What’s The Difference Between Scrapbooking and Junk Journaling?

Posted by The Cloaked Fox on

If you are new to the craft, you may find it confusing to tell the difference between a scrapbook or a junk journal. In general, there are no one-size-fit-all rules when it comes to memory keeping and journaling, but different types have a common characteristic. After all, why limit your creativity to the rules?


What makes scrapbooks and junk journals similar is that they make use of scraps and mixed media to decorate a blank sheet. They can be both used for memory keeping ot taking down important events, so what makes it different?

Scrap and junk don’t mean the same thing


People often think that scrapbooking and junk journaling are the same. They sound the same, after all. Scrap and junk sound synonymous, but they are actually different.


Scraps are small, leftover pieces of material. Unlike waste, scraps are still of value and still in good condition, and they can still be used in other projects. Examples of scraps can be buttons, ribbon scraps, paper scraps, ephemera, etc. 


Junk, on the other hand, are materials that are considered useless and often unusable. They are almost as good as throwing them into the bin. Some junk materials include receipts, torn book pages, etc.

Scrapbooks are usually for memory keeping…

Scrapbooks are like photo albums where you record memories and milestones, they are just decorated. Some examples are baby milestones, high school memories, or other important moments in someone’s life. While scrapbooks don’t strictly have to be about memory keeping, most scrapbooks are made for this purpose.

And junk journals can be about anything!

Like scrapbooks, you can also make junk journals about memories, but with junk journals, you can journal about almost anything! You can junk journal about your interests, nature, art, or even make something like a diary.


Some even do junk journaling just for the aesthetic. People use junk journals to explore and experiment with their creativity. If you explore junk journals on the Internet, you would be surprised how creative people can be!

You (usually) don’t buy junk


People may think that scrapbooks and junk journals are the same, others may think otherwise. It is understandable because some scrapbooks are decorated with a vintage touch that sometimes resemble junk journals. Some people even buy materials for their junk journals. While some consider vintage journaling similar to junk journaling due to the use of vintage materials, it is not always the case. 


You can see a scrapbook area in a bookstore or a craft store where they sell scrap materials for scrapbooking. These “scraps” are still of good quality, which is the essence of scrapbooking. You need materials that are sure to last. Scrapbooks can be costly, cheap, or even free depending on how much you are willing to spend on your materials.


Junk journals ideally stick to the rule that they make use of materials that they currently have; they do not buy materials for junk journaling. The “junk” in junk journaling means materials that are often unusable or sent straight to the bin, after all. From the journal itself to the materials used to decorate the journal, all materials are existing materials you own, or perhaps found at scavenger hunts!


Even so, it is still okay to buy materials for junk journals! There are shops online that offer junk journals and kits if you really don’t have much junk materials to work on, unsure where to start, or if you are after a certain aesthetic. Rare materials such as foreign book pages, used stamps, and vintage receipts are often great steals!


They are different in quality

While both junk journals and scrapbooks are creative outlets, the materials used are different. One dead giveaway between scrapbooks and junk journals is the difference in quality of materials.


Scrapbooks are made to last long so scrapbookers invest in good materials. Scrapbooks often come in a bound to a large sheet of thick, high-quality paper or a large album. The materials used to decorate as well are of good quality. 


Junk journals are usually old or existing notebooks you find at home or handmade notebooks such as magazine pages, bound together. Quality does not come into mind for junk journals but rather the creativity to create something out of junk. 


They usually differ in size


Scrapbooks are often big in size similar to photo albums, such as 12x12 inches or A4 size. Paper is often either in kraft paper or white paper. The big space allows enough room to put multiple pictures, ephemera, texts, etc. Junk journals are often the size of a notebook. 


Scrapbooks don’t necessarily have to be big and junk journals don’t have to be the size of a notebook. Especially for those making junk journals made from scratch, they can often tailor the size to their preference: from a small, keychain notebook to a big scrapbook size journal!


Takeaway: Your rules

Even if some “characteristics” have been mentioned earlier, you don’t have to strictly follow it. Journaling has no rules to it and you can freely journal to your desire. You can make a hybrid of junk journal and scrapbooks, make a scrapbook-size junk journal, and anything under the sun!


Happy crafting!

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