Sunday, August 13, 2006

Packing Page Kits for Scrapbooking

How to pack a page kit and get more done.

Got Photos?

I admit it, I am a VERY productive scrapper. I get pages done. And cute ones too. I journal, I embellish, I add handmade doodads as well as store-bought. I honestly can say that after 19 years of scrapping, I make great scrapbooks. And I do them fast. Need a two-page layout design in 45 minutes or an album in a week? No problem. I get asked all the time HOW I do it?
I will share with you my straightforward and simple process. If you can master this, you can get a LOT more done in your limited scrapbooking time. I can get up to 160 kits packed in a weekend and later get up to a hundred pages assembled in a week. And I do it consistently, incorporating the cutest and newest materials and accents. But you don’t want to hear me brag. You want to know HOW to do this for yourself.

Planning is the key.

You probably have heard that many times at many websites and forums. What do I mean when I say plan ahead or make a set of page kits to take to a crop? Check this out. I hope my step by step process helps you become more productive.

Step One: Got Photos?
Organize your photos by chronological date and event.
Don’t leave photos loose around the house waiting to get lost, crushed, or stained with the latest slosh of your Starbucks. Gather the photos up and organize them. This way you can FIND your photos regardless of what kind of page you want to create. Our minds index events (which is what all photos represent) by timeline. Organize and label your photos by year, month and event. This will save you hours of time finding photos for page sets later even if your finished scrapbooks are purely arranged by emotion, sentiment, or person.

One at a Time: Grab one handful.
Just one handful. Grab one handful of photos to create a page kit. Pick out the photos for ONE event. That means just 1 to 10 photos for creating a 1 to 4 page layout set on that same event. For me, this is usually just the pics from one event (1 to 8 photos) for a 2 page layout. If that event has more pics, I pack more similar kits! Do one event at a time. One kit at a time. I keep on placing pics into protectors or 2 gallon zip lock bags until I have about 20-40 kits with photos in them only. Here for my example I have chosen birthday photos.

Step Two: Got Accents?
You may have the perfect accents to go with this photo set. Toss them in before you choose paper. For the sake of ease, I think it is easier to choose accents next and paper last. Why? Because I have MUCH MORE paper than I have accents. I might have a notebook or three of accents but I have many FEET of paper (thousands of sheets) to use up in all color schemes and patterns. And I want to use up my stash of accents because they are so costly. They usually run 6 times the cost of my paper for any kit. I check my accent binder for birthday party ideas in my party category.
Add accents right now into your kit if they will fit. I add coordinating buttons, pre-made frames or titles, journaling squares, tags, flatter lumpy items like acrylics, punch art, silk or paper flowers, sticker strips, and 3-D stickers like Jolee’s. I can add packaged metals in a tiny zip bag if they will NOT cut into or mar the protector or photos. Choosing my accents FIRST insures that my paper (chosen second) will match my accents and thus my photos.
That means if my ‘happy birthday’ photos have lime green and pink then I chose Lime green and pink accents and it will be a cinch to dig out the lime green paper (or something that compliments that green) because I have so MUCH paper. By choosing my papers after my accents, I use up a lot more of my old accents and also my papers in one fell swoop. If I choose an accent that goes, but I end up not having ANY paper, it is much cheaper to buy 2 sheets of paper than to buy a $2.99 sticker sheet or a $4.99 birthday 3-D accent pack! Toss your accents into the page kit! Here is what I pulled as good possibilities for my 4 page birthday layout set.
Of course, you can pull either accents OR paper as step 2 in this process if you prefer and it still will work. In the end, YOU decide what works for your own thought process and stash. Sometimes I do choose my papers first if I bought a certain paper to match exactly with my photos. However, I am doing that less and less Generally, I say choose accents before paper.
NOTE: At this point I don’t add loose brads or metal accent items that would damage my paper with pokey parts or nail heads. These metals might damage your kit packaging or photos if left loose. Use your own judgment here. My lumpy metals are in a divided plastic box which travels with my to scrapbook .

Step Three: Got Paper?
Of course the next step in packing a page kit is to add the paper. I add my 12x12 background paper right into the page protector or zip bag with the doodads and photos. I rarely use all white backgrounds. My pages are about 50/50 pattern and solid in monochromatic schemes So, I decide now between pattern paper or card stock background.
Once I pull two papers for the background, I can choose the 2nd type of coordinating paper. It may be a second layer of background or it may just be for mats. I don’t decide that yet unless I have a firm plan in mind for the page. But I do notice that I usually pull 2 coordinating patterns and a solid or two for each kit. I try to mat with my scraps. Scraps should be stored by color family so they are easy to find and USE UP. Utilize scraps whenever possible when packing your kits. Notice that because my accents match my photos, then I can see that my paper which was matched to my accents does indeed also match my photos!!
Specialty papers should be added at this time too. Do you envision this layout with mulberry paper? Metallic die cut letters? Crumpled leather look paper? Glitter paper on a prom page? Will vellum mats be good on this page? Whatever suits the feel of the page, toss a sheet in the kit. Even if you don’t use it, you will have it handy “just in case.” I try to work my specialty papers in as often as I can just because I spent good money on them and I might as well USE them to make the page it’s best. Specialty papers are often still cheaper than buying more accents, so add them into the mix as often as you can.

Step Four: Got Fiber?
My stash of fiber is extensive. I have about 1000 kinds of fiber in varied colors and lengths. I blame it on my sewing and crafting background. (Any excuse will do when you love fibers!) I ran a successful craft cooperative for over ten years. We knitted, crocheted, sewed, embroidered, made dolls and their clothing, embellished Santas, decorated baskets, and more. From ribbon to jute to cashmere, we had it. And , dang, they keep making more and more pretty ribbons too! My stash is bountiful. And using it up is always a good thing.
Almost every layout kit I make has some kind of fiber on it. Decide now if you want to add a foot or a yard of fiber to this kit. Cut some off. Tuck it in the kit. If you are going to string it through eyelets, sewing, or stapling it on, see step 5.

Step Five: Got Tools? Ink or Paint?
My next step is to decide if I need tools or unusual items like paint, brushes, inks, stamps, photo colorant pens, staplers, eyelet setters, etc. If I work at home on these kits, these items are either set out on my desk or packed into my tote for traveling to scrap elsewhere. Make sure you have ample adhesives, trimmers, blades, or templates out if you are planning to use them on this page kit set. This is also the time to jot down a short shopping list if you see you are lacking something.

Step Six: Got Sketches? (Optional)
Some people work with idea cards, magazine tear-outs, or sketches. I tend to use sketches only when I can’t come up with a design. It only happens about every 30th page for me. One of the few idea books I actually keep in my tote 24/7 is Becky Higgins Creative Companion for just this reason. That is enough for me.
Some people use sketches for every page. If you do, acknowledge it and work with it. Add one now for this kit. Decide how many photos you will be using on the page and find a sketch to copy or a tear-out from a magazine to CASE (That stands for copy and steal everything). Idea websites, sketchbooks, magazines, and even graphic designs in advertisements can lend you GREAT ideas. Use them if you need to to make your pages better AND faster.
Here is a great site for free sketches:

Step Seven: Got Journaling?
Journaling is entirely up to you. Do a lot or do a little. I place this step last in the kit-making agenda because it is a different thought process than packing supplies into kits. I often save my writing until I am done pulling all the other elements into each kit. Writing by hand or on computer uses a different area of your brain than organization. So Journal first, or save it to the last. Sometimes I do a full blown journaling column on my computer using awesome fonts and place the final product into my kit. Other times I just jot a few keywords on scratch paper to jog my brain later. With my notes I will write more when I create-- and journal by hand-- the final page. Remember to allow space for your journaling, year and title. It’s not all about the cute accents. J This is the time to add any pre-made poems, vellum quotes, preformed titles, and sticker letters sets. Below if the entire page kit ready to be labeled and put into a page protector in the binder for this birthday 4 page layout set.

Got Albums or Binders?
Keep on going. When the first kit is done, repeat the kit process for the next photo event and it’s corresponding set of pages. I often pack 30 to a hundred kits at a time. This works for me because I really get into the groove of packing kits. I get a great sense of accomplishment when I kit up a dozen pages without having to buy ANYTHING! Sad, huh? But true! I do have a stash that needs dwindling and this is a great way to do it. I love to use up these items. Shopping in my own stash is a lot of fun.
Now you need to store the kits in something portable. I keep the ready-to-use kits in 12x12 sized 3 ring binders. See above. Each kit is in a page protector so that when a page is scrapped and finished, I just slide it back into the protector. Pages are ‘safe’ in the binder while I work on the next page set. Many people also use large zip bags or accordion file folder slots, or clean pizza boxes in the same way. Do what works for you. I like mine portable and organized. Binders work for me in case I don't get them put into finished albums immediately the binders (when pages are done) work as acting albums in the meantime and the family can access and enjoy them.
At the end of a crop I often have a completely finished album to show off because my kits were in chronological order in these binders in protectors. Even if I never switch them over to the intended post bound albums, they are still in the 12x12 binders-- viewable and preserved in a manageable way. I don’t allow my finished pages to remain loose. I always encase my finished pages in a page protector. A loose page is a page waiting to get bent and damaged.

Got Crop Time?
Enjoy the kit-making process. Once you do it a time or two, you will be hooked. Cropping outside the home? Don’t roll in three carts to a crop when you can take three simple things: tools, kits, and snacks! Travel light! It is SO much easier to take a bag of tools and a binder of ready page kits to a crop than taking everything but the kitchen sink! I cringe to see ladies dragging tons of supplies only to sort through them for half the crop time trying to get ‘settled’. They get half a page done in 4 hours. I get 14 done in the same time. Page kits are the difference.
Even if you are working at home kits will save you time. With kids at home, pull out just ONE kit. Lay it out on the clean kitchen counter. Do bits of it in ten minute increments. Trim a photo on the first pass by. Cut a mat on the second. Layout the scheme on the third trip past, etc. It is a joy to know that you can clear up the mess in less than 10 minutes as well. The page kit concept is MADE for distracted moms. Soon you have that page kit done and the kids have never even noticed the difference in mommy-play time!

Page kits do work. Hundreds of my members on Scrappers Challenge Yahoo! group have learned this firsthand. I hope they make your scrapbooking more productive too.


craftsforyou2 "Carol" said...

You make it sound so easy and so organized It makes me want to sit right down and make a few page kits. I spend most of my time looking for things so I have to try and do it your way. Thanks for all your fantastic ideas.

Anonymous said...

I tend to spend way too much time sorting, searching, and second-guessing.....this sounds so easy - I must give this a shot! I already know my way doesn't work! ;0)

Bridgett Owens said...

I love this idea, Rock, and so happy to have found this article when I did. I printed it off, followed each step you listed, and created SEVERAL page kits. When I had some free time a few days later I started scrapping with the page kits only. In that month I had scrapped MORE than when I had gone on a scrapbook retreat for the weekend! Love this process. So easy and so efficient!

Colleen said...

Thanks! I'm going to a weekend retreat and have managed to pack about 30ish page kits and plan to get them all completed and maybe more if there's time!!

melissa keneally said...

I am going to pack some "kits" this weekend. This sounds like somethnig that makes soooo much sense that I need to scrap this way.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking the time to post all this! I wish I had found this a few years ago. It took me that long to "develpe" my own system, which is very similar to yours. I got several new ideas to use.


Sandy Robinson said...

You make it sound so simple. Where can I get the 12x12 binders? I got so far as the putting pictures in sheet protectors but that's it. I plan on starting this weekend. I store my in progress pages in a pizza box I got from my local pizza palor. They fit in there great. Thanks again..

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh! This is a wonderful system!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Tink said...

Thanks for this! I am an avid digital scrapbooker but also have a humungous stash of goodies for paper scrapping which I also love. This will now push me to use up all those lovely things I have had lying around for a couple of years and wont allow me the excuse "I dont know where to start" anymore. Thank you again.

kyky said...

thank you for sharing!

Rockester said...

12x12 binders can be found as 3 ring binder style photo and scrapbook albums at most scrapbook and craft stores.

kate blue said...

Loved reading how you pack your kits. I only pack kits for a crop and usually take 3-4 page kits and one big Counterfeit Kit from the Counterfeit Kit blog and I end up carrying one bag! Am gonna sort my scraps though per your advice do I can use more of them.