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!
One More Thing
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Want more great posts?
- 16 Really Cool Ways to Address an Envelope
- How to Make a Smash Book Journal
- 10 Super Cool Scrapbooking Ideas