I make a lot of collage art and put them in things like gluebook. But what is a gluebook exactly? There isn’t a definitive answer, but it’s not a difficult idea to wrap your head around.
A gluebook is a “book” where you glue things (like a collage) in. The following are some examples:
- A new, blank notebook that you decide you want to glue things in
- An old book that you want to glue things on top of the pages
- Pages of blank copy paper that you fold in half (called a signature) that you use as a kind of a notebook
- Scraps of paper that you cut down to a uniform size and bind together into a book.
- A stack of manila folders that you cut or bend into a certain size, hole punched at the margin, and rings used to keep the pages together
- A stack of index cards with a hole punched in an upper corner, with a ring on it.
As you can see, anything can be turned into a gluebook. It’s not important what it was before you made it into a gluebook. It becomes a gluebook when you start gluing things into it.
What is it for?
I like gluebooks as a place for my collages. Specifically, I make collages using images that are vintage or reproductions of papers in a vintage style. It makes me happy to use these kinds of papers, and it makes my imagination take off. I love handling old papers and giving them a second life through art.
Everyone has their own interests and likes. Are you a person who saves bits of papers somewhere in a drawer or shoebox of pretty things? Snippets from a magazine, old stamps from an envelope, old concert tickets, letters, old photos, pretty food packaging, stickers, wine labels, etc? A gluebook would be a perfect place for those things. You don’t even need to make a collage out of them, just glue them in your book, almost like a diary.
But the question still is there: what is it for? Does it need to be for something other than the fact that it makes you happy? Why do people buy and color in a coloring book? What’s it for? Maybe it’s to help you relax, or to distract you from too much on your mind. Maybe you just love coloring and colors in general. It’s like that for gluebooks. Why do you do it? Because it’s relaxing, and if you love paper, it’s something about scissors, cutting and gluing papers on pages, in a fashion that is pleasing to you.
Are they called anything else besides gluebooks?
They can also be called smashbooks. It’s possible they could be scrapbooks if the pages are done in a consecutive “storytelling” kind of way. Another term I’ve heard is “zibaldone”, which is a fancy Italian word that means miscellany. Shannon Green calls them “journals for no reason”, because she says they have no purpose, and were not created with a goal in mind. I like that open idea. It means that you are not confined to a set idea for what you choose to put in your gluebook. Shannon has many wonderful videos on what her “journals for no reason” look like.
How do you make a gluebook?
I gave some examples above of what a gluebook could look like. It’s up to you to decide if you want to spend the time creating your gluebook from things you may already have, or if you want to get a blank notebook or a stack of clean index cards. I have made gluebooks from junk journals, but that’s a lot of work. It’s also fun to take an old book that you may have bought at a used book sale, and turn it into an “altered book” by tearing out some of the pages, and gluing sets of other consecutive pages to make the pages thicker. An altered book is a great place to start for becoming a gluebook.
If you’re ready to make gluebooks or would like some inspiration of what to add in yours, you can join the Facebook group Vintage Gluebooks and Pages for lots of ideas. Also, check out my blog post “Getting Started with Collage Art” on this site for a list of ideas where you can find papers around you for your gluebook.
Wonderful explanation for a “gluebook”! Even though I’ve created atc’s for years and other collage art, I had never even heard the term gluebook until I found your Facebook group! I’m so very happy that I did! And finding your blog is an added bonus! YOU Rock! ♥
Thank you for explaining what gluebooks are. I will certainly give it a go.
Wonderful! I hope you enjoy the process.
Thank you so much for your wonderful inspirational ideas Margaret!!
I recently retired and just got over a huge spinal fusion.
AND NOW my energy is back and 90% pain free.
Have sorted out my huge stash of craft stuff and am so organized and ready to glue glue glue.
Love from Kim Cave … South Africa
What wonderful news, Kim. I’m so glad you’re feeling better and have your creative mojo back in full swing! And you a step ahead of the game with having done your sorting. Have fun!! 🙂
Forgot to say I like your idea of having a foreword to remind you of what you are doing, Angela
Thanks! I find it helpful to be sometimes reminded of the ideas behind these words. 🙂
Christine TU HONG
Hi, thank you for explaining what are glue books and the art of making collages..
I have ever loved to make collages without knowing it was an art…. I remember 50 years ago, when I was decorating my Notebooks’ covers, with pieces of stickers, commercial ones, or simple scraps of vinyl…
When I started crafting in 2013, I have been kickly attracted by Debby Ann Parent’s work, Junk journals and collages…. I knew that THAT was exactly what I wanted to do… And for a few years I can’t send a parcel without covering it with all I find in my crafty stash…. 😂
And now Margarete ‘s lessons and advices, videos and challenges confort me in my “collages addiction”…. Thank you Margarete…. I love your work,( because of you my most important purchases are packs of glue sticks 😂)
Hugs from Kizi🦋, in France.😘
Debbie Anne Parent influenced me greatly over the years. I love her work and amazing skill in creating new materials 💜 I’m so glad you’ve found some interesting bits in my videos 😉💜
My Dear Margarete,
I have been retired for three years and have been trying different art classes. My world was always so full of other things now I have to make time for me and creative energy.
I am so thankful I stumbled upon your YouTube video for collages and glue books.
I love creative energy. I am a firm believer everyone should create something everyday, a continuum of a work in progress or something new. I have always wanted to do something with my collection of papers and “scraps”. I call them treasures. I haven’t taken the plunge into collages only because I felt a collage needed to be big, now I feel comfortable in trying a glue book or a collage book after watching your YouTube and joining your blog.
Thank you so much for the inspiration!!
Thank you so much for your wonderful comments, Marlene. I, too, believe strongly that creativity is so important to living a healthy life. I’m so glad you’ve gotten some ideas to start collaging with your paper treasures. I hope that you enjoy the process of creating as much as what you create. I’m wishing you all the best!
Great introduction. I have been doing this for years by accident. I have always kept lists, this evolved to journals and collecting recipes, then on to bits and odd ends I liked that got smashed together. I love paper crafts and scrapbooking and I enjoyed creating & up cycling from my own stash. Over the years I’ve inherited other crafters stashes. Finally, this is making sense. Thank you. Would love to see flip through of your work and process. Thanks!
Funny how that turns out that you’ve been creating these books for years, “by accident” 🙂 I did make a video flip though of some of these gluebooks on YouTube. You can find them if you look me up.
Ronald H Katz
A real down to earth ..honest article. Really enjoyed it.
I’m so glad you got something out of it. Thanks for stopping by.