There are a huge variety of craft punches available either online or in any craft store. Paper punches are also know as 'button punches' and a great way to accessories your scrapbook layouts and handmade cards.
They come in all different shapes and sizes, the smaller ones are great for punching out small images. Lager punches are best used on a flat surface such as a desk or table and it is always recommended to use a craft mat to avoid damaging any surfaces.
It is becoming more popular for manufactures to produce lever style punches. They are far more easy to use especially if you have mobility problems. Lever style craft punches can either be used on a flat surface or in your hand.
When using your punch for the first time always punch it empty a few times to loosen it up before trying to pierce through materials. Because punches are made of metal the temperature can affect its performance so always have a play with some scrap paper first so you do not waste your best scrapbook paper.
If the paper punch is very detailed such as a flower or wording design try punching through some thin paper or card stock to loosen it up first.
So what is the best material to use with your craft punches?
Paper - Scrapbook paper is the easiest and most effective material to use with your paper punches. Because paper is not as thick as card you will have a far crisper punched image.
Card - Some card will be suitable to use some wont, it really depends on the thickness of the card and the quality of the punch.
Metal - Metal is okay to use with a lever craft punch but not with a button punch. That said you could also try using a punchmate if you are having difficulty.
There are many other materials that will work well with your paper punches including wallpaper, acetate, wrapping paper, and mulberry paper. Materials that will not punch well are cellophane, fabric and felt.
If you find your craft punch has jammed under no circumstances should you try to free it by forcing scissors, knives or any other sharp objects into it. This could well damage the punch or worse still, you could seriously injure yourself.
Instead try cooling the punch down by placing it in the fridge or freezer for a shot time. Sometimes the heat from the punch being used or simply the warmth in your home can cause the metal to expand and jam. If you can see paper stuck in the punch try to gently wiggle it from side to side until it comes loose.
Never force your punch to cut through a material that is too strong or thick. As tempting as it might be to whack your punch or even stand on it to get your punched image, forcing a punch through a material that is too thick can not only cause the punch to jam or snap it can also misaligne the mechanisms which means you will never punch a crisp image again.