When I saw that Tina was going to be teaching a mini book class at Studio Calico this month, I knew I was in. $10 was a more than reasonable cost, I love making minis and I adore everything Tina does. No brainer. The sneaks of the class kit looked awesome, but I knew I needed to pick through every little piece before deciding if it was a worthwhile purchase. This is usually hard for me, because while I may not love every single item, I know when I see how the teacher (in this case, Tina) uses it, I will wish I had it too. Or sometimes the kit may not be within my budget. In the end, I decided for this class that I would build my own kit from supplies that I owned.
Whenever I am putting together a mini book, I always work from a kit - whether it is pre-bought or assembled from my stash. Not only does it help maintain a consistent color scheme, but it keeps me from digging into my supplies every time I need something like alpha stickers or wood veneer. And it makes it amazingly easy to pack up and move to another room in the house (to be near my family) or for a crop. Depending on the size and theme of the mini, the contents always vary a bit. But since this particular kit is for a class I'm taking, my first step this time around was to write down the list of contents in the pre-assembled kit.
Then, just starting at the top of the list, I began combing through my scrap room for similar items. There are many items in the kit that are quite basic and were easy to duplicate from my stash - like the chipboard covers, tags and binder rings. Others were more difficult (or impossible) because they are exclusive to Tina's kit - like the veneer postcard and graph notepad. The rest I was able to find suitable substitutes for - like stamps with similar words and phrases, and stickers.
After I had the guts of the kit laid out, I began adding in a few things that I thought would be fun to add, like a couple rolls of washi, and some envelopes and glassine baggies. I also added several pieces from past paper packs and prints that Tina has sold in her shop over the years. I pulled out my jar of Neocolors, a water brush and this blender marker (which Tina recommended for her photo transfer tutorial) and I feel good to go with assembling my own mini book. Here is a complete list of final contents of my kit. Please note : most of this stuff is "old" and may not be available anymore. I've provided links below to the items that you could still purchase.
- Chipboard covers cut down to 4.25" x 6.25" (I used this)
- 1" binder rings (I also have 2" rings on standby if it's getting chunky)
- Assorted pieces from past LifeLovePaper paper packs
- 6" x 6" paper pad from the Studio Calico Park Ave card kit
- Assorted tags in gray and manila
- An old Studio Calico grid notebook from the Fabrips days
- Small alpha stickers
- Assorted printed transparencies and vellum
- A glassine baggie and kraft envelope
- Flat stickers - kraft hearts (which I could stamp on) and lots of word and phrase stickers
- Assorted roller stamps, Studio Calico clear stamp sets and a few wooden stamps (dotted line from Hero Arts, currents from LifeLovePaper and handled stamps from Kelly Purkey). I have more than enough here.
- More larger flat alphas
- Assorted badges
- Two rolls of washi
- Assorted silver and shaped clips
- Plastic stars
- Copper foil labels and a mix of other paper tags and diecuts
By using a self-made kit, I know I'll need to modify my supplies to work with the class instructions to get the same look and feel, but to me that's the fun part of using up your stash. For example, the chipboard cover in the pre-assembled kit says 'details' in embossed gold foil. It's so pretty, right? I can't duplicate that, but I might use my letterpress bundle, along with this alphabet and gold ink to create my own cover.
I am going to a one-day crop next weekend and plan on taking this kit with me. In the coming week, I'm going to devour Tina's class PDF and videos, prepare my covers and print my photos so I'm ready to work on Saturday. As usual, I'll be sharing my progress on Instagram and hopefully here later this month.
If you have ever thought about building your own kit, I hope you found this post helpful. I've learned that if I can get over the fact that my mini isn't going to look like the teacher's (or everyone else's), then oftentimes, building my own kit is the way to go. It's definitely budget-friendly and if you have a decent size stash, it's a great way to use up what you already have. Want to see some of my favorite mini books from the past? Check out my gallery here.