I have gotten several requests for a tutorial on making the digital stamps/printables that match the punches. The problem is I use a mix of oddball software for these and it isn’t a very straightforward process the way I’ve been doing it.
Nevertheless I’ve been able to distill it down to a set of general steps that you can use with whatever design software you are familiar with. If you don’t know how to complete a particular step you may need to check Google or Youtube for a tutorial on how to do specific things with your specific software (for example “how to fill a shape with a pattern in PSP”). So here we go:
-Punch a piece of black paper with the punch you want to design for.
-Scan the punched out shape with some sort of dimensional reference such as a 1 inch square cutout, a ruler, etc.
-Bring the scanned image into your design software and autotrace or make a path/shape of the punch’s outline.
-With the aid of your reference item, resize the traced punch shape to its exact real-life size. In other words, the one inch square should read 1.0 inches when measured within the software. Once you’ve done this, the reference item can be deleted. Save a copy of the punch shape somewhere safe so that you only need to do these first steps once.
-Working from a copy of the punch shape you saved, use inset, internal offset, contract or other similar command to create a new shape for your design with the desired margin to the edge of the punchout. Also save this inset shape somewhere safe as this only needs to be created once as well.
-Fill the inset shape with the color or pattern of your choice.
-And/or set the stroke (outline) of the inset to the line style of your choice, or use pattern along path, text along path with symbols, etc. to create the border of your design.
-Add shapes, text and other elements as desired to your design.
Tip: I find it helpful to use a digital overlay of the punch’s negative (the hole it leaves behind) to better visualize how the design will appear after punching. It’s even better if this is on its own layer that you can toggle on and off as you work.
-Once you have a design you like, duplicate it and use it as a base for additional designs with different colors, sentiments, etc.
Tip: Remember that because these files are made for specific punches, they must print at the exact design size to work correctly. Saving the print-ready versions as PDFs is a good idea for this reason, especially if you are sharing the files.
When distributing files, convert text to paths or rasterize text (so that the files work for those who don’t have the same fonts installed as you). But remember to always keep a fully editable version for yourself.