Monday, January 26, 2015

Punching Pretty - Day 26 of 31 Days of Organizing

Let's talk about that punch - well punches - for making flowers and other things in minis

I have a small collection of punches - both the block punches and the hand held ones.
I have these in three drawers in my drawer cabinets
 Note the bottom drawer above has extra labels on it.  These 'labels' are paper that I punched the shape from.  I need to do this again so that the upper drawer has them again as well.  The drawer shown below also needs them.
This drawer in addition to the hand held punches also holds my fancy scissors.  
Another way these types punches and scissors could be stored is by hanging them from pegs on a wall.
Another miniaturist shared with NAME that she uses the closet door holders like for shoes or other accessories to hold her many punches.  Divided boxes that allow one to adjust the dividers would also be a good option.
The punched pieces need a place to be stored as well especially if one borrows a punch or buys some pre-punched. I started with a tray that had pockets in it but no lid.  It was something my sis-in-law had given me from her work at a dental office.  I made a lid of sorts from cardboard.  
Later I was to be a part of a group buy of a bunch of pre-punched petals.  These came to me in little zip bags.  I liked the bags.  The bags I had gotten before were not the zip bags, but had the cardboard folded over the top.
One day I decided to sort these by color and using the idea I had seen used at shows to display other items, I taped each bag to a plastic sheet protector for a three ring binder. The sheet protector just has a sheet of paper in it. The plastic is what the little bags are taped to.  I also had plastic tab sheets and I added those to make the sheets stiffer.  alternatively I could have just used the tabs to tape to or I could use stiffer paper.  The tabs do help to separate the sheets.   The tabs and sheets all go in a three ring binder. This binder is called a case binder.  It is more like a plastic box than a typical binder that is open on three sides.
This particular style also has a plastic sleeve over the outside which allows to add a cover to be inserted.  I took pictures of each page inside, reduce their size and combined that all together on one page.
Here's an actual page inside.
I sub-grouped by shade or tint, and then arranged smaller to largest of the same shape.
The same friend that uses the over the door holder, houses her punched punches in a divided box.  She labels them based on the shape and adds a number to her punches.  So if she has same shape but three sizes, she would have #1, #2, #3.  The box gets labeled that was as well so that if that bin is empty she knows which punch to use to refill.
An alternative I might consider for storing the punched punches would be a pocket page type photo album.  Again I would sort by color.
For whatever solution I used for the punches themselves, I think the more punches one has the more that I would group them by shape and label the exterior unless I could easily see their sizes.  

Sharpening a punch?
I have read that punching with wax paper or aluminum foil sharpen them.  My experience is that is not the case.  The wax might help temporarily, and the foil well to me it is just another media the punch is going through.  I don't think it really hurts to try these methods, just that it won't do much in my experience.
To truly sharpen, I think they would need to be taken apart and that is just something I am not going to do, nor am I going to have done.  I only have one punch that is really even a problem for me.  I used it to punch butterflies from cooper and I got to point of using a hammer and wood block to get them all cut.  
Granted none of my punches are the expensive - $30 ones and if they were, I might consider having them professionally sharpened.

Using punched pieces
I think that punches can be an excellent source of shapes especially if using them for a swap.  
When it comes to making flowers, I personally feel that the punches need to be enhanced with both shaping and with color.  For example, a double ball stylus can be used either wet or dry to shape and markers or paint can be used to accent the shapes to look more life-like with color variations.
Of course punches can also be used for things like frames, clocks, signs and more.

Sequins are pre-punched things that can also be used particularly for mirrors, plates, vinyl records - all depending on the color, shape and size.  Don't throw away those sequin holes as I use those as well for buttons and such.
Storing these is super simple in my studio - a plastic bag in a drawer.  I have bought mixed colors and so far haven't taken time to sort them out.  When I use them, I dump them on a paper plastic sort to find what I want, then re-bag using the plate as a funnel of sorts.
I have even used my sequins and punches together - taking a shape that is one thing to another shape with the punch.  I have purposefully bought larger round ones so that I could punch them into other shapes.

Come back tomorrow for another idea on organizing for my 31 days of Organizing in January.

Happy Miniature Organizing!

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