I usually hold a morning class and an evening class in the same day, and can accommodate up to 16 people at each session. I usually cut paper for 20-25 people, and offer five projects. That's alot of cutting and supplies that need to stay organized!
CHOOSING CLASS PROJECTS
To see projects I've offered in past classes, click HERE. For me, sometimes choosing class projects is the most difficult part of the class preparation. But I find that once I start making a decision or two, the rest just happens! I do not re-invent the wheel by trying to design five projects on my own. I CASE most of my class projects and give credit to the original designer. There are so many wonderful samples to choose from on other blogs (see my sidebar) and Splitcoaststampers.com (SCS). It's OK to CASE (Copy and Share/Steal Everything), as long as credit is given to the original designer!
Each month, I make a new folder on my computer in My Photos, and call it "Possible November Class Projects" (or whatever month I'm working on). When I see something on another blog or SCS, I copy the photo to that folder, making note of where the photo came from. (In case I end up using that project, I want to be able to find where I originally saw it for a list of supplies, instructions, original designer, etc.). When I'm ready to get serious about choosing my projects, I have all the possible samples in one place in that photo folder. This process really helps me make decisions because I can see all the possibilities in one place.
I often hear from other SU Demos about the complexity of my class projects. This is how I look at it: I have a hard time doing "simple". My customers come to my classes because they like what I do so that's what I offer for them. I want each and every one of them to go home with quality projects that will inspire them to create. I try to balance my style with do-able projects that up to 16 people can complete in 2 1/2 hours.
Tools and supplies are a huge consideration when choosing class projects. I try not to duplicate too many tools, but luckily my sister-in-law Norene is very generous in lending her tools when I do duplicate! I love it when I find a project that uses a tool we've never used at class before!
Another consideration when choosing class projects is the current Stampin' Up! Promotion. Notice how I used Designer Paper on most of my projects this month? I normally do use Designer Paper often, but really wanted to use a variety of it to coincide with this month's Paper Party Promotion.
I also try to teach something new at each class, whether it be a new technique or introducing a new product or tool. I love it when my class participants' eyes light up over discovering something new!
Of course, the obvious ... I use only CURRENTLY AVAILABLE Stampin' Up! products ... never retired stamp sets or products. I want to offer projects that participants can easily duplicate at home. I will occasionally use some general supplies available at your local craft store. These supplies are usually not the main supply of the project, and are simply a decorative addition.
Once I've planned what my projects are going to be, I start doing lots of cutting! This card is a project I prepared for my classes last week. I am using it as an example for this post.
I pre-cut six layers of CS/DP for this card. The smaller Very Vanilla and Purely Pomegranate pieces that you see in the next photo are for the inside sentiment. The clear plastic bag in the upper left hand corner of the photo is a 5" x 7 1/4" bag that I put all the pieces in for one project/for one person. This system works so well for my classes. Participants aren't spending time sorting through cut cardstock and trying to figure out what pieces they need. I got these clear plastic bags several years ago so I can't direct you to a supplier. I am sure they are readily available somewhere online or your local paper supply store.
I do all the scoring of the CS for my participants too. I personally don't care for the fold and score method because of the non-professional look of the fold, so I pre-score all the cardstock for participants with my cutter and bone folder. For a tutorial on how to score with this method, click HERE.
Also included in the clear plastic bag is a mailing envelope (class participants are encouraged to decorate their envelope however they like), and ribbon. This card project required the ribbon in two pieces; one to wrap around the center layer and the other to make the bow and adhere with glue dots. I always make sure to cut the ribbon piece for making a bow with extra length. You know how hard it is to tie a bow when the ribbon is too short!
For small pieces like the Very Vanilla and Purely Pomegranate CS that dot the "j" and for the middle of the "o", I will lay several larger pieces of scraps out on the project table for participants to stamp on and punch out, or I will include scaps in the clear plastic bag. When it is a scrap piece that they will be punching out, I always snip a corner off with scissors so they know it's not a layer piece to the card. You don't want to cut these pieces too small or they'll be difficult to punch out.
Once all the bags are assembled I put them in these inexpensive containers that I picked up at Walmart. All participants need to do when they sit down is grab a bag, and everything they need is at their fingertips and already sorted for them.
Each container has one bag in the back labeled "EXTRAS". This bag holds extra papers, envelopes, ribbon, etc. that class participants can grab from if needed, instead of grabbing from an assembled bag. I make mistakes when I stamp, and I know class participants do too. I want everyone to have an opportunity to create a quality project, so using a second or third piece of paper is no big deal at my house!
When I'm working on a class project, I create a recipe for it listing all the needed supplies, i.e. Stamp Sets, Paper, Ink, Embellishments, Tools, Supplies, etc. This recipe is especially helpful to me to double check myself when setting up the project on class day, and I can easily copy and paste it when I post the projects on my blog.
Since I am only one person with up to 16 people at my classes and want everyone to make quality projects, I offer helpful hints underneath the recipe. These include hints that I would like to tell everyone verbally, but can't be at four tables at once. In the helpful hints, I might clarify which stamped image gets punched with which size of circle punch, what adhesive to use where, etc. Class participants are encouraged to read the helpful hints before starting the projects. This tent is simply a bright piece of cardstock, scored in half, with the recipe and helpful hints mounted on it. I used a bright color so it can be easily found on the table among all the supplies.
Once all the paper is cut, the bags are assembled, and the recipe and helpful hints are typed up, EVERYTHING (punches, CS, stamps, adhesives, etc.) needed to complete the project goes in a container like the one shown in this photo. Again, they are inexpensive containers from Walmart.
I like to set the entire stamp set out on the table for class participants to SEE. Sometimes, there's a card that requires several large stamp sets, and I want to make the stamps they need to use for that project easily accessible. In this case, I'll put only the stamps they need in a small container on the table, with the remaining stamp sets and cases nearby in case they want to see what other stamps are in that set.Here are some other items I use at my classes that I can't live without. I have several of these trays (found them at a garage sale). They hold baby wipes for class participants to clean their stamps after they use them. I usually have one of these for every two people with several baby wipes set on them. I set out the baby wipes right before class time (or when my customers remind me! LOL!) so they are still moist when they go to clean their stamps.
Another Walmart special !!! I bought these containers for 99 cents at Walmart last February, and they are perfect for garbage at each table!
One more can't-live-without class item ... these large wooden clips. I have one for each class project. They hold the project up nicely for everyone at the table to see. If you've taught stamp classes before, you know that class participants need to grab the sample project several times to view closer. With these clips, participants tend to grab the clip instead of the card so your sample takes less of a beating, i.e. fingerprints, bent corners, etc. I purchased these large clips at Michael's about a year ago. I don't think Michael's carries them anymore, but you can find them HERE.One more thing I offer my class participants, but don't have a photo of ... a brown paper lunch sack. Participants write their name on the bag, and place their completed projects in the bag. When they go to leave class, there is no question as to who's project is who's.
I have found that it is easier to move people than it is to move supplies, so in my classes class participants rotate from table to table. This is a photo of my family room where I move my furniture to the walls and set up two six-foot tables with four chairs each. Each table holds one project and all the tools and supplies to make that project. I also set out Stampin' Up! grid paper. I can't stamp without it, so why should my customers stamp without it? Of course, I reuse them over and over again.This is my kitchen table that serves as another project station.Last, but not least, this is my dining room table that hold two projects.
I've had to modify how I prepare for my classes from time to time, but right now this is what is working for me and my class participants. I strive to make it an enjoyable stamping and papercrafting experience for them, in hopes that they will leave inspired and want to come back for another class. Remember to prepare materials and provide the necessary tools and supplies in the way you would want it prepared for you if you were attending the class.