No project this week, folks. Nope, instead of working on one of half-a-dozen project ideas yesterday, I was struggling with the pop-up butterfly paper punch necessary for one of two client orders I'm trying to wrap up and ship out this week.
I've used this pop-up butterfly punch from EK Success a few times before, but only on "text weight" paper, not the card stock folders I'm using for this particular order. Even with a paper proof stage in my custom design process, sometimes you just can't anticipate what might happen when you try to do something 115 times. Turns out pop-up punches don't work so well on card stock. Fair enough, now I know, but...seriously? These are for scrapbooking and card-making and all variety of paper crafting. And they don't work on card stock? It's not even crazy heavy thick card stock, at that! So, okay, fine, this'll be the last order that uses this style of punch on this weight of paper, but c'mon EK Success! For a company that usually makes some of my favorite punches, you sure do have a dud on your hands (my Martha Stewart pop-up hydrangea punch works just fine on the 80# cover weight card stock, by the way, but alas, it was the butterfly motif I required for this project). Thus, instead of a project to share this week, you get a heaping serving of complaining, backed up with photographic evidence. Shall we begin?
Round one: For my first attempt at punching these folders, I used the butterfly punch I already had on hand. Granted, I've used this punch for a couple of orders now so it might have been a little on the dull side (and yes, I've read the tip about "sharpening" it by punching foil but have noticed absolutely no improved punching after doing so). But after unsuccessfully going through a dozen folders, the now two-piece punch in the above image is what I was left with. I had no choice but to go out and buy a new punch, which required driving to two Michael's stores (obviously these things are available online but even expedited shipping wouldn't get a punch in my hands until early next week).
Round two: They've changed the style a bit so instead of multiple little openings in the butterfly wings, there are now only two holes on each side. I like the detail of the previous punch but thought the lack of detail might actually work in my favor for this project. I had no intention of continuing to struggle with the heavier weight of the folders, instead giving my understandably disappointed client the choice of keeping the punches on the outside of the folder but using a lighter weight paper, or using the punches on the lighter weight invite that will be layered inside. But when I got home this morning, I thought I'd give it a try on the folder. And lo and behold, it worked great! Well, not great, exactly, but better than the last punch. I still wasn't confident it would work on all 115 folders, but I thought if I could successfully punch my way through at least half the stack I could always drive back out to Michael's and pick up the other pop-up butterfly punch they had in the store this morning. Even this brand-new punch, however, required super-human strength, using both hands, standing and leaning directly over the punch for maximum leverage.
And sure enough, I struggled to get through half of my stack. After about 40 folders it was a struggle to get the punch to punch all the way through, resulting in more waste than I had accounted for.
And the thing is, once you punch it, pull it out, and see that this is all you got for your effort, it's basically ruined since it's virtually impossible to try to punch it again in the exact same spot. So I said, okay, let me be rational and patient about this (instead of the cursing and stomping that was happening around this time yesterday). I decided to drive to Michael's in the hopes that that second punch was still there. And thankfully, it was.
Round three: Once again, it worked pretty well at first. But once again, after a couple dozen folders, it got wonky. And the frustrating thing is it was temperamental in a completely different way! Instead of not punching all the way through, the punched area was sticking to the inside of the punch, requiring great care during removal so as not to rip the butterfly portion out altogether.
Even the official page for this product warns, "may require Tweezer Bee to remove punched out shapes." Really, EK Success? I need to buy a second product to make this ten dollar piece of crap work? Instead, I used a sewing needle to gently pry the butterfly wings from the inside of the punch before ever so carefully sliding the folder out.
Even then, the antennae on each and every folder came out bent! Easy fix, but still.
And as you can imagine, I added quite a few folders to my ever-growing pile of rejects.
So who won? Three punches, two days, and one very sore hand later, I have 110 of the 115 folders acceptably punched top and bottom.
Success! Right? I don't know, you tell me who the loser is in this story. I conquered the YuDu, for cryin' out loud, surely a $10 paper punch should not be this complicated!