How to Sharpen a Hole Punch

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Any scrapbooker knows that hole punches are an invaluable resource. Whether you have a three-hole punch that you use to organize your pages, a single-hole punch or several dozen decorative punches in different shapes, you know how useful they are. You may also know how frustrating it is when your punches no longer do their job. Maybe you have punches that catch on the paper and leave ragged edges or punches that tear paper instead of punching through. Perhaps your punches refuse to cut any longer at all. In any case, don’t worry. There is a simple way to sharpen your punches and avoid buying new ones.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper punches
  • Scrap paper
  • Aluminum foil

Clean your punches of paper scraps before you sharpen them. The scraps could be why your punches don’t work, or if your punches are dull, paper scraps will prevent the punches from cutting the foil effectively.

Choose scrap paper to test your sharpened punches. Pick the paper you use your punches on most often--for instance, if you punch through poster board all the time, don’t pick typing paper as your test. If you punch many kinds of paper, choose a scrap piece of each type.

Pull off a piece of aluminum foil. For a three-hole punch, make sure the foil is long enough to cover all three holes so the blades are sharpened easily. For one-hole and decorative punches, pull off enough to sharpen all the punches at once.

Put the foil under the teeth of a three-hole punch, making sure it covers all three holes. Punch holes in the foil, then test the punch on scrap paper. If the punch is still dull, punch it through the foil several more times and test it again.

Punch through the foil with a single-hole or decorative punch and test it on paper, as above. Remove the foil cut-out from the decorative punches before testing on paper so they do not interfere with your test.

Tips & Warnings

  • If your hole punch is sticking, punch it through waxed paper instead of foil.

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