How To Make A Successful Smashbook

One of my goals this year was to create more. I had already been writing, but I wanted to read more. Draw more. Pick up different hobbies. Basically, I wanted to use my talents to not just make money, but as a personal therapy. I’ve tried and sometimes failed at drawing, painting, writing, and reading, but I was ready for something else. So I decided to test my skills and make a smashbook.

If you’re not familiar with smashbooks, they’re a mix between a scrapbook and a journal. You start with a blank notebook and turn it into your own personalized guided writing space. They have spaces to write, draw, and even collect things that are important to you. The best part is that you are making it, so it can be exactly what you want it to be. No right or wrong way to do it!

I found that writing helped my through some tough times throughout the year, but my smashbook took the pressure off. Not everything I wrote in it had to be perfect or even seen by anyone. It was something that also helped me get through one of my best friends leaving to go live abroad. I made her one as a going away present and loved it so much that I made my own. Whether you’re looking to make one for yourself or give one as a gift, here are some tips to tailor your smashbook to the person doing the journaling.

Pick The Right Supplies


The first thing to do is pick out your journal. Since my friend was leaving for abroad, I stuck with the map theme. It was small enough that my supplies wouldn’t cost a ton of money. The journal had about 70 pages. Considering I wanted to personalize the entire thing, this turned out to be the perfect size.

My advice to not go too big on your first attempt. A smashbook can seem overwhelming with a blank journal in front of you, so don’t try to take on more than you feel comfortable with.


Of course, you’ll need stuff to decorate with as well. For my friend’s smashbook I choose bright colors, neutral envelopes that could be dressed up or down, and colorful paper. It reflected her personality and was bright and beachy, like the place she was traveling.


For mine, I stuck to a more neutral colors scheme with little pops of color and pattern. I like things simple and clean, so that’s what it represented. It was me to the tee! One of the best parts is going to pick out your supplies. It honestly is half the fun.

I highly suggest getting washi tape. There are tons of different colors and patterns, and even the most DIY beginner can use it. Stickers and envelopes are also an easy way to make the book look fancy without trying too hard.

Choose A Theme


Having a theme is important because it helps guide you through the book. It’s easier to think of page ideas if you have a set theme. If you know exactly what you want out of the book, you can come up with journaling ideas and fun little add-ons that will make you get the most out of the smashbook.

For my friend’s book, I obviously went with travel. I tried to think about the things that she would like to remember and what she would be doing while she was there. On top of pages like “my first day of school” (since she’s a teacher), I also wanted to have places for her to keep her mail and reflect on what she was feeling on the flight over.


My smashbook was a little different. I wasn’t going anywhere. I just wanted a place to write down thoughts and capture little moments throughout the year. So for my theme, I went with a year in the life.

Instead of thinking of things I would do throughout the year, I let the calendar guide me. My pages were a combination of blank (but decorated) pages to reflect my thoughts and fun pages for the holidays like “My Christmas List” and “New Year’s Resolution.”


While I purposely avoided blank pages for my friend’s smashbook, they were important to me. I wanted a place to capture moments that I wasn’t expecting. As a writer, I’m constantly looking for places to get my thoughts out, and this was much more fun than just a blank journal.


Washi tape and magazine pages were an easy way to make these pages look great. They also stuck to the same theme as the rest of the book, since I used the same colors and tapes.

Don’t Forget Envelopes


Why? Because envelopes are easy! They come in tons of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Heck, you can even make your own. They pay off too. You can collect things from throughout the year or even make specific places to hold things you find, mementos from date nights, or photos.


Plus blank envelopes can always evolve. This page in my smashbook started blank and turned into a place to hold my bookmarks form throughout the year. It might be simple, but it definitely pays off.

Have Fun With It


The best part about this book is making the fun pages. These are the pages where you can come up with your own personal themes or just collage a bunch of photos together. It’s completely up to you!


Not ever page has t be filled with a groundbreaking thought or reflection. Some can just be a page of nail polish swatches or a log of different lipsticks. Whatever you’re into.


Some inspirations can come from magazine pages as well. When I saw this popcorn picture, I knew I wanted to put it with my movie night page. Inspiration is everywhere, people!


Honestly, you just need to give it a try! It can seem overwhelming with all the supplies and an empty notebook in front of you, but once you get going you realize how easy it is.

Have you made a smashbook? Comment below some of your favorite tips and supplies.



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