Cutting and Pasting

For whatever reason, I really enjoy cutting up pieces of paper and gluing them to other pieces of paper. This is the essence of gluebooking. It’s a little bit collage and a little bit art journaling and a lot instant gratification.

Before we go on, I will openly admit that I don’t really understand the difference between art journaling, gluebooking, and scrapbooking. While my husband likes to tease me about my scrapbooking habit, I maintain that as long as I’m not using photographs and word balloons, I’m not technically a scrapbooker. But that’s just semantics. In all of them, you are more or less creatively preserving memories.

I’ve never gotten the hang of keeping a sketch journal. I’m notoriously bad about keeping up with any kind of “daily life” photography, which is probably a related failing. Despite spending so much time drawing, I don’t really think in pictures: I think in words. I’ve kept a regular paper diary since November 1991, yet it is extremely rare that I draw or paste anything in those diaries. I don’t know why, exactly, since those are the things I am most likely to want to look at when I go back through them.

As with many things from my childhood, I first started clipping pictures out of magazines because my older sister did it and I wanted to be just like her. She would re-cover folders, notebooks, and binders with her finds. I pasted stuff into old school notebooks, usually with a big X of Scotch tape across it. I’m not sure when it occured to me just how much tape I was wasting by doing that.

These days I use gluesticks because they are relatively non-messy and don’t yellow with age the way many tapes do. They are perhaps not the most durable of adhesives, but they serve my purposes. (And you can buy them in bulk.) I also don’t go out of my way to find things to cut up anymore, the exception being if I need something for a specific project (like the sketchbook project I’m doing now). Plenty of paper matter ends up in my house, not just from unwanted magazine subscriptions and generous swappers who send ephemera, but also from my weird compulsion to pick up brochures, leaflets, and flyers whenever I come across them. I think it’s related to my overwhelming attraction to free stuff.

The Jem Book

Jem book interior

At the moment I have four books in progress. The first is called the pink camo book, which I will describe at length in a later post. The “Jem book”, a notebook with that iconic cartoon popstar on the cover, is my general, catch-all, “I really should do something with these clippings I’ve collected” gluebook. I received it as a gift because I love both journals and Jem, but with only ten lines per page it didn’t seem very useful as a diary. One of my 101/1001 things is to fill the Jem book. As of this writing I have 33 pages (front and back) left. We’ll see.

Jem book interior

Spiral = good

Two of my other in-progress books are travel journals from my recent trips to Japan and Amsterdam. I designated specific journals just for those trips and they follow the same format: handwritten entries done while I was there, the LiveJournal recap printed out and glued in, and the rest of the pages filled with clippings from brochures from the various places I went. I have absolutely no idea when I will finish these. At the moment I have pasted in the LJ entries for both, and in the Japan journal I’ve completed only two places: the Parasite Museum and Sanrio Puroland. But I think they’ll be fun to look through after they’re done.

Amsterdam journal interior

Japan journal - Sanrio Puroland pages

Do you gluebook? Does it sound crazy? Pointless? Or just like scrapbooking?

  1. I love the gluebooks for travel, though it’s a recent thing; my next 101 in 1001 is going to include making a gluebook from old travel stuff (like 2006 and earlier). I think it is scrapbooking, though it is certainly not Scrapbooking like you have in craft store classes. I still haven’t looked all the way through the gluebook you made me for Christmas, and I’m excited like a treasure hunt.

    • I think it is scrapbooking, though it is certainly not Scrapbooking like you have in craft store classes.

      Yeah, that’s how I see it too. I look at the Scrapbook supplies at Michael’s and very little of it is stuff I would actually use.

      Glad you like the gluebook. It was a lot of fun to make.

      • Although I like the scrapbooking supplies’ existence. The paper is sometimes fun for other projects, and sometimes I want very specific stickers for cards or gifts.

  2. …’cause you know how treasure hunts are. they totally need to calm the heck down.

  3. Heather in Houston

    Gluebooking – a totally new word for me, but I have been doing this for years. Your comment about scrapbooking is funny because 1) my hubby teased me early on that my “scrapbooks” of our various trips were too “collage-y” and 2) I have lots of “scrapbook” layouts with exactly zero photos or bubbles of text in them.

    Totally glad I found your site and some validation that I am not the ONLY one. :)

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