You may know that running paper through your sewing machine with a standard needle creates enough of a perforation for tear sections of paper. But for a long time I have been wanting to create actual circle cut perforations, not just piercings, to similate actual postage stamp edges without having to punch holes one at a time with some kind of hand tool. Well, I dug around the internet enough and found an idea in a Q&A about making movie props. So I gave it a try and it works pretty good. Not perfect, but does create a more realistic postage stamp perforation than any other technique I’ve tried. I used my good sewing machine, but please use caution when trying this, I would hate for you to mess up your own machine with this project. If this is the type of thing you think you would like to do often for scrapbooking, collage, wedding invitations, etc, you may consider finding a really cheap used sewing machine, since it only has to move a needle up and down, even a machine that doesn’t work well may do.
I purchased brass tubing to replace the needle in my sewing machine. The tubing walls are too thick to cut through paper, so I used my little Dremel Stylus tool to grind down the outside area of the end of a piece of 1/16 x .014 brass tubing found at the hobby store. Larger tubing would not fit in my machine. (A bit more precision grinding would probably give the end a sharper edge for cutting cleaner, I may go back and work on that.)I cut the tubing shorter than the length of my sewing machine needle so that it didn’t poke too far down into the bottom of the machine when stitching.I created some stamp images for this tutorial using the vintage printer cuts I posted the other day, separating the images enough to perforate between. I placed a piece of card stock below my paper to get the tubing/needle to go all the way through the paper as cleanly as possible. I adjusted my stitch length to space the holes as I wanted them.Once all perfs have been made, and card stock pulled away, you can either fold along perforations and tear stamps apart for a rougher look, or use an Xacto knife or scissors to slice down the center of the perforated holes for a cleaner look. If you will be doing lots of perforating, you may need to remove your perforating needle and poke a straight pin into it to remove any build-up of paper inside every now and then.
UPDATE: Thanks for all your comments regarding stamp perforation edge scissors-those do work well for individual stamp edging. And the rotary tools for creating perforation (dashed lines) for tearing away. But the beauty of the brass tube needle is that you can create hole perforation lines that do not run the edge of your paper, such as this save-the-date I’m working on for a friend.