If you are looking for free scrapbook supplies, you can look into some stores that offer regular freebies, or subscribe to designers' newsletters where they might share other goodies. But another way to gather some great supplies is by boarding a "blog train". If you are not already familiar with digital scrapbooking, you might be wondering what the heck it is! Let's see.
What is a Blog Train?
A Blog Train (also called a Blog Hop) is a series of locations where the viewers will find something to download. The idea of the train is likely from the fact that you have multiple stops to make in order to collect all the goodies you might want. There is usually a central location, based on a store, or a blog, or a forum where the train will start. It should list all the participating sites or blogs. You can start at the first "stop", get your downloads, and that stop will direct you to the next one, and so on.
The Blog Train is not randomly built to gather random goodies. There has to be a theme and a color palette that would be used by all the participants to create their share of the whole set.
Why a Blog Train?
I am not sure who started the idea of a Blog Train (although they exist since at least 2008, which is the oldest one I have found), but it was a great marketing strategy: by having people visit all those blogs to get some goodies, it was a great way to get traffic and get noticed. If someone liked the designer's style, they might decide to browse the blog, read more posts, download other goodies, and possibly visit their store or subscribe to their newsletter.
Blog Trains are also great for scrapbookers because they could build a fairly large "kit" of matching elements. Since everything uses the same color palette, they could end up mixing and matching components from various stops and create a coherent project.
Different designers might have different interpretations of a single theme. Some designers might have a different style in their products which might or might not suit your own scrapbooking style or other parts of the Blog Train.
As you visit each stop, it is up to you to decide if that style suits how you might use the supplies. Don't download "just because it is free". Collecting too many goodies over time will just make it harder for you to choose what to use in your next project.
Are Blog Train permanent?
Typically, a Blog Train will last for a specific duration. Some designers will offer some goodies for that time period and after that, will incorporate their freebie into the kit they sell in their store. The Blog Train becomes a bit of a teaser for their potential customers. Other designers leave their freebies available forever (or almost).
Where to find Blog Trains?
At the time of this post, I have found several sources for "recent" Blog Trains.
PixelScrappers had a monthly blog train. You can find the most recent ones in this section. There is a new Blog Train every month.
The Digiscrap Parade (a variation on the word "train") has a quarterly theme.
Scrapping Your Heart Out has smaller trains but still interesting ones for you to look at.
There is also MyMemories, where you can visit monthly blog trains.
(I will add links as I find more Blog Trains for you)
What to do with all this?
Once you have visited all the stops and downloaded all the goodies you want, make sure you don't let them sit too long.
- unzip your files as soon as possible, in case there is something missing or corrupt. Each link might not be available in 3 months.
- group your parts into one larger folder with the name of the theme. All those supplies will coordinate as if they were a single large kit, so keep them together.
Check out this article about organizing your scrapbooking supplies. Remember that those supplies add up very quickly. Keep them organized as soon as you start collecting them.