Where Does Your Loyalty Lie with Scrapbook Supplies?

Feb2011 3021

Do you stick with a few favorite companies or do you play the field?

I can be overwhelming for newer scrapbookers who are discovering the huge variety of supplies that exists in the industry. I got this question from a newer Paperclipping Member after I had been loading all of the Craft & Hobby Trade Show videos onto the website and I thought it would be helpful if a bunch of us share what we do.

I’ll share my own answer. Will you please pop in with your own experience? Here’s her question…

I am a fairly New Member and am also still fairly new to the world of craft. I’ve been trying a little bit of Everything. I believe my continued Interest will mainly be in Cardmaking and Scrapbooking.

Like everyone else I have been Oooing and Aaaahing over all the New Products and this post has really Hit Home for me as I would probably just have gone on a Mad Spending Spree. I wonder if anyone has an opinion that might help me. I am wondering? Does one for the most part stick to one Persons line such as Tim Holtz (Which b.t.w. I LOVE). Or one Collection of a Paperstock and it’s Embellies etc. Or, In general is it better to buy a bit of a variety of Items.

This is really a dilemma for me at the moment. Please comment if you can help me work all this out.

Thank you Noell & Izzy for all the work you put into this….
Kind Regards,

Bev (bevelevy)

The good news is that there is no right or wrong, better or worse way to go about it! Everyone is different and some methods will work better for you while other methods better suit other people.

Having talked to LOTS of different scrapbookers on the Roundtable and in my audience, I have found that I am in the minority in a lot of the ways that I work with products. For example…

  • I pick products from my scraps most every time I scrapbook, and only look at my whole patterned papers once in a while.
  • I leave my new products in their bags for weeks and continue to use my older products before it occurs to me to open my new stuff. And even then it’s usually to mix it in with my old, rather than to open it and use it.
  • I don’t usually feel like a layout is “me” if I use all products from one line. Instead I feel like the layout belongs to that line.

Overall Supplies I Purchase

I have a handful of favorite manufacturers. Usually that’s because their style of products is consistently me, because I’m used to them, and because I know and trust their quality.

But I also love to try new things and a recent favorite paper I bought (and want more of) is from a company I’ve never heard of before.

Supplies for Layouts

On the other hand, I love to mix supplies from different lines of each of my pages and mini-books. The more varied my sources, the happier I tend to feel.

How do You Know What’s Right for You?

You need to try it all and see what YOU like! It’s helpful to hear other people’s experiences, which is why I invited others to share (especially since I’m an abnormality). But you’ll know what’s right for you after you’ve purchased some supplies a few times, and scrapbooked a whole lot. You’ll figure it out, but only after you’ve tried different approaches for a while.

I will recommend this, though: Purchase only the products you really love, and don’t worry about the rest.

  • Julie K in Taiwan

    Great question and I had to giggle about you leaving new things in the bag. I do that too, and then it’s so exciting when I actually get around to opening something up!

    I have an anything goes attitude. Partly because of my location and the difficulty in getting a lot of current supplies, and partly because I don’t buy into the idea that it’s not a scrapbook supply if it doesn’t have some sort of scrapbook industry seal of approval on it. I like finding unique objects in daily life (or in regular shops) and figuring out how to incorporate it into a layout. I do love oohing and ahhing over new supplies but I also like trying to recreate the look myself.

    I had never thought about not being able to own my layout if I used everything from one line. Interesting! How far does that go though? Do you need to make all your own patterned paper and embellishments before it’s a “true you” layout? Of course not, but considering authenticity is an issue I have grappled with before. One of my art journals is for “only me,” that is, things I’ve made or painted. Another I “allow” myself to use commercially produced items, and another is for very obvious “inspired by” pages. I hadn’t applied that sort of thinking to my scrapbooks though. hmmmm…

  • kim

    I think this is why I fell in love with kit clubs. I love love LOVE new products. And there are so many lines I love (whether from the same company or different ones). I joined a kit club that seems to pride itself on having the latest and greatest and matched my style. And by trying all these different products and companies in the kits, I’ve figured out which ones I loved (aka which pieces of paper/embellies I hoarded and didn’t want to use up) and which companies I am just so-so on.

    And definitely create more and more! I really have only learned what I like by scraping a ton. Now I can look through my pages and realize my personal trends. And that helps me be smarter with my purchases. I used to waste a lot of money buying things but between just scraping a lot (I did a layout a day aka LOAD challenge) and joining the kit club I have become much smarter and now I use everything I buy.

  • Chandra

    I love buying paper kits. I find that I get a lot more done when I don’t have to worry about matching papers and embellishments. All I have to do is open up the package and it’s all there waiting for me. I used to buy a lot of single papers or embellishmets but I rarely do that now, because I have such a huge stash. I try to scrap from those when I feel like spending more time in my craft room, or I feel like challenging myself. I feel no guilt in buying things that I can use more than once, like punches, stamps, and inks.

    I have my favorite companies, but I’m not afraid to switch it up. I buy whatever tickles my fancy. I also love when people use stuff that isn’t technically scrapbooking products. Like, pages from their weekly planners, or soup can lables. While I haven’t done that myself yet, seeing Noell’s projects has inspired me to try it ;)

  • That’s really interesting about your art journals! I do a mix of all paint +
    paint + magazine clipplings + other media. Right now I’m mixing them into
    the same books and I choose which book I want to work in for its size, not
    purpose. But I mean for that to only be temporary with these particular
    books while I’m still trying to figure out what I really like to do. My
    intention is to eventually have different journals for different purposes.
    At least I think…

    As for how far ownership goes with scrapbooking: it’s not so much a logical
    belief as it is a feeling. I just don’t FEEL like it’s me or mine. I’ve
    never been a matchy kind of person. I always liked experimenting with my
    clothes and changing combinations. Same thing with my house. I like things
    to look like I’ve pulled some from here and some from there.

    Part of that has to do with my interest in how gritty and conflicted and
    ambiguous our lives are beneath all the shiny pretty things.

  • Noell I will confess to leaving my new supplies in their shopping bags untouched for quite awhile myself. So you’re not that different there.

    When I started scrapbooking, I bought alot of stuff by lines. I did that because I had no supplies at all and no idea what I really needed, wanted, or would use. I bought ALOT of paper pads by Die Cuts With A View. I bought alot of the same types of letter stickers. I bought alot of the same types of post-bound albums.

    Now, three, almost four years down the line, my shopping has changed. I’ve come to understand what sorts of supplies work for me and what don’t. Most of my paper pads and original letter stickers are in a box that I pull out when I have my friends & their kids over to scrapbook. I let the kids take whatever they want, because I’m not using those supplies.

    I now buy loose paper in small groups at a time. I don’t pay attention to lines until I’ve bought the paper. Then I will admit to turning the sheet over and getting excited that I liked something in a certain line. I buy embellishments with a certain project in mind, occasionally tossing in 1 or 2 extra that I just “like”. I have found certain lines, such as most things by Little Yellow Bicycle, that almost always fit my style. Other lines, such as BasicGrey’s paper, just don’t fit me. (I like their embellishments though. Just hate the shabby-chic paper look.)

    I still get excited when new products are talked about. I want to get some stamps and finally try stamping. Every time Noell uses transparencies, I think “Where did she get those? I must try some!” (I never have…can’t ever find ones I like.) But for me, what it comes down to is spending my hard-earned money on products I know I’ll use, rather than buying a whole line because it’s the “in” thing to do. It’s not useful to me if it just takes up space in my stash and never makes it onto a layout.

    Go with what you like. If you buy something and decide later it’s not your style, pass it on to someone who will use it. Find a supply swap with friends, donate to somewhere that needs that supply, etc. Pay it Forward.

  • A few years ago there were a lot of transparencies on the market from
    different companies. Now there aren’t very many. Teresa Collins still makes
    them and I usually like hers. And Hambly still makes them, but theirs don’t
    seem as versatile to me now as they used to so I haven’t bought any from
    them in a long time.

    Most of the transparencies I use these days are either from Teresa or
    they’re very, very old ones that I still haven’t used up. Next week you’ll
    see a page like that — it uses a lot of old transparencies from Hambly that
    I still love.

    I miss transparencies and wish there were more on the market.

  • I definitely tend, now, to buy things I like, no matter who makes them. I think you get “braver” after you’ve been scrapping for a while. I’ve been doing it for a little over a year.

    I always open and store new product when it arrives or when I bring it home. I don’t have a big stash, so usually there is a project I want to use it on.

    When first starting out, it can be a bit overwhelming to decide what you like and what to buy. One suggestion I have is to start out with some really good basic tools and products: paper trimmer, border punch or two (like a simple scallop), neutral card stock, a variety of adhesives (glue dots, Glossy Accents, a tape runner), journaling pens, a couple of journaling or ornamental stamps, and a great ink pad or two in colors you like.

    I rarely buy an entire collection kit or paper pad anymore. I bought a couple of large American Crafts paper packages when I began scrapbooking and found that it was way too much from one line and I didn’t love it quite *that* much. :) If you really like something and know you will want to use it for a long time, then it makes sense. I might scrap with things from one line if I want to unify the look of a project, such as a Christmas album or vacation album.

    But as Noell said, definitely buy what you love! :-) Happy Scrapping!

    ~ Laura

  • Helena

    great question

    I’m like you in that I like to mix it up with items from different lines and also items from the office supply shop and I keep any interesting piece of paper that enters the house for any reason.

    I enjoy the process of putting together items from my stash for a layout and usually do it colour based

    I’ve never ‘taken’ to kits and following a line through paper and embellishments because it takes away what I see as a large part of the fun of the process.

  • Anne Walterich

    You can make your own transparencies by buying a case of overhead projector sheets from an office supply store & printing or stamping with staz-on.

  • I buy paper and always what “I” like. Rarely do I ever buy embellishments. I am so cheap AND I like linear scrapping. I think Noelle said it great. I don’t buy it until I see it. I don’t watch the posts showing what is coming out this season. Most of my layouts are cardstock with bits of pattern paper here in there.. I’m very Laura Vegas but without the embellishments.

  • AllisonLP

    Having just mailed the IRS over $8,000, I must say, has really made me think more about my purchases. I have two shopping carts at two different sites right now, and I’m evaluating the things in them on a daily basis. Some things I really like, but I think to myself, is this product versitile, and can I use it in more than one way to achieve different looks or to suite different purposes? And just because I love gears, does that mean if I’m not a big stamper, that I’m going to buy gear stamps?
    I basically scrapbook for my twin boyz, so the very purpose of why I scrapbook greatly influences what I buy – not a whole lots of pink, and flowers in my stash! I’m always on the look out for masculine products.

  • BeckyDJD

    hay, I am new to scrapbooking to, sister! But I have to admit, I have been collecting for about 5 years. If I liked it, I got it. The truth was, I liked and admired a lot of things I would never use. A couple of months ago I started cleaning out the stash. Theme papers, 3d stickers I couldn’t alter, and an unnatural amount of green and red ribbon had to go. The truth, I was just overwhelmed by to much stuff. Now, when I shop, instead of just grabbing stuff I am attracted I take the time to think of how it is going to be used. Something I had never done before. I don’t buy things for there cute appeal, now, they have to be able to work. I personally like to think of 3-5 ways I can use it. That way, if by the time I get around to use it I have for got it’s intended porpoise, it is flexible enough to work another way. I LOVE black and brown pens, Copic markers, white and kraft cardstock, and a plethora of paper from my fav lines, but I now only buy paper if it is double sided, incase I forget why I needed crazy campy style paper, I still have a wonderful solid on the other side. I have my fav journaling stamp, and a handful of inks, and the rest is icing. In the first 5 years of collecting scrapbooking supplies, everyone had wonderful advice. How it get more cheeper, how to organize more, how to sneak it in when the hubby isn’t looking… but the best advice came from my hubby, who, when i was totally overwhelmed, and spent all my crafting time, rummaging threw supplies, gave me the best scrappy advice. Just do it. Take a memory and slap it down on paper, it might not look like the magazines, but it’s your memory, and it’s beautiful.

  • I like the idea of working in art journals based on their size. I bought one gigantic sized one (maybe 18×20?) and I’ve been intimidated by it. Maybe it’s time for me to get out the new, still in bag, stencils and just start spraying.

    I also find that after a few pages, my journals tend to fall into a theme or story, and I’ll add to them as I feel inspired. They’re not limited to that particular theme, but it’s more of a general classification. That’s probably why I like to have so many on the go at one time. I’ll get an idea for a page, and then a feeling like “I should make this in the silver spiral bound journal” or “this is the next page in the orange one”. I hadn’t thought much about it before, but after reflection it seems like this is how I’m playing in my journals.

  • Ruth Bonser

    What I have been found is that there are quite a lot of transparenacies (glitz studios and basic grey are both making some) but they are all teeny tiny, 4×6 or smaller. I liked the versatility of the 12×12 ones that were popular before. Sometimes it is frustrating that the industry creates and then forgets products and just because it is a heidi swapp ghost item from a few years back, it is entirely impossible to find.

  • Ruth Bonser

    I used to shop at my LSS and mooch around picking out a piece of this paper and that, an embellishment here and there. Then I discovered online shopping and my habits changed to visiting regularly, making up a cart that i pored over the decisions for days but actually going through the “checkout” less frequently than i used to with a larger pile, since it was cheaper on shipping. Since i couldnt actually hold the item, i was more likely to go for a bulk “line” so i would have at least a few good ones in there and some guaranteed matching stuff, and it was costing me the same as getting a couple of pieces from my LSS. Online shopping had better competitive pricing and bigger deals on them. BUT I have ended up with something other people have mentioned, the overwhelming stash. It can be hard, and I am finding Noell to be very inspiring in changing some of my thinking to be able to get better use from my stash. Monthly kits are a great option, both to purchase and to get ideas from (check out the counterfeit kit website for ideas with this), if they are mixing this line with that line, it gives you ideas to take back to your own desk.

    I find that lines are great for going elsewhere to scrap, you can just pack a line or two and have something co-ordinating to work with when you have limited supplies. Otherwise packing can get tiresome! (Though Noel has a good video on this that I watched the other day, I might change some of my packing habits now, thanks Noell!)

    One thing I’ve found is that often stuff released at the same time (by different manufacturers) tends to match, since they all use the current “hot” colours of the season. These also show up in clothes and other colour trends, so your photos often match these colours too. (e.g. if aqua is hot in scrapping stuff, then also at target every second shirt is aqua, so your kids are dressed in aqua and that matches the paper). Just something I noticed. I think I got off point here, anyway thanks for the thought provoking

  • hlphowell

    I’m with Kim Vail Brown (“Most of my layouts are cardstock with bits of pattern paper”) and Helena (“I enjoy the process of putting together items from my stash for a layout and usually do it colour based”). Certainly buy what you love, but don’t buy everything you love! Plus, you need to learn what you love for scrapbooking. Your pictures dictate colors, styles, themes, that might not fall in your “love” category (I’m with you, AllisonLP). You’ll also find you’ll have favorite neutrals, which is not something I think of when I list what I love. Too much product is a storage burden and can affect creativity and productivity. As a Creative Memories scrapper, I only used their products for years. I shopped at my consultant’s house and stayed away from scrapbook aisles. By limiting my selection, I quickly found what colors and styles I liked.
    Scrap first, shop last!

  • I ask those same questions, Allison!!

    The one difference — all of a sudden I’ve gotten really into pink! No idea
    where that came from! :)

  • So many great pieces of advice, Becky! I’m glad you and Allison have both
    shared more specifically how you’ve learned what not to buy, and how you
    decide TO buy something. I do almost exactly these same things but didn’t
    think to share that in this post.

    I appreciate all these comments from everybody so much and I’m sure our
    newer scrapbookers will too!

  • Rub-on’s have been forgotten too. There are a few companies making them —
    I’m not sure which there is more of — transparencies or rub-on’s?

    I had no idea Glitz Studios and Basic Grey did transparencies. I don’t mind
    if they’re smaller as long as they’re a shape, pattern, and color I like.
    I’ll have to go looking for those! Thanks for the info!

  • That’s true! Thanks for the reminder. I already have a box that I rarely

  • No, I think that is an excellent point (about on-trend shades of color) —
    I’ve never thought of that before, but you’re right!

    I’m glad you liked that packing episode! Thank you! I was just thinking
    about it the other day because we’ll probably talk about that on the
    Roundtable soon.

  • Scrap first, shop last is great advice!

  • Ruth Bonser

    The BG ones are called Take Note and they are 2 layers, one shaped transparent and the other a matching shaped peice of coordinated printed paper underneath, there are about 4 in the pack, the Glitz ones are called Peek a Boo I think, they come in an embellishment pack of a bunch of them and there are some transperanct products like them from websters pages too i think, I have only actually bought the BG ones and so I dont know much about the others. Maybe someone else does? So far I havent used any of the BG ones together as a layered combo, but they have been great separated as title or journalling spots and the biggest one makes a good minibook page.

  • 9isfine

    When I first started scrapbooking 15 years ago, there wasn’t much to buy. When the industry exploded I fell victim to buying anything and everything because it was just so fun! My stash became huge over the years, filled with all kind of stuff that I loved and didn’t love! I had a LSS and would shop regularly and bought lots of the newest stuff. Now I live in an area without a local scrapbook store and the only place to buy supplies is at Michael’s or JoAnn’s. These stores don’t usually carry the stuff I like the most, but I do end up buying those paper stacks when I’m needing something new for a specific project because it’s my only option. I do subscribe to a kit club and love what I get each month. It gives me a nice sampling of new lines from various companies and then I know what I want I might like to order online if I fall in love with something. I really like to see stuff and touch it before I buy it. I know it’s just paper, but the colors don’t always look the same in person! So, unless it is a line I’ve actually seen, or an embellishment that I’ve already used or seen, I rarely buy online. This also leads me to use stuff that I’ve had in my stash forever. I like that I’m using old things that I still love, scraps that still make me smile,and finishing a package of embellishments that I’ve had laying around. As I dig through my stash, I also find things that I no longer love and I pass those items along to my friends or kids who will make use of them. This makes me happy too. I’m finding that overall, I just don’t buy as much new stuff as I used to when I did have a LSS. I also find that when I look through my albums, that I still love the pages where I used products that I really loved and that I still love those products! My pages that are not my favorites tend to be the ones where I like the story, but don’t love the products. I guess the moral of the story for me is, buy only what you love, use only what you love and you’ll love your pages.

  • I so agree with your “moral of the story” — only buy what you love. There
    was a time when I bought what I thought went with my photos. By doing this
    you’re more likely to get into the mindset of trying to “do it right.” Plus
    you have leftovers you don’t like. And then there’s what you said: you don’t
    love your pages as much.

  • I have been scrapbooking for over 6 years and stamping for about 2 and a half years. I try to keep my supplies confined to a large desk in my family room. Here are my main pieces of advice regarding supplies:
    1. Try out a variety of things and see what you use. Buy a collection pack and see if you like it. Look at a variety of manufacturers and see which ones you use over and over. Try various sizes of scrapbooks (a 12×12 and a mini book for example.)
    2. Once you find what you do like, don’t be afraid to purge old supplies periodically. I am about to donate a variety of extra items to a local YWCA.