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What is a Paper Punch?

By J. Beam
Updated Feb 02, 2024
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A paper punch is a handheld, hand-powered tool used in paper crafts. It is similar to the standard three-hole or single-hole punch, except that those used in paper crafts punch special shapes into the paper. A vast array of paper punch shapes, from stars and flowers to music notes and Christmas trees, are available. Some decorative punches can even create borders and decorative corners.

For most paper crafts, a shaped paper punch works best with card stock quality paper, but thinner weight paper can also be used, especially if someone is making confetti. In fact, creating confetti is a great use for this tool. A person can use one or several shapes to decorate a party or shower invitation, and then use the same or a coordinating shaped paper punch to create confetti to fill the card. Punches can be used for school and art projects, and of course for their most popular use: scrapbooking.

When scrapbooking, a decorative paper punch might be used to create frames for pictures by placing punched borders around the picture’s edge, or a single shape punch might provide the finishing touch to a decorated page. Shapes, borders, and decorative corners can be placed in layers to decorate greeting cards or embellish scrapbook pages. The uses for shapes and designs created by this tool are limited only to the user's imagination.

To get the most life out of a paper punch, users should always punch single layers of paper and never use paper that is too thick or corrugated cardboard. If someone tries to punch through too many layers of paper or paper that is too thick, he or she can break the spring inside by forcing the punch. Users should also avoid getting the device wet, as the minimal mechanics inside can rust.

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Discussion Comments
By pharmchick78 — On Sep 10, 2010

I really like the McGill collection of paper punches for crafts for my kids. They're study enough to withstand hard use, and make good cut outs too.

By googlefanz — On Sep 10, 2010

@naturesgurl3 -- I totally understand. I use paper punches for card making, and they really are quite addictive.

I started off with corner paper punches, but now I've moved into the more complex, shaped ones. Like you say, they're just so cute!

My husband thinks I'm crazy, of course, but I consider it a mental health thing -- making cards is my indulgence, and as far as it goes, I think that it's a lot healthier to be addicted to paper punches than to some other things!

By naturesgurl3 — On Sep 10, 2010

I am big into scrapbooking, and fact is, I have an embarrassing number of paper punch sets.

It's one of those things that you think you'll never buy, but there are just so many different kind of paper punches for scrapbooking that it's hard to resist. And punched paper looks so cute too!

So far I've stuck with the small ones, but I really do want to get some large paper punches for bigger sheets.

Am I alone in this, or does anybody else have an addiction to using paper punches for crafts?

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