Creative Paper-Punch Techniques

Pull out the paper punches and browse through our creative ways for using these tried-and-true tools.

Linked Circles Scrapbook Page

Design by Erica Hernandez

Include both the positive (the punched image, like the red hearts on this page) and the negative (the space the image is punched from, like the heart-shape holes in the turquoise cardstock) for variety. Make rings by punching a large circle, then using a smaller circle punch to remove the center. Off-center punching is easier and more dynamic. Punch small holes for more detail.

Editor's Tip: After punching the pieces, layer and link them for dimension. Cut the links to allow them to be slipped together and hide the cut behind the overlapping area.


SOURCES: Cardstock: American Crafts. Font: Century Gothic. Punches: EK Success (heart), Marvy Uchida (large circles).

Corner Punched Page

Design by Irma Gabbard

Corner punches are not just for corners! Line up rounded punches along the edge of a sheet of cardstock to create your own custom-color scalloped border. Don't worry about lining up the rounded edges on either side of the scallop. The imperfections are part of the charm.

Editor's Tip: Offset the punched scallops slightly for a less symmetrical ropelike effect.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Patterned paper: SEI (orange dot), Scenic Route Paper Co. (grid). Font: American Type MD Bold off the Internet. Stickers: Making Memories ("wonderful," "makeover"), SEI (letters, index tab). Pin: Heidi Grace Designs. Punches: EK Success.

Stacked Punches

Design by Lisa Storms

Love the look of chipboard but can't find the perfect shape? Fake it by stacking several cardstock layers of the same punched shape. The flowers on this page are multiple layers of chipboard-color cardstock topped with patterned paper.

Editor's Tip: The sky (or at least your page protector) is the limit when layering punched cardstock shapes. Experiment with the number of layers to see if thicker or thinner shapes look best.


SOURCES: Cardstock: WorldWin Papers. Patterned paper: BoBunny Press (green with brown dot), Fancy Pants Designs (green notebook, distressed red), My Mind's Eye (floral, distressed blue, distressed orange). Font: Traveling Typewriter off the Internet. Stickers: Making Memories. Chipboard accents: Heidi Grace Designs. Gems: Me and My Big Ideas. Punches: Fiskars.

Punched Background

Design by Shannon Tidwell

Strips of punched borders boost texture and dimension without overwhelming the adorable photo on this layout. Start with two sheets of the same color cardstock. One sheet is the background and one sheet is for punching. Use several different border punches for a whimsical look or the same punch for a streamlined effect.

Editor's Tip: If you don't have a border punch, achieve the same effect with a smaller punch. Just flip the punch over to position the hole and punch at even intervals.


SOURCES: Cardstock: Bazzill Basics Paper. Patterned paper, stickers, chipboard accents: Sassafras. Punches: EK Success (lace border), Martha Stewart Crafts (loop edge, scalloped dot edge, scalloped edge). Adhesive: Making Memories.

Punch Fabric

Design by Janna Wilson

Conquer materials too thick to punch by using the negative shape of the punched image as a stencil template. The flowers on this page were made by punching a shape on paper and using the outline as a template to cut from felt. Add detailing to the flowers made from the punch template--stitching, buttons, and brads help anchor the felt and give the embellishments a cozy feeling.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: BoBunny Press (yellow dot), October Afternoon (stripe), Sassafras (blue), Scenic Route Paper Co. (orange). Font: Cambria. Chipboard accents: Chatterbox. Die cuts: My Mind's Eye. Brads, embroidery floss: Making Memories. Buttons: Scarlet Lime. Punches: EK Success (large flower), Fiskars (daisy flower, scalloped border and corner). Felt: Felt Pro.

Punch a Window

Design by Jen Lessinger

Take a peek at the background. Punch shapes from patterned paper, then layer the paper over other elements attached to the background. The sheets of patterned paper on this colorful layout were punched with a large circle punch, and the resulting circles were placed on the background. A layer of crafts foam raises patterned paper off the white background cardstock and emphasizes the punched circles.

Editor's Tip: A tablet of mini-album papers makes coordinating papers simple and eliminates trimming. The precut papers measure about 11-1/2x5-1/2", meaning you can just punch and attach--no measuring needed.


SOURCES: Cardstock: American Crafts. Patterned paper, stickers: Little Yellow Bicycle. Font: Century Gothic. Chipboard accents: American Crafts (green asterisk), Autumn Leaves (heart, star). Rub-ons, buttons: Autumn Leaves. Ribbon: American Crafts. Flower: Sassafras. Punches: EK Success (heart, hole border punch), Marvy Uchida (large circle), Martha Stewart Crafts (starburst).

Paper Pieced Punches

Design by Jennifer Perks.

Simple shapes go a long way when you apply a bit of creativity. Inverted hearts make a frilly layered skirt, a small circle is perfect for a fairy head, and an outline heart doubles as fairy wings.

Editor's Tip: Dark and light purple punched hearts in multiple layers give the fairy's skirt a full, ruffled look.


SOURCES: Patterned paper: BoBunny Press (pink floral, dark green), Fancy Pants Designs (purple), Pebbles, Inc. (green polka dot, pink with yellow polka dot), SEI (light blue circles, green floral). Font: Century Gothic. Vellum: Stampin? Up!. Stickers: Doodlebug Design. Chipboard accents: Heidi Swapp (small letters), Making Memories (large glittered letters). Gems: Queen & Co. Punches: EK Success (open heart, large heart, circle), Stampin' Up! (scalloped edge, photo corner), Target (star). Decorative-edge blade: Purple Cows. Glitter: Martha Stewart Crafts.

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