make a junk journal

How To Make A Travelers Notebook Junk Journal

Junk Journals are all the rage and they are so fun to do.  You can create a junk journal from of course junk mail, left over papers, envelopes, magazines, paint chip books, well just about anything that was discarded, could be disposed of or obsolete items.  When making a journal of any kind, you are creating a base to add your art, thoughts, sketches, photos, paint, etc.  You an make a non-junk journal with pure white paper just as easily as you can make a junk journal with lots of color, texture and unique goodness.  Keep in mind when making a junk journal many of your pages may already have color, photos, addresses, etc. on them.  This is a good thing, don’t worry, we will share some ideas on how to work around that if you need to and how to embrace it if you do not.  So let’s get started.

Step 1 – gather junk – big and small; colorful and plain; thick or thin….no rules just gather.  We know that there are even groups out there who exchange junk, yes you heard it right, they gather, put the junk in a box and mail it to each other and guess what they do with the junk, make junk journals of course.

Step 2 – create a base book – decide the size of your book and find pieces or make pieces that are about the right size to create your pages, you can make the journal as big or small as you wish and don’t worry if the pages are not all the same, a little sticking out gives you journal character.  Think about the placement of some items such as windows of envelopes, printing, etc. when you lay the pages on top of each other so they are where you want them to be.  Fold the book (in half or any way you want), making a center.  You might need to score each of the pages if you are using thick junk like cereal boxes or heavier items.

Step 3 – bind your book – you can staple the binding (there are large format staplers that are ideal for this and not very expensive), sew the binding by hand or you can run a set of stitches with your machine right town the middle holding all the layers together.  Keep in mind you want to lengthen your stitches but not too large and make sure you don’t start or stop at the end of the book or it will tear, so leave a bit of paper not sewn on both ends.

Step 4 – design your journal – fold your book and you are ready to create…you can paint with white acrylic paint or gesso on papers or design spaces you want to use so that you have more white space or you can just add more “junk” and goodies to the pages as they are.  Remember there are no rules.  Your pages become the blank canvas of your creativity.  You can sketch on them with marker, pen or pencil, paint on the pages or over the junk art, you can add photos or ephemera or you can add blank paper and journal.  Many junk journals include envelopes, so you can also make little art to go into the open spaces of the envelopes or make your own little spaces by adding small envelopes.

Pretty easy right….so next time you get frustrated with the stack of junk mail, consider throwing away old magazines or have a pile of old file folders from the office…STOP and don’t throw them away, they are ideal for making junk journals and you will be amazed at how unique each one of them are and colorful as so much of the “junk” we get has so much going on.

Now let’s explore a few fun ways you can make and use a junk journal….


Making a Junk Journal is a great way to keep memories and use up those random papers from your stash. You can make the junk journal any size, so if you want to start with 12×12 papers, fold them in 1/2 to make a 6×12 journal or cut them down and make them smaller, it is good to have a few items that are cardstock, cardboard or heavier weight to give the journal some stability.

Linda found a piece of Canvas Corp chevron paper as her journal cover, which is a great place to start, you can use junk on the cover or find a more basic paper, board or cardboard to make the journal cover and then fill with junk pages.  You can add embellishments from your stash, Linda added a bit of 7gypsies Architextures  takes it up another notch. You can also use Tattered Angels Glimmer Mists on the pages to add color or to cover up some of the art to make blank areas. One thing we know is that it is hard to start with plain white pages, so add color so it is easier to make that journal entry or add more layers….you have junk pages to inpsire.  
Junk journal tattered angels canvas corp 7gypsies architextures video tutorial how to easy journal art journal

If you have a sewing machine, it is a great way to also add even more personality to your journal pages, by sewing items onto the pages.  Use different stitches and have fun.  Contrasting color is also another great way to help items and out.

Here is a few great videos that will show you the process of making a junk journal with Linda Israel.

There is no right or wrong way to create… so just do it and have fun. 🙂


Did you know that paint companies change their paint cards as many as 4 times a year, you know the cards in Lowe’s and Home Depot that show you how wonderful the paint will look in the rooms of your home.  Guess what they do with those cards when they are done with them, you guessed it, the garbage.  We caught up with Crew Members Vicki Ross, Rosemary Morris and Shannon Green who were junk journaling away on these cards.  Each card is just a folded page, but 3-5 together make a terrific junk journal.  Here is a peek inside Shannon Green’s paint card junk journal….

junk journal ideas

Get to know the guy who works the paint counter at your local paint shop, Lowe’s or Home Depot and let him know you want the left overs when they change the paint cards out, he or she might even put them aside for you.

make a junk journal

Glue more than one together back to back or accordion style.  The finished book begins with wonderful color and nice quality pages that are longing for your creative work to be added.  You can decoupage ephemera, napkins, add stickers, stencils, paint onto the pages, the sky is the limit.

junk journal with paint swatch book

Make amazing background pages by stenciling, stamping or even using gel press art.  Then you can add focal points to each page like this vintage lady art from 7gypsies Architextures Parchment Rub-On Pose.  The art looks stamped on and almost hand sketched, but alas it is a rub on, so it will take about 5 minutes or less to apply.

pose rub ons architextures

You can add washi tape or other fun decorative pieces to the page, so dig into your stash and add accents here and there.  You can also decoupage napkins over the art already there creating a one of a kind background that is just stunning.

junk journal trends

You can make the pages have a similar theme and color scheme or create a different layout and look on each set of pages, the option is  yours.

paint card junk journal

You will find a wide range of Junk Journal Videos on Shannon’s YouTube Channel.  They will show different ways to make the, how to fill them and much more.  So gather your junk, turn on YouTube and follow along with Shannon, Linda and the Crew and make your first or next junk journal.

We hope we have inspired you to save what you thought was junk and start creating your own stash of junk journals.

You can also find there a wide range of mixed media, craft, home decor, DIY and other exciting projects on the channel and if you love more videos, check out Canvas Corp Brands,  7gypsies and Tattered Angels and BE INSPIRED!!!


Canvas Corp Brands is the home of Tattered Angels, 7Gypsies and Canvas Corp (Canvas Home Basics). We are a manufacturer of surfaces, paint and vintage reproductions coming to you from Springdale, Arkansas.

'How To Make A Travelers Notebook Junk Journal' have 2 comments

  1. August 16, 2017 @ 3:43 am Linda Simpson

    Thank you for sharing. Great ideas and love the journal.
    Linda xxx


  2. August 16, 2017 @ 9:28 am Linda Israel

    Love making Junk Journals. Loved the paint chip idea. I just made friends with the local paint shop. Good to have friends all over to help with Junk journals. Thanks for sharing my projects.


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This blog is a compilation of inspiration from the Canvas Corp Brands family including Canvas Corp, Tattered Angels and 7Gypsies.