Making Paper and Fabric Embellishments for Junk Journals


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:



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


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


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


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!


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!


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.

Newest Layout – baby Myles

I have been scrapping I just haven’t been getting photos to post here. Now that there is daylight for more than 3 minutes a day I will be able to get more projects posted! I took this photo with my phone so it’s not terrific but I think you can see everything pretty well.

baby-Myles-webThe photo isn’t top quality but it captures such a sweet moment I had to scrap it. This was when I was recovering from chemo and my newest nephew was getting his hair. We were both baldies and I remember it made me so happy to cuddle with him.

My latest obsession is hand stitching on my pages with embroidery floss. I stitched his name, Myles, and it doesn’t jump out at you but that’s okay, I want the photo to really stand out.

Have you scrapped or displayed a photo that isn’t technically beautiful but is important and meaningful? Tell me about it!


SU! Butterfly Basics Bundle

Say that three times fast – it’s a tongue twister for sure! I made this page using the Butterfly Basics Bundle stamps and dies and a couple of punches.


The bigger butterflies are made with the thinlets, and they cut really easily. I have tried using waxed paper between the die and the paper and without and both ways work well. I love the middle-sized butterfly the best so far.

The stamp set is really versatile and I used the stamps with what I call “the very forgiving technique”. Especially when you use a nature-inspired stamp this technique lets you stamp without worrying about being exact with your stamping. All you do is stamp twice after inking and before re-inking. It also shows some depth. I love that fern stamp!su-layout-1-web

The small butterfly coordinates with the small butterfly punch and I really love that there are always new designs that work with previous products. The other punch I used is the Hearts Border

Here is the photo of the clear bundle – it’s 15% off when you buy the stamps and framelits together. Check out the quote, I’ve not heard it before but I really like it: “There is nothing in the caterpillar that tells you it is going to be a butterfly.” What project could you use that quote on?