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How to Start Junk Journaling

by Megan
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You’ve seen a few YouTube videos about junk journals. Or maybe you can’t get enough of them. You’ve got a Junk Journal Ideas board on your Pinterest account, and you’ve pinned a few things you want to try.

You’ve been thinking that maybe just maybe you would like to stop watching and starting doing.

But how exactly do you start this hobby?

It can seem overwhelming, even intimidating, or on the other end of things – exhilarating. There are so many options out there. So many styles. So many craft supplies to buy!

(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.)

 

Plenty of you might just be willing to jump in without a parachute, but there might be others of you that want a little more help and guidance along the way. Which is understandable! I’ve said before that junk journaling can be intimidating and even a little overwhelming when you first get started – and that’s ok!

If you’re looking for guidance, this ultimate guide on how to start junk journaling is for you.

 

Step One: Find a Place to Log All of Your Junk Journal Inspiration and Tutorials

As I mentioned, there are going to be lots and lots of ideas out there that you’re going to want to refer back to. It’ll be everything from gorgeous inspiring junk journals to step by step tutorials to color palettes and vintage images.

 

If you don’t create a place to save it, you’ll find yourself a few weeks from now vaguely remembering a tutorial or an image but having no idea where you saw it. By keeping a record of all the things that inspire you, it’ll make it that much easier to remember later.

 

You can create a folder on your browser to save them or try something more visual like a Pinterest board. (You can check out my junk journal board here if you’d like some quick inspiration).

 

Step Two: Get Some Basic Junk Journaling Supplies

If you’re already a crafter or just have some basic creative supplies, you may have everything you need sitting in your spare room. After all, lots of people in the junk journal world create their beautiful journals with nothing but junk and things that are leftover.

 

However, when I started I didn’t have much. I hadn’t done anything crafty or artsy in ages, and since I’m a clean-a-holic, “junk” usually leaves my house pretty quickly.

 

What you really need is a couple different kinds of paper and cardboard, something to cut those materials with, and glue to put them back together again. That’s it. Really! In its simplest form, it’s all you need.

junk journaling supplies

However, if you’re wanting to do a little bit more than a basic junk journal, you made need some additional supplies. Check out this post on junk journal supplies for beginners to help you get started. They’re the same ones I used when I was just getting started, and I highly recommend them.

 

Step Three: Learn the Basics of Junk Journaling

As you’re gathering all of your inspiration and ideas for future junk journal projects, you’ll start to see some very gorgeous and elaborate work done by some incredibly talented artists. Honestly, hardly a week goes by where I’m not blown away by one gorgeous project or another being shared by someone in the community.

 

Just remember that you’ll get there someday, but like with anything crafty, it takes the basic building blocks to make it happen.  That means you’ll want to learn how to make a junk journal. From making a junk journal cover, to creating junk journal signatures and how to stitch a junk journal. Once you master those three basic elements – you can start getting creative!

 

Step Four: Start a Collection of Materials for Future Junk Journals

Whether you call it your collection, your stash or your hoard (or something else entirely), you’ll want to start gathering up some supplies that you can use in your junk journals. The best places to find this material really depends on your style.  

 

If you like vintage, you can head to antique or thrift stores. If you like book pages in your journals, you can head to library sales or used book stores. If you like your journals to have a cohesive theme throughout, printable junk journal kits can be a great solution.

(Each month we post new junk journal ephemera and printables in the Resource Library – if you’re interested you can sign up here for the newsletter to get access!)

 

Step Five: Start Experimenting

Once you’ve got the basics of how to make a junk journal down pat, you can start branching out to different ideas and techniques. Maybe instead of a basic pamphlet stitch in your journal, you want to try a coptic stitch or a criss cross stitch.


Maybe instead of just buying tags pre-made (like these ones on Amazon), you want to start making your own tags with die cuts or a cutting machine.

 

Maybe you want to move from making basic junk journal folders you want to try a trifold or flip pages. The options are pretty much limitless once you have the basics down.

 

I always recommend tutorials as a starting point, but the real magic happens when you start experimenting with new ideas.

 

Step Six:  Join a Junk Journal Community

You can join our newsletter here at Compass and Ink or one of the many junk journal groups on Facebook. It’ll give you the chance to get the latest news in the junk journaling community, find new tutorials, discover new etsy shops and get great inspiration for your next junk journal. Plus you’ll get the opportunity to connect with other junk journalers, which is always wonderful! 

 

Bonus Step: Keep Your Supplies & Materials Organized

There are a lot of bits, baubles and other things that go into making junk journals and it can quickly become a bit of a…well mess? A beautiful one, no doubt, but still a mess.

 

This can make it difficult to find the tools and supplies you need while you’re working. There’s nothing more frustrating then trying to find the ribbon you set aside for a project or not being able to find your favorite pair of fussy cutting scissors when you need them the most.

 

Once you’ve collected enough supplies and materials (you’ll know when, I promise!) I recommend coming up with a plan to organize your junk journal supplies.

 

At the very least a good washi tape organizer, a paper organizer and a few drawers for miscellaneous supplies can go a long way to getting you started.

 

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