What Is a Junk Journal and How To Use It?

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By Anna Marikar

If you’re someone who loves art journaling, scrapbooking, or just collecting beautiful paper products, then you might want to give junk journaling a try!

Junk journaling is a popular way to create a beautiful handmade book filled with different types of paper scraps, old book covers, ticket stubs, greeting cards, junk mail, and other “junk” you might have lying around your house.

junk journal

Junk journals are a great way to use up all those paper scraps you’ve been collecting in your junk drawer, and they’re also a fun way to document your life and your favorite things. Whether you’re a firm believer in gratitude journals or you just love creating something beautiful, a junk journal is a perfect project for you.

The purpose of a junk journal is to create a book that’s filled with different materials, themes, and colors that reflect your own unique process. Some people like to create themed junk journals, like a travel journal or a gratitude journal, while others prefer to create a journal that reflects their own daily life and the little moments that make it special.

junk journal

To get started with junk journaling, all you need are some basic supplies like white glue, a paper trimmer, scissors, a hole punch, and different types of paper like vintage book pages, sheet music, magazine pages, and calendar pages. You can also add in some fun extras like washi tape, paper clips, binder clips, tissue paper, and paper doilies to create tuck spots, pockets, and other creative ways to display your photos and ephemera.

One of the best things about junk journaling is that there’s no right or wrong way to do it! You can create a junk journal in different sizes, with a specific theme or color palette, or just let your creativity run wild and see where it takes you. Some popular ways to decorate your junk journal include using acrylic paint, die cuts, and old photos, while others prefer to use pieces of art or special moments to create a beautiful journal that reflects their own personality.

how to make a junk journal

Different Ways to Use Your Junk Journal

Junk journals can be used in many different ways, from an art journal to a space to write poetry or just as a daily planner. Here are some ideas on how you can use your junk journal:

Art Journal

One of the most popular ways to use a junk journal is as an art journal. In this type of journal, you can experiment with different materials, colors, and themes to create beautiful works of art. You can use your journal to try out new techniques, like collage or mixed media, or simply to doodle and sketch. Your journal can become a space where you can express yourself creatively and explore your own personal style. To make your art journal truly unique, consider using different types of paper, such as vintage book pages, sheet music, and scrap paper, and adding in different ephemera, like old photos, ticket stubs, and greeting cards.

Memory Scrapbook

Another way to use your junk journal is as a memory scrapbook. In this type of journal, you can document your life by adding in photos, ticket stubs, postcards, and other memorabilia that you’ve collected over time.

You can also use your journal to write about your memories and experiences, creating a personal record of your life. To make your memory scrapbook even more special, consider adding in special details, like washi tape, stickers, and other decorations that reflect your personality and style.

woman journaling

Gratitude Journal

A gratitude journal is a type of journal where you write down the things that you’re grateful for each day. This can be a great way to stay positive and focus on the good things in your life.

To create a gratitude journal in your junk journal, consider using different types of paper to write down your thoughts, like vintage book pages or scrap paper. You can also add in different decorations, like washi tape and stickers, to make your journal feel special and unique.

Photo Album

A junk journal can also be used as a photo album, where you can document your favorite memories and moments with friends and family. To create a photo album, consider using different types of paper, like cardstock or photo paper, to print out your photos.

You can then add them to your journal and decorate the pages with different ephemera and embellishments, like stickers, die cuts, and washi tape. You can also add captions or notes about each photo to help you remember the details of each memory. By using a junk journal as a photo album, you’ll have a beautiful, handmade keepsake that you can cherish for years to come.

woman writing journal

Daily Journal

Another popular way to use a junk journal is as a daily journal, where you can write down your thoughts, feelings, and experiences each day. To create a daily journal, consider using different types of paper, like vintage book pages or patterned paper, to write on.

You can then decorate the pages with different embellishments, like stickers, stamps, or washi tape, to add some visual interest. You can also use different writing tools, like pens or markers, to add some color to your entries. By using a junk journal as a daily journal, you’ll have a space where you can reflect on your life and record your thoughts and ideas in a creative and unique way.

junk journal page

Space to Write Poems

A junk journal can also be a great space to write poems or other types of creative writing. You can use your journal to experiment with different forms of poetry, such as haikus or sonnets, or to simply jot down your thoughts and ideas.

To make your journal feel like a space for creative writing, consider using different types of paper, like vintage book pages or sheet music, and adding in different decorations, like paper doilies or die cuts.

scrap book page with flowers

No matter how you decide to use your junk journal, the most important thing is to have fun and experiment with different materials and techniques. Your journal can become a special space where you can express yourself creatively and document your life in your own unique way.

Best Supplies to Get Started with Junk Journaling

Whatever the purpose of the junk journal idea you have chosen, you’re going to need some supplies to get started and you can use all kinds of different things!

junk journal supplies

If you’re new to junk journaling, you may be wondering what supplies you need to get started. Here are some of the best supplies to consider:

You could check out thrift stores which are also a great source of junk journal supplies

  1. Journal: The first thing you’ll need is a journal or a notebook to use as your junk journal. You can use a blank notebook, an old book cover, or even create your own from scratch. Consider the size and the type of binding that you prefer when choosing your journal.
  2. Adhesive: You’ll need some type of adhesive to glue your paper scraps, photos, and other ephemera into your journal. Some popular options include white glue, glue sticks, double-sided tape, patterned duct tape and washi tape.
  3. Scissors: A good pair of scissors is essential for cutting out different shapes and sizes of paper scraps and ephemera.
  4. Cutting Tools: Depending on the types of paper scraps you want to use, you may also need some cutting tools, like a paper trimmer or a craft knife.
  5. Decorative Elements: To make your junk journal truly unique, consider adding in different decorative elements, such as stickers, washi tape, stamps, and die cuts.
  6. Writing Tools: You’ll also need some writing tools to add your own personal touch to your journal. Consider using different types of pens, markers, and pencils to write down your thoughts and ideas.
  7. Ephemera: To create a truly unique junk journal, you’ll want to collect different types of ephemera, like old postcards, ticket stubs, vintage book pages, old letters, music sheets and scraps of patterned paper. These are a great way to create a vintage look.
  8. Embellishments: You can also add different types of embellishments to your journal, such as ribbon, lace, buttons, and sequins, to make it feel even more special.
  9. Storage: Finally, you’ll need a place to store all your supplies. Consider using file folders, magazine holders, or storage boxes to keep everything organized.

All of these craft supplies are a great way to make your junk journal pages unique and really reflect you.

scrap book junk journal page with flowers

By using these basic supplies, you’ll be able to get started with junk journaling and create a beautiful memory book that reflects your own personal style and creative vision. As you continue to experiment with different materials and techniques, you may discover new supplies that you want to add to your collection.

If you’re looking for some inspiration to get started with junk journaling, there are many different resources available online. You can check out YouTube channels and blog posts to find different techniques, materials, and themes to use in your own journals.

You can also find many different types of binding options like a smash book, daily planner, or guest book to create your own unique memory book.

Whether you’re a seasoned scrapbooker or just looking for a fun way to document your life, junk journaling is a great idea that doesn’t require much additional cost. You can create a beautiful journal that reflects your own unique style and the special moments in your life.

making a junk journal

So why not give it a try and create your own beautiful handmade junk journal today?

More Journalling Resources

After getting started with your own junk journal, if you’re looking for even more check out some of the other blog post topics we have on journalling. It can be so much fun!

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Anna is a Wales-based writer and graduate from SOAS University of London.
As the voice behind On Your Journey, she empowers women to embrace holistic well-being and spiritual growth through her expert insights into wellness and symbolism.
When she isn't writing thought-provoking articles, you'll find her busy crafting and raising her 4 children.

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