Use What You Have

Use What You Have by Sandpaper Road | PAPER PUNCHES brought to life!

Chances are, if you have been papercrafting for a while, it is no doubt that you have a collection of heavy-duty paper punches stashed with your craft supplies. These often cumbersome (and sometimes, HEAVY) punches are slowly being overtaken by the thin steel die shape, which is much easier for storage and travel. But, those punches are certainly NOT EXTINCT!
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For today’s projects, dig into your supply stash and take a fresh look at all those paper punches you have! You may have forgotten that many punches can be used all year ’round! Combine those “paper piecing” looks with some new stamps and dies, and you have instantly given your craft stash a face-lift (without spending a dime)!
Watch this tutorial by Sandpaper Road for some fresh ideas for using your old punches:

I should note that for these projects, I used my “DIY 6×6 paper packs”. This is a great way to use up your scraps and stay inspired. I cut my scraps to 6″ x 6″ squares. I look to Pinterest for help to create my color palettes, and then I organize my 6″ x 6″ scraps into baggies and label them with a marker. For a closer look at this SCRAP HACK, check out my previous post HERE.

Use a leaf punch to create a holiday wreath!

Create dimension by punching leaf shapes on one end of several rectangle panels. Use Distress Oxide ink over an embossed background to create a little interest.

Use metallic papers and a variety of different shaped punches. Then layer the shapes in clusters using a combination of foam dots, glue dots and liquid adhesive. You will achieve a dimensional look without the weight of using buttons or metal!

Here’s another card using those same shape punches. Look closely… the card is nothing more than rectangles, punched-out paper shapes and white paint spatter. It looks like it took a lot of time and skill! You can totally do this!

Or, do the same thing, but skip the ribbon and the extra dimensional foam. You will have a nice, flat card to send in the postal mail, but it still looks intricate and beautiful!

You can also punch shapes and reapply them somewhere else on the same card. Here, I reapplied snowflakes on the front of the same card and inside the card. Then, I used double-sided adhesive sheets to burnish glitter into the open spaces.


To learn this glitter technique, check out my previous post HERE:
EASY GLITTER TAPE TECHNIQUE by Sandpaper Road

Another way to use punches and create flat cards is to create vellum windows and then fill them with layers. Punch a large shape out of the front of a card, add a piece of vellum inside (to cover the hole), and then add a piece of cardstock over top of the vellum (with a hole punched out to reveal the vellum shape). You can then just layer punches over top of the front and inside, just as you did in the glittery card above.

While you’ve got your circle punch out, don’t forget to use circles to create basic cards with lots of interest. Use variety in your papers, but keep the shape simple. Here, I used cardstock and pages torn out of an old book with my circle punch.

I also used my circle punch to create the individual petals of this poinsettia. Simply punch a circle, then partially slide the circle back into the punch slightly to create each petal. If you turn the punch upside down in your hand, you can see when to make the cut of the petal.

I demonstrate this technique in the following inspiration video about various ways to use your punches: USE WHAT YOU HAVE by Sandpaper Road | Paper Punches Brought to Life!

Don’t forget to combine simple shapes with cute paper-piecing shapes! Here, I create a cute little accent by combining a cupcake punch and a circle punch. Also, don’t forget about your corner rounder! To cover up my crooked cuts on my sentiment, I rounded the corners. It looks like it was meant to be a little “wonky”-shaped!

And again, sometimes the prettiest cards are the simplest. Just combining a series of simple circles and a few leftover leaves makes a stunning card! Top this off with a little Distress Oxide ink and a sentiment and you’ve got a nice, flat card ready to send! Beautiful!

Now, maybe you are the crafter who doesn’t have a single paper shape punch… not ONE! Before you shop, don’t be tempted just to pick up the first inexpensive punch you find. Like all craft supplies, there are ones that perform better than others. I have tried punches from a variety of manufacturers, and I have found that (honestly) you get what you pay for. The punches that I used in this post either I bought with my own money or were given to me as gifts from friends. And I am not exaggerating when I say that I bought that Creative Memories circle punch in 1999. I am not joking. I think I bought that Stampin’ Up! leaf punch either that same year or the year before. The “cheaper” punches I purchased throughout my crafting journey I could have done without. I could have used that money toward a higher quality punch. Again, that’s just my personal opinion and my personal experience.
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For me, punches by the following manufacturers stand the “test of time” and are worth your time and money. I am not affiliated with ALL of these companies… I just highly recommend their products because they are GREAT (some affiliate links below for browsing & shopping):
Creative Memories
Stampin’ Up!
Fiskars
EK Success
Sizzix
We R Memory Keepers

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