Disclaimer: I am a fan of the Martha Stewart Crafts line of tools and consumables. And I went to participate in her show last March. And while I’m a fan, I think I can still objectively say that her punches are pretty fabulous (as are all of the tools that I’ve reviewed so far.) If you are unfamiliar with the Around the Page punches, or are wondering how they work, you’ve come to the right place. Let’s get started!
Here’s how the punches are described on website:
This Martha Stewart Crafts Punch Around The Page Combo Set lets you create a beautiful die-cut border along all 4 edges of a page. Guides printed on the tools ensure precise alignment for a perfect continuous pattern. You can also use the corner punch and edge punch individually, to create single-edge borders and decorative corner designs. Two Pieces.
Let’s take a closer at the punches, first. As mentioned above, it is a two-piece set, but you can buy the border and the punches separately, too.
The corner punch is pretty standard- the image is set at an angle. But unlike most of the corner punches I own, the Martha Stewart Crafts punches has little “wings” that pop out when you want to use the punch, but then fold back in to make storage easy. Brilliant!
The border punch built to be almost fool-proof. The punched image is foiled onto the top of the tool, with images also printed on the deck. This allows you to line up your image with your punched paper for perfect repeats. There is even an image guideline for the corners, so that everything is lined up perfectly.
And again, this deck flips up for storage- so instead of having to store a punch that is 5 3/4 inches long, it’s a compact 3 5/16ths. These are small details- but the design really is thoughtful and those details can make the difference!
But all the smooth design in the world won’t matter one bit if a punch won’t actually punch. Using the corner punch, I punched out a variety of materials to see just what will- or won’t work- with them.
The bottom two aren’t labeled, but they are mulberry paper (a complete fail) and the Wood Veneer Paper that I reviewed a while back. Surprisingly, it did cut the veneer well- I had to stand up to get the proper leverage, and the spring stuck for a minute, but it did pop back up and the cut looks great. And YES, it DID cut craft metal?? How awesome is that? I’m seeing some lacy embellishments coming up on my book covers!
Now that we know what materials we can actually use, let’s see just how the system works together to get that perfect “around the page” look. Well, first of all, you need to cut an accurate piece of paper! My first attempt was foiled by mis-cutting the paper. (Note to self: not everything can be eyeballed!)
The inclosed directions are for the following lengths:
- 3.25 in / 8.25 cm
- 5 in / 12.7 cm
- 6.75 in / 17.15 cm
- 10.25 in / 26.04 cm
- 12 in / 30.48 cm
This also means that if you’re looking for an in-between size, you’re out of luck- the system only works on these increments. My suggestion is to laminate this cheat-sheet and keep it handy(- or bookmark this post so you can find those measurements again.)
My first try was with the smallest increment- a square of 3.25 inch cardstock. I mounted it on a 3.25 square so you could see how the punch makes the paper about 1/16 of an inch smaller- so it’s easy to make a perfect mat.
Then I made a mat for a text block that 3.25 inches by 6.75 inches: this will accommodate at text block that’s 2 1/8 inches by 5.5 inches- great for using on a scrapbook page.
Then I made a little discovery- if you cut a square of paper 2 inches wide, you could made a sweet medallion just using the corner punch. I placed one on a card, and used some DCWV adhesive-backed paper to make a little border.
I also cut a 2″ strip by 5 inches, and used it to make a bookmark.
I love the scrolls and how they just lend themselves to adding rhinestones or dots of glitter/glue.
You can also cut around a card front, but you might need to trim the card down to size before you start to punch. These card blanks from Core’Dinations are 5X7 inches- so I had to trim one edge down 1/4. This way you get a nice edge around three edges…but I really didn’t like the way it looked at the top. I added one of those “book marks” to the top of the card. I’ll add a greeting to this area later.
Lastly, I got it in my head that I might be able to use the border punch to replicate a “paper lace” look. So I cut 2 strips of paper, 2 inches and 1 1/2 inches, respectively, and just punched up both sides. Voila! Paper lace!
On the whole, I think these are fun stamps, and they are pretty versatile, too. You can use just the corners, just the borders to make paper lace, or combinations to make mats, borders, and embellishments. And considering that I can cut wood veneer paper and craft metal makes them pretty heavy-duty in my book.
The only one “ding” on the punches- there is no plastic cover on the back of the punch, so the little pieces of waste end up EVERYWHERE. (My heavens, I made a mess during the crafting part of this review!) Also, one handy hint: make sure you use the border punch while it’s sitting securely on the table. I have a tendency to hold punches in my hands- but every time I did this, I lost my alignment and the edge got wonky (often fix-able with a craft knife or a little scissor trimming, but even still, save yourself the trouble.)
These punches retail on average for $24.99 on the EK Success site, but you’ll find some great deals on Amazon.com, too.
Considering how many ways you can use these punches, I think they are worth the price- they are far cheaper than dies, and are much more versatile. They’re going to get some good use in MY studio- how about yours?
Disclosure: Samples provided for review by EKSuccess and ConsumerCrafts.com
If you are considering purchasing these punches, please consider using my affiliate links:
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