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Punches: the Crafting Tools You [Didn't Know You] Need

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There are two tools I use most when crafting: a circle punch and a micro punch.

My favorite brand of circle punch is Recollections, from Michaels—at home I have their 1 1/2 inch-version (and I love it), but 1-inch and 2-inch punches can also be used for the projects below. The second handy tool is a Japanese screw punch often called a micro punch. I have this version at home and it's ideal for tiny circles that can be punched free-form (you're not constrained by the corners of a page while punching!). It also comes with three bit settings that can be swapped out for smaller or slightly larger circles.

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Gift tags, garlands, and earring holders—all made with two punches.
Gift tags, garlands, and earring holders—all made with two punches. Photo by James Ransom

There's so much that can be done with these two little helpers—especially around this time of year—that will make you feel like a genius crafter and save you a few bucks along the way:

  • Homemade tags: Punch out your big circle first (using any fun colored or patterned paper, I might add), then a smaller circle, using the micro punch, about 1/16 of an inch from the edge of the circle. Tie a string through that circle and you've got yourself a homemade tag. I use them as gift toppers (atop gifts or around treat bags).
  • Paper garland: Lay a piece of baker's twine on a flat surface. Using the 1 1/2-inch punch, punch out as many circles as you can stand in one sitting. Using double stick tape, take two circles and sandwich them on either side of the twine and press firmly. Continue until a garland has formed, allowing for about 3 inches in between each circle.
Micro Punch

Micro Punch

Circle Punch

Circle Punch

  • Earring organizers (a great organizing project in the New Year!): I was recently given a pair of earrings that came hanging on a simple paper circle. I immediately rushed to my [embarrassingly messy] jewelry drawer and pulled out all my earrings. With my trusty 1 1/2-inch circle punch, I punched out circles in fun colors of paper and then punched two smaller holes (using my micro punch on the smallest setting) at the center of the larger circles, about a half inch apart, and attached my earrings (backs on the flip side of the paper to secure).
Photo by James Ransom

For smaller earrings, you can do 1 to 3 pairs per circle. I laid out all the circles in my jewelry drawer but you could also display them by stacking them. If you're an aesthetics nut like me and often don't like the way earrings you purchased for someone else are packaged, use this quick trick when giving earrings as gifts.

What crafting supplies do you seem to use all the time? Tell us in the comments!

Tags: crafting, diy, gift tags