What is a junk journal, and why have so many people become involved in making them? A junk journal in its simplest form is a type of scrapbook, and people love creating them because it is really loads of FUN! Additionally, there isn’t a right or wrong subject matter as it is truly an individualistic, free- spirited hobby.
Basically, a junk journal can be described as a book or journal comprised of scrap pieces of paper such as recycled paper, junk mail, craft supplies, and other found materials bound together. Pockets and ‘tuck spots’ made from envelopes, paper, or fabric are often incorporated for special trinkets. A colorful and decorative Japanese tape called Washi tape is a very popular option. There are numerous variations and interpretations of these journals. You essentially have the freedom to make it whatever you want it to be, and this can vary greatly from one person to the next. Imperfections are an integral part of junk journaling, as they actually accentuate the creativity and individualism of the creator. A unique ‘hodge podge’ of the junk of life is basically how I would describe a junk journal.
Materials Used in a Junk Journal
Let’s look at the materials needed for the book itself. Covers for the book can be book board (the highest quality option), an old book cover (recycled cover), cardboard, chipboard, or even painted fabric. The actual paper that is used for setting the chosen items for your journal can vary from 24 lb copy paper (24 lb is needed to prevent tears), to linen, to 100% cotton fine Artist’s paper, which is the premier quality paper. A 3 hole punch and metal rings (string or thread is an option) easily binds the book together. Various pastes and glues are available. Some crafters even use glue dots for certain applications. One of the most used adhesives is called ‘Yes’ Paste. This is a smart option because it is acid free and PH neutral. Therefore, it will not negatively react with air against the paper, which is especially important in maintaining the quality of an heirloom, for example.
What Goes into a Junk Journal?
Now we can review some specific examples of items that go into a junk journal. The key word to describe these items is ephemera. Ephemera relates to collectable memorabilia that was originally intended for short term usefulness. Some examples are: Postcards-Birthday Cards-Postage Stamps-Newspaper Clippings-Magazine Photos-Invitations-Bills of Sale-Toll Receipts-Scraps of Colorful Paper-Playbills-Poetry- Quotes-Doodles and Drawings. Online catalogs are available that showcase various types of ephemera as a reference and provide guidance for enthusiasts. Saving and displaying ephemera from everyday life is important to lots of folks. It provides a fun and entertaining way to document and remember your ‘life moments.’
Vintage Junk Journals are extremely popular. As the name implies, these journals are made with items from an earlier time in history or are purposely altered to appear old through various forms of what is referred to as ‘distressing.’ Old magazines, books, and manuals, some dating back hundreds of years, provide a plethora of photos and illustrations. Whether it be botanicals, animals, Christmas cards, etc.; whatever you are seeking, it can generally be found with a little research. There are numerous distressing methods you can employ. Here are a few of them. One involves staining or dyeing paper with coffee or tea to generate an older, worn look. Another technique involves the use of tools or tearing the paper in different ways so that the edges form an antique, textured appearance. Sandpaper can be used to distress book covers or any ‘junk’ by leaving scuff marks and worn edges. Ink pads can be run along the edges of book covers and journaling cards, and ink sprays are used for producing a vintage look to paper.
Remember again that the junk journal is a very unique, personal creation. I think this is the foremost benefit of journaling. Whatever subject matter you choose is based upon your own ideas, interests, and pursuits. This is why making ‘Themed’ journals is so commonly enjoyed today. For instance, using the junk journal as a quirky planner with a calendar is pursued by many. With a themed journal, your subject matter options are virtually limitless. Whether it is gardening, travel, interior design, sports, flowers, birds, cats, dogs (well, you get the picture), it’s all good!
I will finish by noting that some of you may decide to create beyond what has already been discussed. Faux and decorative painting techniques like stenciling can be implemented to add more interest to your journal. The decision to use components made from metal, wood, plastic, or jewelry is an option. These ‘non-paper’ items are aptly referred to as ‘Embellishments.’
I hope you enjoyed the post and best of luck with all your junk journaling endeavors!!