Sunday 23 June 2013

Smash Book Tutorial - Part One: The Book

Hi guys, no I didn't forget about this tutorial lol but it's turned out so long for a blogpost I'm splitting it into two to save the length. 

So this section will be for the book itself, aka this bit:

Part two will be for the Removable Cover and fitting the book inside, aka this bit:

So this tutorial is just how I created my Smash Book, it is not the only way to create a Smash Book (there must be a bunch of tuts out there by now) or the 'official way' or anything, just how I went about doing it, as I've been asked a million bazillion times how I made my previous Smash Book I wanted to show & tell how I made this one. 

So first up you will need:

1) A binding machine 
(I have the Zutter Bind-it-all. I have a little more info on binding machines in my FAQ page if you want it.)
2) To know how to use your binding machine 
(this is not a product demo - one of the reasons I didn't want to do a video tutorial on this was so it wouldn't get all caught up in machine settings etc, just use your machine however you would ordinarily.)
3) Paper to fill it, I'm choosing 12x12 pretty pattern papers
4) A cover to encase it, I'm using a large sheet of heavy-weight watercolour paper (approx 16x11 or something similar)
5) Owires, I'm using 1" wires
6) Ruler, pen/pencil and scrap paper for template
7) Glue and Bone Folder, optional if you want to make pockets.

Creating Your Smash Book:

So first you need to decide what size you want your pages to be, as this will also determine the size of your covers. I went for something really easy; 6x10 so that I could pick some scrapbooking papers I found pretty and have minimum wastage (cut 2" off the top, and then straight down the middle). This also meant my large watercolour sheet would be pretty much the right size for a cover without having to cut that down either.

*Tip - My last homemade Smash Book taught me that if you are going to be sticking a lot of things into your book then your pages are going to need to support them, so either you choose only card-weight papers, or double them up as I'm doing here. To do this simply fold your paper over (pretty side out), glue the bottom and once bound you'll have a full sized-pocket opening via the top!

Next measure your cover:

Whatever size you want your cover to be is entirely up to you but you will need it to be big enough to a) fit your spine and b) have enough extra space either side to fit your pages when the book is both open AND closed. By that I mean you have to take into account both the width of the pages AND Owires (i.e. I have to account for 6" pages AND 1" Owire). If you only calculate your pages you will come up short when the book is closed and have your pages sticking out. If in doubt add on some extra, k? Ok =)

Then I measured the direct centre of my cover sheet, and 0.75" either side of it, like this:

I then scored all three lines to create an 'M' shaped cover, like this:

That centre line is what I will later put into the binding machine but the reason I scored the line at 0.75" either side of it (making the spine a total of 1.5") is so that the ending result will allow room for the 1" Owire and the 'M' to remain an 'M'. If you create the spine too tight the 'M' will straighten out and not allow for any give, so I would recommend measuring 3/4 of the size of your Owire either side (therefore your spine should turn out to be one and a half times the Owire size). 

I then created a template for binding by taking a scrap piece of paper the length of my pages and measuring the centre point (5") and from there I measured either side where I would like my wires to go. 

Again how you want to bind your book is personal preference, you may wish to run your wires down the entire length of your book. I prefer the look and ease (not to mention the savviness of using the minimum) of just doing two punches per page, and therefore using only two 6-ringed Owires for the whole book. 

Here's how I used the template, 
I stuck my pages securely to it with a clip, lined up the centre to my punch line and BAM!:

So all my pages once done looked like this:

I then took my cover and folded it inside out as you can see above, then stuck the template on that too, lining up the middle line with the centre of my cover:

Once punched and flipped it back the right way it looked like this:

Then I stuck in my Owires:

And added my papers:

Squeezed the Owires together and BOOM, a new Smash Book.

Here's what some of my inside pages look like:

I chose all kinds of pattern papers from different collections to keep my interest, but that meant they really didn't match. So to make it work I put in 'filler' colours & simple patterns etc so that overall it flowed from one collection/colour to another cohesively. 

Spend some time arranging the order of your pages to be exactly how you want them, because once they're bound it's tough titties, as my Grandma would say!

And that's part 1 done, yay! and of course you can just leave your Smash Book at that if you want but in part two I'll show you how to make a more 'proper' cover that your Smash Book can slip into (think of it like a dust jacket lol). I'm still working on that one but should have it posted next week =)

Now get Smashin' ;)

Much love


  1. This is beautiful, Jennibelle! Thank for sharing your techniques.

  2. I have a zutter but have never done the M cover... It looks cool... Going to try it!

  3. Is there any advantage to the M cover?

    1. Hmmm off the top of my head just how it looks I think, the reason why I covered my previous smash book with a cover like the one I'll do in part 2 is because I much prefer wires being covered, like with book rings also, I tend to cover them over too (ie my Venice travel journal) xoxo

  4. Very cool! I like how you fold the page over & you have a pocket.

  5. GREAT tutorial since I always love a book that opens FLAT! This will make a perfect watercolor paper journal for me. Thanks so much, Mary Werner

  6. Thanks for the great tutorial! I like the M cover and all the different papers you inserted.

  7. This is beautiful, Jennibelle!

  8. Thanks so much for this great tutorial Jenny. Love it! hugs, Maria

  9. Great tutorial jennie and beautiful smash book,thanks for sharing :-)

    Today recieved me my M mail,and iam soo happy,so wonderful things is in the envelope,iam so lucky,your buttons and all the other things is beautiful,iam created a new juornal page with the pieces,iam have so fun :-)Thank you for all jennie.

    Greetings Jeannette

  10. Great Jennie,
    Fab tutorial will definitely be doing this :)

  11. Your ideas for this book are simply SMASHING! Thanks Jenniebellie!

  12. Jennibellie....I am brand spanking new to your blog and though I have watched many of your videos just since yesterday! I need to know what these exquisite little books are used for. I understand they are 'journals' but I cannot figure out what to do with them. I could make them all day long they are so imaginative and lovely and I just adore them just as they are. Please forgive my ignorance! But if I create one for my daughter, what shall I tell her she can use it for...are they for aesthetic purposes only or is one to add their own photos or mementos? All of the above? I will continue to watch the videos and see if I can come across an explanation. The tutorials are fabulous! I cannot wait to use my saved materials to create my own little treasures. Thank you for your wonderful instruction!

    1. Hi Debbie, if you check out my faq page here on my blog there is an answer for the qu of why I personally art journal with a video, also on my main channel there is a video called 'smash book/art journal/junk journal - what's the difference?' where I discuss, and so examples of, what I think defines each types of these journals but basically yes, she can do whatever calls for her to do in them, - from keeping ticket stubs to pouring her heart out. Hope this helps x

  13. Jennie thank you and I love you for that beautiful tutorial.

  14. Great pictorial!
    Wondering . . . did you ever do a video for this project or any smash book video?

  15. I really like this technique! I have done something that looks similar in the end, but I really like the method you use.

    coloured pvc binding covers

    binding equipment machines

    binding machines

  16. Really want to do a smash book, I'm feeling I'm too old at nearly 60. What do you think? Doing art journal okayish, but starting this seems beyond me. Any kick start ideas or shall I give up? Ty xxx

    1. No Susan never give up if it's something you want to do. I know hundreds of women over 60 who enjoy smashbooking and art journaling...honestly I'm not joking I probably know thousands on my art community - if you think it will help you I think you should may be have a look on there and see what all the amazing creative people on there are making, hopefully it will give you the 'yes I can do it too!' boost. There are also some free classes/groups on there too that might give you a starting place too. Listen no one gives us permission at 25, 45 or 65 to go and create - we have to give it to ourselves (but that doesn't mean we can't get support on the road either, hence why I created my art community in the first place) Good luck x

  17. Thank you. I am going to hunt for all sorts of likely bits n bobs and put them in a separate box so I don't have to keep rifling through boxes. Wondering if the real problem is that I bought a proper smash book which has already printed pages. My art journal has only about 4 spread pages left to do, its not that gkid bit at lEast i tried. Maybe I need to buy a plain paper book and do my own thing instead of trying to work round the printed images xxx


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...