Making Paper and Fabric Embellishments for Junk Journals

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I have become captivated with making junk journals and have been playing with paper and fabric. A junk journal can be made of anything from junk mail to scrapbook paper to antique linens. Some that I have seen are almost too pretty to write in and others are playgrounds of experimentation. I love that there are no rules to follow, rather, they can be made up of anything, be bound using a number of different methods, and can be short, tall, wide, narrow, big, or tiny. Since there are no rules, you can’t make any mistakes!

I started out sewing bits of fabric and paper together like in the top photo. Then I began adding die cuts and stamped images too, like these:

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Next I tried using the combination of paper and fabric to create a background paper. On the first one I inked the edges:

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On the next one I didn’t ink anything and used a straight stitch, even though the pieces are not at all straight:

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On the last one I used a zigzag stitch thinking it would reduce the number of seams to sew down, which it did:

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I have no idea exactly where I will use the embellishments or what photos I will scrap on the layouts, but I am having fun working  playing with bits of paper and fabric!

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.