Sunday, November 18, 2007


For Stampin' Up! Demonstrators and anyone considering becoming a demonstrator, I thought I'd share how I prepare for my stamp classes. My methods are nothing fancy or earth-shattering, but thought someone out there might find something useful from this post.

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!


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 (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.


pescbrico said...

OH Nancy! How nice of you to share all this with us! I did pick up some nice trick you use to prepare a classe! Wow! I like the giant clip to hold card, the brown bag to put there projects in, the little bag with all the supply in and the extra supply bag just in case! WOW and thanks again! :)

Dale said...

I am not a demonstrator but I love to attend workshops and stamp at home. I can see you put a lot of thought and effort into your workshops but in the end everyone is happy and organized (not to mention sane - heehee).
Before I had a stamp and scrub to clean my stamps, I would use a disposable meat tray (cleaned well) and place a well dampened Bounty (they are thick and strong) paper towel folded in half to clean my stamps; it worked for me. I suppose it would be cheaper than baby wipes?
Thank you for sharing all creative work, tips and techniques.
You are a sweetheart.

Laura said...

Nancy, I love your ideas!! It seems like you put a lot of effort and time into your classes!! Thanks for sharing!!

Dawn Easton said...

Awesome job Nancy! We do a lot the same way...almost exact actually! LOVE that! I always cut and fold things for my stampers too. My upline says I "baby" them too much. To be honest, it's a lot less stress and worry of them cutting something wrong! I know we all make mistakes but if I can minimize the amounts then that helps ;)
Love your idea of those clips! I always put mine in a clear bag but like you said, people like to pick it up to see it!
good luck with your next class! Wish I was attending!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy - thank you so much for the insight on how you set up your classes. This is great info. I too am a demonstrator and I do a scrapbook class once a month and do most of what you do but I got some great ideas. Thanks again for sharing.
Ruth A.

Tracey said...

Thanks for sharing! You are doing what I have been working toward. Thanks for the great photos! ~:-D

Deborah said...

You are such a pro demonstrator! The prep is alot of work! Great card too! Deb

Pam Varnell said...

Oh my!!! This was the most awesome post. I love how you do things. I do a lot of the same things but not all. I love the big clip idea. Like Dawn, I put my samples in clear sleeves. My cards normally get dropped in an ink pad or two then you can't use them. Wow, your organizational skills are top notch. Thanks for sharing this.

Lorri said...

LOVED this post~ I tried the "bag idea" for all the supplies and my gals loved it! Thanks for the tips on organization! :)

~Lorri :)

StampMom said...

As a newbie demonstrator I am really appreciative of your sharing all these tips and ideas -- so terrific. Now I can't wait for my next workshop this Saturday!! (and I'm CASEing that really cute Joy card... with proper attribution of course!) :-)

Corie said...

Thanks so much for sharing these ideas. I do many things the same, but I have learned a few new things. I love the way you are always so organized.

Big hugs and smiles!!

Tanja said...

Thanks for sharing all this. Very appreciated. I went back and looked at your older posts too. Learned so much at your blog today!

LeAnne said...

Hi Nancy, Thanks for sharing your tips. I must say, we do things almost exactly alike, but I did pick up several helpful hints! My problem is that a few of my stampers DON'T LIKE TO READ the instructions!!! I tell them they may be sorry if they don't!!! I just can't be at every table all the time, right? I especially like how you added some extra CS in case of a booboo! That could be quite helpful! Great ideas.

Anonymous said...

Hi Nancy,
WOW what a super job. I love the way you have everything organized. I'm a demonstrator also. However just after I signed up I moved to another state.I'm not sure how to get people interested I passed out some books but nothing. If anyone has any idea's on how I could get some people I would love the help. Thanks so much.

Connie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kathleenh said...

Nancy, thank you so much for sharing how you prepare for classes! This information is awesome! You seem very organized and well prepared. I'm sure your customers like that. I got the impression that your classes fill up so you must be doing something right!

corinnesomerville said...

You're amazing, woman !!!!! Great prep ideas....way to go and thanks so much for sharing them.

Love ya

Rose Ann said...

You are so nicely organized...such an inspiration to us all! Your card is stunning, Nancy!! Thanks for sharing all of this. You rock!!

Dottie K said...

Wow I wish I lived near you to take one of your classes. You know I really enjoy your work. Your so organized - loved all the tips. That is just the kind of class that I would love to attend. :)

Doris said...

I've been running a weekly class at Ladies Bible Study this Fall and have been doing most of the same things you describe. To protect my sample, I put it in a clear envie and elevate it with a metal stand that holds 10 cards. Also, since the same 10 people were coming each week, I put together 10 little bags of reuseable supplies: ds tape, small trimming scissors, glue stick, pop dots, paint brush, envelopes, and a name tag for their bags which they bring with them each week. You're right about it being a lot of work to prepare, but it's worth it when you see them finish their projects!

Anonymous said...

Wow! Nancy you are the queen of organizing! I've seen a lot of great tips I can use at my next class. Thanks for sharing! Also, I nominate you for an encouraging blogger award-details on my blog. ;)

Rene' Tucker-Houston, TX said...

Great and thorough "how to" Nancy! I'm considering being a demo and you did share some things I haven't seen or thought of before. I love the idea of snipping the corner of the paper pieces that will be used for punching, etc. Thank you! Question: How do you manage multiple stamp sets for a project table to use? Do you buy 2-3 sets or borrow or what?

nancy morgan said...

All I can say is...sign me up! I want to come to one of your workshop!!!!!!!! = )

You are the queen of organization, fun and creativity!!!

nitestamper said...

oh my, nancy !!!!talk about uber organize!!!
from start to finish, you are the best!!!