By Christina VanGinkel
If you love to scrapbook, but have a difficult time picking papers and embellishments to coordinate with your photographs to make fabulous layouts, individual kits, or clubs that put together everything you could want in convenient kits that are delivered at specified intervals, might be just what you need.
Sometimes they are themed to a particular holiday or event, such as Christmas or bringing home baby. Other times, the pieces of the kit are assembled from a single company's line, or just assembled much the same way any average person assembling the contents of a layout might go about the task, picking and choosing assorted papers and embellishments that together, blend well into a layout in the style befitting the type of page it is. Some kits may also be themed on a 'designer's' favorites, and cover several different possibilities for layouts.
Finding a kit will depend first on whether you plan to make this a one-time purchase, or if you intend to purchase a subscription from a club or service. Also, note that when purchasing through a club or subscription service, you can sometimes purchase just a single shipment, but by agreeing to a lengthier service will often mean, you get a bigger discount on each kit.
Kits are marketed through both large and small companies, for a dollar amount often dependent on the contents and the seller, but your likes and dislikes should be what ultimately have an effect on your end buying decision. (And of course, the reliability of the seller and their reputation). Many smaller scrapbook companies and those that sell third party for larger companies often have good deals on kits with current stock and kits that include what is considered old, outdated supplies. They might have limited storage space for their inventory, often selling out of their homes through shows, and parties, so when they receive a new line, they must discount the old. To keep their product turnover high, they package an assortment of the line going out the door, so to speak, into kits for those of us who would just rather have someone else choose for us. The only problem with kits such as these is they often include a lot of papers and embellishments that did not sell to the average customer for some reason. The good part of this might just be that the seller orders more than he or she really needs, knowing that each time a new line is introduced, that they can always market the remainders together in just such a fashion.
Some kits will contain just enough paper and embellishments to make a single page or layout, but my favorites include enough supplies to make at least a couple of layouts. Kits like those that I just described above, often will provide enough papers and embellishments to fill a complete book!
To know what you are getting in a kit is really of the value being advertised; any kit you are considering should come complete with a contents list. This list should explain in detail what is included. How many sheets of paper, what line they are from, and if they are specific papers, their names should be listed, plus a detailed list of embellishments. If there are stickers, rub-ons, frames, eyelets, ribbons, pockets, tags, die cuts, etc., their amount should be listed, and their names if so available. If they are acid free, or lignin free, this should also be detailed. These types of kits do not commonly include albums or tools, so do not compare the two types unless you are in need of one of these alternative accessories.
Shop for kits online at outlets such as Joann's, Ebay, and through clubs and individual sellers, and ask other scrap bookers where they purchased their kits, and if they were satisfied with the contents. Before signing up for a membership that requires a long-term commitment, see if they have any sampler kits available to test the waters with. Word of mouth and recommendations from other crafters is often the best way to assure yourself that you will be satisfied with what you pay for. The availability to see several kits in their complete assemblage will also help you make any comparisons as to getting a fair value for your dollar.