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How to Unstick and Make Minor Repairs to Decorative Paper Punches


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How to Fix a Stuck Decorative Paper Punch
Example of a typical covered paper punch used for scrapbooking and other paper crafts.

An example of a typical covered paper punch for scrapbooking and paper crafts

Photo © 2011 Lesley Shepherd

We've all done it, used a detailed paper punch on materials that are too thick, or too flexible. Result, the punch sticks or doesn't cut properly. If this happens to you , can you fix the punch or is it a waste of time?

Making Paper Punches Run Smoother

If your problem is a paper punch that works on some materials, but is dull on one part of the cut, try these tips first to keep paper punches running smoothly sometimes "sharpening" the punch on aluminum foil, or very fine sandpaper or sharpening paper is enough to set up the blades of the punch to more evenly cut the paper. Punching thru waxed paper or silicone treated baking parchment can help add a lubricant (wax or silicone) to the surfaces of the punch to help keep it from sticking. Keeping punches clean, brushing out any paper residue and treating the cut surfaces with products like "Cutter Glide" will help as well Compare Prices

Things to Try if Your Paper Punch is Completely Stuck

  • Put the Punch in the Freezer - The metal of some punches will contract enough when it cools to allow the punch free itself so you can clear whatever is stuck. This works best for punches with fairly simple outlines. It may not work for complex punches. Leave the punch in the freezer for several hours to see your punch can be unstuck this way.
  • Use a Penetrating Oil - Penetrating Oils, like WD-40, can clear waxy or sticky buildup which may be preventing a punch from returning to its regular position. Spray a little on the surface of your punch to allow it penetrate through the cutting surfaces. Let the punch sit for an hour or so, on it's back so the oil penetrates through the metal layers. Try to work the punch again to free it. Clean off any excess oil, and punch through plain printer paper several times to make sure your punch is free of oil traces which might ruin your paper project.
  • Take the Punch Apart - this is a last resort option, but with care, you can rehabilitate a damaged punch. See the steps which follow for how to take the punch apart, correct any problems and reassemble the punch

First, see how to remove the cover

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