FAQ on Craft Punches

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FAQ's about Craft Punches

Before you use your punch for the first time, punch a couple of times without paper. This will lubricate the punch. You will feel that the more you punch the easier the punch moves. Please note: The more detailed the punch design - the harder it is to punch. Small and detailed punches cannot punch through heavy cardstock.

To achieve the best results with your Carl craft punches 120gsm card stock is recommended.
However when using the Carl CP-11C, CP-11G, CP-12, CP-12F and CP-21 we recommend 230gsm card stock for the best result.

The first couple of punches do on scrap paper. Some punches have a bit of excess oil on them and this will show on the first 3 or 4 punch-outs.

  • Q: The button on my craft punch continually jams and will not return causing the punch to lock up. Can you please tell me what causes this and how to avoid it?
  • A: The cause of the button lock up on your craft punch may be due to a number of reasons including:

a) The card stock you are using in the punch may be too thick causing the button to jam up,
b) When thin paper is removed from the punch sometimes not all the paper is removed and a small piece may be caught and become lodged in the punch, and
c) When paper that is treated with adhesive, such as labels is punched a piece may become attached between the stamp causing the base to lock up.

To avoid continual jams with your craft punch simply ensure that your punches are free of any excess card stock between punches. Regular sharpening of your craft punches will also minimise jamming. Finally ensure you are using the suggested ‘gsm’ paper for your craft punch to ensure a precise punch each and every time.


  • Q: How can I sharpen my Carl Craft Punch?
  • A: To sharpen your Carl Craft Punch, simply punch some aluminum foil or light grade sand paper. For effortless punching use a Carl Punch Mate.


  • Q: How can I free the jam and unlock my craft punch? How can I disassemble my craft punch for maintenance?
  • A: The best method of freeing the jam varies according to what caused the punch to lock up. The following maintenance procedure below can assure trouble-free operation of your craft punch.

1. Locate the space between the two halves of the punch body. Insert a flat screwdriver blade into the space and disassemble the two halves of the punch body.

2. Examine the space between the stamp and the base and remove any jammed material. In the event adhesive material becomes jammed inside the punch, wiping the stamp and base with a mild detergent should make removal easier. Corrosion can be removed from the stamp and base using light oil. Be sure to remove all excess oil before using.

3. Place the punch in the freezer for a short time. The metal will shrink slightly and you might be able to remove any paper that might be stuck.


Fiskars Border Punch Tips & Techniques

Easily create beautiful continuous borders on any sized paper with the Fiskars Border Punches !
How do they work....it's easy just follow these simple instructions.

  • To start the border design at the edge of a page line up the piece of paper with the grid line mark that is one step inside the corner notch. (Marked "a" on the punch diagram)
  • To line up the punch design so that it makes a continuous design from one side of the paper to the other simply match up the punched out design with the "repeat silhouette" that is printed on the base of the punch.(Marked as #3 on the punch diagram.)
  • To center one design on a mat or piece of paper piece simply find and mark the spot where you want to center punch the design. Line it up with the center notch (Marked as #1 on the punch diagram) and slide the paper to the back of the punch and depress the punch lever.
  • To continue to repeat the design on either side of the center simply slide the punch design over until it matches the repeat silhouette.
  • To turn a corner with the punch design start at the corner and insert the corner of the paper even with the corner notch indicated on the punch. Flip the paper up-side down, turn 90 degrees, and insert the other side of the corner again even with the corner notch on the punch. (Some designs will match evenly at the corner of a 12 x12 piece of paper, others may have to be trimmed.)
  • If the corner design does not match up evenly at the corner try spreading the design by starting at the outer grid mark. ( Marked "b" on the punch diagram) This will spread the corners enough that the design may end up evenly along the page. (The corners will not be trimmed by the punch itself so you may have to trim it with a pair of scissors.)
  • To punch a mat for a photo first determine how many design repeats is closest to the size of the photo. For example a 5x7 photo will require 3 repeats across the top and bottom and 4 repeats along the sides. To do this start at a corner and work over three repeats. Trim the paper a quarter inch beyond the design repeat and continue around the corner to do the long side of the mat. (Repeat the process at the other corners as necessary.)

The "center notch" is the middle of the punch design.

The "corner notch" will help line up the punch design when going around the corner of a page.

The "repeat silhouette" will help you line up the repeat of the punch design if you are doing a whole side of a page.

The "1/4" grid" will help line up other measurements when doing the border designs.

The "punch lever" is a build in "punch aid" to help make the border punch easier to depress.
a. Inner "grid mark" for lining up edge of the paper.
b. Outer "grid mark" for spreading corner design"


More tips

Border punches can punch a continuous border along any length of paper by making the first punch, then sliding the paper along in the punch to match the white printed design on either side of the punch base.

Where to begin punching depends on your use of the punched piece. If you are punching the edge of a card, you would begin punching in the center of your paper and continue punching out towards each side. Beginning in the center will insure that you will end with the same part of the punched design at each edge of the card. Begin punching in the center of any paper piece that you want to make sure the ends are symmetrical or if you will be layering strips, this will keep the designs in the same place for layering. To center your first punch design, use the raised notch on the front of your punch, below the orange section (which is the punch area). You can also use the grid lines that are etched onto the bottom area of the punch.

Punching corners:

To punch corners, the guidelines for lining up the edge of your paper are the raised ridge on either side of the center raised notch or you can use the grid lines on the base of the punch. Using the grid lines makes it possible to adjust the way the punched designs meet at the corner. Begin by placing one straight edge before the corner into the punch, making sure the straight edge of the paper is along the back edge of the punch. Line the end of the paper with the guideline or a grid line and punch. Take the paper out and turn it so that un-punched side of the paper is in the punch, lining the edge up with the same guideline or grid line, then punch. As long as you line up the edge of your paper with the same guideline on each side, you should have an evenly punched corner. If you want to change the look of your punched corner to leave more space where they meet, use a grid line that is farther away from the raised guideline on the punch.

Punching strips for thin borders:

Punching both sides of different widths of strips can result in beautiful intricate borders and embellishments for all your paper crafting projects. Use different widths of strips, punching both sides of it, either matching the design for a mirror image or staggering the design, then add them on their own or layer them on top of each other. For a mirror image, punch one continuous border design along one side, then flip or turn the strip and punch the other side matching the center of the design you have already punched with the raised notch on the center of the punch. Look underneath the punch if you need to determine the center of the design. Continue punching the continuous design along the strip. To stagger the design, instead of matching the center of the design, slide the strip so that the center mark on the punch is halfway between one center of the design and the next. Continue punching the continuous border along the strip.

Punching squares to make punched embellishments:

Punching different size squares that are 3” or smaller can create great embellishments. You can layer them, use them for tiles or journaling and the outer piece that remains can be used as frames! To punch a square, place one side in the punch, centering it using the grid lines, then punch. Punch the opposite side in the same way. Now punch the third side, then the last side. Depending on the size of your square, you should have a piece that has the punched design evenly around to create a nice shape. When punching a small size square, such as a 2” one, you will notice that the straight edge of the paper will have been punched off and will be inside the punch, be sure to remove it from your punch before punching the next side. For the smaller squares it is most important to make sure you punch one side then the opposite, so that when you punch the 3rd side, you can center it in the punch using the already punched design on the other sides. Every punch will give you a different look for your punched design using different size squares.

More ideas:

  • Practice different punching techniques on scrap paper. Glue the finished designs into a notebook or a sheet of paper making sure to make notes on the size of the square or strip along with which punch you used for future reference.
  • Layer different width punched border strips on top of each other using different color papers even adding more embellishments on top, such as small punched circles (works well with sunburst to make flowers), rhinestones, stickers, etc.
  • Cut 1” strips, punch one edge of with 1 design and punch another 1” strip with another design. Place them with the straight edges together, possibly add another color thin strip in the center or leave it plain.

Be creative, experiment with different punches, sizes of squares, strips, layering, staggering and adding embellishments and you will have the most creative paper crafts!


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