What is a Hand Punch?

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  • Written By: B. Miller
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 31 August 2019
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A hand punch, also referred to as a handheld hole punch, is a tool used for creating small holes in paper, cards, thin plastic or metal, or foam board, among others. It differs from the somewhat more common three-hole punch, which punches three holes at equal distance apart alongside a sheet of paper, for the purposes of filing it in a three-ring binder. Hand punches are most commonly used to punch holes in paper or other materials for craft purposes.

A hand punch is typically made of metal or plastic, and may either be squeezed together to press a hole in the paper, in a design similar to pliers, or pressed down on top of the paper like a stapler. Both designs are common, though the hand punches designed like staplers are often capable of making larger holes. A hand punch is fairly safe for anyone to use, including children, because it is designed to be difficult to accidentally cut a finger on the blade hidden inside.


There are many benefits to using a hand punch instead of creating holes with scissors. First, hand punches are able to create perfectly round circles of any size, such as to thread a string or piece of decorative yarn through, as in a craft project. They work well to create professional looking projects. In addition, some hand punches feature interchangeable blade sizes, meaning one could purchase one hole punch and use it to create different sized holes for different needs.

Hole punches for crafts often come in different shapes. For example, a hole punch might come in the shape of a flower, a snowflake, a heart, wedding bells for a wedding shower, a rattle for a baby shower, or a cupcake for a birthday party, just to name a few. These are often interchangeable as well, and many people have large collections for craft purposes. These hole punches can add a personal and professional touch to decor.

A decorative hand punch such as this can help make beautiful projects, such as scrapbooking, creating handmade invitations or thank you notes, or creating decorations for a special event. Decorative and crafting hand punches can be found at most craft stores or stationary stores. Hand punches to be used in a workshop, such as for cutting metal or plastic, may be found in most hardware or home improvement stores. Manual hand punches are typically fairly inexpensive, but some powered ones for use in home improvement are much more expensive.


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Post 9

When I was a child I would love using a hand punch. The kind my teacher’s had when I was in elementary school was the metal style hand punch. Unfortunately, teachers would not let us use the hand punch for very long, which now I understand why!

My favorite part of the whole hole punching process was getting the little paper circles out of the bottom of the hole puncher. I would either just started shaking the hole puncher profusely to get the circles out, or more times than not, I would get the little paper circles out with a pen or my fingernail or something. I loved to spread all the paper circles out on my parents desk

or on the floor. Sometimes I would pretend the paper circles were confetti and throw them up into the air and watch in excitement as they made their way to the floor. Picking up was my least favorite part, but it was still worth it!
Post 8

I make my own paper mat frames for photos using a hand punch set. The collection includes shapes for each holiday.

When I print a photo on my computer, I first import it into a document that is a few inches bigger than the picture itself. I add an area of solid color around the photo, and this is where I use my hole punch.

Last year, I took photos at our church’s fall festival. I used the pumpkin, leaves, and scarecrow hole punches around each one before placing them in glass frames. It’s a great way to spice up ordinary photo frames without having to spend extra money for decorative frames.

Post 7

When my friend and I designed tickets for our school’s fundraiser, we used a hand punch to make the tickets look authentic. We made half holes all the way around the colored paper to give it a scalloped edge.

There was no way to measure the perfect center of the holes, so some were different than others. Overall, it looked really attractive.

We typed the text on the computer and arranged it to print within certain spaces on the paper. We cut sheets 5 inches long and three inches wide and spaced the half holes a quarter of an inch apart.

Post 6

I used a handheld hole punch on things I didn’t want to put inside a three-ring binder. I had a collection of poetry that I wanted to keep together, but I wanted it to have more of an artistic feel, so I punched each sheet in two spots with the hand punch and looped thin rope through the sheets.

I used a thin piece of tea-stained cardboard as a cover. I punched and looped this as well. The color of the rope complemented the stain of the cover, and it all looked very earthy and natural. It reminded me of something old you might find in an ancestor’s treasure chest or in an abandoned house.

Post 5

I design my own invitations to every party I throw. I own several different styles and sizes of hand punches, and I try to use them differently each time I send out invitations.

For my New Year’s Eve party last year, I used various sizes of round hole punches to give the illusion of champagne bubbles on the invitation. The front of the card was made of deep blue paper, and an underlying sheet of gray paper showed through the holes to make them look more like bubbles.

Though I may use the champagne bubbles again in some form next year, I will add extra elements to change things around. I might be able to find a wine glass hand punch to use with them.

Post 4

Scrapbooking is one of my favorite hobbies and I have quite an assortment of creative hand punches.

It is fun to see how much one themed punch can change the look of one small piece of paper.

Buying materials to use with scrapbooking can get kind of expensive, so I try to use coupons and watch for sales when I buy my hand punches.

One of my friends is even more into this than I am and bought a custom hand punch for some of her projects. Even though I enjoy this, it would be hard for me to spend that much money on just one hand punch.

I think I could have bought at least 5 punches for the amount she spent on one. I would rather have an assortment of punches to choose from than spend all my extra money on just one punch.

Post 3

I always have a metal hand hole punch in my craft supplies, because I never know when I might need it for something.

All I know is if I had a lot of holes to punch with one of these, my hand would get pretty tired. There are times that I have tried to slip more than one piece of paper under the punch and this can really be hard on your hand.

It also has a little receptacle to catch the small round pieces of paper, but it is not very big and doesn't hold very many.

Every time I empty a hand punch I get small pieces of paper that float every where no matter how careful I am.

Post 2

I have a really unique hand punch that pokes out little pieces of paper which look like human eyes. It is a really simple design but it is unmistakeable what it is.

I'm not sure exactly where it came from or what its purpose is. I found it in my grandfather house after he died. I was immediately attracted to it just because it is so peculiar. I've used it a few times on various craft projects but it actually sits in a drawer more often that I would like to admit. How often do you really need little paper eyes?

Post 1

The hand punch was one of my very favorite toys when I was a little kid. I would get a big stack of colored paper and punch holes into it until it looked like the biggest piece of Swiss cheeses in the world.

I'm not sure exactly what attracted me to the hand punch. On the surface of it it doesn't seem all that fun. I think it had something to do with the way it felt when it was punching through that paper and then watching the little circles of paper float down on to the ground. My mom reports that I could entertain myself for hours with one of these. I don't envy her for having to pick up all those little discs of paper. It was like a parade through the living room every single day.

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