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Does anyone know of a way to make a paper hole punch in different shapes? Answered

I would like to be able to make some paper hole punches (like a tool used to make holes for paper that will go in a binder), but in different shapes and sizes. I know they would have to be in metal in order to cut paper, but I'm not sure where to start.

I understand one can buy paper punches in various shapes, but they are usually expensive and you're limited to what size and shape the manufacturers "think" you want.

I also don't want to go with a custom built paper punch, as they are expensive.

Any ideas on how to go about making one?



Best Answer 6 years ago

How about a different approach? Something like a small sharpened cookie cutter on the end of a rod. you would place the "cookie cutter" or die I suppose it could be called, and tap it with a teeny hammer to get a clean cut. You would just need a cutting mat or block of wood to work on.

I'm not saying it will be any easier to make, but it's a thought. What I'm thinking of is called a steel rule die, and could be made with wood, steel banding, and bits of rubber. Google steel rule die for more info. I can't find a good link/picture.

Just wanted to let you know that I'm giving you credit with best answer. Although I have yet to try this method, I believe its the best and most cost effective solution. When I get it going I'll let you know (if you're interested). :)

Thanks again for the feedback. :)

I forgot to mention that this method doesn't need two matching parts which will eliminate a lot of trouble.

Thanks! It's probably the best idea thus far... Ironically, I have been looking at one of my cookie cutters trying to figure out a way to make it work...

I wonder if MacGyver has email? :)

I'll bet his router is made of straws, so I'm not sure your email would make it. :)

I think that you could start with a steel cookie cutter. Sharpen it(will be a pain), then thoroughly glue it sharp side up onto a small piece of plywood. You could just go with that and use something like drill press to mash it into a stack of paper. A few bits of squishy rubber that are slightly taller then the cutter could serve to hold the paper in place before cutting and to push the paper shapes back out for you.

Let me know if you try this out I'd love to see the results!

I'm starting to really like this idea a lot. I looked at the link you provided and searched out the steel rule dies, and they actually compare them to a cookie cutter.

I simply refuse to believe that something manufactured can't be done DIY style, and this seems to demonstrate that its possible, given the right materials etc. I'm definitely going to give this a try. It's got my creativity going.

BTW, the image you referred to would have been very handy in one of my first instructables. Check it out. (Not trying to spam either). LOL :P

Thanks again. I'll let you know what happens.

Sorry to spam you

but, Aha! I found a picture of one like I was thinking of. We had a press and set of these at my elementary school.

Look at the sixth picture.

If you decide that a pre-made punch is going to be more economical that the DIY route, Tandy Leathercraft carries a nice selection.


For something really unique, you'd need to use a chisel and file to re-shape and sharpen the end of some steel tubing. The problem is, most metals that are soft enough to shape with hand tools are too soft to stand up to being used as a punch. Best of luck.

Thanks for the suggestion. I hadn't thought about the leather industry, but this is precisely the reason I posted this question...

Thanks. :)


6 years ago

Sounds difficult to make. Perhaps you can start with store bought punch and file it down to the desired shape.

I've seen some punches at Dollarama, the smaller sized ones (~.5-1cm shapes). Micheals has lots but are expensive though you could get one of their 50% off coupons. Also the last time I went there they had a discount bin for punches for about $1-2 if I remember correctly.

You and I have probably bumped into each other at either Dollarama or Michaels... (I love those stores). I do try and keep my eyes open for any good deals, but as you said, the teeny-tiny ones are usually what's available, and not necessarily in a shape one would really want.... I know Walmart had some under the Martha Stewart line, but like Michaels, they aren't cheap. I can't wait for Target to get here... (Damn border and no passport)... lol

Thanks for the suggestions. :)

Its very hard. Making the two halves of the tool is technically diffcult.

If I wanted one, I'd design the tools and then ask a friendly local wire-EDM shop to cut it for me from hardened steel plate.

YOu could get away with 3mm stock.......

I know a Flow Jet Machine, et al would work well, but sadly, not in my budget. Thanks for the suggestion, I may ask around if I can't MacGyver something that works.

Not an easy task as you have to make the punch AND a same shaped hole for it to go into.

However lots can be done with a file and a lot of patience.

You could try moulding the hole in something like Polymorph (shapelock USA)

The Polymorph is an interesting idea. The concept of making a punch is rather easy, but the materials are not so straightforward for the do-it-yourself type; but thank you for the suggestions.