However, sometimes designers will offer freebies, in order to increase traffic to thier site or blog, or to get their work better known. They also will do sales from time to time--I am always on the lookout for those! When you start, you may want to just get a few freebies until you feel good about your skills. But eventually, you will want to put up the money to buy kits. It's worth it. You were oh so willing to buy all kinds of crap for paper-scrapping, remember? Well, this is no different--except that the kit will never be used up and you can use it over and over again.
Now, there are a MILLION kits out there. And everyone has their own criteria, but this is what I look for in a kit:
- Price. Kits can range from $2.00 to $15.00. I can't believe anyone would pay $15.00 for a kit, no matter how good it is. MAYBE if it were a really, really large kit, but even then--I've gotten mega kits for half that price. So, for me, I won't buy a kit unless it's under $5.00, unless it happens to be exactly what I'm looking for, or it's a really large mega-kit (which is usually a kit where several designers contributed.)
- Content. When you read the description of a kit, it will tell you how many different papers and elements and so forth there is. Pay attention to that--if the price is higher, chances are the kit is larger. Still, I've bought smaller kits for $2.00, and they were perfect for just one layout--which might be all you need.
- Quality. Not all kits are created equal. A lot of the freebies out there really aren't that great. When I first started, I downloaded anything that was free, whether I liked it or not. I ended up with a lot of large files that took up a lot of space, and that I never used. Pay attention to the quality of work--as you do more scrapbooking, you'll be able to tell the difference.
- Can I Make That? As you get better at digital scrapbooking, you'll learn to make your own elements. Now, I'm not in the business of creating kits--and some of the stuff these designers do it beyond me--truly amazing. But, sometimes I see something in a kit and think, "Yeah, I could make that myself" and then I might think twice about purchasing it.
And here are some of my favorite websites:
Gotta Pixel - This has become my go-to site, the first place I look when I need a new kit. Their prices are reasonable, and they are always having sales. I usually wait until a kit is on sale to buy it, so even though most kits on this site are priced at about $4.00 - $8.00, I usually get them for less than that if I time it right. My favorite designers on the site are Linday Jane, Connie Prince, Trixie Scraps, and Jen C Designs. But there are many others I have bought from.
Lindsay Jane Designs - I discovered Lindsay Jane in the very beginning--she's been with me from the start! I own probably 60% of all the kits she's done. I love her work. And it's also very fair priced. Her kits are about $4-5.50, and she or the site she is featured on often has sales. She also has a blog where she gives away freebies. Lindsay Jane sells her stuff on Pickleberry Pop and Gotta Pixel
Atomic Cupcake - This has been one of my absolute FAVORITE sites for a long time--but it closed down last year. She had some great kits, but the Actions were the best. However, I have recently discovered that you can download her actions off of 4Shared for free! You can find the download here. I don't know how long this link will last, but it DOES work! Yay!
- This is a "tried and true" site where I'm sure many scrappers would point you to. They have a new freebie every month or so--and these are really high quality. Then, in the "coordinated kits" section, you can buy previous freebies for only $3.00. These are really excellent kits. I have all of them from the last few years--I check this site religiously!
Shabby Princess - This site also has some great freebies, though I haven't checked it in awhile. What's great about them is that they have several old freebies on there that you can still get. But they don't update new freebies very often. Still, the ones they have are definately worth your while, and can be a great starting point as you begin didgital scrapbooking.
Scrapping Simply - I'm also new to this site. It's a site I will definately bring up again when we are talking about printing, since that's their main focus. But they also have some great freebies. Just go to the site and click on freebies, and there you are!
Digifree/Craftcrave- When I first started, I went to places like digifree to get free kits. This site, and many others like it, will search other sites for freebies and put them all in one place. On the upside, it's a great way to find freebies! But it's also a great place to find, well, junk. Be careful what you download--look it over and make sure it's high quality. Most of my stuff in my "miscellaneous" file that I really need to clean out and never use, came from this site. Still, it's a great place to start as a beginner. This site has recently been changed to Craftcrave, and I admit I haven't really checked it out in a long time, so it may have improved.
Summertime Designs -I just discovered this site today and thought I'd add it to this post. The author, Summer Driggs, creates some great FREEBIES and put them on her blog. She has a whole list of them on the right that makes it easy to sort to the one you'd like to download. They are all free! The only problem is that they take FOREVER to download from 4Shared. But--it's free so it's worth it, right?
Twopeasinabucket - This site recently closed its digital store, but I never bought kits from there anyway because, although they were beautiful, they were WAY pricey. However, I still want to mention it becuase they have a great digital scrapbooking forum with a HUGE amount of traffic-- digital scrapbooking forum--if you have a question, you can create a thread and I guarantee you there will be SOMEBODY who knows the answer! I actually had a really great experience on this website--I needed a kit that matched my nursery for my twins, and on the forum I found a designer willing to help me! Read all about it here.
Not Using Kits
Now--after all that about kits, I want to remind you that you do not HAVE to use kits to make a great page. My first two books that I digitally scrapbooked I did not use kits. I simply created a a background and used it for each page. I wish I still had the .jpg files for those two books, but as I don't, here's some rather bad pictures of a page spread from each.
My first book, which was my love story, was incredibly simple. I drew shapes (we'll do that in the next lesson) to make a red background, and then a cream colored page on top. Then I saved it. Whenever I started a new page, I pulled up the same background and saved it as a new file when finished. That way, every page looked the same. I'd just add text in the same fonts, and then a few pictures with a stroke and shadow. That's pretty much it. And I still love that book--I'm actually really glad it's simple like that.
My next book was my first year of marriage, including my wedding. I knew a bit more about scrapbooking at this point, but still didn't use a kit. The background was the same on every page, as you see in the example. Then I did all my writing on a vellum I created (again, we'll cover that in the next lesson) and I also created my own eyelets. That's it. Each page was different, but used the same velum and the same eyelets. And it's beautiful. I'm glad I kept my pictures whole, with only a small stroke and shadow.
So there you go! I hope this was helpful!