Junk Journal Made From Packaging

I have been having fun lately making junk journals by up-cycling, recycling, binding, saving and re-purposing books, papers, and mail. One aspect of creating junk journals that appeals to me is that they are all different and there are no rules. There aren’t rules with scrapbooking and card making either, I have just been finding it liberating somehow to create these journals. It feels good to find a use for older supplies and having to use my imagination to put them to use. I have heard people say that making junk journals keeps things out of the landfill, although I can’t claim that as one of my main motivations.


This is the packaging I used for this project – it originally contained a Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle. It was a box and I cut away one side to make it a book. I created ten signatures from random papers and cards and attached them with a long stitch binding. As you can see, my stitching could use some practice! I used embroidery floss because it seemed strong enough and I have lots of it. I initially thought I would keep the window on the front cover but changed my mind.


Here’s a side view, I probably wouldn’t make one quite this thick again because it is a bit unwieldy to handle.


Here is a look at some of the papers and cards I used. You can see the embroidery floss in the middle signature. Having those visible doesn’t bother me in a project like this that isn’t meant to be neat and tidy.


I used gel medium to attach the papers on the outside covers and wanted it to be bright and random-looking. I used washi tape to cover the seams and edges and it kept peeling off so I used some liquid glue to encourage it to stay put.


The tag on the back says Dream Big and the one on the front says You Go Girl. I plan to use this as a place to record snippets of my day, quotes, and tiny layouts. The green page below has a couple of small photos of my son blowing out some birthday candles. I seem to have lots of photos like this that have been cropped already or I have scrapped the best photos of the event and these are the leftovers. Even though I have already scrapped the big stories that the better photos tell, I see small stories that I want to tell also. The yellow paper behind the tiny green layout has a small photo of my daughter and a small layout about her.


Here’s another look at some of the pages. There are some of those old green stamps, small embellishments, and small stickers scattered throughout the pages.


A few times while I was putting this together I heard my inner critic questioning the value of spending time making a junk journal. I silenced her by telling her that it was fun and having a small canvas to try out color combinations and unusual paper and materials was stretching my creative muscles. It’s a nice way to just dabble with something and not have any worries about the outcome. One of the pages is part of an old player piano roll – I thought that was cool!


Gelli Printing Fun!

Lately I have been enjoying You Tube videos about scrapbooking and I like that I can create my own playlist of the videos I want to see. What typically happens is I will set up a playlist and then watch while I am creating. The only problem is that I keep making projects or experimenting after the playlist is finished. If you leave the auto play button on, after your chosen videos are finished You Tube automatically plays more videos, mostly related to the type of videos you were watching.

This is how I fell into the lovely world of Gelli Printing. You need a Gelli plate, some inks or paint, and paper. It is also helpful to have a brayer or two, some stencils, and lots of counter or floor space for your prints. The link above has a how-to video and once you get started it is hard to stop!


The photo above is the result of my first try – I used two colors of paint and the one on the left is the first print, the middle is the second and the one on the right is the third print. As you can see the second and third prints are a lot like second generation stamping, where you stamp two or three times without re-inking your stamp. The paper was a card stock weight.


The rest of the prints used copy paper. I added a stencil and some purple paint to the top set and a stencil made from a cut file for the bottom set.


For these pages I used two stencils  – the top set you can see some of the turquoise paint from the previous print shows up on the image on the right. I really the like that print except for the turquoise paint transfer. Then I turned the stencil over for the print on the left. The bottom set used a stencil from a die and the holes were really small so when I made the print on the right the dots are small, when they show up at all. I turned the stencil over for the print on the left as I did for the top set.


Some different colors and another stencil from a die. These turned out okay but they are not my favorites.


I used a swirl from a cut file on the top prints and a brick mold for the bottom pages. I dislike the colors and the intensity of both of these sets of prints and will likely reprint on top of them of paint over them.


These prints are even more blah in color and pattern. Tried another die cut stencil and don’t like the way it came out.

I had fun experimenting with the Gelli plate and will definitely use it again soon, making sure I have lots of space ready to set the wet prints on to dry.

Mixed Media Adventure: Knowing When to Say When

I have been looking at mixed media videos and mixed media pieces all over the web for awhile now and it looks like it should be easy to do. I am beginning to learn that it is one of those things that looks easy until you try to do it! One part of the process I want to change is stopping earlier, before my page or project becomes a muddy mess. I guess I thought that since there really are no rules that meant that I could just throw several techniques on and it would be okay. I have decided a little restraint will make me happier with the outcome.


I started two pages side by side in my kraft envelope mini book, one with scraps of old music paper and old sewing pattern pieces and the other side with crackle texture paste through  a stencil. Next I covered each piece with a light wash of white gesso. The kraft envelopes are pretty sturdy but I wanted to be able to add lots of liquid so I added the gesso so the pages would be able to handle all the liquid.

I intentionally left some of the music and pattern paper raised up to see what effect that would produce. I used spray inks and tilted the page to let them run to the sides and bottom and then I stamped with some medium inks. That didn’t show up very well so I stamped again using darker inks. I like how the page became so dimensional with all the colors. Because I wasn’t sure what else to do I decided this page was done. I think it looks okay but probably needs a focal point.













The page with the crackle paste wasn’t dry in this photo so you really can’t see the crackle lines, but they were very small. You could still see them after I added the spray ink but when I stamped over that they become very difficult to see, so that was not a particularly effective technique. I like the white paint splatters on the blue and green background and did add a bit of a focal point to this page. The wavy squares are cut from ripped apart cardboard and I put so much paint on them that the cardboard flattened out. So then I added some twine that I sprayed with ink and it helped tone down the white paint a bit.

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I also seem to be missing the journaling piece of art journaling so I want to work on adding that to my pieces, but will not really do so until after the next few pages. I’ll post those with my thoughts soon.

Fashion Runway & Art Journaling

I am not a fashion designer or connected to the fashion industry in any way but I had a thought the other day that the fashion runway is similar to art journaling. The high fashion runway clothing is daring, imaginative, and creative. These fashions don’t typically show up in everyday life but seem to influence the clothing sold at stores that people do wear every day.

I have been experimenting with art journaling, although at this point there isn’t much journaling happening since I am mostly trying to learn techniques. The videos I have been watching encourage experimentation with different mediums and their applications and show the process as organic, happening naturally. I admit it doesn’t come naturally to me to just play with the mediums without having an idea of the outcome but I have been practicing. Using what you have on hand, recycling packaging, and combining everyday items into your creations are approaches I have been trying.


I like to add many layers to create dimension and interest and have been using gesso, paint, and ink sprays under and between the layers. This page is one that I just played around with using some extra rings from making ornaments last year; there are punched papers underneath them and some random scraps of paper. I don’t think this is a fabulous page but it does show how I got to the layout below.


I like the circles and the bit of interest they give to the background without being the main focus of the page. Keeping them white with a little white gesso over the top of them helps emphasize the white flowers in the photo using repetition. The layout doesn’t have a title or any journaling yet and I will probably add the title above the photo and the journaling below.

Mixed Media Journal

This YouTube video inspired me to make a journal out of envelopes. I didn’t have the same size that Marta (in the video) used, but I went ahead anyway. My envelopes were made out of kraft paper and were a rectangle size. They didn’t have very long flaps so I had to use adhesive to keep the pages together. I used gesso, paint, and stains on the front cover and liked the way it looked. I taped the binding with some flowered washi tape.

I decided to try some smudging/outlining and I hated it. Then I had the bright idea to add glue through a stencil to have clear dimension. That was a fail – you couldn’t really tell I had done anything. So while the glue was wet I added some silver glitter. Now it was really really ugly! But Marta says to keep going so I did. I found this paper stencil-like piece and added it with gesso to the front. I tried to re-create the original colors that I liked with some stains and paints and came pretty close.


I couldn’t decide whether to cut off the top part that didn’t have the stencil on it, and I still might. I think it looks funny like this. If I cut the top off the envelopes would be open but if I wanted to put something in the envelopes I could just tape them shut with washi tape. Or I could just leave them open. No, I won’t just leave them open – too loosey-goosey for me! Anyway I added the little heart paper and it looks a little better, but I still think it looks unbalanced.

On to the back. First I put down some tissue paper with gel medium as the glue. Then I gessoed lightly over that. I had cut some feathers on my Cameo and decided to add those. I thought they should be colored to go with the tissue paper, although that doesn’t show up in the photo. Next I splattered some white paint and added a little Ferris wheel with the same colors. Now I guess I won’t cut off the top because it would mess up the back. Sigh.


This is a practice journal so I guess it doesn’t really matter what it looks like. I am just a beginner at art journaling and the process is the fun part. Although it is weird not to have an idea of what I want the final result to look like.

Two Distress Ink Techniques

20170115_134027I am not a watercolor expert but I like to play with water and ink colors. I made this card for a challenge a couple of weeks ago using Distress Inks and water. The same Distress inks worked well to dye the seam binding and the card stock which were both originally white. I wanted the ink to pool a little bit in the debossed areas so I used the impression plate first.

I put some water on the card before dropping inks on it and that helps them move around without much help from a brush. The key to keeping the colors light was not mixing them very much.


This card also used Distress Inks but this time I used an ink blending tool to create the very soft tints of color. Tapping the ink blending tool off on a scrap first let me add very small amounts of color and not make them too heavy. I used the February My Monthly Hero Kit to make this card. It is an amazing kit full of weather stamps and dies.

Stamp and Die Organization

I love to organize, whether it’s the clothes in my closet, the books on my shelves, or the supplies I use to scrapbook and stamp. Many years ago I came across the idea that you could organize your supplies so that they were most useful to you as you created with them. Thinking about how you create will help you organize in a way that makes sense and helps you find what you want more efficiently.

I like to use stamps and dies when I make scrapbook layouts and cards. I used to keep my stamps in the packaging they came in, especially if they came in DVD cases or similar containers that would store easily. I started my die collection with QuicKutz brand dies and the company created storage systems for the different die shapes. There were small red notebooks for the 4×4 dies and zip up binders for the 2×2 dies so those are what I used to store my dies. The problem was that I wasn’t using my dies very much because when I was making a project I wanted a flower or a heart or a softball and wouldn’t be able to find it easily – I had to look through several red notebooks or zip up binders. Even though I had filed the dies alphabetically it didn’t really help since I didn’t know if it was the third or fourth notebook that had the flower I wanted, for example. The little notebooks and binders looked nice all together on the shelf but they were just sitting on the shelf.

Thinking about what would make the dies more useful I realized I would use them more if I created categories that aligned with how I created. When making pages for my daughter’s wedding albums I would then have all the hearts and wedding stamps and dies together. The storage wouldn’t look as pretty without storing all the little notebooks and zip up binders together but if I actually used my stamps and dies more often I figured I could get used to the different look.


I created the following categories:

  • Words
  • Love/Wedding
  • Shapes
  • Borders/Nested
  • Christmas/Holidays
  • Backgrounds
  • Thank You
  • Flowers
  • Tree/Leaves
  • Grunge
  • Home/Food
  • Outdoors

It made me a little nervous to split up some of my stamp and die sets but I saved the packaging so I can put them back together if I decide I don’t like this system. You can see there are several types of containers within each category, like the basket for Outdoors.







Some stamps and dies come in packaging that tears easily so I found plastic envelopes in different sizes  that work well.




I could not find plastic envelopes to fit my 6×6 background stamps; I found some that would fit the 6×6 stamps but they were 9″ tall and I knew that all the extra plastic would flop over and bug me. Wracking my brain for a solution, I remembered that I had several 8×8 plastic page protectors for an album I was no longer going to make. I got out my sewing machine and made some custom plastic envelopes for those background stamps.


I cut off the edge with the punched holes, although if you wanted to store your stamps in a binder you could cut off the other side. I am pretty happy with my solution and the best part is that it didn’t cost me anything but some thread and some time.

So far my reorganization is working well and I am rediscovering stamps and dies I haven’t used in a long time.