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What Is Junk Journaling? Best Way To Start, Tips And Ideas

by Design Team 13 Feb 2022 3 Comments

Hello! I’m Lea Rose—freelance writer and journal fanatic. I’ve been writing and creating journal spreads since I was a little kid and can proudly say it’s what’s led me to my current career. I love quotes, anything travel-related, and putting my creativity to use, so you’ll probably see some of that influence in today’s blog post. If you’d like to check out some of my writing, work with me, or just say hello, head over to my site:

If you’re new to junk journaling, allow me to explain. You know all those leftover ticket stubs, receipts, and bits and pieces that are too hard to part with? I like to call these “paper pieces,” and chances are, you have some that hold sentimental value, but you don’t know what to do with them. This is where junk journaling comes in. It’s the perfect way to spice things up and create a journal spread that’s personal and captures a feeling or memory. 

Today, I’ll go over ways to curate and create your own unique assortment of paper pieces. The best part? The options are endless!

Today’s AO Supplies:

What Else You’ll Need:

  • Pens or pencils
  • Glue or tape
  • Scissors 
  • Washi tape or stickers (optional)
  • Any paper pieces you like

paper scraps
1. Find your paper pieces

This can be anything from old magazine cutouts, to printed pictures, to ticket stubs. Besides these, I love to make use of other paper scraps like torn printer paper, brown paper from grocery bags, and old book pages. If it’s paper and you like it, it’ll work!


theme ideas
2. Pick a theme 

    In honor of my recent move, I chose to go with a city theme centered around my new home, Chicago. Your theme can be conceptual like mine, or you can stick to something like a color scheme or event. Here, you can see I’m sticking to a color palette of red, blue, and black, as well as using a lot of magazine cutouts. 


    different shapes
    3. Get creative with shapes

      There’s no rule when it comes to cutting your paper pieces down to size. I find having some variation gives my journal spreads a cool look, which I’m all for! Try cutting some pieces to match the corners of your journal or cut multiple pieces to arrange like a puzzle. Another method I love is tearing paper edges instead of cutting! It gives the page a more natural look.



      4. Layer!

      Layering is one of the best parts of junk journaling because it gives your journal spread some texture and dimension, making it really stand out. Don’t be afraid to layer multiple pieces over one another to create a whole new look. If you start to run out of space, I like to create flaps by only gluing down one part of a paper piece. By doing this, you can maximize space and make room for everything you want. 


      fill in the blank spaces
      5. Use writing or sketches to fill in the blank spaces

        Unless you cover every inch of your journal spread with images and cutouts, you’ll probably have some gaps to fill. My favorite way to fill this space is by leaving it empty for a journal entry, quote, or sketches of patterns and items that fit my theme. Your handwriting is one of a kind, too, so this adds another element of personalization and style. 


        finished spread


        Now that you’ve read all these tips, it’s time to go create a junk journaling spread of your own! Remember, there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to junk journaling—it’s all about using your creativity and enjoying the process. Whether you’re trying to create the perfect spread or just want to have fun gluing and collaging, it’s up to you! 

        junk journaling idea printable

        If you’re looking for some additional inspiration to get started, use my Junk Journaling Printout to help you organize what topics you may want to journal about!


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        24 Oct 2022 Patty Fowler

        I love this idea. I’m moving in a couple of weeks and my husband will retire at the end of the year. I have so many papers from the detail sheet of our home we are leaving when it was for sale. I can also tear the picture brochure and keep small details I loved about the home we are leaving. This is great! I’ll be tearing pictures of furniture that will go into new home. Plus business cards from companies we are using. Great inspiration! Thank you for sharing. I’m on it!

        22 Aug 2022 Tristin

        I love how you cut around that particular line in the map, it is a very inspiring idea! This makes me want to get more into junk journaling!

        22 Aug 2022 Bobbie Padgett

        Let be this idea, I have so many kept paper “memories” overflowing a board near my dressing room, and I’m an artist who loves collage art and vintage objects. Thank you for an introduction to this fun and personal art form!

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