Junk Journals - Information, links, and ideas for making junk journals and smash books.


Junk Journals are whatever you create them to be. All of those little bits of odds and ends left over from other projects, as well as found items, broken jewelry, and random ephemera can be incorporated into your junk journal to make an amazing, one of a kind book.

This page should give you a few ideas and hopefully - a bit of inspiration to create your own junk journal.

My Junk Journals

Swap Junk Journal:

junk journal

This is a junk journal I made for a swap in one of my art groups. I spent about 3 months pulling it all together and really had a lot of fun with it. It has lots of "room to grow" with blank pages, secret pockets and tags for the new owner to play with.

The front cover evolved as I worked. The title banner was cut from a "Trader Joe's" mailer and customized with rubber stamping. The bluebird is a cross stitch piece from one of my original patterns. I made the little face in the bottom corner from a recycled piece of an aluminum can that I embossed. Also included are printed paper, lace, paperclip, ribbon flowers, paper flowers, buttons, a puffy sticker, clipping from junk mail and machine stitching.

junk journal

You can see from the top view that I made the book really thick and chunky. It is full of all types of papers, pockets, tags, postcards, and random bits of this and that.

I used the largest binding coil I had on hand & it wasn't thick enough, so I created a unique binding, which I call a "flip-flop" binding. There are 2 bound edges, one on each side of the book. When you get to the center of the book - you flip-flop it over and start from the other side. The two parts are joined by a center panel that is attached to both binding coils.

I embellished several pages in the book,
you can see some of the pages on my blog here: Journals & Sketchbooks.

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Quarantine Junk Journal:

junk journal

This is a brand new junk journal I made during quarantine. I have just started playing in it and have worked a few pages during "Sketchbook Revival". Here is one of my favorites:

junk journal

This project was Doodle Sketch with Mary Beth Shaw. I used printed scrapbook papers, old puzzle books pages, acrylic paint, a Sharpie marker and Indian ink pens.

You can see more of the pages on my blog here: Journals & Sketchbooks.

*More Junk Journal photos coming soon!


Page Embellishment Ideas: (techniques and items to use on pages and tags) brads, envelopes, eyelets, ribbons, yarn, thread (braid or macrame), tags, sewing (by hand or machine), paper clips, junk mail, paper ephemera (ticket stubs, old lotto tickets, bingo cards, postage stamps, postcards, etc...), stamping, stenciling, embossing, painting, punching, collage, crochet, pop-ups, origami, packing tape transfers, googly eyes, fibers, bookmarks, colored pencil or crayon rubbings, magazine cut outs, etc...

Handmade Charm Ideas: old keys, bottle cap charms, beads, buttons, cross stitch on plastic canvas, handmade paper or fabric beads, shrinky dinks, games pieces (dominos, scrabble letters, pawns), small plastic toys, polymer clay, paper clay, broken jewelry, metal washers or bolts, watch gears, puzzle pieces, small matchbox, wire wrapped stones, sewing bobbins, small thread spools, etc...

*Also see my handmade charm page and my bottle cap charms page.

Junk Journal Links

A Creative Operation Blog
Photos (and more photos) of several smash books and junk journals, as well as info on how to create pockets, etc...

Tons of info and photos for making many types of handmade books.

Related Reading:

The Complete Decorated Journal: A Compendium of Journaling Techniques

Re-Bound: Creating Handmade Books from Recycled and Repurposed Materials

Stash & Smash: Art Journal Ideas