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What Do I Need to Get Started With Lapbooking?

Updated on June 29, 2015

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?

Where do you store your craft and art supplies?

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.

File Folders

Smead File Folder, 1/3-Cut Tab, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 100 per Box, (11943)
Smead File Folder, 1/3-Cut Tab, Letter Size, Assorted Colors, 100 per Box, (11943)

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

Dahle 12e Vantage Paper Trimmer, 12" Cut Length, 15 Sheet, Automatic Clamp, Adjustable Guide, Metal Base with 1/2" Gridlines, Guillotine Paper Cutter
Dahle 12e Vantage Paper Trimmer, 12" Cut Length, 15 Sheet, Automatic Clamp, Adjustable Guide, Metal Base with 1/2" Gridlines, 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.


Fancy Stapler

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.

Sparco Long Reach Stapler, 20 Sheet Capacity, Standard Staples, Putty/Black (SPR01316)
Sparco Long Reach Stapler, 20 Sheet Capacity, Standard Staples, Putty/Black (SPR01316)

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?

See results


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.

3M Scotch Photo Corners Self Adhesive 250/Box, Clear
3M Scotch Photo Corners Self Adhesive 250/Box, Clear

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.

Fellowes Laminator Mars 95, 9.5-Inch  (5215401)
Fellowes Laminator Mars 95, 9.5-Inch (5215401)

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


Die Cuts

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.

Cuttlebug 2-Inch-by-2 Inch Dies, (Set of 4), Asterisks
Cuttlebug 2-Inch-by-2 Inch Dies, (Set of 4), Asterisks

These dies come in various sets: Winter, Flower, Asterisks, Birthday, Charms, Circle, Leaves, Garden, Creature, Scalloped Squares, Sliders, Stars, and Vintage.



General Tools 1260-4 1/2-Inch Solid Brass Grommet Kit
General Tools 1260-4 1/2-Inch Solid Brass Grommet Kit

For an even more polished looking lapbook closure, try grommets. No more ripping through cardstock to tie a book shut.


Paper Fasteners

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.

Lapbook Storage

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!

Lapbooking Supplies Guestbook

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    • profile image


      7 years ago

      This looks like so much fun! I can't wait to implement some of these ideas in my classroom:)

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Very nicely done! Can't wait to get started!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Oooooooh can't wait!!!! My Husband is buying me a laminator and a paper trimmer for Christmas (my Birthday is Dec 23rd, so it is joint!) Thanks for the lense! Will be emailing a link to the husband!

    • JeffMcRitchie1 profile image


      9 years ago

      @marsha32: They aren't very expensive to order online. Here's a decent one:

    • JeffMcRitchie1 profile image


      9 years ago

      Wow, you are really organized! Great lens, what a fun use for a laminator. Do you use a hot or cold laminator? Cold ones are safer to use around kids since the outside doesn't get hot.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Ah, my dear ... you do such a fabulous presentation on all the lapbooking. I'll bet you dream about it too? Hugs.

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      I love the way you have your supplies organized... your projects are always superb, so it's nice to see the thought processes behind your creativity. Yet another great lens!

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      Well throughout lens. Thank you for posting the handy dandy links!

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      I looked for a laminator at Walmart today, they used to sell small ones. Apparently they no longer carry them. I wonder how much of an expense this would be. I also make bookmarks so it would be put to good use.

    • profile image


      11 years ago

      This has been tremdously helpful!

    • LilliputStation profile image


      11 years ago

      This is a great lens, Jimmie. Very good info, especially for beginners.


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