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Junk Journals For Beginners

What Is A Junk Journal?

Have you heard about the new hobby craft trend to handmake notebooks called junk journals?

I think they are absolutely brilliant and have been making them for a couple of years now, using up all my old papercraft supplies and having a ton of fun.

One of the things I love about them is that the concept is based around using up all your junk mail and unwanted items that you would otherwise throw out in the rubbish.

So its all about recycling and repurposing materials you always have lying around the house. You don’t have to go out and spend a fortune on buying papercraft to make these books, instead you are using up stuff you wouldn’t normally use for anything.

And you don’t have to be very arty crafty yourself. I have created a shortcut way for people who don’t want too much fuss or muss.

I’ll explain a bit more about it below, along with some photos of books I’ve made!

Start With Rubbish And End Up With A Masterpiece!

All the supplies you need will be lying around the house.

So, what is a junk journal? It is a handmade notebook made from scraps around the house.

You start with a bookcover that can be a recycled cover you cut the pages out of, or can be made from a cereal box that you cover with fabric or pretty papers.

Then you gather blank pages to write on like copy paper, butcher wrap, cut off bits of sandwich/greaseproof paper, and fold them in half, and trim them to fit inside the book cover.

Next you find pretty paper in the colours you like with pictures you like, could be giftwrapping paper, or magazines, or illustrated book pages, anything that you find pretty and inspiring to look at in your book.

Trim them after you fold them in half so that they also fit your book cover.

You can also add old greeting cards, envelopes, and any bits of paper that you think would look nice or be good to write on.

Sort these pages into 1 to 3 stacks, depending on how thick you want your book to be.

Fold these stacks in half, so that you have a book portion, as ‘signature’, that is ready to attach in the middle to the cover spine.

You can sew these stacks of pages to the spine, or you can tie them to the spine with some ribbon or string.

Tie the bow in the middle inside of the pages, and maybe tie some beads or buttons to the ends of the string so that they dangle and hang out the top or the bottom of the journal.

Now You Decorate It

Bits and Bobs, Baubles and Beads… Snips of lace…

Now you have a basic book ready to begin writing into.

There are usually 10-12 pages in each ‘signature’, folded in half, so that each batch of papers equals 40+ pages in the book.

Now you can decorate your book with pretty pictures, photos, lace, buttons, ribbon, dried flowers, ticket stubs, stamps, anything that catches your eye that you can glue into your book will do.

If it makes your heart happy to see it, feel it, hear it, then put it in your book.

All the trivia from an ordinary life are suitable. Treat it a bit like your junk drawer.

To Do List Notebooks

You can also simply make plain blank paper notebooks that you use to make your daily lists.

Now You Make Cards And Tags For Your Junk Journal

These are used as extra writing spots for notes and quotes…

Making journaling cards can be from any cereal box cardboard, or old book pages glued together and cut into 4 x 3 ” cards.

Then you glue pictures, book text, brown paper, old music sheets, any kind of paper you can use for background and add a focal point like a picture of a flower, or butterfly, or bird.

You can also add interesting embellishments like tickets, stamps, labels, anything that makes a nice composition.

Sometimes you add a bit of paper doily, or cheesecloth, or lace to add a bit of POP to it.

If its a Tag you usually punch a hole in the top and tie some ribbon or string, or eyelet yarn to the top.

There are loads of videos on YouTube that show you how to make a Junk Journal and its ephemera.

Junk Journals

are made from unwanted paper and materials that would otherwise end up in landfill rubbish tips.

So that means every journal you make you are helping to save the planet by recycling and repurposing them!

Use Digital Collages or Scrapbooking Supplies

If you want something specific, you can get a lovely variety of images to use

Sometimes you want a specific colour theme or subject theme in your journal and not have materials around the home to suit them.

When that happens you can buy digital art from Etsy or paperback pads from Amazon filled with just the perfect images you want.

For people who dont want to go to the trouble of sewing their books together, I published some paperback signatures in many different themes, so that you just order online for home delivery, and simply tie them into your book covers with ribbon or string.

Then just tie some plain copy paper to either side of the signature. It has lots of extra images, pockets and such at the back of the book that you cut out and use to decorate your plain pages to keep the theme throughout the book.

See the range of Junk Journal no-sew signatures from amazon here: Junk Journal No Sew Signatures

And I have a range of decoupage collage image books that you cut out and glue here: Decoupage Scrapbooking Collectible Papercraft Ephemera To Cut And Collage

Convenient to order online for home delivery, no fuss, no muss!

Learn more about how to make them

I’ve made a page on my site showing some more examples

There are tons of photos of what I’ve used in the book pages, and how I’ve decorated them, all shown on this Guide.

You can also see books that I’ve made and listed for sale on eBay.

Check it out here: >> Junk Journals Made By Helene Malmsio

I think that they make a wonderfully thoughtful gift for creative people.

And especially for people who want to journal but hate staring at blank lined pages.

How could you not be inspired to write creatively when you are leafing through a book like this?

What do you have lying around the house that you can use for a Junk Journal?

Will You Make A Junk Journal?

You Are Sure To Have Enough Supplies In Your Home Right Now!

I made this book cover from cereal box cardboard, and cut up a linen tea towel or dishcloth, glued the corners to the cardboard, then glued some copy paper on the insides of the cover.

Then I found some paper supplies in purple tonings and started to cut them up to fit the cover.

I sewed it together, and made some tags and cards for it.

You can easily hand make a simple junk journal in one day!

Try it out for yourself, there are tons of videos online to show you how.

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One Of My Favourite Junk Journal Training Video Channels

Gayle Agostinelli is a wonderful trainer

This one shows her making one of her junk journals.

12 Essential Ephemera Elements

Here you see her making the most common ephemera – you can do it too!

Check Out Other Related Posts On Webnuggetz

Leave a Comment


  1. I dragged out all my bits and pieces that I’d stashed away to make Valentines. Now, you’ve inspired me and these may go into a junk journal instead.

  2. Joan Adams

    Oh the junk journals look like so much fun. I have to try to make one!

    • I promise you that you will have so much fun! And especially since you are just using up stuff lying around the house anyway, and end up with a lovely handmade book at the end of it.
      Talk about turning trash into treasure!!!

  3. I am so intrigued at the idea of junk journaling! A way to put together all the memorabilia that sentimental sorts like myself keep about. Thanks for giving me the push to finally get started.

    • Do let me know how you go. Its so inspiring when you begin to see your bits of scrap and trash turning into a little treasure to enjoy journal into!

  4. #handmade #junkjournals are such fun to create, its a rabbit hole that you fall into and never come out of again – LOL!
    Its especially fun since there are no rules about how to make them or with what materials, just use what you have on hand to make something that pleases you and that you find useful.

    Will you be trying your hand at making one of these books?

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Meet The Author

Helene Malmsio

Australian retired Businesswoman, Marketer and Trainer. Now a webmaster, author/ publisher of self help and health books and a Webnuggetz contributor - I guess I like to 'communicate' a lot - lol!

Be sure to visit me at https://www.discoveryhub.net

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