Craft Punches. Love them or hate them. They punch out wonderful tiny additions to our scrapbook pages, but when they are not working smoothly, they are a real nuisance. There are two major problems I have encountered with punches – and two related resolutions that I have gathered.

• Sticky Punches. Sticky punches give you a good punch out, but the top part of the punch stays down, requiring you to jiggle and cajole before you can punch again.

Recommendation: Make sure the punch is clean. Especially if you have punched paper with adhesive already on it, the punch may have adhesive residue that is making it stick. Recommendation: Take a piece of waxed paper, and punch it several times. The wax seems to lubricate the punch so that it works better. (NOTE: Although the “conventional wisdom” among scrapbookers is that this works well, I have heard one account of someone getting bad results with waxed paper.)

• Dull Punches. Dull punches tear your paper instead of cutting smoothly. Recommendation: Take a piece of aluminum foil, and punch it several times. The metal in the foil seems to sharpen the punch, just a little bit.

Recommendation: If the aluminum foil doesn’t improve things enough, you might try very fine-grained sandpaper. Punch the sandpaper a few times, both face up and face down; this will sharpen both the upper and lower portions of the punch. (NOTE: I have not actually had to try the sandpaper “trick”, but some people swear by it.)

These are low-cost methods that you can try. At worst, they should do no harm. At best, they will improve the performance of your punches.

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