One question I have been getting asked a lot lately is which is better – the circle framelits or punches? And the answer is neither is necessarily “better” but each has their own pros and cons and it's really up to you what works better for your style of stamping, your budget and your space.

The one thing to think about is that you are going to want one or the other. Circles are notoriously hard to cut perfectly and if you look back through the history of circle cutters you will see that every craft supply company out there has tried to make THE perfect circle cutter. From the items that have an arm with a sharp knife that spins compass style, to plastic rings with numerous tracks and different colored blade cartridges to an exact knife that spins, all sorts of tools have been introduced. Many have disappeared because they were difficult to use, expensive at the outset or, frankly, made crappy circles!

The two tools that have stood the tests of time and offer the highest degree of customer satisfaction are framelits or punches. Let's talk about punches first since they appeared on the scene – at least for Stampin' Up! – first.

Circle Punch PROS:

  • super easy to use
  • lightning fast to use
  • since circles are a standard shape and so many companies make them you have an infinite ability to nest shapes
  • very long lasting if not forever
  • can use upside down to center prestamped images
  • no other tools needed to operate

Circle Punch CONS:

  • the cost can add up quickly
  • they take up a lot of storage space
  • there is a limited “reach” that the punch can access on paper
  • they can be difficult to operate for people with arthritis or other conditions that affect their hands


Originally, dies were all sharp edged steel bands embedded in a block that permitted cute to occur with pressure offered by a die cutting machine like the Sizzix Big Shot by Stampin' Up! Then some GENIUS (and someone I'd like to meet and shake their hand!) invented what we all now know as Framelits (and Thinlits) which are generically called wafer thin steel dies.

Framelits PROS

  • VERY cost effective since most come in sets of many that are usually about twice the cost of one punch
  • SUPER light and easy to store
  • able to cut a circle anywhere on a project
  • can be used to cut prestamped images
  • people with hand comfort issues can use them in self propelled die cutting machines

Framelits CONS

  • they take a little more time to use if you don't have your die cutting machine out and ready
  • you need a die cutting machine to use which can be expensive

So did that help at all or are you even MORE on the fence about whether framelits or punches are better?

if you asked me to make the decision FOR you, here's what I would recommend. Get the die cutting machine and go with the framelits. And here's why.

Yes, you would have to invest in a die cutting machine (if you don't already have one). And yes, they can cost as much as $175 for the electric self propelled ones with the Sizzix Big Shot by Stampin' Up! at $110 (with a KILLER warranty!). But with circle punches costing an average of about $15, you buy eight punches and you've paid for your machine. Are you going to want more than eight sizes/versions of circles? Most likely.

In addition, since framelits are almost always sold in sets, you can add all sorts of types of circles to your collection for about $2 – $4 each, depending on the size and degree of detail. The Layering Circles Framelits, 16 circles for $35.00, includes scalloped circles for an insane amount of variety! And there are stitched circles in the Stitched Shapes set (along with squares and ovals) that give you even MORE layering options.

framelits or punches - layering circles from Stampin Upframelits or punches - stitched shapes by Stampin Up

Now the BIGGEST reason I would suggest the framelits option is because once you have that Sizzix Big Shot by Stampin' Up! your die cutting options are ENDLESS!  So you are not just getting your circles situation solved, you are opening your options up enormously. You can't do that as cost effectively with punches and trust me (because I know!), you will run out of storage space very quickly!

There you have it. My opinion on whether circle framelits or punches are better – what are your thoughts?








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