Kit Creation - Can we make a recipe? PLEASE???

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Kit Creation - Can we make a recipe? PLEASE???

I really think that we should make a stick post [somewhere] that is a bit of a basic recipe for creating a whole kit.

The reason why I say this is because I am being selfish, seriously. I am a by-the-numbers person when I start something out. Like, lets use cooking as an example ('cause I also love to cook). I am confident in my ability to experiment in the kitchen, but when I try a new dish, I like to go strictly by the recipe first so I can see what the dish is "supposed" to turn out like, and I tweak it from there ('cause I don't contain quite enough hubris to assume I know all, lol).

So, when it comes to making a scrapbooking kit, I wanna know the numbers, too - even if it's just a rough estimate or general idea. Silly, maybe, but it's the way my mind works.

I went looking for old threads where we have talked about what items should be included (and how many of each, and at what scale the items should be in comparison, etc), but the ones I found just link to other sites' resources - which no longer exist!

Can we put this together?
And maybe also talk about QC - like what exactly needs to be done and how to do it?

I think this would be a GREAT thing to have in a sticky post, and I would be more than happy to write it up. (mainly, like I said, 'cause I want it for reference/direction - but I figure that if I want it, then maybe someone else does too?)

Anyway, thanks in advance for any and all help!! smiley

I have this for a general idea of what to include in a mini-kit:


7 papers
2 buttons
3 flowers
2 tags
1 frame
2 clips
5 other elements

And this for a general idea on what to include in a full-sized kit:

(from the March designer challenge:)

Papers: Polka Dots, Stripes, Plaid, Ornamental/Floral, Geometric, Checked/Argyle, Arrows, Hearts, Words, Ornamental/Floral, Geometric, + 3 personal choice/wild card, and solids.
Elements: arrows, frames, words, brackets, ribbons, tags, scatters, brads/buttons, something glittery, something painted, journal cards, hearts, flowers, something metal.
An alpha set. Previews and TOUs.

(from the Sweet Things collab, July 2013 [the parenthesis + "x" and number is how many people signed up to produce that particular requirement]:)

-One solid paper for each color, using the same texture(s) on all of them
-One solid paper for each color, using the same texture(s) on all of them
-One tone-over-tone paper for each color (x3)
-5 patterned papers (x8)
- 3 patterned papers, and 3 elements (x3)
-A mix of papers and flowers (x2)
-A flower Pack with 7 different flowers (x2)
-A Button Pack with a Button for each color (at least 4 diferent Button templates)
-Two unique ribbons and three unique tags
-4 thematic elements (candies, cupcakes, lollipops, ice-creams, deserts, etc) (x4)
-A Pack containing 10 elements assorted between brads, staples and eyelets (staples and eyelets can be the same with different colors)
-8 Journal Cards
-8 WordArts (x2)
-1 Alpha (x4)

Does anyone have anything to add to this or discuss about this? I would LOVE some feedback! smiley

As far as I was introduced to, there isn´t any rule on what should be on a kit. What I´ve heard more than once, however, is that you need to have at least twice the number of elements in relation to the number of papers you have. For example, if you have 12 papers, your minimum amount of elements is 24 - but some people say that the number of elements need to be at least three times the number of papers.

Also, you need to find your own balance, inside "papers" or "elements" of things you want your kit to have. It´s, however, a personal choice. For example, two of the ladies I CT for include few solids and (in my opinion) way too many thematic papers for my taste. Since I scrap my life (an adult geek life with no kids) and my cat´s, I don´t have use for the thematic stuff, specially if this is childish, so sometimes I have issues with using their kits. Observing this I deceided that, in a full kit, I´d put lots of solid papers - if not one in each palette´s color, at least in almost of them. I don´t put the solids with the same texture (unless it´s an add-on cardstock pack) because in my opinion the LO can get weird if you layer two solids with the same texture on the top of another. I was also told more than once that people prefer, for example, three different buttons in different colors than the same button in all the colors of the palette.

But most of what I do on my kits I realised after scrapping with paid kits from others. I said it to somewhere else in other topic and will say to you too: The BEST way to figure out this kind of thing is to join a couple of CTs - or at least some guest calls, and, while/after scrapping with the kits you get think on what you´re like and what you don´t like in that kit - Are there enough elements to make both thematic and no-thematic layouts? how you classify the papers of this kit (solid, light patterned, heavy patterned, thematic patterned) and how many of any kind does it have? Does it have enough fasteners? Are the journaling tags included really good for journaling? If you want, you can write your conclusions for yourself and be based on then when making your own kits. I never wrote this kind of thing, but I have a good memory for this kind of things smiley

There isn't a rule for what HAS to be in a kit & what is included really depends on the designer. One designer may make sure every kit they make has 2 banners, 3 frames, 4 ribbons, 4 theme items etc.. and the next may want theirs to have scatters, splatters, flowers and tons of journaling stuff.
The best thing to do would be to make your own list. Look through layouts in digi land to see what people use, look through kits you have from designers you like and see what they include.
As far as qc..
Gamut check
Size- size compared to other elements/page
Blurriness (zoom in to 100%)
Missing/stray pixels (check with stroke)
Hanging drop shadows (solid color under element/ stroke)
How to check depends on what program you use.

Oh, how I "heart" this topic!! As a newbie to all things scrapbooking, I am so confused by all the kits I see and what should go in them. I have seen where it's individual to the designer, but a basic recipe would be awesome for us newbies to get started on.

Maybe something akin to a "Kit Challenge" could be implemented where different "recipes" are the requirements could be done? ::face palm::, I see where they have these in the Designer Challenges lol.

Mollie, thanks for asking this question!

Thank you for the feedback, Ladies!

I know that there isn't a rule on what has to be in a kit; I get that. But (again, using cooking as a metaphor) someone who has never cooked mac & cheese from scratch could probably poke around and get the general idea of what the ingredients are, but if they're not used to cooking then they might not know how to make the roux and get the sauce to thicken. That's where a recipe works great as a place to start from. Later, they can tweak it and make it their own - they can add Parmesan instead of Cheddar or a dash of paprika or tuna or chicken - but first, they need something to practice on, something tried and true and solid. Otherwise, they feel overwhelmed, lost, and maybe even a bit of a failure (or they never start for fear of failure). I'm not wanting to make this a "you must do this this way" wort of thing - just a jumping off point. That's all I am looking to put together. (and I am sorry if I was unclear) smiley

Lorien, I especially appreciate you sharing your preferences - I never would have thought about the texture on the solids 'cause I'm fine with them; it's nice to get the input!

Bre (or anyone else)- do you know of any tutorials or explanations on how to do the QC stuff?

I feel like these questions get asked enough that we need to address them in a stationary place (not a thread that's gonna get buried), and I don't mind doing it. ('cause I ask it a lot, too) lol. smiley

@Mollie - I totally get what you're saying about your process, I'm very similar. I like to have a recipe first and then improvise from there, rather than starting from scratch.

I have two things to offer you. First, a thread similar to the one you're requesting - although it does not contain a "recipe" for making kits, it does address QC and other essentials for new designers: I created the original post because I, like you, wanted all that good stuff in one place.

The other is just to share a bit about my "recipe" process for kit designing. I think, as some others have mentioned, that what is goes into a kit can vary wildly and really depends on preference. What I did was to go through kits I thought were "right" (they looked good to me, felt balanced, had mostly things I wanted to use and not many I didn't) and actually count things up.

For example, when I set out to make my own digital Project Life-style kits, I looked at Project Life brand digital kits online and counted the pieces - this is what I ended up with in my notes: "If I were to make my own digital PL kit it would have: 12 patterned papers; 18 4x6 title cards (horizontal & vertical versions); 18 3x4 journal cards; 8 4x6 journal cards; 30 3x4 filler cards. Could also have "extra elements" (stickers that match patterns) & day stickers, number stickers, arrow stickers, all in multiple sets of coordinating colors."

So that's one recipe, but it's going to look very different from many other kits out there. I don't like flowers, lots of people think they're essential; I like journal cards but not journal tags; I don't like word art, other people seem to love it, etc. So my advice is to find some kits you like (even if you're just looking at previews online) and start counting. smiley In a broader sense, I highly recommend scraplifting as a good jumping off point if you're feeling overwhelmed. As long as they're your actual designs it's not a violation of anything if you make the exact same number and type of things as some particular kit you think is great.

I'll be interested to hear any recipes that you come up with! smiley

I think this is a great topic. I am trying to figure this out too. I am as newbie as it gets right now smiley

I would love to see a section on this forum with maybe some step by step for newbies. I know there are gems in the forum here and there, just hard for a new person to really find. The recipe is a great beginner idea where to start and grow from. I am still trying to understand the difference between a full kit and a mini kit, I'm sure for you experienced people this is a no brainer. I'm not even ready to try one of the challenges or blog trains, still really learning this skill.

So the recipe would be a recommendation that I would welcome.

I would love to see a section on this forum with maybe some step by step for newbies. I know there are gems in the forum here and there, just hard for a new person to really find. The recipe is a great beginner idea where to start and grow from. I am still trying to understand the difference between a full kit and a mini kit, I'm sure for you experienced people this is a no brainer. I'm not even ready to try one of the challenges or blog trains, still really learning this skill.

Why don´t you all, that want this kind of thing, vote for it at the feature request system? You can either post your ideas on this feature idea or propose your own. I sincerely would love to help you all more, but first I don´t have thaaaaat much time, second, I´m also a newbie and third one of the resources I used to refer people to was deleted by the owner - maybe she will offer a paid thing anytime soon?

Hi. Well this is one of those topics that is always circling around for us designers. I actually created a huge spreadsheet for things to go into a kit based on all my notes that I collected from various sites.

From what I learned in classes - Elements should equal 2 to 3 times the amount of papers you offer. I large kit is over 20 papers and 40 elements, a mini kit is typical 3 to 5 papers and 10 to 15 elements.

You want to have a 1:3 ratio of theme elements to normal elements - meaning if you have a bird kit - you want 1 bird element to 2 ribbons or a ribbon and a frame.

Here is a link to one of the spreadsheets I created and I will be posting others as well that can help. If you would like the complete excel spreadsheet let me know. I also have a CT spreadsheet that I will be posting.

For QC - great list, the only other thing I would add is also to check the edges for smoothness
Trim any excess background around your elements

Other notes:
Paper should be 12x12 - 300dpi - try not to go over 6mgs... so when saving them down as a jpeg they should be optimized and between 8 and 10 - which is usually around 4.2mgs

All elements should be 300 dpi

Depending on the element here are a couple other things to consider when it comes to size:
buttons are typical 300x300
Flowers (I like them to be) at least 1200 - so that I can resize myself based on what I want to do with it.
Frames - I see alot of them at 2400 - again so each person can resize
Scatters/Masks/Splots/etc - should be around 2800
Other elements tend to be around 800 to 1200 in size

Alphas should be no less than size 200 for good size title - I have seen them as large as 400

If you are going to make a QP make sure that you save it as a PNG and make sure there is no drop shadow in the area where there will be a photo.

Stacked papers are typically an add-on
Clusters should have no drop shadows once the layers have been merged
If you do remove a drop shadow on an element, check for smooth lines afterwards.

A lot of designers like to do re-coloring of an element, a lot of places do not consider a re-color as part of the ratio count 1 paper = 2 or 3 elements. A lot of designers re-color each element based on each color in the palette, you do not have to do that.

I know there is more but I can't think of it right now. I have a gamut check and trim action but I am not sure how to share it. I also have a gamut check action for papers.

@Meg: Thank you SO MUCH for jumping in. These are valuable information! I will follow some of your advice, never heard this about themed elements before smiley

Also, ladies, Meg´s spreadsheet is super useful! I´ve been using it from some months by now and it helps me keep organised. Meg, when you post your CT spreadsheet on your store can you please alert me somehow? Then I´ll buy this and the release one that I don´t have smiley

Thanks again! You´re awesome smiley

Awesome spreadsheet, I pinned and plan to buy it soon. Thanks for sharing your tips. Much appreciated.

@ Lorien - Thank you for reminding me about the feature request system! (It was implemented while I was on a leave of absence so I forget it is there!)

I posted a comment on this feature request (the one you suggested, lol) and fleshed out my idea a bit more. So, if anyone likes the idea, casting votes on it would be a great start!! smiley

@ Violet and Megan - thank you for the input as well!!

I'm really hoping that we'll be able to do this beginner's forum 'cause I think it'd be awesome - in the meantime, I'm gonna follow up on all the input you ladies have given me! Thanks!! smiley

LOVE your comment there Mollie! As soon as I find some time I´ll try to check and re-write some drafts I started some weeks ago that may help you all - but, sincerely, it can take some time, argh. So, come vote everybody!

I have posted my CT Accountability tracking log up for sale on Etsy. This log was designed by me a few years ago when I first started out in the digi world. I had joined a couple CTs and needed to keep track of everything to make it easier for myself but also the designer to have a one stop post of all my links. I still use this today when I am working with CTs.

This is a great idea! I voted!!

Thanks Meg!

My main trick, especially when I'm feeling stuck or in a rut, is too "copy" a kit I admire, as in I'll make the same element types that I see in the preview. It's a fun way to try something new too because different designers have different emphasis on elements.

Tiffany Berman of Inspired by Dominic Designs has QC tutorials on her blog, HERE.

gosh this is a really interesting thread!! I've only ventured recently into creating kits, and I had never thought about paper to element ratio because so often I may have 25-30 papers and about 120 or more elements, but I hadn't thought about the solid papers vs patterned papers, so that is something I will have on my mind now. I also love the suggestion to look at the kits that you go back to time and again to analyze why you use it so often, and the added suggestion to replicate one of your favorite kits when you are in a slump is excellent as well!!

Oh I love this thread. I'm like Mollie, I'm a numbers gal. If I don't have, at least, a base number, I can go totally crazy in my counts. For example, I can get carried away and create, easily, 40 papers if no one keeps me in check! smiley

Re QC, in the post that Violet linked, I use Karen Diamond Designs' documents for them. They are detailed and they also have walk-throughs (which is perfect for newbies like me who have no idea what they're doing! )

Thank you Megan for sharing your spreadsheet Etsy link. Those will be of invaluable help for me. I'll get them in the next couple of days.

Did I say before that you all rock? Well, you do! I'm learning so much in the forums and want to thank you all for your precious time helping us newbies. smiley

What a great thread! I'm just starting to create my own full size kits, and I was feeling a little lost as to how many things to include. Thank you to everyone who has given input.

This is a neat idea, but I see a problem with it. While I find it easy to come up with enough papers for a kit, sometimes the kit theme doesn't lend itself to the same kinds of elements as others. Quite often I am inspired by one or two objects and build from there. I don't know that I would like having to meet a minimum. So if there was a basic recipe, it would need to have substitutions. Like, crisco instead of butter. smiley

Perhaps if buttons aren't fitting with the theme, brads, eyelets, staples or clips could take their place. Maybe if the artist isn't interested in creating frames, they would need to offer at least 1 mat and some photo corners.


That is actually perfectly true and how you substitute. Not every kit should have the same recipe actually. You want to have some fun and mix it up. Maybe instead of buttons you could also include flairs. Mix around the different kinds of flowers as well, maybe instead of real flowers use paper or fabric or vice versa.

Here is a good way I go about it:

Most palettes have 5 colors - so there is 5 papers - solids. Then I tend to do 5 pattern papers that are min 3 related
Elements in that case would be 20 to 30 elements
So you want to have at least 5 to 8 theme elements

I just did a mini kit which I will be posting here that was about the fantasy world of kids dreams - so I had a boy and a girl praying before bed, their beds, pillows, a few whimsical elements. To help with the theme of the papers that I created first and did a Rough Pastel Texture on, I did that to a lot of the elements as well to help them feel like a dream state.

Does that help?

A recipe could have suggestions on how to change it up and enhance it per the subject. These tips are like gold for me, a newbie at this.

A good way to start is the design challenges that provide the recipe for the kits.. you can start off small with a mini kit and move forward.

I guess it shows the difference in how people approach things... I'm more systematic; I need guidelines -something more concrete than "just experiment" or "do what feels right"- to start with. I think that the designers who don't approach it in the same manner are the ones who are getting hung up on the "recipe" analogy. Or maybe I didn't explain it right...

Anyway, right now I have pulled the content descriptions of approximately 40 kits so I can tabulate some statistics. Like, the average number of papers in a kit is 22, with 6 solids. Virtually every kit (and I picked a variety of themes) has frames, journal boxes, and flowers (I didn't expect the flowers, lol).

I hope to have an average on the numbers and types of items used when I'm done, but it's a lot of numbers to crunch. And then I have some questions for y'all that I poll & post later. Hopefully, it will come together to be a nice beginner's guide.

I don't mean it to be an end-all-be-all list of requirements or anything, JUST a general idea as a jumping off point. And, by all means, anyone can feel free to expound on it from there. smiley

And I appreciate all the input thus far!

@Mollie That sounds great. I made a file with the tips from this thread and I am going to compile it in a format that speaks to me as a way to get started and organized. I expect once I get some experience creating kits, I will develop it towards my preferences.

Mollie, my mind works like yours smiley. I've looked I don't know how many times at the Challenges, but I need definite instructions! I end up feeling like I'm still in Algebra class and everyone has gotten it all and I'm still waiting for the light bulb to go off over my head! I thought the Day/Week challenges would be my "aha moments", but I admit I'm still floundering in learning all this stuff.

I'd like to see more step-by-step challenges. I've made some papers, but I have no idea how to get someone to someone to view them and/or print them out to see if they meet the QC standards. I'd to see more basic, elementary challenges. Like "Pick a color palette or theme and make 5 solid papers/5 patterned papers". Then a few days or a week later, "make 1-3 matching frames". And on up like that. I really need directions until I really get the hang of it.

When I made websets, I'd look through images until one appealed to me, then picked the colors, and from there it was easy. But layouts and kits are totally different!! I haven't used any real pics of me or my family yet, but I find myself trying to match pictures to kits in both color and theme. But, that's probably because I'm still not too much into scrapbooking, but rather making the actual graphics. Because that, I love!


P.S. I did post elsewhere and was encouraged to do some of the old challenges. I did one (Polka Dots) and have found some other challenges that seem really good for us newbies. They're from last year, though, but are more structured. smiley

Lisa, I know I´m playing a keyboard with two keys, but go scrap lady! If you don´t pick up some kits from different designers and go scrap with them you´ll take waaaaaaaaay more time to figure out these things. Because you´ll need to have made several kits, having some people using them (It´s not that easy to convince people to use your kits if you´re a newbie or your kits are a bit different from the mainstream ones) and them you´ll have to either ask feedback to those people, or analise their layouts yourself to see what they´re missing. If I´m not mistaken, you don´t have any experience making digiscrap layouts, right? so, learning about clusters and making 6 or seven awesome clusters will start getting you on the feeling about what kind of elements, and on what ammount, should you put.

Mollie, I´ve been parting of the following premises: 1 solid for each color in my color palette, 1 solidish for each color, some patterned paper. 1 unique flower from each color, etc. Till last week, when I started to make a fall themed kit, with some more colors than I´m used to use. If you make a recipie now, and it works for some kits, sooner or later you will have a theme or color palette where your recipie don´t work at all. What will you do? will you stick to your recipie and do a kit that is not that good as it would be? Won´t your recipie "blind" you for new possibilities? How you´ll handle with those kind of things you don´t need to have in every and all kit you make, like staples, paint, washi tape, bottlecaps, doillys... they aren´t exactly theme elements. (BTW, my fall kit will have more thematic elements and double leaves and branches than my regular kits have. I am still figuring out if, in this situation, I need to have that many flowers and fasteners as I use to have in another kits for it to be usable on clustering scrap or not - scenes of the next charpter, lol)