Five Creative Gifts Made with Your Binding Machine

The holidays are just around the corner, and there’s no better way to show loved ones that you care than a handmade gift created just for them. Even if you don’t see yourself as the creative type, there are many unique gifts that can be made using your binding machine and a little imagination. Below are five ideas for one-of-a-kind gifts that are made with a binding machine:

  1. Custom Calendars – Did you know that your wire binding machine can be used to make your own custom calendars? Simply select 12 of your favorite photographs (such as pictures of your family, scenic images from recent vacations, or other photos that have personal significance) and use any free calendar software to assemble your calendar pages. Print them out in color onto cardstock and use a half moon punch to create a notch in the center of your calendar pages. Bind the calendar using your wire binding machine and a 5/16″ twin-loop wire, inserting a wire calendar hanger into the spine before you close it (this will allow the calendar to be hung on a wall). Creating your own personalized calendars is just that easy, and you don’t have to deal with the high minimum orders and substantial cost of going through a professional print shop.
  2. Photo Albums – Bound photo albums featuring your children throughout the years make an excellent gift for proud grandparents (or aunts, uncles, great-grandparents, etc.). Choose your favorite photographs, and lay them out onto letter-sized sheets (this can be done with the actual photos and sheets of paper or using your preferred photo editing software). Create color copies or print outs and bind them together. If you’re experienced with digital photo editing, you can also add borders, effects, or even text to your album pages to make them pop.
  3. Year in Review – If you have family members that live out of state, then creating a “Year in Review” book with your binding machine will bring them up to speed on all of the exciting things that your family has done over the past year. This is a great way to share photos from sporting events, newspaper clippings, stellar report cards, art projects, school pictures, and copies of other assorted mementos like ticket stubs.
  4. Family Tree – Spend a little time researching your family’s history and put together a book that details your genealogy. Once you’ve created your family tree, create additional pages that share the information that you’ve discovered about each family member, including photographs, birth dates, and other interesting facts. Compiling a detailed family history will take some time, but you’ll create a gift that will be cherished for years to come.
  5. Cookbooks – From Nana’s famous banana bread to Uncle Scott’s spectacular barbeque sauce, every family has their signature recipes. Compile a cookbook that includes everyone’s best recipes, and send copies to all of your family members. For an extra special touch, you can include photographs or stories from each family that relate to each recipe.

A Quick Tip for Punch Maintenance

Does your binding machine not punch as smoothly as it used to? Then try this quick tip for maintaining the metal punching die on your binding machine:

  1. Lightly spray a sheet of paper with WD-40, concentrating on the long edge of the paper.
  2. Carefully insert the sheet into the punch.
  3. Punch the sheet a few times, moving it slightly between each punch.

This technique applies a light coat of lubricant onto each die, without leaving excess residue behind.