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What is a Junk Journal?

Junk Journal

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A junk journal is a handmade journal or book. They are typically created using pieces of junk mail, discarded cardboard and leftover craft supplies which is how they got the “junk” in their name. They are used for a variety of purposes including as journals or diaries, photo albums, keepsakes and artwork. 

junk journal book opened to center page on a white wood background

Learn more about how to use a junk journal here

If it’s the first time you’ve heard of a junk journal – you may be wondering, what is a junk journal?  Much like any other journal it consists of a cover with pages bound inside.

A junk journal cover is either created from the outside of a used book that has been separated from its pages, or created from scratch using chipboard. They can be covered with paper, leather or fabric.

A junk journal is filled with signatures, or folded pieces of paper used to create pages. A signature has four sheets (or more) folded in half. Unlike a regular journal, the paper inside the junk journal signatures does not need to be the same size or color. Most junk journalers prefer to have a mix of old papers, book pages, tea dyed ephemera, vellum and other textures to fill the journal. 

Junk journals are frequently decorated with vintage ephemera, pockets, flip-outs and other unique papercraft items in order to increase the space for journaling, create room for tucking items inside the journal, and creating a fun tactile experience for the user. 

Since junk journals are typically made using leftovers and items gathered from thrift and second hand shops, many junk journals are made in “vintage” style.  Junk journalers often use themes or stories to unite a junk journal’s style. As they have become more popular, styles have become more and more diverse including bright colors, hobbies, and inspiration from all over the world.  

Junk journal printables, or journal pages and kits that can be printed at home to create a junk journal, are also popular. They frequently come with a theme – based on a season, a color, or another uniting principle. They can make it easier for a junk journal to have a uniting “theme” to their journal and easy to use pockets, tags and ephemera at the ready to create with. 

Learn more about where to find free junk journal printables

YouTube and Pinterest provide a great place for new junk journalers to learn techniques, watch tutorials, and find inspiration for creating their own junk journal. 

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