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!


Graphic 45 Typography tags

g45 tag 2

g45 tag 11I

I challenged myself to make tags on a recent car trip because my friend Shelly says that she gets a lot done by working in the car. I got two tags done and am pleased with how they turned out. I only packed one plastic tote and  a few basic tools like scissors, a paper piercer, adhesive, and pop dots.

I will probably use these tags on layouts with heritage photos since Graphic 45 papers are perfect for those photos. They are also great for other photos since they are so colorful. I really like the Typography line of papers and can see that I will use it a lot.

The only small problem I had wile creating in the car is that it was windy out so I wouldn’t have been able to write out any journaling. Have you ever done any creating on a road trip? If you haven’t do you think you could?