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!



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.

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.