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Using Border Punches
Border punches are not new to the crafting world. However, recently they have been experiencing somewhat of a rebirth. With this renewed excitement toward border punches also come new techniques and methods in which to use this tool.
Several manufacturers including EK Success, Fiskars and Martha Stewart Crafts each have their own lines, and each line has its own personality. Some have locking devices so that the punch is flatter for storage, and others have sides that fold inward. Some have a grid marking on the base plate to aid with alignment. Some even have coordinating corner punches. Regardless of how they have been designed, they all have the same purpose -- to create beautiful borders.
That being said, borders are not the only effect that can be achieved. As a result of this increased popularity, we are fortunate to have a plethora of designs to choose from which allow us to create everything from borders to layering mats, embellishments and accordion-folded rosettes. Let's explore the possibilities!
In their most basic form, border punches may be used to create a continuous border along the edge of a card. Or create a layered effect by punching the card front and then add a second punched strip behind the front cover as shown in Photo 1. Decorative ribbon-style strips may be created by punching continuously down one side and then repeating on the opposite side. You can match the pattern if you like, but it is not always necessary. By just approximating the placement, the design shown in Photo 2 resulted in a unique effect in which the pierced holes are at an angle from one another.
Another option is to use border punches in the creation of dimensional items. To create a rosette with a single-edge border punch, measure the width of the design. Double the measurement and cut a paper or cardstock strip to the same width. Punch one long edge continuously and then align the pattern as you punch the other side. The white rosette was created in this manner using a picket-fence border punch from Martha Stewart Crafts (Photo 2). Once punched, accordion-fold the strip, adhere the ends together to form a ring and then press down in the center onto a large adhesive dot. This technique multiplies the ways in which single-edge punches may be used. If using a double-edge border punch, simply punch the strip and fold.
Border punches range in design from simple decorative tab-style edges to designs that not only have a decorative edge but also include intricate designs or piercing (Photo 3). Equally spaced pierced holes used to be labor and time intensive; that's not the case anymore. If you are in need of pierced holes but only need a few, punch a strip and use it as a piercing guide. The pierced holes can be left plain, or you can use them as a guide for stitching.
Border punches may also be used to create templates. Punch a decorative strip from scrap cardstock to create a stencil; then position on your card and sponge inks over top of the stencil. The beautiful design is now transferred to your card. Another use is to create masks. Punch a strip of release paper or plastic-coated paper using a decorative border punch. Place it onto an adhesive strip; add glitter and burnish. Remove the punched strip and add a second color of glitter. The decorative pattern of the punch will look beautiful in glitter.
Lastly, border punches may be used to create embellishments, corner motifs and layering mats. The key to this is to experiment. Start with squares of various sizes and punch each side. A variety of effects using the same punch will be created just by changing the size of the square. Once you have a design that you like, record the information on how it was created. Recording your results in a notebook is a great way to keep track of the different effects that you come up with. The possibilities are truly endless. Photo 4 shows a page from my own notebook; I hope it inspires you to start one of your own.
I would love to hear how you make use of your border punches. If you try any of these techniques, let me know how they worked for you!
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