While there is no one-size-fits-all definition for what a junk journal really is, the fact is that it can vary from person to person but the one commonality between all of them is one key characteristic: the journal is made with a mix of recycled and found materials. Whatever you use the journal for will depend on you, but a junk journal could be something that you can keep close to your heart. So what really is a junk journal, and what can you do to get started with junk journaling?
What Is a Junk Journal?
A junk journal, in its loosest form, is a handmade book comprised of scrap papers and other ephemera that can form a collection of the owner’s past, interests, or anything they want. This could include notes, keepsakes, work, doodles, or anything you want! Whatever you want to keep and is important to you, you can put it in there.
While you can also use it for journaling in the traditional sense, the fact is that, when it comes to a junk journal, there are no rules! You can use your junk journal for whatever you want. A customized junk journal can be created with a mixture of craft supplies such as fabrics, vintage paper, and other ephemera.
How To Get Started With Junk Journaling
You are going to have lots of ideas that you may want to refer back to, whether it's junk journals you've seen before, or other tutorials and vintage images out there. Here is a loose guide for the things you may want to do:
Find a Place To Store All of Your Inspiration
The greatest thing about having a junk journal is that your imagination is the only thing stopping you! If you want to get inspired, you’ve got to get a system! Because if you find yourself vaguely remembering a tutorial or an image, but have no idea where you've got it from, you've got to have a system in place.
Keeping a record of everything that inspires you makes it easier to remember further down the line. If you want to get started with junk journaling and need somewhere to store your inspiration, one of the best things you can do is to get a Pinterest board or you can create a folder on your computer. There are plenty of Pinterest junk journaling boards out there to give you some inspiration.
Stock Up on Supplies
If you are already experienced in crafting or you have some basic supplies, you already have everything you need! But for people who are just starting out in the exciting world of junk journaling, you can start with the basics. You need to be able to put your junk journal together, and this means that you may want to think about what sort of storage would be useful for your ephemera.
If you are looking at putting a journal together that comes with a number of different materials, you've got to make sure that it's sturdy! When it comes to storing little items that mean a lot to you, such as an old ticket stub you may want to learn how to craft tiny pockets or envelopes that can be glued into the pages, or you want to get something that's big enough to store your clippings and collections. But at the very outset, all you really need is:
- Some different types of paper and cardboard
- Something to cut those materials
- Some glue
That's what you need to get started!
Get to Grips With What Junk Journaling Is for You
Junk journaling itself is something that has no rules. While you're gathering all your inspiration, there are plenty of amazing junk journal projects online to give you some inspiration, and one of the best things anybody can do to really upgrade their junk journal is to give it a sense of character. From the ephemera, images, and old vintage paper you've collected along the way, you may want to provide something extra, and this is where a charm accent can be perfect.
A little charm attached to your junk journal adds that something extra. It makes it more personal. Like an heirloom that's been passed down through generations, if you can find a charm that really speaks to you, it's going give it that something extra.
If you are stuck for ideas, you have to remember that a junk journal is just a mashup of different textures, materials, thoughts, and feelings. A junk journal is unique to you. But if you are still looking for some inspiration, here are a few things to make it work for you:
- Create a memory book: This is an amazing little way to showcase memories. You can display ephemera, such as anniversary cards, birthday cards, and ticket stubs, and is something you can look back on in 50 years' time as a time capsule of something far simpler, away from the digital landscape.
- Use it as a planner: If you really like the idea of having infinite to-do lists, a junk journal can easily fill this role. For those who are obsessed with sticking papers and items together, this can scratch your creative itch. Because if you are a creative person that has a multitude of projects on the go at any one time, a junk journal can easily be a home for all of your items and lists. Think of it as a personal organizer, but something a little more special.
- Use it as a journal: If you like to keep notes of your thoughts and feelings, a journal is an amazing way to do it. A junk journal is a perfect way for you to collect things you have seen throughout your day and put them all together in one handy package. You may have had a cup of coffee that you enjoyed with a close friend, so that cup sleeve goes in there. Or if you bought something for someone you love, that gift receipt can also go in there. It's an amazing way to document and remember all of the little things. In other words, it can be like a daily scrapbook, but you can also use it as a place for to-do lists, notes, and diary entries.
- A personalized gift: If you are thinking of the most personal gifts for someone you love this is an amazing idea. It's perfect for those sentimental moments like anniversaries and graduations. While this may depend on the recipient appreciating the idea of a junk journal it can be a fantastic idea. For those who are crafty and creative in their life, a junk journal can be an amazing dose of inspiration for them to carry on with their own personal projects or stop their own junk journal as a way to reciprocate the feeling.
Choose the Best Bookbinding Methods
There are great bookbinding methods out there, but the three methods that are the most popular are:
- Sewn bookbinding: This is where you stitch the papers onto the cover of the journal. There are numerous sewn binding techniques out there.
- Binder rings: This is great for those who aren't necessarily crafty and are looking for a simple way to put everything together. All you need are a few binder rings and a hole punch.
- Altered book: This just involves a notebook that already exists and you can alter it to be your junk journal. You can use any type of journal or book as a base and then use it to fill it with whatever you want.
Additional Techniques To Try
In addition to all of these approaches, you may also want to utilize some of the different techniques out there. While there are no rules, you may want to try some of the following that elevate your junk journal to the next level:
- Using different paper sizes and shapes: Some people like everything to be symmetrical and perfect, but if you are looking for something that really communicates your personality, you can start embracing imperfection and put every type of material shape and size in your junk journal.
- Add some pockets: This is perfect for tags, envelopes, and old movie tickets. This can be a perfect addition if you are gifting this to someone. Pockets are the perfect opportunity for little trinkets, including tea bags or a simple gift card.
- Adding stamps: You can use stamps in numerous ways, such as image stamps on blank paper or use ink pads to add some color to the edges of the pages.
- Printing things out: While a traditional junk journal uses recycled materials if you really need to communicate a theme or focus, why don't you print out some things? You can easily type up quotes or print out photos, and this can add something much more.
A junk journal is a treasure trove of possibilities. Getting started involves some of these approaches, but the fact is you can do whatever you want. Let your imagination fly!