very pretty but they are much more fragile than some other punches.  Maintenance on these is very important, and even punching pressure is an absolute must.  These punches tend to wear more easily than other punches, often sticking more often and tearing paper as the punch plate surfaces wear. 
Using thicker paper to punch will overcome some of these wear problems.

Specialty punches:
Silhouette punches are very pretty but the are much more fragile than other punches. They punch the design in two steps. You will be able to ‘feel’ this double action.  You must punch deeper than other punches to complete the design.  The scraps created by the punch need to be cleared fairly often.

Easy Punching:
Where possible use a lever action style punch helper.  There are several available on the market.  These will give the correct punching action every time you punch and help to maintain your punches in top condition.

We hope you find this information helpful, and wish you many years of easy punching!

Lauren Brown