I started scrapbooking using “page kits” a few years back…maybe 5 or 6 years? Anyways, “page kits” means you put all the coordinating paper, embellies, etc into a bag for each layout you plan to create. People used to marvel at how many pages I could create at a crop…sometimes over 30 in one sitting! Somewhere along the way I got a little out of using page kits but over the last few months I have gone through my system, revamping it and using up all the past kits I've had stashed. I have already scrapped nearly 50 pages since the end of 2009!
Over the years I have changed the way I create my page kits, adapting them to the way I have re-organized my supplies by color, removing photos from the mix, etc. I mostly use page kits when going to crops but they can be handy at home too.
Page kits are really popular with regular croppers and lots of people have their own take on what makes a “page kit”. People are always asking about how to create page kits so I figured I'd create this post to share my methods and reasons and you can take what you like ;)
Here are some reasons why you might want to create page kits:
Too Many Supplies. There is no way you can take it all with you to a crop or retreat so you have to find a way to take enough with you that you can be creative but not so much that you need a U-Haul to bring it.
Too Many Choices. You have trouble choosing between three different papers for one page, spending an hour just to pick your paper. A page kit limits your choices and helps you focus on creating–you just use what is in the bag and that is it.
You're Goal Oriented. You want to create 30 pages at the retreat you're attending next weekend. You're finally going to finish that wedding album or baby book. You've got a goal in mind and page kits will help you reach it.
Limited Storage Space. If you have limited storage, page kits can hold all of your supplies nicely in a Rubbermaid tub at the bottom of a closet. As soon as you make a purchase, put it into a kit and slide it into your storage tub.
You Want to Travel Light. If you have back problems or don't want to make 18 trips back and forth to your car, page kits will help you to travel lighter. I now take to crops a small tool kit, a rolling tote or shoulder bag with my page kits and trimmer inside, a box of photos, and my fabric embellie bag. If I am going to a long crop or a retreat I will also take a bag that fits on top of my rolling tote that holds my Dot Boxes of embellies–I'll explain those more later. I can get all this inside in 1-2 trips from the car.
You'll need some basic supplies to get started making your page kits.
- 12×12 zip-top bags. I like these bags from Clearbags.com for about $20. You can go in with a friend if you don't want to buy 100 bags at a time or you might be able to find the bags in smaller quantities at your LSS or on sites like ebay. But once you start making page kits, you'll fill those 100 bags ;)
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- Rubbermaid 18 gallon or larger tub or some container to store the kits in vertically. This way you can thumb through the kits when you're looking to create. I have my kits in a tub like this:
- Embellishment Storage. Either you put the embellies in the kits or you have them stored separately. I have found over the years that storing them separately works best for me. I love using Dot Boxes from Cottage Mills for small items like brads, buttons, and epoxy shapes. I store flatter items, like journal spots and small sheets of bling, by color in a divided container–I use a fabric sewing organizer with pockets.
- Photo Storage. If you don't plan on putting your pics into your kits, then keep them in an organized container. I use photo boxes. Photos from each event are in sandwich bags with a little label about the event and date and those are stored vertically, chronologically in the photo box. I take the box (I actually have 3 of them until I can tame them back down to just one box) to crops with me. I used to keep the pics in the page kits but then I would start looking for a photo and could not find it because it was buried in some kit somewhere.
These are the basics I include in my kits:
- Patterned Paper, 1-3 sheets
- Cardstock scraps that coordinate with the patterned paper (to use for mats)
- 12×12 cardstock but only if I plan to use that as my base
- Theme specific embellies, rub-ons, or stickers that coordinate with my layout — not generic items like buttons
- Premade titles if I have one
Here's an example of a page kit:
That's the kit in the bag with the ribbon, paper, and tags that coordinate with the paper. In this case I actually have the pics in the kit but that is because I was sure I wanted to use this paper with these photos.
Here's all the contents splayed out–I've got a title, a couple themed tags that match the whole collection of paper. I could make two pages or 5 from this or a two pager and some cards…alot of options but not too much stuff in the kit. The tags were in a gift I got from a gift exchange and the ribbon was actually used to wrap the package.
How do you choose what to put in and what not to put in?
Embellies & Stickers that I already have stored in Dot Boxes or my divided fabric bag DON'T go in page kits because I can take those with me separately. Since those are usually generic items (a button can go on any themed page) I like to keep them available for me to use on any project–once they are in a kit, they are kind of out of mind since I can't see them in my stash anymore.
I also have loose embellies in drawers at home, like say Felt Diecuts from Fancy Pants. I will include those one-off, theme specific embellies in kits. Sometimes I include flowers but you have to be careful to not throw a whole package of flowers into the page kit–they won't be available for you to use on other projects until you take them out of the kit and most likely you won't use them all when you make the page. That means you'll be taking extra stuff with you to the crop. Add only 3-5 of these items to your kit–if you find you need more, add it when you get home.
If you are the kind of person who needs flowers on every page, then add an assortment of flowers to your basic kit, kind of like how I do my cardstock (described below). Cut stickers apart if you are only using one from that sheet –don't put the whole sheet in the kit.
Cardstock — I use one 12×12 bag to take an assortment of 12×12 cardstock basics with me to crops. Usually a few sheets each of black, white, kraft, and brown cardstock since I use those colors for most of my pages as a base. I also include some 12×12 Grid Patterned Paper since I use that alot. Cardstock scraps get included in my kits for use as mats but I try to not include 12×12 sheets of cardstock — it makes the page kits really heavy and I always end up with way too much paper leftover after using the kit. Then you have to take that paper home and put it away. Include 12×12 cardstock only if you plan to build your page on the cardstock.
Patterned Paper — At least two different patterns for each page unless I know I am only using one sheet for that page. This page below was created with just one sheet of patterned paper and the length of ribbon that is on the page–the rest of the items came from my Dot Boxes and Fabric Embellie Bag. I added the sticker titles at home.
Photos — I kind of went over this above–if you include them in the kit, then you might forget about the pics or decide at the crop that you don't like those pics paired with that kit. I store mine separately but if you really want to get alot done, add the pics to the page kits. That extra limitation will help you get more done if you are one who spends alot of time pondering which pics to use and so on.
Alpha Stickers, Diecuts, Titles – I used to take a diecut machine with me to crops but I found that it was not worth it to bring that extra machine or extra stack of alpha stickers to a crop. I have sheets of tiny alpha stickers in my fabric embellie bag that I can use for journaling or I can use someone else's diecut machine at the crop. I have been waiting until I get home to do titles and that seems to work really well for me.
If you MUST take stickers, choose black and white alphas because they go with everything or can be easily altered with paint, ink, or glitter if you HAVE to have a title right now. You might even consider pre-planning your titles — cut them on your diecut machine at home before the crop and include them in the kit.
Ribbon – Sometimes I put small pieces of ribbon in page kits but for the most part, I usually leave the ribbon at home. Make notes on post its and add them to the pages you want ribbon on–add the ribbon when you add the titles.
Punches, Tools — save these for home. You can pre-punch a bunch of shapes and take a small baggie with you to pull from but lugging around a giant bag of punches will just wear you out and give you too many choices to make at the crop. Most likely someone else at the crop has a border punch or whatever that you can borrow. You can even coordinate with your friends so one person brings a butterfly, someone else brings a scalloped circle, etc.
If you know you use that Martha Stewart Loopy Punch on every layout and can't live without it, then take that one punch but don't take more than 2 tools like that. And don't put them in your page kit because then they won't be available for you to use on other projects until you pull that one kit out.
Page Kit Tips
Take post -it notes with you–add them to pages that you did not finish with notes about what you still need to do, i.e. add a bow under the main photo or add the date or add the title “Knott's Berry Farm”.
Pay attention to what you like to scrap with — if you love ribbon, include ribbon in all your kits. If you love flowers, include flowers. If you never use flowers, don't force yourself to by putting them in a kit–you will be un-inspired at the crop when you have a kit full of stuff you don't like.
Focus on Certain Colors. When packing for a crop, pull page kits that have a common main color — say you pull kits that have red, orange, or blue. Then just take the embellies and cardstock to match–no need to take purple buttons if you don't have anything purple to scrap.
Don't put stuff in the kit that you use all the time, like tools.
Make Kits Right Away. As soon as you buy paper, especially if it is themed, put it in a page kit with all the goodies to match. You're more likely to use it this way, especially if it is a collection of paper, than if you separate it all and incorporate it into your stash.
And these pages were made with a kit with about 6 sheets of patterned paper and one sheet of stickers:
I added the bling, extra stickers, and titles at home. As soon as I bought that line of paper and the matching “Dad” stickers I put them in a page kit.
Make 1 kit for every 1-3 pages you want to complete. I get about 2 pages from each kit I make, more from some, depending on how much paper I put in the kit. If you want to make 100 pages this year, try putting together about 20 page kits using your stash to start off with. Use those to create pages and when you get down to about 5 kits left, make some more kits to add to your kit box.
Over the course of 5 months (kept putting the kit back into my tub) I made all of these pages from one kit that had the paper, one sheet of stickers, and one pack of brads that coordinated (plus I added stuff from my Dot Boxes along the way):