What Do I Need to Get Started With Lapbooking?
Stocking the Lapbook Cabinet
If you're ready to take the plunge to use lapbooks in your curriculum, you should evaluate your resources:
Do you have what you need to do it well?
Do you have the essentials for lapbooking?
Do you know about some extras that can make your lapbooking easier or can make you lapbooks POP?
Simple or Elaborate? It's Your Choice
Lapbooking can be what you want it to be -- fancy or simple, time consuming or quick. If you're just starting out, make a few lapbooks with what you have on hand before investing in special supplies.
Later if you decide that lapbooking is a perfect fit for your children, you buy more tools, papers, and extras.
No homeschool family could possibly be without markers and scissors, right? You'll need a good assortment of basic drawing supplies -- pencils, erasers, a ruler, markers, and a hole punch-- the things you already have. Assemble them together in some sort of caddy or basket that's ready at a moment's notice.
To make your minibooks , you have a choice -- use regular copy paper or use a thicker cardstock. Personally, I prefer the look and feel of cardstock. Almost all our minibooks are made with it. Books made with cardstock last longer as they are opened and reread over and over.
Most printers can print on cardstock without any problem.
Most people use file folders as the foundation of their lapbooks. Consider using legal sizes, colored file folders, or even patterned ones for even more variety!
After You've Made a Few Lapbooks
and you decide that lapbooking is the way to go, slowly build up your supply cabinet each week or month (depending on how payday comes!) with some extra tools.
You'll find that resources are great for many learning projects, not just for making lapbooks.
Guillotine Paper Cutter
Yes, the name is gruesome, but using a paper cutter offers fabulous results --super straight edges and accurate measuring.
A guillotine paper cutter is one of my most invaluable lapbooking tools. I just can't cut a straight line without it! If you're worried about the safety issues, you can look for a rotary cutter. But because we use a lot of cardstock, I still prefer the toughness of a good old fashioned paper cutter.
I highly recommend you buy either a long arm stapler or a swiveling stapler like the blue one pictured. If you are going to make a lot of minibooks, it will be an often used tool.
A long arm stapler is a great tool for stapling books on the center of the spine rather than on the edge. The minibooks will open better and look more polished.
Your Favorite Lapbooking Supply
Which of these is your "can't lapbook without" resource?
Tape or glue? This question comes up often among lapbookers. The faithful Elmers white glue often leaves projects lumpy, and so is not a great option. Rubber cement is a better alternative.
Many people, myself included, like to use double sided tape to affix the minibooks to the lapbook base. Others claim that glue dots are the only way to go!
To be honest, the only way to know what works is to try them out and see.
Photo corners are great for affixing more than just photographs into your lapbooks. Postcards can be attached to the lapbook without damaging them. They also work well in notebooking.
We have a laminator that we use for lapbooking. Although by no means an essential tool, a laminator can add a bit of durability to your lapbooks.
Ideas for using a laminator in lapbooking:
laminate wordsearch or other puzzles and attach a vis-a-vis pen for write on/clean off fun
laminate game boards and game pieces
laminate puppets, postcards, matching cards, vocabulary cards
This Cuttlekids Die Cut is a handy personal sized machine for cutting uniform shapes from paper. You can use the shapes for decorating minibooks and lapbook covers as well as for scrapbooking or general crafting.
The machine is used with sets of dies that you buy separately. For a slideshow of pics of this product from another homeschooling mom, visit this link.
These dies come in various sets: Winter, Flower, Asterisks, Birthday, Charms, Circle, Leaves, Garden, Creature, Scalloped Squares, Sliders, Stars, and Vintage.
For an even more polished looking lapbook closure, try grommets. No more ripping through cardstock to tie a book shut.
When a lapbook gets really indepth, it gets FAT. And it's sometimes hard to close. No worries. There are many methods you can use to keep the lapbook together.
Paper fasteners are a great resource. Put one on each side of the opening. Tie a string to one of them. Wrap the remaining string around the other brad.
Or simply punch holes in both sides and use ribbon to tie the lapbook shut.
Paper fasteners or brads are essential for making fan books and wheel books. And you may want to use them for keeping hefty lapbooks shut. Now paper fasteners are available in various colors and shapes. Choose stars for an American history related project, fish for an ocean theme, and multicolor packs to match any color scheme you've chosen.
Find a way to store your lapbooks that will keep them tidy but will also keep them at arm's reach for frequent re-reading. We've found that not only are lapbooks fun for reminiscing previous years of schooling, they are also great reference sources. We often refer to them for answers to things we've studied but can't quite remember.
The Wayzley Academy has a clever idea for storing lapbooks using recycled cereal boxes. Cheap and creative!
We use something like this to store our lapbooks. They peek out of the top, just asking to be reread.