Juli Asks — Six Ring Punches and more

Welcome to Juli Asks, a series where Juli, one of our Awesome Ladies members, who’s just getting into scrapbooking, asks rukristin for advice. Learn from this series and ask questions of your own.


Juli: What kind of punch do you recommend investing in? I have a 3 hole punch for 8.5×11 papers, but when looking at options for other sizes, it’s a bit overwhelming. I want to be able to make mini albums and punch photos/paper for smaller binders (like 5.5×8.5 or 6×8).

rukristin: I love punches. I think they’re one of the best tools that you can invest in. When it comes to getting punches that are great for creating mini-albums, I think there are two different punches you should invest in. One is a repositionable six-hole punch. The other is a We R Memory Keepers Crop A Dile.

Let me first tell you about the repositionable six-hole punches.

These hole punches will punch six holes at a time and are perfect for putting things in six ring binders. This is a popular style of Japanese office supply that has emerged into a crafting favorite. There are a bunch of planners, A5, A6, and 6×8 scrapbook albums that have a 6 ring mechanism inside.

The best six ring hole punches will be repositionable so that you can easily slide the hole makers the correct distance apart for whichever binder you happen to be working in.

I know that you can pick up these punches in the big box stores with a coupon these days, and if you’ve got your heart set on that, don’t let me stop you. But — I’m a huge fan of these heavier duty Japanese office supply versions. I’m on my second one and I use mine like a jackhammer. I only purchased my second one after about three years into my first one, and definitely more than ten thousand punches with it.

Now for the Crop a Dile

Everyone needs a Crop A Dile. It’s on my must-have tool list. It is the single best hole punch ever. I have two of them (the regular kind), and then one of the bigger versions (the Crop A Dile II). The Crop A Dile is necessary because it will always make a perfect hole. No matter what you’re trying to make a hole in, it will make the hole. Whether it’s chipboard, plastic, paper, no matter what the material is, your Crop A Dile will come through.

mini scrapbook made using the Crop A Dile

Juli: What are your tips for planning out a scrapbooking project vs. just jumping in? I’m a recovering perfectionist and love to plan out everything, BUT that also means that sometimes I struggle to just get started. I know that having some kind of plan or outline is helpful, but I don’t want my projects to be stuck in the planning phase forever as I agonize over every detail. I really get into a flow more when I’m just creating and not overthinking things.

rukristin: This is an awesome question, and I think something we could definitely expand on further in a big way later on down the line.

One. I think this is a fundamental tension when it comes to making art and telling stories. You will always feel this back and forth.

Two. I think you can make space in your life for projects that fill up both wells. There can be the projects that are more thought out, which you plan and outline (I’ll get to that more below), and there can be the projects where you know you aren’t going to plan and outline.

By splitting up your projects like this, you’re giving yourself the freedom to say that you know you need both of those things in your life and that not every single project has to fulfill all of your needs.

For me, I like my planned out projects to be the memory-keeping projects that are time-based. This year, I have a monthly Project Life album. At the end of the month, I fill out a sheet and plan out that month’s spread. I decide on stories, photos, and supplies. I’ll also take this approach for travel mini-albums, or other complicated multi-step projects.

I love using my Plan of Action Worksheet for this (there is one in the April Lens Magazine). This is also exactly what the Ten Things I Love About You mini-album workshop (in the Library of Resources) is about. You’ll learn how to plan and execute a mini scrapbook, from brainstorm through sketching through journaling and more.

These projects fuel more of my desire to document my life in a specific way and get down the minimum of what I want to tell. Not my desire to be a creative person, live a creative life, play with my creative tools.

The projects I use for that, to fuel my creativity and my artistry, are the projects that I’ve woven into the routine of my everyday life. Now when I say ‘everyday life’, I do and don’t mean every single day. I do make daily pages in a small notebook, and this has been one of the most creatively freeing experiences of my entire life. It has given me so much room to be more exceptional in other areas of my art.

set of daily pages

Everyday life can also mean that you have room to dedicate to creating on Tuesday and Thursday nights, or for two hours each weekend. As long as you know how your creative everyday life works for you, that’s all that matters.

I like to think about these different projects in terms of practicing and performing. I use my daily pages to practice my scrapbooking, art journaling, and creative memory keeping techniques. I use my Project Life and important mini scrapbooks to perform that scrapbooking, etc. Those are the albums I’m going to be putting on my shelves and flipping through, and really being proud of. But the truth is, you can’t just get there without practicing.

Creative art, scrapbooking, memory-keeping is just like any other hobby, you need to work on it in order to get better. And it’s really hard to get better if you’re always trying to be perfect with every single thing you work on. When you give yourself the room to practice (and still tell awesome stories) you’re finding a middle ground that will get you to where you want to be so much faster than you ever knew was possible.


Juli: What factors do you consider when deciding what kind of album to buy for a new project?

rukristin: There are a ton of reasons that I buy new albums, and I want to dive a little deeper into this question so that I can cover all of the bases real quick.

Here are a few questions that will help you answer this question quick and easy. Quick and easy is always preferable to the big list of all the considerations.

  1. Is this a continuation of an old project? If yes, do you want to continue with the last type of album you used? If yes — do that. If no, see the big list below.
  2. Is this a project where someone is making/selling a specific album? Do you want to use that? If yes do that — do that. If no, see the big list below.
  3. What’s the last album you used? Do you want to use that again? If so (and it is available) do that. If no, see the big list below.
2018 December Daily in a December Daily Album by Ali Edwards

I like to take a lot of things into consideration, and then go back and decide whether or not I actually care about that thing. So I think you should do the same.

Here’s my big list of considerations.

  • What type of project is this? If I’m even considering buying a new album, and I’m not immediately sure what kind, I’ll fill out a Plan of Action Worksheet and figure out:
    • what other types of supplies will I use?
    • how large is the scope of this project?
    • what types of stories am I going to be telling (this will help me decide the style of my album)
    • how many stories will I be telling? (this will help me decide how many pages I might need)
    • will I have multiple photos on one page (this will help me decide how large I want my pages to be)
  • How many pages will fit in this album?
  • Does this project need page protectors?
  • Do I have a suitable album in my stash?
  • Is this a project where I want to DIY the album?

I’ll be totally honest. I have a ton of albums. I love collecting albums, mini-scrapbooks, and notebooks. And sometimes you can fit the perfect album in your stash to a project that you’re trying to plan out.

But figuring out the best album for the project that you’re trying to plan out can absolutely be overwhelming.

Thanks so much for reading Juli Asks, a series where Juli, one of our Awesome Ladies members, who’s just getting into scrapbooking, asks rukristin for advice. Learn from this series and ask questions of your own.

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Juli Asks — A Beginner Series

As I’m starting to build up my scrapbooking stash, I’m trying to navigate buying supplies that I will actually use and not just accumulating a bunch of product. I want to make my photos and stories the center of my projects, but of course I still want cute embellishments. Any advice so that I don’t get caught up in buying all the things?

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