How to make your own perforations

The Needle Shop, a lovely DIY sewing school and fabric store in Chicago, hired me to design a flyer they could post to advertise their sewing classes. Something budget-friendly and simple, but a step up from the raggedy "free puppies" notices tacked up at the grocery store. You know the type: people tear off phone numbers from the bottom and after a few have been taken, the notices start to look like they've been gnawed by rats. We can do better! Let's perforate those tear-off strips.

The pink design was selected and printed at Then, since The Needle Shop loves DIY projects, I proposed a couple easy ways to perforate the flyers—saving them the money a printer would charge to finish these.

One option is to sew a line of stitches with an unthreaded sewing machine. The needle makes punctures in the paper that help it separate more easily.

Another option is a rotary perforating blade. These are similar to the standard blades in rotary cutters, but the edges are notched. They make a series of dashes in the paper.

I hunted around online to find a 45 mm perforating blade that fits rotary cutters used for trimming fabric. I have a Fiskars cutter and an Olfa cutter. I couldn't find anything made by either of those manufacturers, but the We R Memory Keepers blade (a mere $2.18!) works with standard 45 mm cutters.

To use it, just place a ruler along the line you want to perforate and roll the blade along it. Works like a charm.

Here's the perforating blade compared to the sewing machine. (Click the photo to view larger.) The blade gives a much easier, cleaner tear, but the sewing machine is definitely better than nothing.

You could make your own coupons, tickets, invitations, and more. I'm fighting the urge to perforate everything in my house.

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