What Is a Smash Book?

What Is a Smash Book? main article image
Posted on December 30, 2021 by Zeldi Smulders
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Have you heard of smash books? They’re not the same as scrapbooks. The smash booking craft has become quite popular, probably owing to the fact that it is quite different from scrapbooking while still maintaining the best parts of the beloved papercraft. Here’s your explanation of what smash books are along with useful tips on what you need to start using them.

A book decorated with flowers, stamps, tags, and more.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

What is a smash book?

One way of explaining what a smash book is is to compare it with what is already known and loved – scrapbooking. The difference between a smash book and a scrapbook is that the latter is more planned and organized while smash books tend to take less time and allow you to be a little random with fewer rules binding you. It doesn’t mean you can’t have some form of structure for it. You can add as many or little items you want, have a set layout (or not), and have them match… or not. 

Instead of having a scrapbook album with page protectors, a smash book is a journal in which you can do all sorts of things as you feel like doing them, capturing ideas by writing, drawing, painting, or pasting memorabilia and other embellishments. It ends up being some sort of a combination between a photo album and an art journal. The pages aren’t always in chronological order because you add to the book as you feel like doing it with whatever you have (from whichever time or memory you choose).

That’s why it is called a smash book. You just smash all kinds of things in a book.

A white and black ring binder book with pink flowers and stationery next to it

Where to find a smash book

Although there are some special smash book brands on the market that will work great for this hobby, you can make use of a normal notebook or journal with blank pages. Some books come with patterned paper, and this works well for some as they like the extra decorative element. You can also use a lined notebook or something like a sketch pad. These types of books can be purchased at general stores that have stationery or art sections. Alternatively, you can search for suitable books in online stores and filter according to your requirements.

There are some things to take into consideration when purchasing a book for this hobby, like the size and the durability of the book. The size you choose will depend on how many elements you would like to add to a page before it is “complete”. Most smash books are A4 size or smaller. A book with binding rings allows you to paste thicker items onto pages. The items that protrude from the page will not be a burden as the book can handle them without getting damaged.

How to use a smash book

You can use a smash book in whatever way you want (that’s the beauty of it), but some pointers always help if you have no idea where to start. For example, a good tip is that if you have something that you would like to be the centre of attention you can paste it first and work around it or use decorations to make it stand out more. With smash books, you can paste things wherever you like to, placing them where you think they will look good and make the most sense to you. Once you have a good idea of the basics, just start smashing everything together and have fun with it!

Get inspiration

A smash book can be a place to capture things that inspire you, like your musings, your goals, your milestones, your visions, your dreams, and so forth. Where do you find inspiration if you can’t come up with any bright ideas? You can start by watching YouTube videos of people flipping through their own smash books and explaining what they have done. You can also keep an eye out for crafty articles like the ones on The Artistry that give general tips on how to improve your crafts. Start getting smash book ideas on Pinterest.

Pieces of decorative paper on a table

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

Collect bits and pieces

Normally, smash books don’t really have a theme, although you can choose to go for a general theme, like travelling. Whether you have a theme or not, you need something to put into your smash book, right? So, what can you use?

Use the “junk”

Gather memories or things that make you happy. If you are the type of person who normally likes doing that you probably already have a good stash of suitable memorabilia or “junk” to use. Look through the junk drawer to find the items you just couldn’t get rid of and finally get good use out of them.

When you start collecting memories, get yourself a box or container to put the random stuff in that some might consider useless. Think of things like pretty packaging, tags, tickets, invitations, old art projects, or even menus! Gather magazines and newspapers that you can cut things out of. Think of pieces you can collage together or layer in other ways. It’s best if you have a variety of stuff to choose from. You can always sift through it later and throw out the things that are not usable (as you would’ve anyway in other circumstances). The idea is not to become a hoarder but rather to find a use for everyday items you like that go to waste but can be used to capture memories or decorate a page.

Use general craft items

Useful craft items to have at home that are great for smash books:

  • card stock
  • wrapping paper
  • scissors
  • craft glue
  • double-sided tape
  • ribbons
  • stickers
  • die-cuts
  • gift tags
  • washi tape
  • stamps
  • coloured markers

These items are fantastic for smash books as they can enhance certain items or just complete the look of a page. Most of them can be reused or used in many different ways. You can even use photos, embellishments, or other craft items that are a little imperfect because they can add character to your pages.

Use digital products

Have a look at Creative Fabrica’s graphics that can be printed and used in smash books. Browse through the endless options and choose your favourite ones to print so that you have them ready when needed.

Woman writing in a journal decorated with travel stamps

Flower photo created by rawpixel.com

Although the focus is mostly on the pieces you glue to the pages (because they tell their own story), adding words to your page can be a different way to express yourself. Journaling is just a way to capture certain details in a written format. This can mean jotting down a thought, a quote, a poem, or whatever is in your heart. Depending on the amount of time you would like to spend on it, you might quickly write things down by hand as you think of them, or you might carefully plan your words and prepare them in a digital format.

Here are some types of journaling you can think of incorporating:

Captions

You can write captions for your photos or any other items you attached to the page to give more context.

Thoughts

You can write down what happened that day, how it made you feel, what you experienced, and so on. It is a great way to make sure important details are not lost or forgotten.

Stories

When you look back on a special day, you can relive the story from your own perspective. This can also help you practice your writing skills. 

Pre-written words

If you don’t like writing that much, get yourself some printed embellishments and stickers with words that reflect what you want to express. If you know you are going to be using certain types of words a lot, you can start getting a collection of them. Think of ideas like days of the week, names of destinations, or quirky sayings you like.

Digital fonts

If you don’t like your own handwriting, you can take a look at the different fonts on Creative Fabrica and create your own sayings on a digital platform. Add the products to your list of favourites if you are not going to use them straight away so that you have them saved for future use.

A book decorated with stamps and other pieces of decorative paper

Photo by pure julia on Unsplash

Should you start smash booking?

Smash books are ideal for the following crafters:

The sentimental crafter

A smash book is ideal for someone who likes keeping things that others might think are useless or consider overly sentimental. You can also record your thoughts and memories as you are living them (and while they are still fresh) and so, you can make sure the information is not forgotten along the way.

The busy crafter

Smash books work well for someone who finds that they don’t have enough time for the planning and organisation that goes into scrapbooking. With smash booking, you only need a few minutes to complete an entire page and you can do it while you’re on the move, adding elements as you go.

The crafter who needs a break

Some use smash books for their mental health. If you consider the effortlessness and creativity involved with this hobby, you can definitely see why it can help. Instead of taking on long, complex projects, you just release some pressure by adding something to a page, writing a thought, and closing the book. Perfection is not expected and this allows crafters to wind down with this hobby.

A smash book filled with pictures of flowers, ripped paper and written words

Photo by Emily Park on Unsplash

Start smash booking

If this hobby sounds like something you will enjoy, don’t hesitate to take it on, especially since it is so easy to get everything you will need for it. 

Prepare to not prepare that much and display ordinary things in an extraordinary way! All you need is a book to smash things in – a smash book. 


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