Control Your Punches

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Denise Pauly

When I first started shopping for scrapbook supplies nearly two years ago, I would stroll past the punch display at the craft store, glance curiously at the cute little hunks of plastic and metal and wonder why I'd ever need to purchase one. And then it happened. While creating a layout of my daughter sleeping, I decided to buy a jumbo star punch so I could sprinkle little yellow stars across the page. Though my husband was aghast at the purchase (It cost $9, and it only makes the one shape?), I was hooked. I now have several hundred Punches in my collection and add to it every chance I get.


Whether you've just starting to buy Punches or if you're already a full-fledged collector, you're probably struggling, as I did, with the issue of punch storage. After all, they're heavy, oddly shaped and occupy lots of space! So gather all of your minis, smalls, mediums, jumbos, super jumbos, silhouettes, corners and borders and read on to find an organizational system that will work for you!

1. Tote bags . Several scrapbooking tote bags, such as the Crop-In-Style XXL , feature a section designed to hold Punches. Though they don't offer enough slots to house a large collection, you can use the space to store your favorite Punches or those you take to crops the most. Other totes on the market, such as McGill's Punch-and-Go tote , are designed specifically for Punches and can hold approximately 30-50, depending on their size.

2. Boxes . If you've accumulated a large amount of Punches, there are several options that will keep them together and still relatively portable. Many punchers start with a box designed to hold Matchbox cars, sold in toy and discount stores, these containers can accommodate several small and medium Punches in individual slots. Also available are two-sided carrying cases made by such companies as Plano and Iris, with tracks (that can be divided into sections by inserting plastic tabs) on both sides, these boxes can hold up to 80 Punches of various sizes. If your collection is larger than that, however, you may want to move up to a tackle box or large, heavy duty tool box, several models are available at hardware, sporting good and discount stores and have enough room to hold a substantial collection with room to grow.

3. Drawers. Now, if you're like me and your menagerie of Punches has outgrown every tote bag and tackle box on the market, you might find the solution in a storage cart made by such companies as Iris or Rubbermaid . My personal favorite is the six-drawer Iris cart. I have several drawers designated for Punches, grouped according to size, one drawer for border Punches, another for super jumbo Punches, yet another for silhouette Punches and so on. To maximize space, I turn the super jumbo and jumbo Punches on their sides and write the shape of each punch on the side for quick identification. When my collection began to outgrow the existing drawer space, I simply added a second layer to most of them by using inexpensive, clear box frames that you can find at almost any craft or drugstore. Though the large and super jumbo Punches are too tall to accommodate a second layer on top of them, all of my drawers that hold small, medium, border and corner Punches now have this multi-layered set up and allow me to store twice the amount of Punches!

Now that you've purchased the right tote, container or cart to house your growing collection, you may want to create a system to keep track of your Punches in order to avoid buying the same punch twice. Your method doesn't have to be fancy or complicated, it should be easy to reference and allow you to find a punch in your collection quickly. (If your system features too many categories and subcategories, you might overlook a punch or two!) Here are a few to consider:

1. Lists. Plain, straightforward lists are obviously a quick and easy way to remember which Punches are in your stas, you can write them out longhand or create a database on your computer that would allow you to reference your Punches according to size, theme and manufacturer. Keeping your master list on the computer would also enable you to update it easily, print the list periodically to carry with you to the scrapbook store if you're planning a punch shopping spree!

2. A visual list. You can take the list idea one step further and create pages that not only include the name and manufacturer of each punch, but a sample punchie itself. You can create the lists in any size, you may want to cut down on the bulk by creating 8"x11" sheets (see Example 1 ) or you might decide to create smaller sheets that you can take along in a little organizer as you head to the scrapbook store (see Example 2 ). Whatever size you choose, be sure to select one method of categorizing (by theme , such as ?leaves?; by punch size , such as "silhouette Punches"; or by manufacturer ) and stay consistent so it will be easy for you to reference your lists. You can simply attach a sample punchie to the list, or note its name and manufacturer if that would be helpful to you.

3 . A punch sampler . Have you ever seen a cardstock sampler;swatch es of cardstock with one hole punched through, bound together by a silver ring? You can follow the same concept to create a sampler of your Punches: simply cut squares of cardstock, punch a shape from it, write the Punches, shape, size and manufacturer on the square, then punch a small hole in the corner where you will attach a ring ( see Example 3 ). You may want to use the same color cardstock for each punch "group" that you create. For example, you might want to punch all Marvy Uchida Punches from blue cardstock and all Emagination Craft Punches in green, or all holiday Punches in blue and all leaf Punches in green, etc. However you choose to set it up, keep it simple so it will be useful and easy to access when you're out shopping or sifting through it for ideas.

If you're like me, you've probably discovered that Punches are a great way to add pizzazz to your pages. (Plus, they're just fun to have around!) And once you adopt a helpful way to store, sort and track your Punches, I'm sure you'll find that you use and enjoy your collection all the more, so go out and buy more Punches!

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