Junk Journaling – What Is It?

The popularity of journaling will never wain because there are so many different styles out there right now. Also, a growing acceptance of journaling for self-care sees creators of various demographics searching for the perfect fit. You may be a fan of artistic journals, bullet journals, scrapbooking, or something else. But what about junk journaling? Could this be the perfect way to document an occasion or the next year of your life? 

What Is Junk Journal?

The short answer here is that junk journaling takes “junk” and scraps and brings them together to create beautiful handmade pages. Some creators focus on the idea of reusing old materials and creating something new from them. This can be a combination of personal items from events in your life and interesting cuttings from magazines. The final book can tell a compelling story and act as a beautiful memento when bound.

Junk Journaling Vs. Scrapbooking: What Is the Difference?

When I first saw the term junk journaling and some images online, my immediate thought was that this is just a new name for scrapbooking. However, I was wrong. There are similarities between the two in terms of the way people collect and display certain materials. But, this junk journaling artform takes familiar concepts in a different direction. 

The key difference here is that with scrapbooking, you get a pre-made book from a store and transform it into something personal with a great story. Here, you take similar items and other art materials and use them to build the book. This means making pages rather than just sticking things onto the page. It also means binding those pages into a single piece of work at the end.

What Goes into a Junk Journal?

The beauty of these junk journaling ideas is that there are no rules. Many designers will take a chronological approach, much like a normal diary or scrapbook, and keep adding pages through the year based on key events. You could have pages for major holidays, trips, events, or something more mundane that brought beauty and joy. These books can offer an alternative way to reflect on a year through items like newspaper clippings, flyers, ticket stubs from concerts or travel, and so much more. It is a visual representation of a period of time without the use of photos. The alternative is to focus on a smaller timeframe or a more specific theme. For example, you could make one for a specific vacation or tie a book around a passion or place that means something to you.

Once you realize there are no restrictions on contents and how to create a junk journal, you can let your imagination run free in terms of designing pages and embellishing them. The only limitation comes in the size of the pages and making sure they all fit together. So, as long as you commit to trimming your work to the same dimensions, you should be fine. A5 (10x148mm – 8.26×5.82 inches) is a good place to start.

What Sort of Supplies Can You Get for Junk Journaling?

One of the best ways to create a junk journal is to take a combination of personal items you collect and pre-made papers and decorative elements. You can buy handmade paper, tissue paper, and paper treated to look vintage. As there is that similarity between junk journaling and scrapbooking, there are also lots of common scrapbooking craft items that work well here too. Stickers, stamps, washi tape, and other embellishments all work really well to enhance a theme or the visual interest of a flyer or a page dedicated to ticket stubs.

Should You Use a Junk Journal Kit?

Some companies offer junk journaling kits where you can get some paper and other materials around a theme. You then assemble them into beautiful pages and then bring those pages together into a book. There are pros and cons to junk journal kits. The benefit is that you have a starting point in a completely new craft. You can get to grips with the fundamentals here before taking what you learn and applying it to a different project. The downside is that you don’t get the same feeling of individuality and personality in your work. The best junk journals are expressions of your passions and interests where you can compile meaningful things into unique designs. With a kit, there are other buyers creating something very similar. 

Do You Write in a Junk Journal?

This part of junk journaling divides opinion. Some people like to leave plenty of blank space on their pages so they can write about the experiences referenced. Others prefer to let the images do the talking if there is a chronological story or a clear theme to the pieces. Or, you can find a mid-way point with a little space for annotations. The point is that there is no right or wrong answer. If you want to write in it then go for it. If you prefer to have a separate journal for scrawling out thoughts and feelings, that’s fine.

How Do You Bind a Junk Journal?

One of the most daunting things about bringing junk journaling idea to life is the prospect of binding the pages together. This is a crucial final step, or else you just have a series of loose papers in a folder. There are different approaches you can take when stitching pages together and attaching them to a hardcover. A simple decorated card cover, some thread, and some binding glue should be fine. You can look up the best bookbinding techniques and see which works best for you. If you get into this craft and decide to make lots of books, you may want to invest in an awl and waxed thread for a more professional touch.

Is Junk Journaling the Perfect Project For 2022?

The more I look at junk journals online, the more it tempts me to create my own. That could mean going back through boxes of random items from trips or slowly creating pages detailing life from my next birthday. That’s the beauty of this craft. Once you get a theme in your head and find a good craft materials supplier, the options are limitless. Don’t be scared by the fact that you have to build so much yourself. You may enjoy the process and become hooked.