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Best Supplies for Archival Journal Making

Junk Journal

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You may already know that I’m a big fan of keeping my journals as archival as possible. It’s not always practical to do it 100%, but when I can I try.


Mostly I do this because it increases the longevity of the journal, prevents acid drift, and keeps precious things like old family photos and documents safe. (Here’s a guide for how to care for old photos documents and books if you’re interested!)


I’ve had a few questions on how to do this, and what the best things to use in an archival journal are. So today, I’ve put together a list of best supplies for archival journal making and linked them below if you’re interested in trying to make your first archival journal!


(Transparency note: I often link to resources in my blog posts that I believe are useful and these are sometimes affiliate links. That means if you choose to purchase through my links, I may make a small commission with no extra charge to you.)



Tyvek is used extensively in museums and archives to protect objects, reinforce books, and create mounts. It is a general all around useful supply to have.

In terms of junk journaling it creates a great reinforcement for your spine and binding surfaces as its very difficult to tear.

You can by tyvek by the yard on Amazon, or you can get tyvek by the sheet.



pH Neutral Glue

There are lots of different kinds of glue and adhesives out there, all with their own pros and cons. However, if you want to make an archival journal what kind of glue you use is very important – as glues often use acidic components that can easily destroy your journal. pH neutral glue will dry clear, keep your journal from yellowing and create a tight bond for your spine.

You can get pH neutral glue on Amazon in various sizes, depending on how many you plan to make. I like the Lineco Books By Hand variety.



Mylar Document Sleeves

If you’re wanting to include newspaper clippings or old documents to your journal and you want to preserve them and your journal, it’s best to put a barrier between them and your journal, especially if you plan to use non-archival supplies elsewhere in the journal or if you want to keep your newspaper clippings from yellowing your journal (acid drift). 

The easiest way to protect both is to use mylar document sleeves. One of the cheapest ways to get good archival quality sleeves like this is to look for comic book cover sleeves like these.

Oh and bonus tip, the backing boards they use for comic books are also great as they are frequently acid free and buffered like these ones and often cheaper than blue board. You can use them for covers instead of regular card board. 


Micron Pens

These are the gold standard when we need to use pens in a preservation setting as they are acid free and designed with preservation in mind.  You can get two, or keep a pack of them around when you want to write in your archival journal.


Unbleached Muslin

This is another standard in the preservation world. It double as excellent material for covering your junk journal, and you’ll notice I make a lot of junk journal covers with it. If you’re never used fabric to make a junk journal cover before, you can learn how to make book cloth with our guide. 

You can buy unbleached muslin at most fabric stores, or you buy it on Amazon by the yard


A Note on Aging Paper

If you’re missing the tea-dye and the coffee-dye look in your junk journals, and want to figure out how to make it archival, there’s a guide here on how to age paper without tea or coffee!


Do you have more questions about making archival journals? Let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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  1. I have an “Essential Writing Tremor” which prevents me from writing. I have a journal that I want to complete for my daughter. It’s called: “My Life, My Story–A Mother’s Legacy Journal.” In order to complete it, I need to type my entries, cut them out and glue/paste them into the journal. What type of glue or glue tape would you suggest for me to use to make sure it will last a while? I suppose the word is “archival.” Also, any suggestions would be appreciated because once all that paper is added to the journal, it is going to be pretty thick IF I can even get them all in there. The journal is 191 pages in itself. HELP PLEASE!

    1. Hi Tish! It really depends on the kind of paper you’re using. If its the thicker kind that can stand up to a bit of glue, I would use the Lineco PVA or the Books by Hand PVA. They’re good for papercrafts/gluing paper to paper as well as bookbinding. I’d just use it sparingly. I put mine on with a paint brush to make sure I get thin even strokes. If the paper you have is thinner, I would use one of the tapes that are designed for scrapbooking. Lineco (they are masters at archival stuff) has some tapes but I don’t recall if any are double-sided at the moment. I’m sure they do. But most of the scrapbooking brands will advertise if they are acid free – which is what you want. Blick has a whole page of archival glues/adhesives, etc. too: https://www.dickblick.com/categories/studio/tape/archival/ I hope that helps!

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