Sunday, October 7, 2012

How to Begin Smashing/Art Journaling

What is smashing? 
I think of Smashing  as half journaling and half scrapbooking. It's really the way people used to scrapbook many years ago.  Although Smash Books are a brand, you can buy any journal or even make your own Smashbook.  You don't have to stick to the brand!  (Although they really are a great way to start).

Smashing is meant to be a quick way to remember things such as vacations, creative ideas, random thoughts, and recipes with a little bit of art along the way. And the best part is… MESSY is encouraged!  There is no need to measure, place things symmetrically, or even match colors.  Just stick, write a thought, and move on to the next thing! 

Ideas for smash-able things are business cards, maps, plane or theatre tickets, recipes, lists, labels, post cards greeting cards, photographs, drink coasters, menus, programs, and pictures from magazines, etc.  If it fits… it sticks! 

Remember… there is no wrong way to preserve your thoughts and memories… so hurry up and go SMASH something!
The down and dirty on your “Smash” Supplies
These are some Smash type products you will see out in the stores and may want to incorporate into your stash:

SMASH Book w/Pen
This book is all ready to go, no alternation necessary unless you want to!  The pen that comes with the book is part pen and part glue stick!  So you can Smash anywhere, anytime. Remember you can save the plastic cover so you can preserve the outside of your book when you carry it around or can put it back on when you the book is all Smash-ed up.

I’ve included some additional adhesives to think about for things your glue pen isn’t suited for.  There are glue sticks, glue dots, and pop dots (makes things pop of the page a little bit).

Book Band:
This is meant to help you keep your book together so your stuff doesn’t fall out once you start stuffing it full of your keepsakes.

Washi Tape/Paper Tape:
To hold down any of your ephemera to add a cool design element.  

Pockets and Envelopes:
To glue inside of your book on pages of your choice when you need to stick in some more stuff than what fits onto your pages.

Paper Clips:
To help clip your stuff to pages or pockets
Patterned Paper:
To help you to create some more stuff if you are so inclined. 

Journaling Cards & Tags:
To add emphasis to your journaling notes and give some texture to your pages. 
Things like flowers, brads, buttons, etc. to add some color.

Photo Corners:
To frame your pictures, journaling notes, etc.

Texture Elements:
Things like metal mesh, cork board, and transparencies to add some artistic flair and texture.

Ribbon and String:
To add color and texture to your pages and tags.

To tag your stuff and write little notes.

Divider Tabs:
To divide your book into sections or to use as tabs on photos and journaling cards, etc.

Smash-able Things
You can smash anything! But here are a few things I have been smashing lately:
  •  Post cards
  • Photographs
  • Magazine pictures
  • Recipe clippings
  • Drink coasters
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Brochures
  • Airline tickets
  • Theater tickets
  • Lists
  • Logos
  •  Business cards
  • Greeting cards
  •  Fabric/paint swatches
  •  Maps
  • Leaves
  • Menus
  • Labels

Journaling Ideas 
Not a diary type person?  No worries… you can write a lot, or a little, or nothing at all… here are a few things to help you get started:
  •  Rate things you have tried such as restaurants, adult beverages, recipes, sewing patterns, makeup etc.  For example, was a recipe 1 or 5 stars?  Note things that you would change next time, etc.
  • Jot down song lyrics, quotes, random thoughts 
  •  Journal current projects or ideas about prospective ones
  • Journal the happenings of your vacation as they happen to make sure you don’t miss anything
  • Jot down wish list. Such as thing you want to do or things you want to buy
  • Jot down decorating ideas such as paint colors, furniture, fabric
  • Journal around pictures and in blank spaces
  • Include dates and times
  • Include addresses
Don’t forget to collect the ephemera listed above to go with your journaling!

Crafty Ideas
Your book can be as “clean” or “dirty” as you want. If you aren’t feeling super crafty or don’t have a lot of time, that is okay!  Smash books are meant to be easier than scrapbooking or keeping a diary. It’s not supposed to be “work”.  But, here are some ideas to help get you started:

  • Recycle! Use the paper bags, drink coasters, tissue paper, napkins, match books, product packaging you get from stores and restaurants.  Lots of times they have logos you can cut out and use.
  • Use newspapers.  They make cool backgrounds and have the dates and cities printed right on them.
  •  Paint a portion of your page (or all of it) to add a background and a little depth (be sure to put something directly under the page to keep it from getting on your other pages and let it dry before you close your book!)
  •  Edge one or all of your journaling tags or smash book pages with ink or paint
  •  Layer, layer, layer!  The more your layer, the cooler it gets
  • Glue in envelopes to keep your keepsakes secure
  • Use a photo printer at home to make different size pictures (such as wallet sized) and pictures with special effects (such as B&W)
  • To make your book interactive, tape along one side of a picture so that it lifts up, and then put something underneath. Add tabs to your ephemera so that you can pull them out of pockets and lift of pages, etc.
  • Have more thoughts that what fits on a two page spread? Tape along one side of your ephemera to make more pages. 
  •  Fold things. You can fold things anyway you like (bi-fold, accordion, etc) to make sure it fits.
  • Make tabs out of ribbon (I suggest stapling these. Regular glue may come undone if the ribbon is pulled on)
  • Make pockets with patterned or construction paper.
  • To make titles to your pages cut out magazine headers or individual letters to spell out exactly what you want.  You can also use alphabet stickers from your local craft store.
  • Use rubber stamps to decorate your pages, tags, and journaling cards
  • Cut around photographs and pictures, etc. so that not everything in your book has a straight line
  •  Doodle and sketch your ideas into your book
  •  Use glitter glue and rhinestones to add color and bling
  •  Use patterned paper to add a background to your ephemera.  A little paper goes a long way. Cut it into strips, scallops, geometrical shapes and mix it with ribbon.
  • Use a stapler.  Staples come in all colors. You can staple stuff to your pages, tags and journaling cards
  • Use angles.  You can stick things left, right, upside down, diagonal.
  • Let things stick out a little from your book. It doesn’t have to fit perfectly. It’s okay if things stick out.
  • You don’t always have to fill up the page. Sometimes one photo is all you need. You don’t always have to feel like you have to “guild the lily.” Sometimes basic is better. (Although going all out can be fun too!)

Now I am Addicted!
By now you may be addicted and feel the need to hoard… so here are some purchasing tips:
  •  Smash Book is a brand by K&Company and can be found at your local craft store and online.  There is a line of books and coordinating products to buy. However, you can make your own or buy any journal from anywhere to make it your "Smash Book"
  • Beware! A LITTLE goes a LONG WAY! Don’t feel the needs to go out and buy a lot of stuff.  You will most likely just use a little here and there. If you are a crafty person, look at your craft stuff. You’d be surprised what you can use.
  • There are a lot of products in craft stores (like Michael’s and Joann’s) that will work, so don’t feel married to the Smash brand.
  • There are journaling products available at Target in the journaling and scrapbook section.
  • Scour the $1 bins at stores. You can find a lot of neat things to put in your pages without spending a lot of money. Also some ladies find things at Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, the Dollar Tree, Marshall's, TJ Maxx, and Walmart. 
  • Trade with other crafters. Let's face it we all buy way too much that we will EVER use! Lots of online groups such as Facebook's "Smashaholics" do swaps, etc. Lots of scrapbook stores and community centers, etc have craft groups. Find a group that works for you either locally or online. You can even become a pen pal! You will have more to Smash with and you can make friends all over the world!
  • Look up “smash book” on Google Images or Pinterest for examples.  Don’t be scared off by the really artsy ones you may find!
  • Plan on making your smash book more like a scrapbook instead of an idea book and can’t print photos at home?  Snapfish, Shutterfly, Costco, CVS, and Walgreens have competitive pricing.  You can order online through many of these services and pick up pictures at your local store. Also, Picasa by Google has a great photo editing software that is very easy to use.   
Things to REMEMBER!
  • You don't have to be perfect with everything.
  • You can be messy and random. 
  • You don't have to spend a lot of money to SMASH. 
  • There is no wrong way to preserve your memories! 

Thanks for stopping by and I truly hope this helps you get started and that you enjoy smashing as much as I do!


  1. Oh my this is a fantastic explanation of smashing! Well done

    1. Thank you Tina! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting!

  2. Great explanation of smashing!!