Organizing Punches

One of the crafting items that I love the most happens to take up the most space—punches.  Even though they take up space I know that I will never stop collecting them.  So organizing punches is always in the forefront of my mind.

In support of my growing collection I have found a storage system that works for me.  I organize my punches in three different storage containers—drawers, an over the door shoe hanger, and mesh bins.  I keep the punches that I use the most often in drawers that are next to my primary work station.

Punch 1

I store my border punches and larger or heavier punches in an over the door shoe hanger. I keep this on the inside of a closet door so they are easy to access but still out of the way.  I then put all smaller punches or more seasonal shapes into a mesh bin that I keep inside a cupboard.

Punch 2
There are so many other ways to organize your punches—hanging them on curtain rods is a very attractive way to display and store your punches, or you could hang individual punches on drawer pulls.  You could attach guttering from a home improvement store to a storage unit or wall for another creative solution. If you are lucky enough to have built in drawers in your craft room, they are the perfect spot for organizing punches.

Punch 3Punch 4

You can store smaller punches with a spice rack or other furniture piece that has small, thin shelves.  Some of the new punches on the market work really well with thin shelving.  Martha Stewart Crafts punches all sit on end and look great displayed in a row.  The slim punches that EK Success just released are lightweight and take up little space so you can fit them in a lot of different places too.

Hopefully these tips for organizing punches will help you manage your collection. Whether you have a lot of punches or just a few, there are a lot of ways you can store your punches and finding one that works for you and your space is definitely the best option.  Whichever method you choose, I do recommend planning on a little space to grow…because somehow, no matter how many punches I have, I still find myself needing just a few more!

Author: Nicole Ratzlaff

Punch Maintenance

PunchesThere’s nothing that frustrates me more than trying to use a favorite punch and the resulted punch has rough edges or the punch jams and the paper is stuck in the punch. There are a few things you can do to keep your punches working smoothly before they start acting up.

Sharpen the blade: Like any blade, a punch will become dull after a lot of use. To remedy this situation and sharpen the blade; grab a piece of tinfoil from the kitchen, fold it in half and punch through the foil several times. If your punch is still dull you can repeat this process a couple of times in the event that your punch was really dull you can try a very fine grit sand paper. Be careful not to punch in the sandpaper too many times as you may damage the cutting surface of the mechanism, this may damage the surface of the punch blade.

Lubricate and clean the blade: Often times our punches get dirty from punching through papers with glitter, adhesive or other things and it’s necessary to clean and lubricate the blade to keep it from jamming. To do this, you’ll need a piece of waxed paper from the kitchen. Follow the same technique as you did with the tinfoil until your blade punches smoothly again. You should clean the blade with waxed paper after you have sharpened it with sandpaper to remove any remnants of the sandpaper.

If your punch has become jammed alerting you to the need for cleaning and sharpening don’t try to remove the paper by tearing it away. First, try wiggling the lever around from side to side to loosen it so it will un-jam itself. If this doesn’t work, try putting the punch in the freezer for a while. The coldness of the freezer causes the metal of the punch to shrink enough to remove the paper. Once the punch is in operable condition again sharpen and lubricate it with the methods as discussed above.

NOTE: Do not try to insert any tools in the punch as this may damage
it and result in a personal injury.

We spend a lot of money on our punches and they should last a long time. If you haven’t used a punch in a while, as you take it off the shelf and plan to work it into your project, give it a punch or two in tinfoil and waxed paper to keep it working smoothly and you should be able to use it for years to come.

Author: Catherine Matthews-Scanlon