How To Make Smashing Kits + Save Time - Christmas with Pinkfresh

Hello and welcome to a very special Holiday post! 
Actually, it's more like the start of a very special mini series here on my blog.

Besides sharing card ideas, it’s been on my mind for some time to share a little behind-the-scenes peek at how I do my Holiday crafting. But I quickly realized this is the same way I prep for travel kits, craft get-aways, meetups, etc... It’s a technique I learned in prepping class kits way back when I taught cardmaking classes and it sort of stuck. So, I thought, why not share!

Today, we'll kick things off with this how-to of sorts, followed up with posts sharing all the cards I've made thus far with the kit (feat. beautiful PF pretties)!

Prepping an all-in-one, versatile kit has heaps of benefits, really. 
Once all prepped, it’s like having a mini craft room anywhere you go! It guarantees some fabulous hours of creative time AND fabulous results ;)

Yeah BUT It Seems Like a Lot of Work

 A quick disclaimer. If you've never prepped kits, this may seem like a lot of work ahead of time. But I promise, it makes for the best end result! Saving time, space and moolah when you really need it! And it doesn't have to take up a bunch of extra time. The prep work doesn't involve a whole lot of concentration so it can be done during tv time, or in between any other things you may be doing throughout the day. It's really surprising what 5 minutes of prep can accomplish. 

And the best part is that once it's all done, you can use the kit in so many ways...

Oh La La So Many Options!

Stow away to take with you on travels...Gift the kits to craft-saavy friends...Get the family involved to help speed up all that Holiday cardmaking...Or take it on a crafty date or getaway!

This approach has absolutely changed the way I craft on-the-go or when I'm short on time, and I hope it will help you, too. I know it's super hard to carve away crafty time...and using it for prep work seems counterintuitive. If crafting on-the-go, it's also super hard to resist taking every, single, thing when travelling..But in the time it takes to pack (and unpack everything), an entire kit can be prepped! Plus, despite best efforts there is always something that gets forgotten. I love that this approach doesn’t leave me needing any extras, or with that 'I can't believe I left that at home!' feeling...Which is the worst!

So What's a Girl to Do? 

Focusing in on a creative project, especially one that is pre-made and can be replicated and prepped ahead of time, totally alleviates this predicament. 

But, What About the Fact that Making Replicas is Boring? 

Rest assured - as a person who has the attention span of a grasshopper - I have a few tips up my sleeve to help curb the mundane-ness of kit crafting.

Shall we carry on? I'm so excited! Are you?

The first tip, and really the cornerstone of kit-making, is to work backwards.
We start with a fully finished card or two, or a bunch. It can be an old design, or an entirely new card that's made just for the kit.

It helps to keep a few things in mind when looking for a ‘kit-approved’ design.

Generally speaking, it can be challenging to work with cards that are heavy on techniques, products, or processes such as die-cutting. Working backwards can be helpful to determine if the work can be (not too painfully) done ahead. If yes, then stride on!! If not, but you’d still like to incorporate techniques, for example, it can be helpful to focus in on one or two techniques that take advantage of products you're already taking - like ink blending, or watercoloring - which are fun ways to stretch ink pads.

Once the kit-friendly sample cards are done, we will work backwards to prep some of the elements on those cards. I promise, it's really not that bad once you get going.

Here are all the things I like to prep ahead of time:

Die-cutting - elements, edges, sentiments, etc..
Straight Cuts - such as card bases, accent strips, banners, etc..
Filling Baggies with Glitter, Sequins, Rhinestones, etc..
Adhering Accents with Specialty Glue - such as hot glue
Heat Embossing - images, sentiments, etc..

Here are all the things I leave for later:

Stamping with Ink - images, sentiments, backgrounds
Coloring - with Copics, watercolors, or coloring pencils
Adhering with Regular Adhesive - such as tape runner, foam dots, glue pen
Fussy Cutting

The Packaging

Once everything has been prepped, I use clear baggies to package up individual cards. 
Each of the elements gets divided up for each card.  So I start with the card base, and pile up all the elements of that card onto that base. If I'm making a few sets of that card, I will stack the next card on top, with all of its elements. This way, anyone who is crafting with the kit, can take a single card, and will easily know which pieces go with what. If there are smaller or loose items (like glitter) involved, I package them up into smaller baggies. I then package stacks of each card into its own larger plastic baggie, along with the coordinating baggies of glitter and other embellishments.

I use a single plastic 12x12 carrier as my guide on how much I'm allowed to pack. It fits perfectly in my carry-on bag, is TSA approved (details below), and is a sturdy, compact case to carry around on its own, if needed. Inside the case, I place all my card baggies.
I also add in the following:

Must Haves

Small Package of Biodegradeable Wipes


Stickles, Nuvo Drops or Other Accent Mediums 
White Twine and Accent Ribbon


I do my best to add only 2-3 sets to the kit. I usually aim for a sentiment-heavy set, an image building set (with more sentiments if possible), and a background set (such as polka dots, plaids, or stripes).

Color Mediums

I try to bring a small baggie of each of the following: markers, colored pencils and/or watercolors. I limit the colors to the card designs, that way I take only what I need. For ink pads, I like to bring a few larger pads and a collection of smaller cubes.
These can also be used in place of watercolors, as well as for many other techniques.  

I package them up in clear ziploc baggies, folding and taping the back so they don't bounce around, open up and dry out. 

I also pack a few extra clear baggies (just in case) and heaps of pre-folded card bases, envelopes and a large baggie full of extra little trinkets.

How to Keep it Interesting 

This is my tip for not getting bored with your kit...I pack a wide variety of toppings, die-cuts (especially ones that coordinate with the stamps I'm packing), cardstock bits, and pattern paper scraps into this extra baggie, which I use as needed whenever I want to switch up something on my card. Even when I've prepped a set of  5 cards based on the same design, each one will come out looking completely different. It's heaps of fun re-arranging the elements, and adding in some new bits from my goodie bag, using my color mediums in new ways, and coming up with a totally different design. It also makes for a super fun game at a crafty meetup! Hand out the same supplies to each crafter, set up the baggie of extras and some mediums in the middle of the table, set the timer, and GO!

TSA Ready

Most of the items in this kit are travel friendly, so it makes for a great companion on flight, and it's nice to not worry about needing to check such precious cargo ;) However, to ensure smooth sailing through security, I make sure that my scissor blades don't exceed 4" and are stored in a clear plastic baggie. Emptying out all water brushes, and tossing any other semi liquid/liquid products into the baggie with the scissors also helps. I usually add these items to the clear baggie I'm using for my cosmetics.
I've gone through many times forgetting to do this, without issue. But you know, an ounce of prevention!

Coming Up

I'll be sharing three more posts in this mini series, using the supplies from this kit, as well as a focus on the Pinkfresh Christmas release. Each post will showcase two cards - a super quick card, and one that's a little more fancy.

So be sure to check back here on Mon, Wed, and Friday :)

Yay, It's a Giveaway!

I'm also GIVING AWAY an entire kit (enough to make 6-8 fabulous Holiday cards) to one lucky reader! 

To enter, you can leave your comments here or on this Insta post. I will draw the winner on Saturday, Nov. 23rd, after my mini series is all wrapped up!

ETA: This giveaway is now closed and the winner has been selected. Congratulations Greta!! 

Thank you so much for joining me today! Excited to see you back here tomorrow!
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Biggest thank you's for visiting and for your support! It means so much.


  1. Ivana!! What a pretty-power-packed-perfect post!!! and absolutely GORGEOUS little kits!! Thanks for sharing all of your fabulous tips - not only for kits, but for travel, too! xoxo

    1. Aw, thanks, Michele! Now if only we had little elves to help us prep these! ;)
      Hugs to you sweet friend, thanks for your visits! xo

  2. Wow, super idea and tips thank you! I intend to do this for here at home, instead of spending precious time running around like a headless chicken wondering, “ Now where oh where did I put...!”💝

    1. Ohhh that's a great idea, Rachel! I didn't even think of how handy it could be around the house...I guess that's why it tends to speed up my Holiday crafting! I'm notorious for losing little bits! lol Thanks for your visit and sweet note, friend! xo

  3. Excellent ideas! Can't wait to see your cards!

  4. Some great tips here, and beautiful cards too! Love that wreath die and all of the stamp sets shown! I love to have some take-along projects to work on!

    1. Heaps of thanks, Denise! Isn't it so nice to craft-on-the go? I find it most helpful on long flights and during the in-between moments of travel. But I must admit, my dream is to go on a beachy holiday for the sole purpose of crafting away blissfully in the sun! :) Thank you so much for visiting and for your sweet note! xo

  5. Thanks you so much for all of this valuable information! Not to mention the pretty kit!

    1. Heaps of hugs, Lisa! You're always the sweetest! xoxo

  6. WOW! Your blog posts are always packed with useful tips, thank you! This looks amazing! I am not sure I will ever have the brain-space to prepare something like this, but hats off - you've done an excellent job! :-)

    1. LMAO!! It does seem like a lot of work, doesn't it? It's honestly not that bad..My kit here has heaps and heaps of cards prepped, but I've done a similar one in the past with just one or two cards, and all the essentials, and it's a much easier way to digest this whole prep idea! Thanks so much for visiting, dear friend! Sending you the biggest hugs! xo

  7. I've never taken my craft supplies on a road trip, but I'll be sure to refer to this post when packing for my 6 day mini vacation in February. Love the idea of adding extra bits to have variety with your makes. Your holiday cards are fab. Thanks so much for sharing.

    1. Aw, I'm so glad you like it! I hope it helps in your packing endevours! Thank you so much for the visit + sweet note! xo

  8. Marisela Delgado said: You always make such pretty things. You always rock it, Ivana! tu amiga/your friend in San Antonio, Texas.........Marisela

    1. Thank you so much, sweet Marisela! Sending big hugs to you dear- all the way to San Antonio! :)

  9. A fabulous mini series...... with lots great holiday inspiration and wonderful tips for efficient kit crafting/travel (SO great, since I always want to pack ALL the things!). Beautiful cards AND the loveliest of color combinations too! Many thanks!!

    1. Aww, thanks Michelle! So glad you like! I'm SO like you...I can pack for days and still feel like I want to take more! This has been a lifesaver for me! But the urge to pack more will always be there, I reckon. Too many pretty things! xoxo

  10. Oh girl--you're made to be a teacher! You've got an open invitation to head west & try out a kit on me--haha! Just got my first PF order & made a card--gotta get it posted. You're an inspiration, Ivana!


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