I've been experimenting with different punches. I have Fiskar punches, Martha Stewart punches, some really inexpensive punches from the clearance bins at Michaels and some of Hanky Panky's inexpensive punches plus one of their really good punches. But it goes to show that the more you pay for the punches, the better the quality.
The inexpensive punches, work for a little while, and work best on plain paper. But I was extremely impressed with the Martha Stewart punches. I paid less than $10 for them, and they are easy to operate and they punch clear petals, no matter the type of paper. The more expensive punches from Hanky Panky are fantastic, but be prepared to pay in excess of $50 for those. I only have an ivy punch from them right now, but I have to say it is fantastic.
Likewise I found the Fiskar punches worked well for the first several hundred petals, but they also loose their sharp edge and then start making fussy edge petals, which aren't great for making flowers. I made about 60 hyacinths, and each one used a dozen star shaped petals, and the punch would not punch crisp star shapes any more, so that means it worked for about 700 punches. Maybe that sounds like a lot for a $10-15 punch, but I had hoped for more use than this.
I made the same amount of tulips using the Martha Stewart tear drop shaped punch, and it is still working beautiful. I went to Michaels this weekend to see if they had a Martha Stewart star shaped punch, but they didn't have one. I'll have to check other Michael's stores when I am travelling to see if one exists.
I would love to hear from other flower makers to see what brand of punches they use and what works best for you. I still have lots of flowers to make, so any good advice is greatly appreciated!