Scrapping with Kits: Get Organized without Spending a Penny

by | Projects & Processes | 26 comments

Although I own more scrapbooking supplies than I am ever likely to need, I consider myself a simple scrapbooker. My scrap space is not minimalist. Not even close. My pages are not always clean and simple. In fact, I love layering and getting messy with inks and paints.

Amanda Jones

So why am I a simple scrapper?

The key, for me, is having an organized scrapbooking process. Ideally, this should be teamed with organized scrapbooking supplies which, for the most part, mine are. However, I believe my scrapbooking process can be adopted by anyone who is seeking a way to actually use their supplies and become more productive. My process is simple and organized. It’s also a lot of fun.

When I sit down to create, I start with a kit. I’m not talking about kits from kit clubs, although I do use them frequently. I’m talking about kits I’ve created myself from that pile of miscellaneous “stuff” which always seems to get overlooked. Today I am going to share with you the five-step process of how I create kits from my stash to help me gain control of my supplies and my time.


I always start with my photos. I will pull enough pictures to create 3-5 layouts. These photos should all be similar in one way or another. I scrap primarily by colour, so I would choose pictures containing similar hues. You may prefer to pull pictures with a certain theme or subject, depending on how you organize your supplies.


Using my pictures as a guide, I sift quickly through my paper and cardstock and pull out papers which will work with those photos. I will usually select about ten to fifteen sheets as well as a few background sheets which may seem a lot, but I find this prevents me from wasting time by heading back to my paper folders mid-project.


Next I do the same thing with my embellishments. I will select a few sticker sheets and loose embellishments that coordinate with the pictures and papers I’ve selected. If I’m feeling “artsy” I will also grab a couple of mists and paints that match my kit at this time.

A tip: choose one small and one large alphabet set, and stick with them. I find it helps if one is a dark colour and one is lighter, too.


Once I have gathered my supplies, it’s easy to create 3 or 4 pages from these supplies one after the other. I find that it takes me about the same amount of time to create 4 pages using this method as it would to create 1 page using a ‘rummage-as-you-go’ technique! I will often use some of the scraps to make a set of cards too, once my pages are done.

Here are a couple of the pages I created using the supplies I gathered in the photos above.


The crucial step: put it all away. This is where my organized space comes into its own. All of my supplies are grouped like with like and then sorted by colour. So when it’s time to clear up I just slip each item back into the relevant drawer, file or basket. No matter what your system, it’s important to put it all away to enable you to create a fresh kit next time and save you time when searching for those brads you know are there somewhere.

I hope you will be able to take some part of this process and apply it to your scrapbooking. I wrote this blog post during a very busy week, over the course of several days. I wanted to share this because my process worked right alongside me. Splitting up my creative time using these 5 steps meant that I could work on it in the small chunks of time I had available to me without losing my way, as I may have done in the past when stopping and starting a project.

I would love to hear how you think this process might help you. What obstacles do you frequently stumble over? Could you remove them by having a more organized process?

Amanda Jones lives in the UK with her partner and son and has been playing with paper and glue for as long as she can remember. She has a love for vintage items and enjoys trying new techniques and ideas. Her love of creating has blessed her with the opportunity to work for some of her favourite companies within the industry as a designer and teacher, and her work has been published around the globe. You can visit Amanda’s website or find her on Facebook here:

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  1. Tania

    I have struggled with creating my own kits, therefore I have missed out on a lot of away crops simply because I could not get myself prepared properly, your list and guidelines will be a big help for me. Thanks so much!

    • Amanda Jones

      Tania, I feel you! It was cropping that actually started me down this path, and then I realised I could adapt if for my everyday scrapping, too 🙂

      • Mena

        I read your post and wshied I’d written it

  2. Kim G

    I am just getting my scrapbook supplies organized for the LAST time! I have heard of this concept of creating your own kits, but I appreciate you sharing this process in the article. It is also a simple process….so it is doable! Thank you for sharing. Another great thing about this site. Thanks!

  3. Christine

    One of the things I love about digital scrapbooking is the ability to buy coordinated kits. All of the choices are made up from for me and I don’t waste a lot of time trying to match products. Just pick a kit you love and go from there!

  4. Terra

    Really like the idea of picking out enough photos for several layouts at once and using similar colors. Excellent article.

  5. Nathalie

    These are all great tips and I love the pages that Amanda created. I for one love to use kits from kit clubs as the matching process in step 2 is sometimes too hard!!!

  6. Michelle Huegel

    I love your process! I started as a paper scrapbooker and have become almost entirely digi since having children (for obvious reasons LOL), but this kind of process gives me hope that maybe I could still dig into my paper supplies and create a few pages during naptime, etc. instead of being so overwhelmed!
    I also think this process applies to digiscrapping (it reminds me a bit of Katie’s power scrapping method), to gather/copy a bunch of pics, alphas, kits/paper packs/element packs, etc into a single computer folder (the nice thing about digi though, no putting away when you’re done! Just delete the folder!). Sometimes you can spend as much time hunting through files on a computer as through paper supplies, looking for that perfect alpha, button, etc!

  7. Cindy

    Great suggestions. I used to keep all my supplies separated but found that mixing the paper and embellishments together into kits saved a lot of headache and made scrapping quicker. I had to overcome my own hurdle of not wanting to break paper packs apart – but it makes so much more sense to do it by ‘theme’ or ‘style’ to make pages than to keep it in the stack put together by the manufacturer. And you can grab your own ‘custom kit’ from your supplies to get scrapping!

  8. lisa

    I like to make kits too, and prefer them to the pre-made variety that i’ve purchased in the past. Those were missing some items I find essential. One thing I’ve not done is keep them together when my layouts are complete, thinking I didn’t want pages that look similar, but I could just mix it up enough that they don’t.

  9. LeAnn Scacco

    Wow! Great pages! I think a similar method could be applied when working with digital pieces, too. It sounds like what I do when I keep pulling different pieces into PSE until I’ve got everything open, and then I go for it!

  10. Bernice

    Fab article. I would love to hear more about how you organise your stash

  11. Tessa B

    What a fun peek into your process! I’m definitely going to try to adapt some of these ideas and streamline my own process :). Fabulous article, Amanda!

  12. Anna

    Great post Amanda! I’ve never really tried this so I might just have to give it a go! Love the layouts you made with the kit they are gorgeous!

  13. jules p

    Thanks for the neat suggestions. I am struggling with how I am going to organize all my scrap stuff

  14. Lisa

    Great article! I’ve always heard the advice to “make your own kits,” but it seemed like a daunting task. I never really thought about starting with the photos, and picking enough for 3-4 layouts. I think this could really speed things up for me!

  15. Neda

    Thank you so much for sharing your organizing tips! It’s so hard for me to organize my supplies because I have such a short-term memory lol I forget what I have and where I put it, and inevitably forget all about it. I think it’s a great idea to coordinate kits and keep them organized that way. It’s also a great way to see if I have too many of one color/pattern so I won’t overdo it. I hope once I get this going, I will be able to spend more time being creative and less time looking for my stuff. Looking forward to more tips 🙂

  16. Misty B.

    I think I tend to scrapbook like that too. Otherwise I would get overwhelmed with all that I have…the problem I have is then getting stuck in a rut of never thinking about the other fun things I have to use. I love your pages. Thanks for a chance.

  17. Lynea Ford

    Thank you for these ideas. They should help, and in today’s economy, any help is welcome!

  18. JulieBee in Iowa

    Thank you for your advice, Amanda. For some reason I’ve always limited myself to one page layouts or 2 at the most. It didn’t occur to me that I could have more layouts than that with similar papers, colors, etc. I want to stuff every picture on only one to two pages and that gets pretty crowded. Seeing your examples helps me to visualize spreading them out over several pages instead. I would love to see photos of your organized supplies and how the leftovers from your kits are stored. (I’m definitely a visual learner!) Thank you.

  19. Vickie

    I need every tip i can get i also have more scrapping supplys than i will ever need! I will try this tonight.

  20. Sandra

    This all made sense to me, thank you so much for sharing.

  21. Susan Moy

    These are such great ideas! I try and do something similar when I am travelling so I can take some projects along with me. It’s a good way to use the supplies that you have too.

    • Jennifer Wilson

      Thanks! So glad it was helpful.

  22. Melissa D.

    I absolutely love this idea but where to start is my big hang-up right now. There is just so much that I’ve collected over the years and sorting it is my big project right now. Thank you for all of the tips. It makes me feel that I can maybe get to this point with some good sweat equity!

  23. Cathie

    I recently discovered the joy of putting things away in my craft space. I used to think that leaving things out was inspiring but not anymore. When I put things away, I return to a space that is tidy and full of possibilities. I can do whatever I want – I don’t have to tidy up first. I love that.

    I also make kits from own supplies. Although I do it a little differently. I organize my papers based on color – aqua/mint, blue, pink, red & kraft, etc… but I don’t include embellishments. I put all my embellishments in a basket and pull it out whenever I want to scrap. It’s the best of both worlds because my papers are already picked out but I have the freedom to rummage through the basket of embellishments and pick out whatever I want.


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