Gearing Up! Part 1 of 5 in Homeschool Share’s Lapbooking Series

We at Homeschool Share are frequently asked about lapbooks.

How do you make them?

Where do you find them?

How do you design them?

How do you use them once they are made?

In order to answer these questions without getting overwhelmed by a LOT of information, we will have a Five Part Series dedicated to lapbooks. So here is . . .

The first step in lapbooking is gathering all your supplies. It is helpful to have all your supplies in one place, so lapbooking doesn’t become a chore, having to search everything out each and every time you lapbook. The ladies at the Homeschool Share Forum have offered up these suggestions of what they would include in a perfect lapbooking kit:

Storage
Some gals like to use a tote bag with lots of pockets, like those designed for scrapbooking, and others will just use a bin or drawer.

Paper
You’ll want to have a good assortment of paper to print your components on.
Astrobrights are preferred for their thickness and colors, and are available at Staples and Costco. You can also get 800 sheets of 24lb white paper for around $6.50 at Costco.

File Folders
Most lapbookers glue their components into file folders. Depending on the lapbook you are completing, sometimes two or three file folders are attached together to form one lapbook. The gals at HSS agree that Staples has the best prices and the best assortment of colors. Although they cost a bit more than your standard manila folders, children love having colorful folders to choose from. Buy what you can afford, stock up when there are sales, and eventually you’ll have a good selection.

Card Stock
A selection of cardstock is good to have on hand. My oldest daughter likes to glue her components to cardstock and store her lap-in-notes in a binder, so we actually go through more card stock than file folders. Card stock also works better than standard weight paper for some components. You can get 150 sheets of white cardstock at Wal-mart for around $5-$6. Again, colors are nice to have too.

Notebooks
Some moms don’t glue their components into file folders or onto cardstock. They prefer pre-made notebooks, especially those at Bare Books. They are spiral bound, hold up well, and are perfect for those larger lapbooking projects.

Adhesives
Adhesives will be needed to glue some components together, and to attach components into lapbooks. Some of our favorite adhesives are:
Double-sided tape – can be found for $1 (450 inches) at Family Dollar Stores
Rubber Cement – save money by buying by the quart at office supply stores.
Glue Sticks – stock up during back to school sales; we use a couple dozen a year!
Elmers Glue Pen – SUPER sticky and great for attaching small adornments to lapbooks.

Brads
Brads come in handy for wheels and fan books. Scrapbooking brads are smaller and MUCH easier to use. You can cut the ends off of the big fat brads from Staples if you need to. You can get the itty bitty brads at Hobby Lobby for 40-50% off when they have their Spare Parts on sale. Be on the look out for theme- related brads on sale. We’ve purchased fish and flower shaped brads at Big Lots for $1.

Velcro
Sometimes you may want components that can be removed from your lapbook, and Velcro works great for this. While you can purchase Velcro dots, it is much cheaper to buy a roll and just cut it as needed.

Drawing/Coloring
Prisma Color Colored Pencils are the first choice for coloring in components. You’ll also want on hand some fine tip markers, and pencils. Things like glitter pens and puffy paint pens are also enjoyable to use to decorate lapbooks.

Embelishments
Embelishments are fun to decorate with. You can use up some scrapbooking supplies – buttons, ribbons, stamps, Sizzix, punches, brads, eyelets, stickers, etc. I buy up any cool stickers I find on sale and throw them in my kit – flags, flowers, animals, presidents, etc.

Tools
Other assorted items high on the list of should-haves include:
Scissors (straight edge is a must, but fancy cut are fun too!)
Stapler (a swivel one is nice, but you’ll definitely want one at least 4” deep)
Single Hole Punch (some prefer a 1/8″ hole punch.)
Three Hole Punch (if you think you’ll be making lap-n-notes)
Paper Cutter (makes life so much easier!)
Laminator (one HSS mom says, “I LOVE IT….. Couldn’t go without!”)

Lapbook Supply Kits are fun to assemble and don’t need to be expensive. As it is said, “Necessity is the Mother of Invention” and some of the most creative ideas need little or no money. Look around your house and in your craft stash. What can be recycled, reused, or repurposed? I’ve heard of people using brown paper bags (great for an old timey feel), pizza boxes (for lapbooks about Italy or pizza!), flattened cereal boxes (for lapbooks about grains or nutrition!) and old album sleeves (perfect for a 50’s or 60’s theme lapbook!) Keep your eyes open at thrifts and yard sales, you just never know what you’ll find!

If you subscribe to the blog at the link on the right, you’ll be sure not to miss Part 2, when we will discuss where to get all those wonderful lapbooks to use your fun new supplies on!