Valentine’s Day Smash Book with Elmer’s #GlueNGlitter

If you’re anything like me you start thinking about Valentine gifts about 3 days before Valentines.  I plan Christmas months in advance but Valentine’s Day always seems to sneak up on me.  Since once again it is 3 days before Valentine’s  and I am running out of time, I thought I would make a gift to present to my Husband onValentine’s that I will continue to add to all year long.  This year I will be making a Valentine themed Smash Book.


What is a Smash book?

Smash books are sortof where art journaling meets scrapbooking.  The idea is to prepare the whole book (or parts of the book) ahead of time and fill it in as you go with your pictures and journaling.  There are themed kits available for purchase in a lot of scrapbooking and craft stores but I much prefer to make my own and today I will show you how to make a simple smash book in just a few hours.  Today we’re going to make a Valentine or love themed smash book that you and your significant other can add to all year long.

What supplies will I need?

I’m a list maker and I always start all my projects with a list.  I like to get all my supplies gathered up and ready BEFORE I begin so I don’t have to hunt things down later.  Here’s my list for this project:


A BIG Gluestick (Elmer’s Craft Bond Gluestick is archival and works perfect!)
A Tape Runner (I used the Elmer’s Craft Bond Tape Runner)
A Composition Notebook
Variety of Scrapbook Papers
Valentine Themed Stickers and Embellishments
Colorful Duck Tape
Pens and Markers (You may want to try Elmer’s Painters Markers)
X-ACTO Knife

I went to Walmart to get everything I needed for the project and to check out all of the Elmer’s products that they have.  You can take a look at my Google+ photo album of my trip if you’d like to see more about my shopping experience.

Why so many Elmer’s products?

In light of full disclosure – I have been asked by to create this project as a means of testing and reviewing Elmer’s Memory Keeping Products for their #glueandglitter campaign.  I am being compensated for this post but I can assure you that I am a HUGE fan of Elmer’s products and that I choose to use them because I believe in their quality.  For more information about this you can read my disclosure at the bottom of this post.

Elmer’s makes so many quality product. Here is a sample of some of their products:


Being an art teacher, I have learned the necessity of buying QUALITY products.  Cheaper usually means not as good in the arts and crafts world.  Elmer’s has never disappointed me.  The other great thing about Elmer’s is that their products are readiliy available at my local Walmart Supercenter. Again, you can read more about my shopping experience by clicking on my Google+ story.

Okay, we’ve got our supplies gathered!

Are you ready to make a Valentine’s Day Smash book?  Let’s get started!

Step 1: Prepping your journal

We need to begin by prepping the composition book. I love to use composition books because they are *CHEAP*.  Fancy sketchbooks, scrapbooks and journals will work too but I want to save some pennies and since I will be covering up the pages with pictures, mementos, color and journaling; the composition book works perfectly.  The only drawback to the composition books is that the pages of them are thin.  We can remedy this by gluing several pages together.  This will enable you to write, draw and even paint on your pages without the fear of you chosen medium seaping through to other pages.

So, grab that giant Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Stick and start gluing pages together.  I chose the large size glue stick because it is HUGE and it works great!  I usually glue my pages in sets of three. I just smear some glue around the edges, make a big X in the middle and smoosh them together with pleanty of pressure so they will stick.  You can even burnish the pages with a spoon to make sure they are smooth and secure.

This is a great activity to do while you watch TV in the evening.  It is basically mindless repetition but will make all the difference in the quality of your final product.

I would recommend that you glue the pages in at least half of the book before you continue on with the project.

Step 2: Creating a Cover

Once your pages are glued together it is time to start working on the cover.  The cover is the part of the book your Valentine will see first.  We want to transform this from a boring composition book into something fabulous.  Collect your favorite scrapbooking papers and embellishments and let’s make a cover!

I usually begin by covering my front and back covers with a pretty paper.  To do this, smear glue all over the cover of your book.  Carefully position a piece of scrapbooking paper over the cover, lining up the binding seam with the edge of the paper.  Use a spoon or the palm of your hand to carefully smooth the paper out and secure it to the cover.  Allow it to dry for several minutes.  You can then use an X-ACTO craft knife to trim the excess paper from the book.


Repeat this same procedure to cover the back of your book and the insides of the covers, if desired.


Next, use your colorful duck tape to cover the binding of the book.  Slightly overlap the papers you just glued down.


Step 3: Embellishing the Cover

The next step is to embellish the cover.  The cover should reflect theme of the book.  You can use store bought elements if you like. Being an artist, I prefer to make my own.  I am taking an online lettering class called Letter Love 101 that has really been an inspiration for some of the lettering techniques I have been using. In the course we use a composition book to practice our techniques and the teacher also mentions Smash books which I had never heard of.  I did a little research and a litttle tweaking and came up with this Valentine themed smash book.  I also took an online art journaling class called 21 Secrets that taught me many valuable art journaling techniques that I will be using later in my book.

Once you have your elements drawn or picked out you will need to attach them to the cover.  I prefer the Elmer’s Craft Bond Glue Stick when I am gluing down organic (curvy) shaped pieces.

I prefer to use the tape runner to adhere straight edged pieces.

The Elmer’s Painter Markers are also really great for lettering.

Here is my finsihed cover. I saved a little room so that I may add a photo later.

Step 3: Preparring your themed pages.

I want my book to focus on my husband Richie and I as we make our way through 2012.  I want this Smash book to be a compliation of all of the things we love to do, with places to share not only photos and mementos but our feelings for each other as well.  Here are several examples of pages I have created.

Intro Page:

10 Reasons I Love You (I’ve made a page for each of us.)

True Beauty – Pictures of Us, Together

Places We Love to Eat

Hint: I created a pocket to insert menus by gluing the sides and bottom of a scrap piece of paper and attaching it to the page. Here is a closer look.

2012 Movies We Love

The possibility for page themes is endless and the great things about handmaking your book is that you can customize everything to your interests.  Here are a few more ideas:

Life is Good – journal and share photos of things you are proud of

A Day in the Life of… – Each of you takes a page to journal about what your day is like when you are apart

Togetherness – add mementos of things you enjoy when you are together

Things He/She Said – Make a list of funny or cute things your significant other says throughout the year

For more ideas a quick Google or Pinterest search will reveal a plethora of topics.  Suggested search terms include: smash book, layout, scrapbook, project life, journaling, and art journal.

Step 4: Completing your book

I plan to work on my book for the next year.  I think it will be so neat to sit down with Richie a year from now and look through our collection of mementos from 2012.  Take your time and have fun.  Smash books are meant to be a fun way to express yourself and create lasting memories with less time, effort and pressure than with scrapbooking.

Disclaimer: This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias. #CBias The opinions I express are my own and are not influenced by compensation. I only promote products that I fully believe in and that I have actually used and tested myself.

I am not affiliated with either 21 Secrets or Letter Love 101 and was not compensated for mentioning these online classes.  I have taken both online classes and believe they are of high quality.

Getting Creative

I have been in such a creative mood lately! I have really worked hard at doing something “artsy” every day and I have managed to succeed on most days.  I have been drawing, painting, cutting and gluing and it has been so fun.  My creative ideas have been flowing so much.  I have even been working on my curriculum plan for my classes next year. I have been tweaking my lessons and revising some things and I am really excited about the new school year.  Aside from school I have been doing art just for me.  I think this is so important for an art teacher and something art teachers often overlook.  When you have drawn and painted with kids all day long sometimes it is difficult to motivate yourself to do your own artwork and to improve your own skills.  This is part of why summer breaks are so important for teachers.

I just wrapped up 4 1/2 days of prefessional development where I got to learn and make about 6 different 3D projects and about 8 multi-cultural art projects.  Today I went to a photography workshop where I picked up quite a few tips and tricks I didn’t know.

Right now I am also involved in a Traveling Art Journal Swap.  The swap consists of about 22 people from the US and Canada.  We each pick a theme and make the first few pages of our own art journal.  We then mail the journal in round-robin fashion and each respective person adds a few pages to the journal until it eventually makes its way back to me in about a year.  The swap is being hosted by some of the members of the Facebook group associated with A Year in the Life of an Art Journal.  I have chosen ‘Nature’ as my theme.  This means everyone who works in my journal make pages to do with nature.  As I receive journals I will be expected to work in it’s owners chosen theme.  I mailed my book off to a participant in Fort Smith, AR today.  I should be getting a book from a girl in Albuquerque, NM any day now.  Before I mailed off my book I completed a title page and two additional pages.  Here they are:




















I also have several other projects I am working on right now.  I am additionally working on my own art journal using the No-Frills-Prompts I found over at Daisy Yellow, one of my favorite art journaling websites.  I will share my pages as I go along.

I am also planning to take two online workshops to teach me some new art and art journaling techniques.

The first workshop is called 21 Secrets.  Basically there are 21 different techniques in 21 different lessons taught by 21 different teachers.  I am so excited about all the different techniques I will be learning.

The second workshop I will be doing is a ‘Doodle Camp’ and it starts in July.  This workshop will be taught by Dawn DeVries Sokol who is the author of the book Doodle Diary: Art Journaling for Girls.  I love her doodley approach to art journaling and I look forward to learning some of her techniques.

What are you doing to stay creative this summer?