Summer Fun (for Mom): Homemade Smash Book

by Wendy Copley on August 11, 2011

If you’re not heavily entrenched in the world of scrapbooking, you may not have heard of the Smash Book phenomenon. A Smash Book (“Smash” is a brand name) is a decorative notebook that comes with a special pen that has ink on one end and a glue stick on the other. The idea is that you use the book like you would an old school scrapbook — one where you actually paste scraps of paper in.

There’s really nothing new or special about the concept, but the marketing is absolutely genius! The video they made is particularly catchy and made me want one. The problem? The whole Smash line sold out almost immediately when it hit the shelves. I’ve looked and looked and haven’t been able to find a store with any of the books in stock. At first I’d planned to wait for them to come back in stock but then I got antsy and decided I should just make one myself!

Smash book

And here it is! The best part is that it’s made entirely from materials I had on hand. I dug through my paper stash and pulled out all the papers I loved best, printed out some stuff I found online and then bound it all together with my Bind-it-All machine.

DIY Smash Book

I tried to focus on bright, summery colors because those are my favorites.

DIY Smash Book

And I added in some fun stuff too. This page is a pocket sheet designed to hold baseball cards. I cut it down to fit in the book.

DIY Smash Book

I also stuck in some envelopes that can be used to hold bits and bobs. And do you see that paper on the left? It’s hard to tell from the photo, but it’s all shimmery and shiny. Pretty!

DIY Smash Book

Here’s one of the things I printed. I thought it was appropriate because ice pops are everywhere this summer. Have you noticed that? They’re the new cupcake, I think.

DIY Smash Book

I also stuck this big envelope in the back. The idea is that I’ll be able to stick some stuff in here to use to decorate my book.

DIY Smash Book

Things like these: stickers, notecards, washi tape, and fill-in-the-blank lists pulled from my Listography book.

Smash book

The only thing I bought for the book was the special pen (which I was amazed to find). It’s pretty rad.

Here are a few of the pages I’ve made so far:


I made this page in Photoshop, based on one I found here. The bright colors and graphic style fit the look of my book a little better than the original. I printed three of these and interspersed them throughout my book.

10 Good Things Today

This page was about lazy Sunday I spent with Zach and the kids. I printed out some Hipstamatic photos for the page and listed out some of the things I enjoyed.

Smash book

Another page — this one about Augie’s obsession with skateboarding and his “skateboard shoes.” You can also see how I’m using the baseball card holder. So far I’ve slipped in a Starbucks drink holder from a date with Wyatt and a receipt from the grocery store.

I’m really enjoying my homemade Smash book so far. One thing I’ve noticed is that since it feels more casual, I’m more likely to sit down and tell some little stories than I would be if I were making a full on scrapbook layout. I also have been enjoying just playing around with all my scrapbook junk and using up little pieces that I wouldn’t normally pull out.

Do you keep a journal? How do you save your little bits and pieces?

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  • 999bunny999

    this is awesome!!! i finally broke down and ordered a smash book myself, although it won’t be available to ship out until the end of the month. but i also ordered an extra glue pen. i plan to make a tiny smash book to fit in my purse and i’ll stash the glue pen in there also. i’ve been unemployed since january and, although i have PLENTY of time on my hands, i can’t seem to get out of my funk and do something creative, be it scrapbooking, sewing, embroidery, etc. since i’m a graphic designer, it’s a bad thing to lose my creativity! i’m hoping this ‘scraps of life’ approach will get my creative mojo going again!

  • Crazed Women

    First off.. your book is way more cool! Secondly, how did you do your pages? Did you glue scrapbook pages back to back or is there some kinda of cardstock between them? I can see this idea being a great present for my 10 year old who loves to keep every.little.piece.of.paper. 😉 But I want one too! haha

  • I’ve been unemployed for 2 1/2 years, so I know *exactly* how you’re feeling. Keeping busy and doing projects is crucial to my sanity.

  • Yes, I did glue some of the scrapbook pages back to back. I probably should have mentioned that! I glued them partly so the pages would be sturdier but mostly so that both sides would be decorated. There are some pages that were made with papers that were patterned on both sides and I just left those as single sheets — they tend to be made of heavier paper anyway. I also printed the stuff I downloaded onto the back of some of the single-sided sheets so those are a little thinner too. They seem to be holding up OK though. You should make one! I had as much fun putting it together as I’ve had filling it up!

  • Anonymous

    This would be a great lazy baby book.  Love that idea.  I think I may order one and back track the first couple of months. Thanks!

  • Oh, what a cool idea! I still haven’t done my almost 3yo’s baby book — maybe I could do that too! 🙂

  • Anonymous

    It’s beautiful, Wendy! I’m thinking you should teach a class here:

  • Alexis Williams

    I also had an inexplicable desire for a Smash Book when I got the marketing. Thanks for the DIY version!

  • fabulous book. enjoy filling it in.

  • I am not even going to bother buying one – I wanna be like you, and make mine ! That is my project for this weekend ! Cannot wait !

  • Crazed Women

    Oh, goodie. It’s friday here in Australia so this sounds like a great Friday afternoon craft! Can’t wait to get started on it. This would also make for fast themed scrapbooks.. birthday, recipe book, etc. Can’t wait can’t wait!

  • hey wendy…could you open an etsy shop and make one of these just for me to order? 🙂 i love the way yours turned out! very inspiring!

  • DanaMyrl

    I LOVE THIS!!! I’m an old school journal/scrapbook kinda gal and with a 4 month old, my time for this kind of thing has disappered…but I have been thinking of it all the time lately.

  • SanjaZ

    Brilliant! I’ve been meaning to do something similar for almost two years now but just did not know where to start. Thanks for the idea. Would you mind telling me where you got the pen/glue stick?

  • Kaye77

    yours IS wayy cooler, I would totally buy one from you… I would buy several!  seriously you need to sell these.

  • Christina

    finally someone took the “it has to be perfect” out of the SCRAPbook!! Your book is wonderful. I love the whole idea. Now if I only had that binder machine….

  • Mecool81

    I love this idea! Is there another option for binding? I don’t have a machine and, with a new baby, we are on a tight budget right now.

  • You could easily bind this another way! My second choice for binding this probably would have been to punch two or three holes along the edge and bind it with binder rings like these: That technique is actually a little more flexible because if your book gets really fat you can upgrade to bigger rings.

  • Mecool81

    Ok that sounds great. I’ll check it out. I have another question that may sound like a no brainer but how did you get all your pages cut and shaped? Maybe a faster way than doing them one at a time? Did you use a template or something to get them all uniform? I am new to all of this and really appreciate the tips! Thank you 🙂

  • No problemo! I did all of the pages one at a time. First I cut them to the size I wanted, then I rounded the corners with a corner punch.

  • Hi Sanja — I got my pen/gluestick at the K&Co online store ( but they’re available all over the place now so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding one.

  • Gina Lindsay

    I absolutely LOVE this idea. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  • Summerhill

    Thanks for this blog.  I saw a class advertised for a SMASH book at the local scrapbook store and wanted to know what it was about.  So I googled SMASH books and came to this blog.  Thanks for giving me this idea.  I like the customization so much more and would rather spent the money for the readymade book on the binder to be able to make more books. This has given me a new way to make books and make a project handy to take along with me anywhere I go.  Thank you so much for posting this. 

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  • Maxinercthomas

    oh wow! i wish i knew how to do this one! i’m into projects like this & would love some feedback on where online to shop for thebindermaker! 🙂 thanx so much for your ideas, it’s like a walk along scrapbook of memories hey! 😀

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  • Christie

    But I need a binding machine… 🙁 

  • I love your book!!!

  • Brenda tyler

    Iam making smash books from composition books and loving it plus I own a smashbook

  • Selnique

    Actually, you can find tutorials for binding books yourself. The process would be fairly similar weather you were making a journal, or a fun home made smash book! Linked to a tutorial ;p

  • I do keep a journal, but I also bought a blank book to make my own Smash book. I’m late to the Smash book party, of course, but whatever. Wal-Mart had tons of the supplies.

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  • Susan Sawyer

    Ingenious! I wish I’d have thought of making my own before I bought a bunch (with coupons, of course!). Wonderful!

  • Robbie

    How much would you charge to make one of these? I really like the currently pages, and I would totally pay you to make me a book like this! My email is, if you would rather just email me….

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  • Joyce

    I liked your book! I don’t have a Zutter, but could use rings.
    I don’t know if you will see this message or not, but I have a question. You mention a Listography book that is no longer in print. Do you have these or pdf’s for dl?

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  • I love it, It’s amazing! so are all of the paper just scraps? or are they pics from online that you just printed cause i really like the retro star in assorted colors paper… heck i love all the paper, could you possibly scan the paper and upload it so people could use the image as desktop wallpaper/ backgrounds??? 🙂

  • KD Antonacci

    i only heard about these in the last month+. we have a new Super Target that opened in our area & i was checking out the office supplies & noticed a nice little section of Smash books & supplies. so you might try Target if you want the real thing or at least to get other ideas to make your own like here!

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  • Micheal Clark

    The quality of your blogs and conjointly the articles and price appreciating.

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