In the fifteen years that my partner and I have been together, he has suffered through many gift exchanges. For Christmas last year, he gave me a new laptop computer and I gave him a scratchblock for an upcoming aluminum pour. For our birthdays last year, he gave me a book I’d been wanting and a gift card to our local indie sewing machine store, and I gave him the promise of a Star Wars T-shirt quilt…that I still haven’t finished (oops!).
Handmade has finally equalized the gift exchange, however. For our recent anniversary, Matt gave me the panini press that I’d really, really, really been wanting, and I gave him a smash book, altered from an old children’s book, that chronicles our fifteen years together.
If you’ve read Mahe’s post on upcycled smash books (if you haven’t, then go do it now!), then you know that smash books are quicker, easier, and more creatively amenable to recycled components than traditional scrapbooks can be, and frankly I much prefer the look of a smash book to that of your typical carefully engineered scrapbook. If you’d like some more examples, then please feel free to take a look below at my own upcycled smash book–it’s by no means perfect, but the beauty of a smash book is that it isn’t meant to be perfect. Instead, it’s meant to be meaningful, fun, crafted with lots of upcycled materials and stash components, and beloved by its recipient.
And that it is!
To make my particular upcycled smash book, I grabbed an old children’s book from my stash, one that I’d acquired for free from some local book sale or thrift store or somewhere. I made sure that the binding was still sturdy and that the pages were still firmly attached to the binding and in good shape–brittle pages wouldn’t hold up to all the stuff I’m going to throw on them, and a book with a broken binding is just going to fall apart on you while you’re working.
Some pages of the book, I gessoed and then painted with artist’s acrylics. Some pages I colored over with Prismacolor colored pencils or markers, to allow the background text and illustrations to show through without being overwhelming. Some pages I completely decoupaged with other paper, such as vintage sheet music or my daughters’ artwork. Some pages I covered completely with fabric or novelty duct tape. And some pages I did nothing to. The rest of the pages, consisting of over half of the book, I cut or ripped completely out, to give more room to the three-dimensional embellishments that I knew I was going to add. Those pages went straight to my vintage papers bin, ready and waiting for a future project.