Reported by Jessica Ripley
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:
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:
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.
- 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).
- 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.