The Five Types of Junk Journals You Should Know About

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We all completely understand the feeling that you have so many loose little papers or pieces of memorabilia, and they just look like clutter around your house, but you can’t part with them!

A piece of paper or an old photograph can contain years of memories that you may want to remember forever, but simply don’t know what to do with. How can I keep justifying the scrap drawer in my dresser full of seemingly useless crap that I can never throw out?

Well, don’t worry too much, we’ve got a solution for you: make a junk journal!

Junk journals can be made out of essentially anything and used for whatever purpose you can appoint to them. Junk journals can be used for creative expression, sentimental value, or purely for aesthetics.

Intrigued? Want to learn more about junk journals? Well, read on for a full explanation of their purpose, how to make one, and ideas for what kind to make!

So, What Is a Junk Journal Exactly?

Junk journals are hand-made journals made completely from scraps you’ve collected. The cover is typically made of either cardboard that has been painted or wrapped in fabric, or out of an old book’s binding.

junk travel journal on wooden background

Inside is where you can get even more creative. The pages of your junk journal can be made of anything! Sheaves of loose-leaf paper, old magazine clippings, posters, printer paper, colored paper, design paper, brochures, pamphlets, scraps of notes, letters. Anything!

Combine it all bound between covers, and it’s your very own junk journal. Junk journals can serve any purpose, with pages to look at, pages to write on, and little pockets or spaces to store small papers or objects you’d like to remember.

What Types of Junk Journals Are There?

Junk journals can be used for essentially anything, and it’s all up to you to decide what you want to use yours for.

Think about the random junk you have around the house at your disposal. Is there junk that is taking up space that you can’t part with? That can make a specific type of journal.

Or, are there a lot of things headed for recycling that you’d like to make an art project out of? That’s one type too!

Or, are there a bunch of old, historic, or vintage items you’d love to combine and create an aesthetic side table piece for? Well, we’ve got the junk journal for you!

Keep reading because we’re finally getting to the good part: the five types of junk journals you should know about!

A Junk Journal Scrapbook

Spring theme bullet journal spread on white background

Take all those letters, pictures, notes, keepsakes, and such from your scrap drawer that mean so much that you can’t throw them away, and make a junk journal scrapbook out of them! Junk journals make excellent scrapbooks because they can be as uniform and organized, or as random and chaotic as you like. Typical scrapbooks you can buy at the store are uniform pages with four or so picture slots, and a few lines to write a caption on.

These are wonderful for some people and for some occasions, but by making a junk journal scrapbook you can really take all the most important scraps that mean the most to you and define this chapter of your life and immortalize them in binding.

Scrapbook junk journals can be made of journal entries, letters, pictures and random things like flowers and little notes all compiled together in a crazy structure in your book.

It won’t be perfectly organized, but it’s a fun and truthful little peek into your life that you and those who care about you will love looking through in the years to come.

A Junk Journal Artbook

Want a place where you can throw up any creative whim you have, without having random papers scattered everywhere or other notebooks scribbled over? Make a junk journal artbook then!

These are awesome if you want one specific place to hold all of your art, whether to make sure no other writing venues suffer or so you can look back at everything all at once.

Compile whatever surfaces you like to create on: loose-leaf paper, printer or colored paper, newspaper articles, fabric, canvas– whatever! Art is a great way to express yourself and is very therapeutic, so having a journal to write whatever creative ideas come to mind, to scribble in when bored, or to paint when you need relief is always a must for an artistic mind.

A Junk Journal – As a Normal Journal

Old Blank journal with pen and ink

Maybe you’d like a personalized journal for writing your daily activities, random thoughts and ideas, drama, venting your rage, or immortalizing important moments in your life. Well, junk journals can be regular journals too! Use pages you would want to write on, which can range from loose leaf to printer paper to postcards or monogrammed letters.

Keep your journal in your room or a special place, and whenever you need to get something out of your brain you can write. Making one out of random materials and creating the cover and decorating it yourself gives it a unique quality that only you could have achieved, and makes this Book of You even more you.

A Junk Journal – With a Theme!

floral themed journal on wooden table

Maybe you want to make a book for a theater show, or for a themed room in your home and you can’t buy one that gives the same effect. So make a junk journal that matches the theme you want!

You can do a Victorian style for a Jane Austen show or a vintage-style room, compiling old advertisements, letters, calling cards, pages of music, and such on gold or flowered paper.

Or, perhaps you’d like to make a science or discovery journal which you can fill with maps, star charts, weather reports, science journal excerpts, and articles. Bind the book with a handmade cover of leather, or vintage paper and gold, and add it as an incredible feature to the room for a lot of praise and wonder from whoever you invite over!

A Junk Journal – Travel Journal Edition

travel journal accessories passport camera map and journal with pen

What if you’ve just gotten back from the trip of a lifetime, or have been traveling the world already and would like to document and remember your experience? Then make a travel junk journal!

You can take postcards, pictures, letters, maps, and pamphlets from your journey and immortalize them in your journal. Make a cover with the country’s name or flag, or a world map indicating all of the places you’ve been! Never forget your amazing adventure– save its memory in a junk journal!

How Do You Make One?

Choose a purpose for your junk journal– do you want to use it for condensing your scrap drawer into a book you can actually look through and enjoy? Maybe a scrapbook across years of your life, or a compilation of photos and bits and pieces from a specific person or journey?

blank open journal next to a vintage camera

Do you want to make a junk journal for artistic expression, doodling and scribbling ideas, or venting your feelings therapeutically? Or maybe you’re designing a room and you think a vintage junk journal would be a great addition and add lots of character and interest to your room. Whatever the purpose, choose one and we can get started!

After choosing the junk journal’s purpose, the next step is compiling its contents. You can take them out of that scrap drawer, your memory bin in the shed, find old newspapers and magazines set for recycling, or even go out and buy pieces you’d like to include!

One way to make papers look more vintage and worn is to dye them with tea or coffee.

Arrange your pages in whatever way you wish, and you’re ready to move on!

Next, choose your cover. Do you want to use the cover of an old book? Remove the pages in that book and take the cover. Done! If not, take a piece of cardboard and mark the center. Then, about half an inch or more on each side of the mark, bend the cardboard so that there is a front cover, back cover, and spine. Now, you can paint and decorate the covers however you wish or cover them with fabric for a more realistic book look!

Finally, get your binding. You may choose to sew it like a typical book, or hole punch and tie ribbons through, staple it together or glue it, or whatever you wish! Just make sure that your pages are all secured tightly together and some won’t fall out while others stay in, and make sure that your entire book won’t fall out of the book cover when it’s lifted up!

And voila, there’s your beautifully completed junk journal! You can store it back in that neat and tidy scrap drawer, put it on a bookshelf, or show it off and display it in your living room– it’s a great conversation piece!


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