Friday 20 May 2016

Smash Books...

3 signatures, 'sun', 'sea' and 'picnics' 

I made myself a junk journal consisting of three 'signatures' - each a separate stitched part which are then bound together inside a cover to create a book. The theme of each signature grew from the paper and card I had in stock, and the layout wasn't decided beforehand. It was made it up as I went along.

I included little illustrations I'd coloured, cut out and pasted throughout the entire journal. I used pictures from magazines, lining them with other paper to make the pages stronger. I added little tags and envelopes and partially glued in card shapes so that photos and other ephemera could be tucked safely into the journal.

I'd watched a few YT videos on making junk journals where the maker used old envelopes, fliers and mail shots to assemble books far use as journals. But while I was making the first journal for myself I realised I preferred using decent quality paper and card and good quality magazines rather than junk. So I'm unsure if what I'm making is junk journals or smash books - both are used for journaling/recording/storing ephemera.

mini journals made with Tiger paperstock

Hoping to open an etsy shop I bought some paper stock from Tiger, cheap, cheerful and sturdy enough to write on. I've made two mini journals with this, sorting the paper into groups of colours. Into little pockets I tucked journaling cards and gift tags. The shop is on hold until I build up a little stock - making journals and smash books takes time.

Pages from 'Flow' and 'Daphne's Diary' magazines and cut up illustrations or colouring pages decorate the smash books. It's great fun making tiny notebooks with mixtures of watercolour, vellum and textured papers for making lists.

 3 signatures for small smash book not yet stitched
using card from Dovecraft 'Curiosity Corner'

If I see a paper block, 6x6 or 12x12 going cheap I purchase it with the sole intent on making more books. Even if the colour scheme isn't one I'd use it might be of interest to someone else. For Christmas 2015 I made gifts of junk journals & smash books for family and friends, basing each book on the recipient's individual tastes. Ele got one with bright colours and decorated with musical images and old pages from music books. Soo got a book with comic pages added and lots of cut out speech bubbles dotted throughout. My sis got one with a pastel floral theme, my nephew got one in kraft paper and gardener's twine. There were ten in total, and unfortunately I took no pictures of them as I was too engrossed making them in time for Christmas!

using up a glut of pink stock

Once I've decided on the theme and paper I begin cutting the pages to size, keeping them as folded pages to enable me to stitch them in the folds. I add pockets and cut journal cards, make mini notebooks all within the colour scheme I've chosen. And then I make the heavier card backing, check that the signatures fit and then stitch everything in place. I like to make the cord I stitch with become a feature of the spine, sometimes adding charms or buttons or knots. And I use dots of sparkly glue to keep the stitching holes from tearing. And sometimes I use premade kraft A5 binders which I decorate.

pocket from a 4 signature smash book containing
journaling cards, tags and mini notebooks.
Card from paper pack bought without cover - poss by 'American Crafts'

Some of the cheaper packs of paper are single sided - one side patterned and the other white. I prefer double sided paper and card because the finished book has such an intensity of colour and design. Yet single sided papers also work as the blank sides are perfect for journaling.

made for a friend, complete with
upcycled Body Shop ribbon

I've been using mine a little tentatively as though I don't want to 'ruin' it by making mistakes but I feel the best way to use a junk journal or a smash book is to simply love it and use it. There's nothing worse than a handmade journal sitting on a shelf without written words to fill its pages.

Copyright © 2016 by Roisin O'Hagan/bloowabbit
All rights reserved. The artworks/illustrations or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the artist except for specific permission granted with a free downloadable.

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