What is a Junk Journal?

Any time I tell people I create designs for junk journals (and other things), naturally the most often question I get asked is, “What the heck is a junk journal?”

Depending on the company I’m in, I respond either with a joke (“A way to recycle all your junk mail into art!”), or I respond with an actual answer: “It’s just a super-creative amalgamation of papers & pretty bits.”

Oh wait, that doesn’t actually answer the question?

Ok, my bad. Let me try again. πŸ™‚

A junk journal is a collection of decorated pages bound together into a book or small folio, sometimes adding in smaller bits of paper or clip art (usually called “ephemera”). The main pages can be made up of anything from hand-dyed parchment to torn-out pages from old books to – you guessed it – recycled paper such as junk mail. The pages are often distressed, torn, aged, painted, drawn-on, burned…and then decorated more and written on and more.

But a junk journal can also be just a plain notebook with decorated pages.

Or a completely handmade, hand-bound, hand-sewn tome.

Essentially, it’s pretty much anything you want it to be. It’s a work of art, so anything goes. πŸ™‚

What do people write in a junk journal?

Sometimes people don’t write in them! They might just decorate pages with pictures & journal words & clip art or ephemera.

But other times, a junk journal is just that – a journal. They can be used for daily journaling, gratitude journaling, keeping track of goals, recording your favorite moments…anything.

So what is the difference between a scrapbook and a junk journal?

The lines often blur! But generally speaking, a scrapbook is usually more “styled” and made to look “pretty” and show off photos, whereas a junk journal is usually more…messy. Junky. Unique.

Not that a scrapbook can’t be messy & unique and a junk journal can’t be organized & pretty!

Ok, yeah, it’s hard to really draw distinctions…hahaha.

Why is it called junk journaling?

Because it’s a collection of paper meant to record memories of some kind + it incorporates stuff that otherwise might be considered “junk” (see previous reference to junk mail, ha). Hence, “junk journal.”

What if I don’t want to use actual junk in my journal?!

You don’t have to! The best part about junk journals is that while the name came from repurposing old “junk” into new things, they’re now all about creating beautiful, creative journals using all kinds of things to decorate them – not just “junk.” Instead of using junk, you can create all kinds of gorgeous layouts with just paper.

And then…aaaahhhh, not to enable anyone who’s not already smitten, but there is an entire world of journal embellishments out there to explore! Inks and stamps and stickers and washi tape and wax seals and glitter and glue and…*happy sigh.* it’s a whole wonderful rabbit hole to go down once you feel the pull. πŸ˜‰

I hope all that answers the original question…sort of. Kinda. Maybe? πŸ˜‰

Happy journaling!