Create Your Own Junk Journal

As a crafter at heart, I need to get crafty & messy and create things to feel fulfilled.
The perfect answer to that is to create your own junk journal using pieces of scrapbook paper – or anything you may have on hand. This is so easy and fun, and can be used for a trip or event, or is a great gift to give to a crafty friend!

Get Creative

I’ve finally found the weekly/monthly planning system that works for me, yet sometimes I feel the need to get creative. My bullet journal planner is more about function for me personally, so a junk journal is the perfect space to get creative. If you’re ready to create your own junk journal, here’s how it’s done…

junk journals made with various scrapbook papers

Choose your Theme

1) decide what your goal is for your junk journal, i.e.
    a place for quotes, song lyrics, capture a specific event, or a gift for someone

2) choose your papers based on the topic, for example:
~ quotes: lined paper from an assortment of different notebooks or tablets
~ song lyrics: tear out some pages from an old songbook –
or you could print some music sheets off the internet on a lighter setting so you
can easily see your art over top of the music
~ event or gift for someone with a special event coming up, i.e.,
birthday, baby, graduation, travel
~ whatever the event you choose, you can use paper that fits the feel of that
event. Use junk mail, old birthday cards, etc

Basic Construction

3) cut the papers to size –
so that when they are folded in half, the junk journal is the size you want
(for example, a 5” x 7” tall junk journal would need papers that are 10” wide x 7” tall

4) remember the fun of a junk journal is that it’s supposed to look, well, junky !
– so vary the size and texture of your papers to add some interest

5) fold all your papers in half and make a really good crease along that middle line

6) layer the papers, opened flat, on top of each other in your desired order
~ on top of a cutting board/mat
~ middle creases should line up exactly

7) pierce 3-5 holes in the paper:
a) use an awl or a large thumbtack as your piercing tool to poke through all layers
b) poke a hole in the middle of the crease first, then space them out evenly
(for example, a 7″ tall junk journal would mean the middle hole is at 3-1/2″)
c) then poke a hole above & a hole below that at even spaces
(no closer than 1” from top of page & 1” from bottom of page)
d) for example: 7” tall journal would have 5 holes total:
middle hole at 3-1/2” inches & then 2 more holes an inch apart
(the upper holes would be at 2-1/2” and 1-1/2”)
(the lower holes would be at 4-1/2” and 5-1/2″)

8) using hemp cord and a tapestry needle, sew a saddle stitch through the holes
to bind your journal

9) have fun filling up your junk journal with mini envelopes, photos, tags, receipts,
lyrics, thoughts, whatever you want!

Options are Good

When you create your own junk journal, you decide whether to have 5 pages or 25 pages – it’s totally up to you! And the amazing thing about these is you will never have two exactly the same. You may choose to keep them simple or make them fancy by adding all sorts of embellishment goodness. If you’re a crafter, a junk journal is the best excuse to pull out your paper punches and edgers to make each page look a little different. Add tiny envelopes and flaps and tickets and tags – on and on the possibilities go!

Our daughter has become friends with several young ladies on Instagram who make amazing junk journals who have inspired her to do the same. They use fabric, lace, old paper, envelopes, even pages from old Golden Books for their baby journals. How fun is that?!

The possibilities are endless. And if you’re anything like me and the other people I know who’ve made one – the first one you make won’t be the last. The more you make, the more ideas you will have for the next one!

Your Turn

So what papers and “stuff” do you have laying around your house that would be the perfect thing to create your own junk journal? Who knows, this may actually help you clear out some things that have been sitting around for a while! This will actually give them a lovely new use in the process, whether it’s for you or a gift for a friend. Have fun!

Find Inspiration In Your Busy Life

Does your life spin out of control sometimes? Do you ever feel the need to get away and regroup for a little while? Do you feel the need to find inspiration in your busy life?
If so, that simply means you are part of the human race. The awesome thing is that inspiration comes in many forms and is different for each of us.

For me, quotes and inspirational thoughts are very motivating to me, so I have started a journal insert dedicated to that. But another thing that is a very integral part of my life is my faith. I’ve grown in many ways since becoming a Christian at the age of seven. Sunday School & church attendance were a regular part of my childhood, and then Bible studies & small group participation as an adult.

Faith Journaling

And then a few years ago, Bible journaling showed up on the internet and I thought I’d give it a try. Well, anyone who knows me knows that I can’t even draw a decent stick figure. So the idea of making art in a journal Bible was a challenge that I hesitantly accepted after much delay and consternation. At the time, I owned my brick & mortar scrapbook store and went to a trade show in Utah where I took a class with Shanna Noel of Illustrated Faith. I had so much fun using her products and working on the project in that class. I found inspiration to add to my already busy life.

So as any good retail store owner would do, I ordered several journaling Bibles so that I had them available for purchase at my store. I also set up a sample Bible with a different washi tape on the first page of each of the books of the Bible just to add some fun color to it. I mean – who doesn’t love washi tape, right?! And then I knew it was time to start on my own journaling Bible – partly for myself, but also so I’d have it as a sample to share with my customers.

First Attempt

Well, I did all the research and knew I should use gesso to prepare the page. The first mistake was a clear gesso that dried so terribly gritty that I couldn’t possibly have colored over it with any kind of nice image at all. Then when I finally found a good clear gesso (Prima has one and so does Dina Wakley made by Ranger) and tried my hand illustrating in my Bible, I hated the result. Who was I kidding? I am no artist! So months went by and my frustration grew. I so desperately wanted to combine my Bible study with my crafting, but it just wasn’t working for me.

Second Try

I came across Kari Denker who does Bible studies online and shows how to doodle as you take notes. She has some amazing Bible studies and I did several of them and learned a lot. I’d encourage you to check out her wonderful information and doodles at Although I loved the studies, it still lacked the crafty aspect that I love after decades of scrapbooking.

Faith journaling doesn't have to be done directly in a Bible.

And Then the Charm

And then one day looking at information from Cori Spieker, “The Reset Girl”, I came across some of her YouTube videos on her faith journaling. I was smitten – talk about finding inspiration in the midst of a busy life! And the absolute best part is, that it is perfect for my Moleskine journal inserts. It was one of those moments when you think to yourself “now, why didn’t I think of that?” So my faith and crafting are now combined in my faith journal insert.

So my inspiration may be different from your inspiration for your busy life. If yours is poems, or songs, or quotes – whatever it is, the process could be very similar to what mine is. This is a brief description of my process.

Sometimes my studies are on a specific book in the Bible, sometimes a topic or theme – whatever is currently on my mind. I read through the verses that I’m focusing on that day. I think through them, study and reflect on what I can apply to my life or what verses made an impact on me. When I have some thoughts together, then the crafting begins.

after reading the verses, I choose diecuts and washi tape that coordinate with my thoughts

My Process

With those ideas in mind of the verse(s) or notes I want to write down, I choose:
~ Washi tape – to put on a few edges of the 2-page spread
~ Tombow markers – to do faux calligraphy or color in letters or words
~ Diecuts – to decorate the pages

1) First, I apply the washi tapes to partially frame the 2-page spread.

2) Then I choose 3-5 diecuts to add to the page next.
~ Keep in mind how much space you’ll need for your verse or notes. It’s easy to go overboard with the diecuts and not leave room for your important thoughts for the day. My favorites that I use are from KaiserCraft and they are available in packets called “Collectables”. I keep a variety of packets in my supply basket (Longaberger, of course) so that I can quickly flip through my options and choose a pack that works with my theme.

3) Then I write in notes, quotes, or verses – whatever I learned from that day’s study.

4) Next, I go back with the Tombow markers and add color wherever I want emphasis, to highlight something or just to add some nice color.

brightly colored diecuts and washi tape are used to decorate the pages of my faith journal

Options Are Good

Another YouTube video on faith journaling in a bullet journal is by Elyssa Nalani from 2018 (Bible Study Bullet Journal Set Up). Hers is more of a continuing study and she uses pictures that she prints from Pinterest. This is another style, and one that I plan to try soon.

So yes, originally, my goal was to create in a journaling Bible, but I ended up not feeling comfortable with that plan. But that was far from a fail in my viewpoint. I’m so grateful I found these other options and am having so much fun learning and creating in my Moleskine journal!

What about you? Is there something that inspires you to give it a try? If at first you don’t succeed, try a different idea. What will you decide to add to your anthology of traveler notebooks – quotes, Bible thoughts, inspirational themes? Think through what inspires you and choose something to find inspiration in your busy life. I hope you can get started on a new creative adventure this week!

If you’re looking for another idea, be sure to read this post:

A New Project Means a New Journal – Are You Ready?

Do you have a special event coming up in your life that needs a lot of planning and preparation? If so, have you thought through how you will make plans and where you will keep track of everything? Maybe a new journal insert for your new project in your traveler notebook would be a great thing to consider.

Next Project Coming Up

My next phase of life will definitely require a new journal. Although it’s hard for me to believe, my hubby & I are at the stage of life to consider down-sizing. I don’t know where the years have gone, but we are heading for retirement and the next phase of life. To be honest, it’s heartbreaking for me to think of leaving our home of 30 years where we raised our family. Yes, I’m crazy sentimental – about everything. It’s a downfall of mine, for sure.

Background – Why It Matters

I grew up in a wonderful family with six children where form & function were the priority rather than appearance. My parents repainted the walls with the same color of mint green every 10 years – whether it needed it or not. With six children, my parents were focused on the realities of life more so than appearances. Whereas, my husband grew up around antiques that his father restored. His mother moved furniture around every few months to make things feel new and different in the house. There’s obviously nothing wrong with either of these approaches. But when our first apartment as a married couple was in an old brick farmhouse, my visual surroundings were quite different from the surroundings that I grew up with. It ended up setting the tone for all of our married life -until a few years ago.

Our home was built in 1799, while the owners lived in a log cabin on the property. (Oh how I wish that were still here, but it was moved decades ago about a mile down the road.) She is a grand old colonial four-square German style brick house, whom I like to call Springside Manor. These four-plus decades of married life, have allowed us to gather antiques and country décor. All the nooks and crannies are spilling over with goodies purchased on vacations and antiquing trips. The abundant country style has been my calling all this time.

The Shift Begins

A few years ago, however; we bought a weekend getaway close to a small lake. I wonder now if my hubby secretly had this as his underlying plan to pry my grip from our home. Whether it was his intention or not, it certainly has had that effect. It almost makes me sad in an odd way, that I’m not as upset anymore when he mentions downsizing. I can actually talk about it now without tears in my eyes! This totally different, modern type of house, that’s rather sparsely decorated, isn’t so bad after all.

As the reality of moving on settles in, I see many tasks and projects that will need to happen. So of course, that means I will need a new journal to help me work through this new project on the horizon. The following will be some of the topics when I start this next insert.

Categories in This Next Journal

~ Time frame
~ House repairs/projects to do before we can list our house for sale
~ Budget
~ Wish list for next house
~ Realistic list for next house
~ Location

How about you? Is there any big event coming up that will take lots of planning and preparation? Maybe a new project means a new journal is on the horizon for you too!

If you need a break from the busy-ness of life, don’t miss this next post: