How to Start an Inspiration Notebook or a Glue Book of Ideas!

Every creative person needs a way to store ideas and inspiration. I have many different methods of saving, filing and capturing inspiration. This blog is one method, exploring ideas in my Art Journal is another. And a third one that I’ve always loved is keeping Idea Notebooks, or what you also might call Glue Books!

How to start an Idea Book - a free tutorial by iHanna found at

A Glue Book to me is a notebook, bought or handmade, where you glue down any image that spark something within you (any feeling goes). I glue down not only what’s pretty but what speaks to me emotionally. I might be drawn to the pattern or colour of a fabric, a facial expression, the idea of how a doll is made or fall in love with an illustration. Keeping a Glue Book is not difficult, but I thought I’d share a few ideas to get you started. I hope to inspire you to do some serious cut & pasting this week!

Glue Book of Ideas layout

First of all decide if a Glue Book is something you need, of course. Maybe you already have one going? I’d love to see it! But I guess not everyone has such a huge need to cut out images as I do. If you don’t already collect images but want to start an Inspiration Notebook, maybe a sketchbook or a binder for patterns would be a better fit for you…

Brown paper Glue Book handmade

Pick a notebook

You might want to try out working in a small notebook exploring one colour or making miniature collage compositions? I’m crazy, so I’m doing it all. But not at the same time, I promise. Anyway. Right now I’ve bound simple notebooks for myself, covered in brown paper. I love brown paper! They are 21×15,5 centimeters. They have soft covers and are fun to work in.

Brown paper notebook as Glue Book of Ideas

Pick one that you like (or make one), and try it out for a few pages. Preferably a notebook that has a flexible spine (because the content of the notebook will grow as you fill it with images), thread bound (because a glue binding often is not as long lived) and filled with blank pages (because you don’t need lines to write on for this project). Some notebooks have extremely thin pages that will bubble and curl even when you use a dry glue stick – yuck! Just avoid them! :-)

Scissor and clippings

Collect Images that Inspire you

I have a special transparent folder where I try to put magazine clippings and prints that I know I want to put into my Glue Book of Ideas. What should go into the inspiration notebook, the Art Journal or a spread in my writing diary is intuitive and nothing I worry much about. It happens like it happens. It’s all inspiration to me, and as long as I feel comfortable using my images somewhere I do it.

I go through a magazine
from start to finish and tear out everything that I like. Cutting out images is like therapy to me. Some images will end up in mail art, collages or in some of my many unsorted folders. I tear out articles and bigger (whole page) images, and cut out titles, details or smaller images with a small scissors. I have a special spiral notebook for interior designs/home ideas, by the way. Then I sort some images into the pile that will be used in the Glue Book. Now it’s time to glue a few of them down! Yay!

Create a Layout

I have no chronology, or special order, to my Glue Books. How you do it is up to you. In the last one I had a Fashion section, for pretty clothes and sewing ideas, but other than that I will mix everything on a page – but in an aesthetic way. To me this is kind of like creating a new magazine, just for me! I’m doing a layout, and I’m diffidently not randomly picking any images. I pick images that I think will “work together” and then I do a loose composition on a spread, mostly to know how and what fill fit into that spread. But also to make sure it looks good together. The aesthetic of the page is important to me too, and an ugly layout will ruin the prettiest of pictures for me. Sometimes I go back and write some notes about what I like most. Sometimes I add in a date, at least the year.

Glue Book of Inspiration

When I am happy with the layout I glue everything down, using a glue stick. How you arrange your images is also part of the inspiration. You might want to cover the entire page and not leaving any white space, like Mariana DeLoto does in her amazing visual notebooks. Her journals sparkle of pattern and colour! Mine are somber in comparison, but to each their own style.

Glue book: I like to Cut & Paste Stuff

And that’s it. Easy huh? My process of starting a Glue Book and keeping it growing is all about keeping it fun! I almost never buy magazines but friends send or give me theirs when they’ve read them. And I keep a pile close by, to cut into when I need to. Cutting, sorting and pasting is comforting to me because I’ve done it since I was a kid. How do you store your inspirational images? Let me know in the comments!

Happy July to all of you! And a very happy Glue it Tuesday my friends!

Every Tuesdays in July I will post more images from this Glue Book!

I am going to post about my project 365 collages in 2013 on Wednesdays for a while. I hope you will visit for both, and consider subscribing to this blog!