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Putting the Junk in Junk Journaling

by Content Team 16 Jul 2022 0 Comments

junk journal spread

Hello friends, I’m Marcela from @marcsmellows on instagram and youtube and I am so excited to be introducing you to the wonderful world of junk journaling. I’ve always loved to try many crafty things because I find creating things with my hands so therapeutic. In the past I’ve done modern calligraphy, bullet journaling and my current obsession is collage/junk journaling.

I mainly use junk journaling to keep memories and thoughts. Among those are general day-to-day memories, TV shows reviews, places I’ve traveled to, and cafes I visited, just for a few examples. Most of these are for the future when I want to look back on these memories.


What is junk journaling?
The description of junk journaling might vary depending from person to person, but that is the beauty of it. It can be anything you want. In the core of everything, it is basically reusing things that you might find lying around at your home that seems like junk and repurposing it into a collage for something beautiful. We call these “ephemeras”, which are paper items that are meant to be discarded after use, but could be repurposed into something more. Examples of ephemeras are ticket stubs, business cards, tags and stickers from packaging.

I also love how junk journaling doesn’t have to be expensive, as you can use anything you have lying around at home to start. All you need to start is a good notebook, some pens to jot down your thoughts and some paper items. This is how I usually suggest to start, eventually as you discover your style, then that’s when you can start looking for other stationery items to enhance and compliment your spreads. When in doubt, the Archer and Olive subscription box is a nice place to start as it provides you with not only a consistent theme, but also different types of stationery.

 junk journaling spread example 

Supplies used:
- Archer & Olive Travelers dot grid notebook

- Archer & Olive A5 Blank notebook

- AmandaRachLee Collection 0.7mm Acrylographs
- January 2022 Theme Box: Florals

- Shachihata Iromoyo ink pad

- Printables linked below

Here are some ideas of things that you might already have around you to start junk journaling:

1. Papers
One of my favorite kinds of paper to use for this is old vintage paper. If you are cleaning your storage and found old yellowing books, think twice before you throw them away cause it makes for a nice element for your spreads. If you also have a paper punch, these can be punched to be used as accents.

junk journaling paper and packaging in use

2. Packaging

Ever come across a really cute packaging that you don’t want to throw away? You’re in luck, because you can use that in your journal. For example, I used a tea packaging for a little pocket in my journal, both for cute and functional purposes. In this spread I’ve also used some of the packaging that comes from Archer & Olive’s book bands. 

3. Pressed flowers

If you have a garden filled with flowers, or if you’ve found a lovely wildflower by the sidewalk, you can use them in your journal. You can either use it fresh (best for small flowers and petals), or press them. To do this, you can keep the flower in between pages of a thick book for a few weeks to dry and flatten them, then you can use it in your journal for a little bit of whimsy.

junk journaling using flowers 

4. Postage stamps

If you have ever received a letter or a postcard that comes with a postage stamp, you can use that for your journaling too. It gives a very nice vintage vibe and I love using those in my journals.


5. DIY rubber stamps

If you have any unused eraser lying around and a craft knife, you can carve organic shapes into your eraser and then use it as a rubber stamp. You might need an ink pad for it, but a hack I used when I was starting was to use your brush pen/highlighters to colour in the stamps before stamping them into paper.

junk journaling using stamps and watercolor

6. Watercolor/ink wash

For easy backgrounds you can use a wash of colour with your watercolor or any ink. You can also make small paintings using watercolor.


7. Printables

If you have a printer at home, then you have the whole internet in your fingertips. There are many printables you can get from the web, many of them are paid, but some of them are free. Try to print them on different types of paper for different effects, like using clear sticker paper or vellum. I’ve created one for you to get started on here, so feel free to use that to start your junk journaling journey.

free junk journaling printable  

I hope that the tips above will be helpful to get you started and will encourage you to pick up things you have at home and start journaling. Do let me know if this is something you want to know more about, and feel free to reach me at my instagram @marcsmellows if you do have any questions, I am always happy to answer them. And watch my relaxed journal with me:

If you create a junk journal spread, don’t forget to tag me in instagram and tag @archerandolive,, #AOShare, and #archerandolive. Can’t wait to see what you create.


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