How to Make a Junk Journal- Free Online Course! (2023)

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A Free Online Junk Journal Course with a French Travel Theme just for you!

Do you love crafting and DIY projects? Do you have a wanderlust in your heart for France, but no time or money to make it happen? I’m about to change all of that. Join me on this journey through Paris as we weave together the best of French travel traditions with the art of journaling! It’s free and there are no deadlines- just get started right away! This is a series of 8 blog posts that will show you from start to finish how to Make a Junk Journal! You’ll find lots of tips and techniques, free Printables and more to so that you can create your own Vintage Junk Journal.Ajunketis a pleasuretrip, often funded by someone else. How amazing is that? Would you like to take a junket with me?

Hello, my artful Mixed Media friends. My name is Rebecca E. Parsons, also known as Cre8tiva, and I am a life long journaler. It’s one of many creative things I love to do.I want to extend a very special invitation to you.

Please join me
on a Special Fantasy Junket & Junk Journal Journey
kindly paid for by The Graphics Fairy

Well, at least she will be supplying the ‘Oh So Very French’ images and ephemera we will be creating with. Together over the next few months we will fashion a Travel inspired book called, ‘My Vintage French Junk Journal!’How cool is that? (You can call your anything you like…no pressure to name yours the same as mine.)

(Video) What Is A Junk Journal ⭐ Beginners Guide to Getting Started In 3 Easy Steps

HowMy Junk Journal Series Works

Welcome to our Junk JournalJourney. Today I am sharing the first in a series of tutorials of a vintage bound junk journal capturing an imaginary trip to France in a bygone era. Twice each month I will be sharing a new 4-page layout that you can copy exactly or use as inspiration for your own version. We will finish with three signatures filled with magical pages that tell the story of our imaginary travels together. In the final tutorial we will bind My Vintage French Junk Journalusing a super fun, and easy to do, binding technique.

I just flat out love making books… I have been creating them, large and small, for many years. I have mastered some difficult binding techniques and created a few of my own bindings. I even created a case bound book, one that looks and feels like a hard bound one you buy at any book store. That was a doozie and a story to tell at a later time.

Anyway, I am thrilled that Karen agreed to this wild idea of creating a Travel Inspired Junk Journal with you. I hope to have a ‘sort of ‘ virtual gallery showing of all of our books and see/hear what stories you have to tell at the end. Are you ready to take a journey with me? Let’s begin by discovering what a Junk Journal is…

What is a Junk Journal?

For those of you who may not have heard of this phenomena, a junk journal is a bound book created with things you have on hand that otherwise might end up in the recycling bin or the landfill. Those pieces of junk mail, catalogs, old greeting cards, appointment cards, magazines…almost anything can be used to make beautiful pages in order to create a junk journal treasure! You can also incorporate bits of fabric, buttons, sheet music, ledger pages, rusty things, nature finds…truly anything goes. You can see I have quite a stash in the photo above. I bet you have a similar stash! 😉

Tell Me About Our Junk Journal

Our journal will recap an ‘imaginary’ exploration of Paris including day trips to surrounding points of interest. In June we will begin by arriving in France and taking in all the new sights, smells and sounds. We are off on day trips to Versailles and the Loire Valley in July. The River Seine, The Left Bank, and Brocantes will fill our heads in August. In September we return home to review our travels and bind our memories. Does this sound like fun? Then join in the mixed media merry making explorations with us. You can see some of the ideas with our TGF ephemera below. But there is so much more to do…stenciling, stamping, tearing, aging, inking, dyeing, crumbling, cutting, scoring, accentuating, embellishing…you get the picture!


What Size Will Our Junk Journal Be?

Let’s get started by deciding what size our junk journal will be. Your junk journal will be the size of the book cover you decide to use. Our pages will be trimmed to fit approximately 1/4″ smaller on the outside edges of the cover you chose. So, it can be any size you wish it to be. We will talk more about the cover later in this tutorial. My cover measures 5-3/4″ wide by 8-3/4″ tall and is 1″ deep. I found it at Dollar Tree.

Everyone has access to regular copy paper. Therefore, the easiest size to accomplish quickly is an 8-1/2″ by 11″ piece of paper folded in half on the longest side to form a 5-1/2″ by 8-1/2″ signature. Although I prefer to use a heavier weight paper in my journals, you can go with what you have handy. Remember, you can recycle junk mail letters that are this size too. You can find a Junk Mail Tutorial HERE by Heather Tracy. Be creative. Now, let’s get dirty…I mean let’s get our vintage on. 😉

How do I make the Junk Journal pages look vintage?

My favorite trick to have instant age is to stain the papers using coffee or tea. While tea gives a more delicate vintage effect, coffee gives a darker, richer, sort of sepia look to papers. I use both. My favorite method is soaking paper in a shallow cookie sheet filled with tea. I use about 4 tea bags per cup of water. You can use more or less, just play to find the look you like. I also save the tea bag itself to add to the pages for texture and the tea inside to make a texture paste. Below you can see I also spattered random drops on some after they had dried. Just note that the paper becomes very fragile when soaked with liquid. Use care when picking up wet papers.

With coffee, I just brew a cup or pot and sprinkle or pour it over sheets laid on a cookie sheet with a lip. I have even heard of people baking the paper at a low oven temp like 225º. But I just douse mine and let it sit a while (15-30 minutes). I sometimes sprinkle the coffee grounds on the paper too. Just play with this part. There is no one correct way. The longer you leave the paper in the tea or coffee, the darker it becomes. So make it look as aged as you like.Don’t forget envelopes, tags, ephemera, and fabrics. Stain them while you are at it. Here are some of the lace and ribbon I stained for our book. For a slightly different version of this technique, check out the Ancient Parchment Paper Technique HERE.


I like a lot of texture on my pages. Sometimes, I roll the pages around the tea bags and squeeze like wringing out a washcloth. At other times, I wad them tightly into a ball while they are wet, then straighten them out flat to dry.I sometimes iron the pages for a smoother surface and more refined look. The possibilities…. I expect you will develop a few of your own aging techniques if you fall in love with making books and junk journals…like I have. Please share them with us here.

How to Make Junk Journal Pages

In this lesson our task is to create three signatures, or sets, of four sheets of8-1/2″ by 11″ paper and prepare the cover (see next section). That is 12 sheets of paper total. By create, I mean age using any of the coffee or tea techniques above. You might want to add a couple of extra sheets for pockets or just in case you mess something up, but messes are embraced in junk journals. That is part of the fun. There is NO right way to make a junk journal and there are NO mistakes…that means NO pressure to be perfect. Trust me, even simple aged papers bound into a book look beautiful. So let’s have fun with this journey!

(Video) Craft along make junk journal pages, RAKS & New online Class

Find an Old Book for Your Cover

Find an old book in a thrift store (see my Dollar Tree book above) if you don’t already have one. It can be any book old or new. We will make the cover look old and vintage. The spine should be about an inch or so wide to hold our three signatures. We need to separate the book block or the pages from the cover. The book covers attached by the spine is what we want when we are finished with this process. Let’s separate the covers from the book block first. To do this, stand the book upright with the covers wide like below.

I use a box cutter and adjust the blade to be very short. Cut gently into the crease where the pages join the cover with a sharp craft knife. Be careful not to go too deep and cut into the spine. There will probably be bookbinding cloth, which looks like thick gauze, or paper in cheaper books like mine to cut through. It may take several passes to accomplish this.

Go slowly and make shallow cuts in the crease while pulling the paper apart as you go. Be patient. Nik the Bookbinder has a great video showing the process if you want a more visual look before you begin. Just don’t become mesmerized by all the videos and forget to return here. We have much more to do…

Then repeat the process with the back cover. It will be easier once the front cover is released! 🙂

Surprise Gift

(Video) The Business of Junk Journals - A Sales Course with Mrs. Cog

I have scoured the archives here at The Graphics Fairy to find some of the most amazing, beautiful vintage French images and ephemera to tell the story of our travels and place in our vintage French junk journal. Boy was this ever fun! Of course, you are free to peruse the The Graphics Fairy yourself (that is truly half the fun) and find the images you want to include in your junk journal. It is all good. I will give links to the graphics with each lesson!


  1. Complete three, 16-page signatures (4 aged papers folded in half and nestled inside each other) using the above techniques.
  2. Prepare your cover as directed above.

So I will see you back on the third week of June for our next tutorial, when we begin to embellish and add things to our pages. So gather some rubber stamps, stencils, paints, and embellishments and meet me back here with your pages ready to work on. Have fun aging the papers and getting your cover ready. You should have something that looks like the next two photos when we meet next time. The signatures are just laid in the cover for now. We will bind them into the cover after we decorate the pages. 🙂

Whew, that was a lot of information to start this class off. What do you think? Are you ready toMake Your Own Junk Journalwith me?

Next Stop? Head on over to Part 2 of this series HERE.

I hope you enjoyed this Mixed Media Junket Journal Tutorial! I also teach Photoshop Elements tutorials over onThe Graphics Fairy Premium Membership site.You can find even more of my art, DIYs, and whimsical shenanigans onCre8tiva,

(Video) How to Make a Junk Journal | Step-by-step process & my top tips ✨

May joy be with you all,



How long does it take to make a junk journal? ›

How long does it take to make a Junk Journal? Making the base of the journal takes only a few minutes. Truly in 15 minutes or so you can have the “bones” of a junk journal ready to go.

How many pages should a junk journal have? ›

You'll want about 10 to 20 pieces of paper Which cut down will get you 20 to 40 pieces, and folded will have you at 80 to 160 pages, to get you started. You can add or subtract as you go, but I've found this is a good starting place.

Do people buy junk journals? ›

Etsy is probably the most common place for people to sell their junk journals. It's a online market for handcrafted creations, and therefore a perfect place to find people who might be searching for a junk journal. Setting up an Etsy shop is a pretty easy process.

What is the average size of a junk journal? ›

But a standard junk journal is usually about the size of A5 (or roughly 8×5 or 9×6 inches). This is a great size for beginners as you don't have to trim your pages as much; most A4-sized sheets of paper will fit just right inside a standard-sized junk journal.

What is the difference between scrapbooking and junk journaling? ›

Where scrapbooks are made to be polished and beautiful, junk journals are made to be used, written in and to remember things you want to keep track of. Often a junk journal is a handmade book and is not intended to last a long time the same way scrapbooks are.

What is the best glue for junk journaling? ›

Best Quick Glue for Journals

Glue sticks are a long-time favorite of teachers and moms and of course, we want it to work for journaling so it needs to NOT show and stick quickly so we can keep creating. Everyone's favorite by far is the Uhu Glue Stick. It doesn't dry out, it holds well and dries clear.

Which journal is best for beginners? ›

While many standard notebooks will get the job done, here are some excellent options to consider for journal notebooks.
  • Moleskine Classic Hardcover Notebook.
  • Leather Journal Travel Diary.
  • Tree of Life Refillable Writing Journal.

What supplies do you need to make a junk journal? ›

Old Interesting Books & Magazines: This is probably one of my favorite go-to supplies for junk journals! I love to look for anthologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, kids books, books of quotes and poetry and of course magazines! Books in other languages can also be fun to use.

What kind of paper do you use for junk journal? ›

Pages in junk journals are often different sizes and may be made from any paper, such as book or magazine pages, coffee filters, scrapbook paper, maps, envelopes, and much more. The possibilities are endless and limited only by your imagination!

What Makes a Good Junk journal? ›

recycled and found materials, for example, cardboard boxes from food pantry items (essential), old books and magazines, old sheet music, old university notes, pages not used from school books, old recipe books, maps, sewing patterns, junk mail, postage stamps, old tickets, incomplete playing card sets, old diary and ...

What size journal is best? ›

A6 Notebook Is the Best Size for Journaling

Journal sizes give you enough space to write, and you can keep it easily. Business owners can use it to take meeting notes, create to-do lists, and keep track of appointments. In millimeters, the A6 notebook size is 105 × 148 mm.

What is ephemera in junk journal? ›

Ephemera is anything that can be added to a junk journal. Typically, it is a bunch of old or recycled bits and pieces such as receipts, bits from old newspapers and magazines, and other pieces of memorabilia.

What does a junk journal look like? ›

Junk journal is a handmade book made up of recycled items such as papers from magazines, brochures, patterned paper, music sheets, envelopes, packaging, brown paper bags, maps, greeting cards, post cards, doilies, to name a few. The book covers can be made from cereal boxes, old book covers or any hard card boards.

How much money can you make selling journals? ›

You can make anywhere from 200 dollars upwards. There are people making 6000 dollars per month and more. *Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

Why is it called junk journal? ›

A junk journal is typically a book made up of all different types of papers and material, that might otherwise have ended up in the bin - hence being called a "junk" journal.

Should I throw away my old journal? ›

' This seems to be a common refrain amongst the journaling community and especially for memoir writers. Don't throw out your journals—they are tiny pieces of you. They are the raw materials for whatever autobiography you may want to write later.

What is the most popular journal size? ›

A5. A5 is the most common size used for journaling. Most brands offer this size.

What is a glue book junk journal? ›

A gluebook is a bound notebook filled with a collection of paper ephemera, glued onto the page using a gluestick. Glued objects turn into a collage, and so a gluebook is a collection of collages. Gluebooks can be as junky or as pretty as you'd like, though traditionally they're more on the junk journal side of things.

Do people still scrapbook 2022? ›

There are now digital scrapbookers and those who prefer mixed-media projects that incorporate photos. And there are still many, many people who still love traditional paper scrapbooking. We get together at smaller events and buy our supplies online.

What is a master board in junk journaling? ›

What's a master board? Well my understanding is that it's a background paper that you create that is made up of collaging bits of ripped up elements that can then be cut up and used for making tags, pockets, pages etc. It is a very enjoyable, relaxing process and the results were so much better than I expected.

Is glue or tape better for scrapbooking? ›

For most scrapbooking items, you'll want to use dry scrapbook adhesives such as glue dots, glue sticks, or double-sided tape. For embellishments such as plastic items or metal charms, you'll need to use liquid craft glue.

Where can I find good junk journal items? ›

Art supply, craft stores and stationary stores

If you don't want to buy old (often smelly) items for your journal and want to get newer items, visit places like art supply stores, craft stores and stationary stores. Any place you go to for your paper craft needs, would be great for your junk journaling needs.

Is it better to journal by writing or typing? ›

Many studies suggest that there are brain-friendly benefits of writing out letters, notes, essays, or journal entries by hand that you can't get from typing. Writing by hand connects you with the words and allows your brain to focus on them, understand them and learn from them.

At what age should I start to journal? ›

Once kids can pick up a pencil or crayon, they can start writing a journal. It doesn't have to actually be words, it can be pictures, letters, stickers, or cut-and-pasted memorabilia. The goal of writing a journal is to express yourself on paper. This goal doesn't change whether a child is four or ten.

What are top 5 journals? ›

List of Top 100 Journals with Highest Impact Factor
  • Nature – Impact Factor: 42.78. ...
  • The New England Journal of Medicine – Impact Factor: 74.7. ...
  • Science – Impact Factor: 41.84. ...
  • IEEE/CVF Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition – Impact Factor: 45.17. ...
  • The Lancet – Impact Factor: 59.1.

What should be inside a journal? ›

Recap: 6 Journaling Ideas
  • Write down your goals every day.
  • Keep a daily log.
  • Journal three things you're grateful for every day.
  • Journal your problems.
  • Journal your stresses.
  • Journal your answer to “What's the best thing that happened today?” every night before bed.
2 May 2017

Do junk journals have to be vintage? ›

A junk journal doesn't always have to have a vintage feel to it though. Many people enjoy creating them with modern day materials and colorful magazine pages.

What is the difference between art journal and junk journal? ›

Combining scraps of paper, paint, and other stubs together with mixed media supplies like acrylics and watercolors turn a junk journal into an art journal! Some people use the already filled junk journals as the base for an art journal and then fill it up with patterns and other stuff.

What should I put in a junk journal? ›

Junk Journal Materials and What to Put in Your Junk Journal…
  1. Old Books: ...
  2. Tickets & Slips: ...
  3. Doilies, cupcake paper holders, wax paper, or baking paper: ...
  4. Tracing paper and vellum: ...
  5. Newspaper or newsprint: ...
  6. Magazines: ...
  7. Museum or gallery flyers or pamphlets: ...
  8. Old photos:
4 Apr 2022

What is the difference between junk journaling and scrapbooking? ›

Where scrapbooks are made to be polished and beautiful, junk journals are made to be used, written in and to remember things you want to keep track of. Often a junk journal is a handmade book and is not intended to last a long time the same way scrapbooks are.

What is ephemera in junk journaling? ›

Ephemera is anything that can be added to a junk journal. Typically, it is a bunch of old or recycled bits and pieces such as receipts, bits from old newspapers and magazines, and other pieces of memorabilia.

What makes a journal high quality? ›

The Journal should have a dedicated website. Check the Editorial board members and their contact details. Check the past issues whether they are published regularly or not. Check the Publisher's address and the Contact details written on the journal's website.


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