Category Archives: Punches

How to organize punches

Tired of digging through piles of punches?

If you're tired of digging through piles of punches to find the perfect punch for your project - it's time to organize!  In this post I've tried to focus on how to organize punches in just a few simple steps.

Before we get started you'll need to choose good storage tools for your punches.  Sorry, but the bins have to go.  You'll need to choose storage tools that allow you to arrange your punches in a flat layer - that could mean a Punch Pack, a Stadium Arranger or even a shallow drawer or tray.  To learn more about the products we offer, read my previous post - Perfect punch storage for your crafting life.

Step 1 - Group your punches by size

This might seem counter intuitive, but most organizers are designed to hold specific sizes of things.  So to make the most of your organizers, grouping your punches by size is going to be the first step.

Step 2 - Load the punches into your storage tools

Again, this might seem counter-intuitive, but regardless of if you're making a copy (more later) or creating a catalog, you'll need to know which punches are stored in which organizer.

Step 3 - Label your storage tools

I'm using Punch Packs for this demonstration, but the same idea would apply to Stadium Arrangers, trays or drawers.  Give each one a number and possibly a name. This information is going to lead you from your catalog directly to the location of the punch(es) you're looking for.

Step 4 - Number your punches and/or your storage tools

This is where things can get tricky.  You want to use numbers that will reflect where your punches are stored and allow you to add more storage without having to re-create a whole new catalog or strategy.  If you want to number each punch individually, choose a prefix for each number that coordinates to the storage tool.  I.e., PP1 might indicate Punch Pack #1. Your punches would then be numbered and cataloged as PP1-1, PP1-2, etc.  You may choose not to number each punch, but instead only use the reference PP1 in your catalog.  This comes down to how detail-oriented you are and how much time you want to invest in this process.

Step 5 - Create your catalog

If you've participated in some of my other classes or seminars, you may already have started a catalog for stamps, dies, or embossing folders. If so, you can just add punches to that catalog.

If you're new to creating a catalog, you'll need a few simple items:

  • Paper (12x12 or 8.5x11)
  • Page protectors - to fit your paper size
  • Scrap paper for punching samples, or a copy machine if you're using Punch Packs and you want to keep it simple.

Catalog Option 1 - Super Simple

If  you're using Punch Packs - it's very simple to create a catalog.

Insert the tray full of punches into the Punch Pack - in what would be considered upside down (so the "flap" on the punch pack is on the back and all of the punches are clearly visible).

Lay the punch pack on your copy machine and make 2 copies.

The first copy will go into your page protector for your catalog - label this with name/number you gave the punch pack in step 4.

The second copy should go in the bottom of the tray -  yes, you'll need to take out all of your punches to do this.  This will serve as a guide to how the Punch Pack was loaded.

Good and Bad - The Good thing about creating your catalog this way is that it is fast and easy.  The Bad thing, it doesn't actually separate your punches by "theme", so you'll still need to look through each page of your catalog to find the punches that might be appropriate for your project.

Catalog Option 2 - more work, more reward

In this option, you'll use each of your punches to create a punch out or two, or three...of each punch.  The number of punch outs you create will be decided by the number of categories in which that punch might be used.  As an example, a punch of a Balloon could be used in Birthday, Celebration, New Baby, Graduation, Wedding.

You'll add each of the punch outs to the appropriate category pages in your catalog.

Good and Bad - The Good is really good - you'll be able to flip to a section of your catalog and easily see all of the punches you have that might work for a particular page, card or project.  Also good - this forces you to "use" the punch.  You'll be able to toss punches that don't work, or sharpen dull punches with a piece of aluminum foil as you use them. The Bad - this method is more time consuming.

What to do next

Store your catalog in a notebook or on a Spinder in your ScrapRack.  Each time you purchase a new punch, add it to your catalog.

Thanks for stopping by today I hope you found this information helpful in your quest to get your punches organized.  If you'd like to see all of the products we offer for punches, loaded with punches, visit our "We've got an organizer for that!" Punches Page.  

As always, please feel free to ask questions or leave comments in the box below.

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