So you want to capture the memories of life right now, but the idea of scrapbooking overwhelms you? Welcome to the Smash Book! This is a delightfully simplified way to chronicle life’s special moments without the time commitment usually required by scrapbooking. The best news – you can start today!
What you’ll need:
- A notebook — see our favorite one here, the elastic closure really helps keep your pages smashed OR get a little fancy and buy an official “Smash journal”
- Glue Stick or double-sided tape
- Markers — we bought a pack of ultra-fine point Sharpies specifically to keep near our Smash Book
- Flat paper memories — photos, ticket stubs, hotel key cards, maps, post cards, etc
If you want to keep your Smash Book simple ignore these, but if you want a little extra pizzazz without much extra work you’ll want to pick a few of these:
- My personal favorite, a Smash Date Stamp — this is especially perfect if you’re making a family journal.
- Super cute tabs — to divide your book into categories — this is perfect for a vacation smash book (with a tab for each place you went) OR make a tab for each each family member!
- “Secret” pockets — are perfect for those hard to glue items that you want in your book. You can also make your own by decorating an envelope.
Smash Book Step-by-Step Tutorial
Step 1: Find a notebook and gather supplies. Any notebook would work – I used one with lined notebook paper, but I think a heavier duty sketch pad would have been a better choice. Your supplies can be as simple as glue (or tape) and a black pen or marker. You can also grab a package of color paper, pre-cut to photo size, some scissors, colored markers, and stickers, for those days you have extra time!
Step 2: Print your photos. There are so many ways to do this, one option is to use the app Kicksend. You can use it to send photos from your phone to any nearby photo lab (Walgreens, Walmart, Target, etc.) – so convenient and quick! I love how it simplifies the process! Or use Shutterfly and have them sent right to your door.
Step 3: Start gluing! I try to keep my SmashBook chronological, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. A typical “page” for me is a title in bigger letters at the top, 2-3 photos glued (or taped) on the page, and then a brief description of the photos. Sometimes, I do a journal-style entry with just one photo, and sometimes I only write names or places and dates. That is what I love about my SmashBook – it is so flexible. You can use colored paper to accent the photos and use stickers or simple drawings with markers to embellish too, but you don’t have to! Bonus: Don’t forget to save ticket stubs, programs, maps, etc. whenever you remember. These can help trigger memories for the outings that you forgot to take a photo, and add a little flavor!
Step 4: Don’t be too organized. This is the key to a Smash Book – don’t get so caught up in doing it right that you never do it at all! If you are in a busy season of life, maybe you just get as far as printing photos and sliding them between pages for later. Maybe during a slow or rainy day, you take the time to make 3 or 4 beautiful, elaborate pages. The SmashBook not only keeps record of the photos you take and the experience you have, but it can tell a story of the real life you are living. Embrace the coffee stains, kiddo fingerprints, ripped corners – these are all part of the character of your SmashBook!
Another one of my favorite ways to save memories (especially when life get’s busy) is hopping online and creating a quick Shutteryfly picture books. I used Shutterly to create my daughter’s baby book and then again to make her a book for her 1st birthday. They were easy to make in a pinch, they look awesome and now sit right next to the Smash Book on our bookshelf. When my daughter’s grows up they’ll all be hers to take with her wherever she goes!
If you want to look inside, you can see examples of our Vacation Smash Book here.
If you loved this Smash Book post, you’ll also want to check out one of my favorite ebooks: Learn with Play, a giant collection of hands-on kids activities. Worth absolutely every penny because of the hours and hours it will help entertain the kids!
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- 16 Really Cool Ways to Address an Envelope
- How to Make a Smash Book Journal
- 10 Super Cool Scrapbooking Ideas
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OHHHH, I love this idea!!!!!
I love this idea, but I’m too digital. I do the same general idea but with shutterfly. From BOTS Group
Roberta Holbrook says
I am a very visual person. Could you post a sample page?
I’m totally visual as well! I’ll try to snap some photos next time it’s out so you can have an idea to start wit, the reason I left inside pictures out of the post originally is because everyone’s is going to be totally different, that’s one of the joys of the Smash Book, there aren’t really any rules, it’s just memories squished inside a book so you don’t lose them! 🙂
I would also love to see some pictures on the inside pages!
I branched out – my “smash” book (’cause I can’t close it any other way!) is also a daytimer (not super detailed, lots of pictures and journal cards, some drawing/coloring with pencils, photo/writing/drawing challenges, etc.
This is a scrapbook… There’s no difference except instead here it’s called a smashbook. I don’t understand why. Very cute however!
It is a scrapbook — just a much more low key, no rules version!
This is an awesome idea!!! I’m into scrapbooking and I’m OC and I have to agree with you – that it’d be more fun to just let the character stand out and not worry too much about it being perfect. I’m definitely gonna try this out! Thank you for sharing!
Corie Metz says
I’m just Grandma looking for neat things to do for my daughter – these all look so fun I can’t wait to get started!!
So glad you stopped by! Sounds like you are a wonderful grandma, enjoy the projects!
I was wonder what is the book/journal you have on the opening picture. I ordered yalls personal favorite but it seems to lengthy. I was wondering what’s the name of the book displayed, and about its size and page length
The book we got just happened to be on sale at a local store here. We’ve used all different kinds of books, for different projects. We do usually end up with blank pages at the back, but I don’t worry about it too much.
Definitely going to make one of these this summer
Denise Kelley says
I’ve been doing this for the last 25 years. Since the summer I turned 15 and the private school I attended made it a condition of going on a family vacation during the school year. No pages in my “vacation journal” ever go unused. I simply put a pretty tab at the end of one vacation and the next trip I take will be the start of the next vacation. On the Tab page, I will put the date, place and the people I’m traveling with. The first “Tourist group” photo thats taken is usually the one I use on this page. I include every type of trip, even the short weekend trips. I have also been making my own envelopes for the last 10 years, and I use them in my vacation journals too.
I think this is great. When I taught elementary school kids who would go on vacation while school was in session, I tried to get the student to do the same thing. I didn’t know that 30+ years later it would be called a Smashbook. I think it makes a great language arts/social studies alternative assignment for the student. Not everyone thought so, however.
rHONDA bELL says
I SCRAPBOOK AND HAVE A GRANDSON THAT MEANS THE WORLD TO ME, SO EVERY YEAR FOR MOTHER’S DAY, MY DAUGHTER IN LAW GETS A NEW SCRAP BOOK FROM ME. SHE HAS GOT ONE EVERY YEAR SINCE HER FIRST WHICH WAS A PREGANCY SCRAPBOOK, SO WE BOTH GET TO ENJOY MY WORK, BUT I MAY TRY THIS, IT SOUNDS LIKE IT WOULK BE RIGHT UP MY ALLY.
Phiona Richards says
A good way to ensure it lies flat is to cut out alternate pages. This allows you to glue stuff in without the book expanding too much.
I’ve done scrapbooking but a smash book seems a super idea to get those memories down quickly.
Thank you for that tip! Yes, you have to try making a smash book! They are so much fun 🙂