Industry News & Reviews

A Review Of The Big Picture Classes New Website

NB: I am not affiliated or connected with Big Picture Classes in any way, I just want to shout about something I’m loving!

Have you taken a look at the new Big Picture Classes website yet? I’m loving it, and I thought I’d share a review so you can find out why!

Straight up I will say there are things that are different to how it was run before. And some aspects aren’t perfect, but they are working to try and solve them, so we may just need to wait a while for a few fixes. But for me the new way works. And I’ve got some shiny new projects to prove it…

A Review of Big Picture Classes at Jennifer Grace Creates

If you haven’t heard of Big Picture classes, it was started by Stacy Julian in 2005, and has featured a variety of classes about scrapbooking, crafting with kids, photography, and more. The company was sold to Studio Calico in August 2014, though Stacy Julian is still at the forefront of the business. You can read more about the story of the company HERE.

Big Picture Classes used to sell classes on an individual basis, charging different amounts per class. Some class were self-paced and some were taught during a certain time-frame. I think all of them were sold with the promise of lifetime access, which has now changed, and which caused some controversy at the end of 2014, which you can read about at Scrapbook Update HERE. However Big Picture have been doing their best to figure out how to give plenty of time for people to download / backup the classes they’ve paid for in the past. Any classes that are transferring to the new site will still be accessible if you’d previously purchased them – I believe once they are uploaded you receive a code so you can access them without having to subscribe…

The new website is run on a SUBSCRIPTION basis.

It costs $9.95 a month to subscribe, and you get access to all the regular classes on offer. There will be quarterly premium classes which ARE NOT included in the subscription, which anyone can pay to join in with. I think there’s currently 20 classes available, with more ‘coming soon’ – they say they hope to add 10-15 classes, maybe more, per month. Here’s a glimpse at some of the current classes:

(Screenshot of ‘New Releases’ at Big Picture Classes, taken 11th March 2015)

Here’s what I like about this – you can unsubscribe at any time. And your content will still be there when you re-subscribe again. I plan to unsubscribe at the end of September and re-subscribe at the beginning of February, because I know during October – January I don’t have time for classes! In the meantime I can browse all the classes, and dip in-and-out when I find something that interests me. I’m not limited to one class that might turn out not to be what I expected – I can just do a lesson on cardmaking one day, and a lesson on photography the next!

You can also customize your profile page – you can add your profile photo, a cover photo, links to your blog and social media, etc, and you can ‘follow’ other members. Here’s what mine looks like at the moment, though I’m still tweaking it:

You can follow my profile HERE.

So far I’ve checked out several classes, though I haven’t completed all the lessons for each – I’m just going with whatever intrigues or inspires me. I have watched all the lessons of Paige’s Pages 01 though, and one of the lessons inspired me to make this layout…

Pass That Silly Parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

Paige Evan’s had a great video sharing how to make the circular page element with punched circles cut-in-half, though adapted it by using a pinked-circle punch, and I only filled half my layout with the design instead of the whole layout like Paige’s.

I enjoyed almost didn’t stitch the circles with a sewing machine, but I followed Paige’s guidance and I’m so glad I did:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was a great way to use up lots of paper scraps and adds a dramatic detail to the page:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

This is for an album I’m making about My 30th Birthday Party, where we all dressed as Disney characters and had lots of fun. The photo shows my friend Rosie (aka princess Jasmine) trying out an inflatable saxophone she won in the pass-the-parcel:

Pass That Silly Parcel Layout using a pinked-circle punch at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am so glad I tried this technique out as it adds something unique to my album, and it was great to add more patterns than I normally do.

Another class I’ve dipped into was Postmarked, by Julie Campbell, about cardmaking. I’ve totally skipped a bit, where you are shown how to make a storage folder for cards – I might go back to this at some point but I didn’t fancy it right now (I’m happy with the box storage I’m currently using). But there was a lesson on watercolour cards, and a watercolour rainbow cake was included, which prompted me to make this:

Watercolour Cake Birthday Card at Jennifer Grace Creates

It was super easy and fast to make!

Both the above classes have videos, though not all classes do. Hopefully at some point there will be an icon to show which classes have a video as that would be good to know.

One class that doesn’t have videos, but which I still enjoyed, was Creating With Kids – Cards, by Natalie Elphinstone, about getting kids to help you with cardmaking. You can still enjoy this class without kids as it’s mostly about getting messy and having fun, so if you are up for that you can do them all yourself! I haven’t made any projects following the actual lessons yet, but the stamped embellishments did inspire me to make the layout I shared HERE on my blog last Friday:

Stamped Embellishments at Jennifer Grace Creates

I am sure I will find lots more inspiration as I keep browsing and as new classes are added. Something to note is that there’s currently NO ABILITY to print out or download your classes – you have to follow them all online. They’ve said they are working on a solution for offline access, but I don’t know what form this will take, or when it will arrive, so if the ability to view classes offline is make-or-break for you then don’t sign up until they have this figured out. It doesn’t bother me as I can browse and watch videos on my tablet (a Hudl2), and carry it to the crafting table with me, and when I’ve printed classes in the past they’ve just stayed tucked in a folder, unused and unloved!

There’s also a community section of the website, with groups you can join to chat about your favourite topics, and a student gallery where you can upload your work (and ‘like’ or comment on other people’s projects). As more people get involved it’s going to get even more lively and interesting!


This is a big change from how Big Picture Classes was run before, and I can see why some loyal customers are upset at the change. I’d only taken a few classes at the old website, and I’ve already downloaded all the class info that I wanted to keep.

For me the new website is fresh, more visual, and exciting to browse through. It gets me fired up – just like when I browse Pinterest or other blogs and I spot something I want to try. But here, unlike Pinterest, I also get the community spirit of uploading my projects and chatting to other class participants, I can earn virtual ‘badges’ for joining in, and I get little check-marks to show I’ve completed a lesson, which makes me feel like I’m achieving something!

Have you checked out the new Big Picture Classes website? What do you think? If you haven’t checked it out you can try it for free, but I think you have to put your credit card details in – so don’t forget to cancel it if you don’t want to carry on.

Let me know if you have any questions,

Jennifer x