Project Life: 16 Tips to Make it Work for You

Raise your hand if you do Project Life? I’ll admit, I’ve been eyeing the system and love the concept….but I haven’t made the leap yet.  I know many crafters and moms are really into it and I see it as a crafting trend on the rise. So when I saw this thread on our Facebook page that sparked a fantastic discussion on Project Life, I knew there had to be others with this same question on their mind!

Amy’s Question: “I’m looking at using Project Life to supplement my scrapbooking but I’m not super impressed at the layouts available in the bundles. If anyone else does this, do you find you actually use the A & D layouts quite often? Or are there any other brands/products you could recommend? I use 12” binders and usually only do 4×6 photos in my albums (horizontal & vertical mix) plus embellishments and journaling, etc. I’m hoping to find something that could “mix in” nicely to hold the extra prints from trips, events, milestones, etc. that I want to include in the book, but don’t want to create a full layout of. Also, I do a binder for our family and a binder for our son (and will do one for each of our kids, eventually, and possibly go back to do ones for our parents, or our genealogy, special vacations, and such) so I’m really wanting a versatile product. Would Project Life be the best?? Thanks!!” -Amy

project life

Project Life Tips and Tricks

1. “They have at least 26 different page layouts, so I’m sure you’ll find a variety to suit your needs. Look at Becky Higgins blog for her designer’s inspiration posts for layout styles.” – Darcie K.

2. “I love Project Life! I just recently bought a couple of variety packs to try out some different layouts but I can pretty much stick to 4×6 vertical and horizontal. I use the PicStitch app and just create 4×6 size with any photos I have to make them all fit. Then I am able to take advantage of Shutterfly 101 free print offers or any other offers on 4×6 prints. If I just do 2 photos, they can be cut in half and used to replace the 3×4 journaling cards in any layout. I am still trying to finish my children’s traditional scrapbooks, but I am up to mid-August this year already (with weekly layouts!). It really works for me!” – Shelly C.

project life punch

3. “We R Memory Keepers has their own line of Project Life-similar stuff. They have a nice variety and their own designs of page protectors.” – Christina L.

4. “I mix Project Life clear pages with my regular 12×12 and I pretty much do NOT follow any set rules or ideas. I do pin some scrapbook ideas on Pinterest and I use my Silhouette Cameo to cut cards and embellishments and such. Setting yourself up to follow one way though organized it may be sometimes its nice to be free and to be messy.” – Sarah T.

5. “Hobby Lobby carries a We R Memory Keeper punch that will punch a card similar to Project Life cards. You could use any paper or cut travel brochures to fit into the slot.” – Sylvia S.

6. “I use and have for years We R Memory Keepers. They are cheaper and better layouts and are made for 3 ring binders.” – Marsha K.

7. “I mix regular 12×12 pages with Project Life pages. I like some of the Project Life cards but I also recommend We R Memory Keepers. Their cards are the same size. They also offer a punch that can cut any pic or paper to the wallet size of the Project Life slots.” – Ashley S.

8. “I do the mix my Project Life in my 12×12 albums. I mostly use the A and D design page protectors and trim papers and embellishments along with memorabilia to fill in the empty slots. The best part of the Project Life for me is that I can include photos from my iPhone or that other people have taken but I don’t want to make an entire layout. Also it is a great way to use leftover embellishments and scraps.” – Hilari H.

9. “I use Project Life layout protectors but I don’t use their kits. I have so much excess card stock from before I started Project Life that I just cut it to fit and then trim my pictures and journal on the side. So, it’s more of a combo Project Life but its still easier than creating the scrapbooks that I used to. I think the look is cleaner too.” – Crystal W.

project life app

10. “Instakeeper (the iPhone app) lets you create custom photo journaling cards on the fly and journal photos while you take them. It compliments Project Life and We R Memory Keepers photo pocket systems or can be printed and glued to traditional scrapbook layouts. Super easy card design tools will be available in this app in about a week as well.” – Molly F.

11. “I am not sure if this is helpful but I have seen tons of card stock paper and layout protector products at Joann’s that is the same size as Project Life at a fraction of the cost. Michael’s carries a line compatible with Project Life as well. Also if you were to research Project Life on Pinterest you will find tons of free or cheap printables if you would like to go that route. As much as I love Project Life it can be very limiting at times if you were to only stick with their products and some can be found at a cheaper cost.” – Megan P.

12. “I do traditional scrapbooking and Project Life but after the initial kit that got me started, I haven’t bought another Project Life kit. Now I buy divided page protectors in 2 different styles only. Then I cut 4×6 or 3×4 cards on my Cameo or just rectangles. I sometimes find journaling cards by Studio Calico or others and include them in my layouts. This way I can use any pattern paper and make Project Life suit my style instead of trying to fit my story into their choice of colors and phrases. I use a lot of date stamps and small graphic image stamps like arrows and chevrons. This is also where I use the stickers and card stock embellishments that come with paper packs. My 12×12 pages are usually one or two photos of a special moment or event or subject. My Project Life albums tend to include more photos and document our lives from week to week, usually based on the files dates in my picture folders on my computer.” – Cindy D.

13. “Other lines available that I also mix in are Echo Park (I love these!), Simple Stories, SNAP, and SMASH. All can be found at Hobby Lobby.” – Ashley S.

14. “You can buy bundles or you can buy just the sheet protectors and kits separately. It can be more expensive but you have more options. There are variety packs of page protectors on Amazon that have a bunch of different sizes in there. You could also mix in regular 12 x 12 pages as they fit in as well. So far I only have the A and D and I can make them work for almost any layout I need to do.” – Laura S.

Becky Higgins Blog

15. “I have tried to do the same thing and am really struggling. Whilst I may have additional pictures to fit in a sleeve on one side, I then have to fill the back side and find myself using fillers. I have instead tried to place 5 or 6 pictures on a plain 12×12 with little or no embellishments as if using Project Life, then when the page turns, I have a blank canvas. I mix this in with traditional layouts.” – Natalie W.

16. “I just got the Project Life divided sheets and plan to use them in a regular 12xx12 scrapbook. I did buy the wedding mini kit because it had a lot of grays, which was one of my wedding colors. I have a TON of pink paper already (my other wedding color) so I’m just using that. I plan on mixing in some regular 12×12 scrapbook pages that aren’t the Project Life divided ones. I do like some of the Project Life pages because it gives me a simple way to display my pictures without having to be super design-y, but I like flexibility for when I’m feeling really creative. It took me FOREVER to decide to get the Project Life stuff (as in, the people at Hobby Lobby probably think I’m crazy for standing in the aisle just staring on multiple occasions), but I’m really glad I did!” – Ashleigh P.

I love how helpful all you crafters are on the Craftaholics Anonymous® facebook page! Keep the questions coming!

Do you have any Project Life tips or tricks? What works for you?

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  1. 1

    Also, I’m impressed with Simple Stories Snap line. Allison Davis is a fellow Missourian, and designer who creates sketches for this line as well. Her sketches/work incorporates both project life style and traditional style scrapbooking into one album to help make your particular album unique to your style. I’m not a business partner LOL…. just a long time scrapbooker. I have Project Life Albums and will be using the SS line next time around. It’s all so similar though… just find what you like best. if you take the time to research it a little up front with great blogs like this one… it will be a better project start to finish and give you the time and space for creativity to really kick it in!
    Also… an other random tip. Don’t be locked in to starting in January. We start ours in August. I think as far as family time goes it’s great to start off with the start of school in August, and end up with summer family vacation in July. It’s truly about making it work for you and enjoying the process.

  2. 2

    Fabulous tips! I am new to project life and this will definitely help. Thank you!

  3. 3

    Hey, that was me! :) Awesome! Everyone’s comments have been so helpful.

    To follow-up on my question: I browsed online and went to Hobby Lobby as well (and spent about an hour looking), and decided to try some sleeves from We R Memory Keepers (these were cheapest on Amazon & JoAnn’s, actually). I loved all the kits Hobby Lobby had from PL and WeR, and found a few small packs of journalling cards on clearance to try while I decide which kits I might like, or if I’d rather invest in the paper punch, and use my own papers. So far I’m really liking the system, and think it will work well for us! I did notice that the WeR pages are slightly taller than 12″, and some of the 3×4 pockets are actually about 1/8″ smaller, but since I’m using an open binder and trimming my own pictures for the sleeves, it doesn’t really matter too much.

    {Oh, I had read somewhere that the page design A by PL is one of the most popular, since people tend to take more ‘horizontal’ pictures – I’m not the only one who takes more ‘veritcal’ pictures, am I?? :-) }

  4. 4

    One more option… digital project life! You can create the layouts on your computer and get them printed as 12×12 pages, then insert them into your regular 12×12 page protectors. I LOVE the versatility of the digital system because I don’t have to be afraid of running out of my favorite page protector style or using up all the cutest journaling cards. It’s also very affordable – usually around $2 to print the 12×12 page at most printers…. and you can make copies for grandparents, etc. I’m addicted to it.

    1. 4.1

      Where do you print 12×12 for $2? I can do it for 99 cents at scrapbooks please when they have a sale, but everywhere else I look is $5-15 per page.

      1. Tiffany

        Costco prints 12×12 for $2.99… (not $2, but less than your $5..)

  5. 5
    Sandra C

    I think many people get overwhelmed because they think they have to useProject Life to document each week. My PL albums are event based only and I am happy with the result.

  6. 6
    Ruth Ann Smith

    II am having a problem with my photos want to slide out of the Project Life pages. Is it just me or has someone else had this problem. More frequently with the top loading pages. Very disappointing! Suggestions? Thanks for your input. I really like the idea and have done two albums, however, have a lot bought but don’t know if I want to continue with having to be so careful when looking at the albums or when someone else if looking at them.

    1. 6.1

      I do believe they have a pocket sealer that you can purchase now to prevent items from sliding out of the pockets!

  7. 7
    Ellen H

    When I first started scrapbooking with Creative Memories in the 90s, we were instructed by our consultant to use a news paper type style for our layouts. It was very similair to project life in that it was a style that at least one line if photos or journaling boxes should be lined up horizontally and another vertically and they intersected each other. We also learned to keep it simple. Project Life is the same principle, just much easier I’m just getting started Bur excited snout the possibilities and the fact j can mix and max my other other pages into it.

  8. 8

    Hi I have been doing project life for about a year now. I found all the one photo 12x12s were taking hours and stressing me out (sooo many photos to scrap!) When I googled utube scrapbooking tutorials, I found the best solution to my problem. I had 3 people to scrap – my husbands childhood and mine as well as a whole story album on my 3 year old. With project life I was able to get 3 full albums done and 3 years of my little girl’s life in about 3 weeks! Im now using up all my stash in project life and having fun getting in simple, quick and stressless layouts ( I dont worry about lots of embellishments or how perfect the journalling is. I just get it done). And when I do 2015 I can play around a bit more with techniques and even use the scraps to match in a handmade card for someone. I like my own 12x12s in my own way occasionally but project life is the reason why I am nearyl caught up on 4years of my daughter’s life! Also when I get stuck or run out of photos, I decorate the page to fill and maybe make a monthly reflection on goals or what I love or what I have learned etc. It doesnt worry me anymore. Cheers!

  9. 9

    All of this information, I find very interesting, especially since I am about to start my first PL album. I kind of like the idea of “doing my own thing”, rather than following a particular regimen.
    I love the idea of placing confetti into one of the pockets, but I am wondering what I should do to ensure the confetti does not fall out. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.
    I am going to keep reading. Thank you all for your input.