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:

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.

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.

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 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 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.

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.

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 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.

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!

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10 thoughts on “Gearing Up! Part 1 of 5 in Homeschool Share’s Lapbooking Series”

  1. What a great idea to do this series. Lapbooking and notebooking are methods that we use in every area of our homeschooling. By using these methods it allows my dd who is a rising 7th grader to feel like she has more freedom to be independent in her own educadtion. Too, by using these methods she retains more of what she learns. I also put lapbooks together for her as study guides for the more difficult material she is learning and may be struggling with. Not only do I use these for my dd in her schooling, whenever I watch my granddaughter who is 2, I find pre-k material, I have her put her touch on it with crayons, markers, or paint, I assemble the lapbooks and give them to her mom, my daughter, and she uses them to help teach her her ABC’s, colors, shapes, or animals. I think that these methods should be used by all. Besides being educational, they are fun to do, and they are great keepsakes. I’m really looking forward to this series. Even though I already use lapbooking there is always something new to learn. I’m so excited!!! Thanks again for doing this. 🙂

    1. Kimmie,
      You are very welcome! I love the way you utilize the lapbooks from the youngest pre-schooler to the older middle schooler. Lapbooks are just so versatile, aren’t they?!

  2. Hello fellow homeschooler! I just wanted to share what we have started doing. My kids and I LOVE doing lap books. What I love so much about them is that my kids retain the information more than if we were to just read or do a worksheet about a subject. So what we have started doing is making a lap book for English wich includes nouns, verbs, types of sentences ect. It has been working great and I wish I would have started right away. Happy Lapbooking!!

  3. Hi. I’m starting the lapbooks with my 6th graders but we’re on a tight budget. What can I use instead of the cardstock with 130 students? I don’t think I can rely on them to bring pizza boxes, cereal boxes, etc. I look forward to your suggestions.


    1. You can purchase a box of 100 manila file folders for under $9.00. Each student will need one per lapbook. The components can be printed on regular printer paper, unless cardstock is specified. If extra flaps are needed on file folders, they can be made with any scraps, paper, or cut up file folders.

      For that many students, I think I’d put up an ad on craigslist or free cycle looking for any offices that are are doing cleanouts. Used file folders work fine (just cut off the tabs), and they’d probably just be thrown in the recycle bin anyway.

  4. I LOVE your site! I just discovered lapbooking and can’t get enough of it! My kids love it and we’ve been having so much fun over the last week with it. Thanks so much for all the free templates and informative blog posts!

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