Junk journals are a great way to enjoy art journaling. And just like any other form of journaling, art or not, there is no right or wrong way to take part in it.
Junk journals are handmade books created from special moments and “junk” such as doodles, ticket stubs, a receipt from a romantic date, a piece of fabric from your wedding dress, or anything else you can think of!
Also sometimes known as a “smash book,” it can be used as a sort of daily scrapbook. It also doesn’t have to be done daily if you don’t have a lot of time.
There are tons of different ways to experience and enjoy junk journaling but hopefully, this blog post will help you feel inspired with your own junk journal.
What Is A Junk Journal?
There really is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to defining a junk journal.
The main thing that each junk journal has in common is that they’re made primarily of found and recycled materials. Everything else about them can vary from person to person such as what the journal is used for and how it is used.
It is often a mix of a little bit of everything and anything and is used to collect and record memories, thoughts, ideas, inspiration, and more.
Junk journals can be all different sizes. You can make a big book or a mini book or somewhere in between.
What Should I Put in My Junk Journal?
So what kind of “junk” can you put in your journal? Literally anything!
Things like receipts, old book pages or book covers, junk mail, doilies, brown paper bags, scrapbook paper, file folders, wrapping paper, cereal boxes, business cards, fabric scraps have commonly been used in creating junk journals.
It’s essentially a fun way to use junk that would normally end up in the trash and turn it into a beautiful handmade book full of memories.
Possible Junk Journal Supplies
- Glue Stick
- Washi Tape
- Mod Podge
- Paper Scraps
- Junk Mail
- Christmas Cards and Envelopes
- Old Maps
- Paper Bags
- Different Types of Papers
- Scrapbook Paper
- Wallpaper Scraps
- Fabric Scraps
- Fabric Scraps
- Sewing Trimmings
- Made Fabric
- Snippet Rolls or Scraps sewn on to adding machine tape
- Fabric Selvedges
- Rags and momentos from old clothing
What Do You Do With A Junk Journal?
We can all make pretty journals which is totally fine, but what else can you do with these journals? What is the purpose of the junk journal?
Well, here are several great ideas to use them.
You can, of course, use the junk journal in a more traditional sense. Just a good old-fashioned journal, or diary.
Use it to record your thoughts and feelings whenever inspiration strikes.
Use your junk journal as a blank canvas where you can sketch and draw out all your wonderful ideas.
Think of it as a kind of scrapbook. Gather photos, postcards, meaningful letters, ticket stubs for movies and concerts, or whatever else holds meaning to you.
Take it with you or create a project when you return by turning your travel journal into a junk journal. Fill it with luggage tags, postcards, train tickets, Polaroid photos, maps, and more!
Is your everyday life need some organization but you want something a bit more creative than a planner bought from the store?
And this doesn’t have to be all business. Daily planners can include your latest favorite tv shows, favorite books, or favorite quotes.
How Do You Make A Junk Journal Page?
Once you’ve figured out the basics of your junk journal, it’s time to start experimenting with different ways to create junk journal pages. There are so many different materials, papers, and styles you can test out.
Here are some great junk journal ideas for your pages.
Different Types of Junk Journal Pages
The Tuck Spot Page
Tuck spots are simply spots in your journal where you can tuck something behind something else – usually ephemera, a tag, or a journaling card.
This can be achieved by gluing two sides (or sometimes only one side) of a piece of paper or a doily to create a place to slide something behind.
The opening is usually from the side and/or the top. The tuck spot pages can be helpful if an actual pocket is too restrictive for what you want to include on that page.
The Hidden Page
Hidden journaling pages are super fun to create and versatile!
A page can be hidden by a pocket that flips up or down. Another way would be to glue a pocket down onto a page except for a small space for a piece of notepaper to fit inside.
The Pocket Page
This is similar to a tuck spot page. The difference is this is usually multiple pages.
A pocket makes for a great place for storing things like a piece of ephemera, journal cards, tags, and anything else. Pockets are usually created by gluing a piece of paper or other items such as fabric down so there’s only one spot to slide things in.
You can even fold your paper or pages in ways to create extra pockets from just one sheet. Once you’ve created the base of your pocket, you can embellish it or just keep it simple.
Many junk journal supplies sellers also sell ready-made pockets you can attach to your junk journals.
The Collage Page
A collage page is super versatile and is naturally a favorite among junk journalers.
You can utilize scraps from other pages and all the random odds and ends that you never get to use elsewhere.
You can dedicate a whole page, half a page, or more to some form of collage.
The Belly Band Page
Junk journaling definitely has some unique jargon so don’t worry if you aren’t sure what a belly band page is.
It’s either a horizontal or vertical strip on your page that acts as kind of a tuck spot.
It’s kind of similar to the little elastic bands that come on store-bought planners to hold your spot (or important items).
To create your own belly band, you can use almost anything. A thick paper, cardstock, pieces of fabric, or even envelopes from junk mail work great!
The Fold Out Page
The fold-out page refers to a page folding out to reveal more space for journaling. If you have a piece of paper that is larger than the rest of your junk journal, such as music sheets, this works really well.
Junk Journal Theme Ideas
Your own journal doesn’t have to stick to a particular theme at all. But if you are wanting to give it a specific theme and are looking for some ideas, here is a place to start:
- Cooking and Recipes
- Childhood Memories
Junk Journal Ideas for The Cover
You could use a number of things to make the front cover such as an old book cover, regular paper, cardstock, brown packaging paper.
Colored duct tape, acrylic paint, scrapbook paper, fabric, and more can be added to jazz things up a bit if you wish.
I like making quilted scrap fabric journal covers but you could achieve a similar look with a mix of scrap paper and scrap fabric as well.
You can use glue like traditional scrapbookers or you could sew paper and fabric together – I often put paper through my sewing machine!
Junk Journal Binding
Types of binding for your junk journal include staples and a needle and thread. I used a needle and thread for the junk journal kid’s colouring book linked to below.
Junk Journal Ideas & Examples
From large to tiny journals, the ideas for junk journals are practically endless!
There are so many different things you can add to your junk journal including little moments you want to remember.
Here are some great examples and inspiration to make your junk journal special to you.
How to Make a Quilted Journal Cover
These quilted journal covers make quick and easy gifts as well as being a great scrap buster project!
Junk Journal Notebook
If the typical junk journal isn't really your thing but you're always carrying and using a notebook, then perhaps a junk journal notebook is a great idea for you.
You'll only need a few simple supplies and some inspiration!
How to Sew Scraps to Adding Machine Tape
You’ve probably got lots of fabric scraps, strips, pieces, fragments, trimmings, crumbs, and other odd bits of fabric in your sewing room.
With this sewing project, you’ll create pieces of fabric that are suitable for all kinds of projects such as embellishments for your junk journal!
How to Upcycle Junk Mail – Junk Journal Colouring Book
This tutorial is all about how to reuse the envelopes from your post, junk mail or otherwise and turn them into a junk journal style colouring book for kids, personalised with their favourite characters!
Tiny Ticket Book
This is a fun way to store - or to gift - tickets or other kinds of ephemera!
This technique is something you can include in any of your junk journal projects!
Embellished Paper Clips
As with “floating pockets,” adding paperclips to other types of embellishments makes them mobile.
DIY Ephemera for Junk Journals
Ephemera is anything that can be added to a junk journal.
Typically, it is a bunch of old or recycled bits and pieces such as receipts, bits from old newspapers and magazines, and other pieces of memorabilia.
This post focuses on ideas for making DIY ephemera for junk journals.
For other ideas of what to do with scrap paper and fabric, check out these posts:
- How to Upcycle Junk Mail – Junk Journal Colouring Book
- DIY Christmas Gift Tags from Cardboard & Scrap Fabric
- 6 Ways to Reuse Packaging as Upcycled Gift Wrap
- Scrap Fabric Bookmarks – from Teeny Tiny Trimmings!
- How to Make a Candy Wrapper Book Cover
- How to Make Kraft Tags from Upcycled Cardboard
- 35 Fun Things to Do with Old Books – Donate, Upcycle, Decorate!
For even more recycled craft ideas go here: Recycled Crafts & Gifts
Want to start from scratch and find out about what upcycling is and what you can upcycle? Head here.
Friday 4th of February 2022
This is great! Lots of useful information about creating junk journals, I love it!??Thanks for the mention about my vintage paper packs too!!
Saturday 5th of February 2022
Thanks! Glad you liked the post!