If you want the absolute basics:
- a D-ring album. I use the linen-covered binders from American Crafts, but We R Memory Keepers also makes similar leather albums you can purchase at Target!
- Page protectors with slots. I highly recommend getting a Big Pack of Design A from the Becky Higgins/Project Life store on Amazon. If they are out of stock, you can get smaller packs with 12 page protectors for about $7 (I actually got two packs of the $7 set to start with for 2013).
- Project Life grid cards. They are a simple, clean design that works with just about anything. The grid is printed in the palest shade of grey, so it's very subtle, and you can use the cards horizontally or vertically.
- Other 3x4 inch journaling cards to add color, if you'd like.
- 4 x 6 inch title cards. You can order plain cardstock cards from the Becky Higgins store on Amazon.
- Or you can skip the previous three and just order a Project Life core kit, but I've never actually done that!
- Good journaling pens. I like the American Crafts Precision pens and the ultra fine point Sharpie pens.
- Something to put your materials in. I use some metal buckets from Target for my basic supplies. I bought them in the "Dollar Spot" for $2.50 about a year ago.
If you want to kick it up a notch:
- a paper trimmer. This lets you make straight, clean cuts if you want to cut down a photo or card.
- scissors let you do some fun things, like selectively trim your papers or cards to remove or highlight elements of the design.
- stamps and neutral inks. I love using acrylic stamps, mostly from Studio Calico, to add the day or date to my journaling cards. I also have pre-stamped a few journaling cards with some of the Studio Calico border stamps from my kits, too.
- a rolling date stamp. Just like they use at library! I got mine from the Studio Calico March 2012 kit, and it has definitely gotten its use! It's one of just a few stamps I don't keep with the kit it came in.
- Small punches are a great way to add a little something extra to a card or photo. I frequently use a small airplane punch on cards that detail our travel itineraries or Trevor's work as a pilot.
- Cardstock and patterned papers let you create your own customized cards. I use these for my 4x6 inch title cardsmost of the time.
- letter stickers. I love Tiny Type from Cosmo Cricket and Mini Market from October Afternoon for adding small titles or captions to my cards and photos in Project Life. I like using Thickers for my title cards, though they can add a lot of extra bulk to the album.
- Decorative tapes are a great, flat embellishment to add a little pop to your cards. You can get them just about anywhere right now. I picked up about a dozen rolls at Michael's last week for about $1 a piece, and you can also find some in the office supplies at Target. These are on the low end, though. You can pay upwards of $8 for authentic washi tape from Asia. My ultimate pick, however, is Freckled Fawn tapes. The tapes range from $4-6 and they have a ton of cute styles.
- Small labels make a great home for embellishments or a simple stamp or sticker showing the day of the week. There are tons of options for labels, too. You can find label stickers, label-shaped stamps and punches, or even printable labels that you print and cut yourself. I like the printable labels from Studio Calico because they match my monthly kits AND if I want, I can set up my Silhouette to cut out the whole sheet for me! I haven't actually been successful with this yet, but I was attempting to do it before I took an online class on how to use my Silhouette.
- printables. I touched on these briefly when I discussed the labels, but there is so much more available! Studio Calico has journaling cards and decorative elements you can download for about $4 a set each month with their kits. Geralyn Sy creates tons of cute, themed printables you can use in Project Life. There are some freebies on the Project Life website, as well as tons throughout the internet. Pinterest is a great place to start your search.
If you want to go all out:
- An assortment of flat embellishments
- chipboard pieces
- wood veneer
- border punches
- a diecut machine like the Silhouette Cameo or the Cricut
- Additional page protector styles. Project Life has a ton you can choose from, but We R Memory Keepers also has a pretty awesome selection of slotted page protectors you can use, too.