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DIY Junk Journal Ideas - 99 percent upcycled journal


This junk journal is literally made of junk. The only things that are not junk are glue and some tiny little bits of washi tape.

Most pages are made of used A4 sized copy paper folded in two - you'll get a blank page on both sides and a large pocket inside. I also used old book pages, brown packaging paper, baking paper, junk mail, magazine cuts, pieces of an old lace top, Ikea instructions and other trash to create this A6 sized journal that I'm going to use as a bullet journal.

I also have plenty of white copy paper that I could have used, but I set myself a challenge to use as much junk as possible just to upcycle used paper - and for fun.

JUNK JOURNAL IDEAS 1: Upcycling paper

There's really no limit to your creativity when making junk journals! This is just a short list with simple ideas, that I'm hoping will help you get started. You'll find some more ideas on my Youtube video tutorial, see the link at the end of this page.

DIY junk journal simple ideas - how to get started

Basic pages are made of A4 sized copy paper - white or colored - cut in half if it's clean on both sides or folded in half if there's print on the other side. You can also create floating writing spots using small pieces of paper and paperclips. Instead of clips you can create tuck spots like the one on the top right corner. This tuck spot is made of a book page and it's decorated with a piece of doily. It's glued down to the top of the page. Both pages are tea- and coffee dyed to create a grunge vintage look.

DIY junk ideas 1 - use craft paper, maps, envelopes etc

You can use all kinds of paper as your junk journal pages if it's sturdy enough, for example:

- left over craft paper or scrapbook paper
- old maps
- old book pages
- sewing patterns
- old instruction manuals
- old music sheets
- used envelopes
- old letters
- packaging paper
- paper bags
- old photocopies
- old drawings / art work
- blank pages from old notebooks

What's the best option for your junk journal depends on what you've got in your stash, and what you're going to use your junk journal for. If you need space for journaling, you'll need to find at least partially blank paper. If you're going to cover the pages with photos, pockets or embellishments, anything goes - just use your creativity!

JUNK JOURNAL IDEAS 2: Flips and pockets

Adding some flips and pockets to your junk journal makes it not only good looking but also extremely functional. You can store loose notes, photos, inspirational quotes and so on in pockets or behind flips and exchange them to other stuff when they're no more needed.

DIY junk journal ideas 2 - page with a flip

To make a page with a flip (the page on the right side) you need to have a page that's larger than the size of a spread (A5 in this case). For example, take an A4 sized paper and turn it sideways. Make a fold to one side (or both sides) and cut the paper to the size of a regular spread. You can decorate the pages with stamps and magazine cuts.

DIY junk journal ideas 3 - transparent pockets

You can make all kinds of pockets to your junk journal if you wish. You can simply make folds and use them as pockets or you can glue down pockets made of various materials. The transparent pockets here are made of left over baking paper that's folded. You can adhere pockets like this with a few staples on the sides (not necessary) and some washi and/or masking tape. Just remember to make all your wide pockets before binding your journal! Small pockets can be added later on.

DIY junk journal ideas 4 - large pockets

A simple way to make large pockets is folding a large page in two. If the paper is sturdy enough, you may not need to use glue on any of the sides. If you want the pocket to be tight, you can close one of the sides with glue, though. To make the pocket easier to use you can cut or punch out a circle from one side of the pocket.

DIY junk journal ideas 5 - lace pockets and mini notebooks

If you like lace, maybe you like lace pockets as well. This lace pocket is made of an old lace top. It's dyed with strong tea and it's glued down at the sides with good quality craft glue. The mini notebooks are made of junk paper and they're decorated with magazine cuts, old book pages and stamps. You can use either staples or thread to bind your mini notebooks. Lace pockets are good for holding mini notebooks. If you have loose pearls, you can use them as embellishments.

DIY junk journal ideas 6 - envelope pockets

If you have small envelopes, they make great pockets for tags, bookmarks, photos and so on. You can also make your own envelopes using junk paper like old book pages. Envelopes are also handy for storing small stuff that you don't want to slip off from your junk journal, as the flap can be closed if needed. The bookmark in the envelope pocket (on the right side) is made of an old book page, lined paper (behind), junk mail image, stamp and a piece of washi tape. The "file folder" on the left side is made of an old art work - acrylic painting on a book page using stencils.


DIY junk journal ideas 7 - the cover

The cover of my 99% upcycled junk journal is made of brown packaging paper. It's slightly larger than the papers inside the journal. I painted the cover with acrylic paint (raw sienna and black). I also used a piece of a napkin, lacker glue (Allround medium) and matt medium, stamps and Archival ink to create the cover. It's re-enforced from the inside with a strip of packaging paper in the center and a ripped book page on the sides. The closer is made of teadyed and wrinkled old satin ribbon. To make the cover you could also use regular copy paper (mini notebook in the left), scrapbook paper, cardstock and fabric or old envelopes, just to name a few options.


You can bind together your junk journal with staples or with a needle and thread. Using staples is super quick and easy, but to bind together even a small junk journal, you'll need to have a very large stapler - regular home stapler isn't big enough. I used a needle and thread and a small spike that's also named an awl. You'll find a step by step tutorial with detailed illustrations here: How to bind a junk journal


You'll find a 20 minutes flip trough of this junk jounal with a voice over explaining everything:

Youtube video tutorial:

© Auer Media / 2018-10-26