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!

Do You Have a Place for Everything?

Do you ever leave for the grocery store, but realize you can’t find your list? It was just on the kitchen counter this morning…
Or perhaps your cousin’s baby shower starts in an hour, but you can’t find the invitation with the address?
How about the time you went to the mall to buy a birthday gift, but couldn’t find the wish list?
The phrase, “a place for everything and everything in it’s place”, suddenly comes to mind doesn’t it? And your frustration begins to rise.

Been there, done that, and that phrase has become my mantra! So now I use small journals kept together in a cover known as a traveler notebook.

Good Intentions

The best-laid plan of “places to go and things to do” can go awry very quickly. More often than I care to admit, somehow the post-it note with valuable information always seems to disappear. The coupon from my favorite ladies’ clothing store in yesterday’s stack of mail is nowhere to be found today. Sometimes, organization can be so elusive, don’t you think?

I’ve used planners for years; scratch that, for decades. And I’ve probably tried them all – spiral, 3-ring, composition book, expensive, hand-drawn, small, large, etc. You name it, I’ve tried it; however, they were never quite right for my needs. For a few years I even made my own from scratch in a ruled notebook. A former boss told me I should design one and have it manufactured; genius – why didn’t I think of that?

A New Discovery

weekly view of bullet journal

Enter Moleskine© notebooks, and the bullet journal system by Ryder Carroll, and Midori© (now known as Traveler Notebooks©).

I first heard about Moleskine© notebooks through our son decades ago. He was in high school and was intrigued by Ernest Hemingway’s use of these small little notebooks. About ten years later, I learned about the Documented Life Project, started in 2014, by Art to the Fifth. That first year, they used the Moleskine© weekly planner as the basis for their combination of planning and making art. I loved the concept and started in that project in 2015 but I just couldn’t keep up with it. The art portion didn’t come easily to me, so I fell behind quickly and became frustrated yet again.

Around this same time, our daughter was getting married and setting up her own household. She was active on Instagram learning about junk journals, while I was learning about Moleskines© being used as bullet journals. We inspired each other with new recommendations of people to follow and learn from. After many years of hit or miss with various planners, 2016 marked the beginning of my bullet journal journey. I began using Moleskines© as my three journal inserts into a traveler’s notebook cover that I made. At last, my planning needs had finally been fulfilled!


The best thing about these journals is you can make them exactly how you need them to be. This system has kept me organized with planning and running my life and business. Finally – a place for all the information that used to be on all those little pieces of paper. With this method, all the information and details that I need for my day-to-day activities are in this one place. Which means no more searching for that little piece of paper that mysteriously disappeared.

A friend has a saying that I love because I can certainly relate. “If I could get back all the time I’ve spent looking for things, I’d be a young woman!” I’m happy to say, things have become much better with the use of my travelers notebook method. How about you – how many hours, days, or weeks of your life have been wasted unnecessarily? Maybe it’s time to start by keeping just one area of your life in a journal. Perhaps having a place for everything will make the difference you need in your daily routine. Who knows – you may end up like me, with a stack of journals for every facet of your life.

Are you ready to give it a try? Read the post on “what life happenings do you need to capture” to help you discover what’s important to include in your own bullet journal.;;