How to make a smash book (and why you’d want to!)

How to make a smash book - an easy way to record your lifeYears ago when our firstborns were babes in arms my sister Al and I decided that we would become scrapbookers. We had visions of ourselves spending long afternoons lovingly cutting out photos and embellishing them with… well, scrapbooky stuff. To be honest, our scrapbooking dreams were rather hazy. We bought some cardboard, we even visited a store in Stanmore that was devoted entirely to scrapbooking (who knew such a place existed!) and Al put together a couple of pages that we oohed and aahed over and then… nothing.

As much as I’d long admired the lovely pages of memories that friends and bloggers carefully created, I could never quite get there. Beautiful, artistic, meticulously-crafted books that record a life. It’s the ‘beautiful, artistic, meticulously-crafted’ bit that I’ve never been able to get my head around. I’m just not like that. I’m a ‘throw it against the wall and see if it sticks’ kinda gal. I like (very organised) chaos. So when I found out about ‘smash books’ I instantly knew that I had found my scrapbook.

What’s a smash book?

A smash book is pretty much anything you want it to be. It’s a place to record what’s happening in your life as well as a place to dream about what you want make happen. It’s where you put the little notes your kids write you, or the pretty feather you found by the footpath on the walk to the shops. Where you list you top five favourite books (for now!) or your quick to-do list of things you want to start doing – or a to-don’t list of things you want to stop. It’s where you pop a quick snapshot of the kids at the beach or where you trace around your daughter’s hand so one day you can remember how small it was.

You put in a business card of someone you think might help you change your career; add a magazine cut-out of something that really riles you; stick in a picture of something at inspires you. You might do a doodle while you’re on the phone – stick that in, it might be important one day! Add a joke that made you laugh today. Put a quick pic of a book you’ve loaned so you can remember to return it to your friend.

The possibilities are endless but there are a couple of important things to remember about a smash book:

  • it’s not formal
  • it’s not structured
  • it’s not neat
  • it might not even be pretty
  • it’s probably an ongoing snapshot of the inside of your mind
  • it’s all about you, however you come.

You add things as you find them. Sometimes that’s a load of stuff in a single day and other times it’s nothing for weeks.

How to make a smash book - notes

How to make a smash book

You can buy a fancy notebook, but an exercise book will do. If you like, you can print out a title to stick on the cover of your book. I’ve made one in your favourite colour, just click on the image below to print the one you like.
Click to download and choose your colour


How to make a smash book - get started

You’ll definitely need some scissors and glue and you might need a pen and maybe a highlighter. If you’re arty and clever, you might even need some watercolours, oil paint, coloured pencils or pastels. Or just a lead pencil will do. Then you wait until inspiration takes hold!

Getting started

How to make a smash book - getting started

Start with a recent picture of the kids and write the date next to it. See … you’re on your way! Add a sweet little note one of the kids passes you and perhaps pop in a picture that inspires you.

How to make a smash book - memories

Pop in a card or a ticket stub or an invite of an event you went this week – it might just be to the P+C meeting, but hey, that’s an event, right? Add a tracing of your child’s hand along with the date – you won’t believe that hand size in just a year or two! Pop in a quick note about a milestone your child has recently achieved … or maybe a milestone that you have achieved?

How to make a smash book - ideas for the kids

Write a quick to-do list of things you would like to try out in the next couple of months.

How to make a smash book - issues

Next time you’re reading your favourite magazine, cut something out that catches your eye! I was incensed (incensed, I tell you!) by a Buderim Ginger Beer campaign and cut out the logo to remind myself to go over to their website and be further annoyed. That’s where my story ends so far this year … where is your story up to?

Do you keep a journal, scrapbook or smash book?

{This is a modified version of a post that appeared on Kidspot}

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  1. says

    This is almost do-able! I stated a scapbooky photo album with my first baby… and that was it. the others have less and less in their baby books. But this? This is could maybe see myself doing?! x

    • says

      It works for me! I have consistently kept it up all year and I’m so grateful for that. Especially as I am getting old and my memory sux completely!!! x

  2. says

    I used to scrapbook – I made them for friends and did guestbooks for weddings and engagement parties, hens parties, and I made a scrapbook for my daughter for her first birthday (of her first year). Yet to do little man’s and he’s two-and-a-half now! My biggest hurdle now is not wanting to leave all the scissors and cutters and things out in the open. I keep telling myself ‘when the kids are older’, but I can already tell that I’ll just end up handing all the papers and stickers over to the kids to use and start digital scrapbooking at some point.
    Love your smash books. Love love love them. Kikki K has great stuff for smash books.

    • says

      I never really pictured you as a scrapper. I think you need to bring out your crafty side more regularly! The great thing about a smash book, rather than a scrap book, is that those scissors needn’t be out for very long at all!!! x

  3. says

    I love the Smash book idea, it looks like a combo of a sketchbook/clippings book and photo album! Scrapbooking makes me roll my eyes, but I use a scrapbooking system to album my photos.
    So, I suppose my smash books are split into individual books! Does that count….?!

    • says

      Definitely it counts. I think the biggest difference between the scrap and the smash is that the smash is so much less ‘formal’. You just throw it all in there. The amount of effort required for scrapbooking just made me want to have a lie down. x

  4. Michele says

    have you seen the Wreck This Journals (and app version too. All sorts of awesome. Will find a link

    • Maxabella says

      Cappers has the book, but I had no idea there was an app! I will get onto that. The book is brilliant. x

  5. says

    I love the idea of a smash book! We used to do something similar in high school – collage and draw and write things on the (used!) pages of our homework diaries – it became quite a craze. Loved cutting out pics and random words from magazines and sticking them in, and adding glitter and other stuff 😉

  6. says

    Love this Bron! Bell is making a scrapbook of her school trip to Canberra last week, and this would be perfect for that. Then she could add to it, for each excursion.
    Good to see you back on deck, take care love xx

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