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How to Make a Beautiful and Unique Junk Journal That Will Inspire You

a pair of vintage glasses on top of a journal

I think we can all agree that journaling is a fantastic way to express ourselves and capture precious memories. However, have you ever considered taking your journaling to a whole new level with a junk journal? Aesthetic junk journaling is a creative and unique way to document your life using distressed and vintage materials, making it an enchanting keepsake. In this article, I want to share my passion for junk journaling and guide you on how to create your very own beautiful and unique aesthetic junk journal.

What Is Junk Journaling?

Let's start with the basics. What is junk journaling and why is everyone suddenly making their own journals? Junk journaling is a form of creative journaling that involves using a wide array of materials, such as old papers, vintage photos, fabric scraps, buttons, and various ephemera. The term "junk" might sound a bit misleading, but it refers to the idea of reusing and repurposing materials that might otherwise be considered useless or discarded. A sort of upcycling on a fundamental level, if you will.

In junk journaling, we embrace imperfections, distressed edges, and the charm of vintage elements. The result is a journal that not only documents our thoughts and memories but also showcases our creativity and appreciation for all things old and unique. Each page of a junk journal becomes a mini work of art, making it an incredibly personal and captivating keepsake.

an opened art book with vintage junk joirnaling promps on top of a journal

How to Start Your First Junk Journal?

At some point in your life, you've probably made an applique with your favorite dry foliage and flowers, or glued your favorite poem on a piece of paper. If you did anything like this, then congratulations! You already know how to make a junk journal! If you feel like learning more about the process, here are a few tips for starters.

  • Choose a Sturdy Journal Base:

First, you need to select the base for your junk journal. You can either create one from scratch using various papers or repurpose an existing book, such as an old book or vintage ledger. I like to use vintage books with sturdy covers as they add a touch of authenticity to the journal.

  • Gather Your Materials:

The beauty of junk journaling lies in the variety of materials you can use. Collect old letters, vintage postcards, music sheets, newspaper clippings, and any other papers with a distressed and aged appearance. Look for unique trinkets like buttons, lace, ribbons, and beads that you can incorporate into your journal. The possibilities are endless, and this is where your creativity will truly shine.

  • Plan Your Layouts:

Before you start adhering materials to your journal, it's a good idea to organize your layouts. Think about the themes you want to explore in your journal and plan which materials you want to use for each page. Consider the flow of your journal and how each page will interact with the next.

  • Start Creating Collages:

Now comes the fun part! Begin creating collages on your journal pages. Layer different materials, use distressed edges, and add some artistic doodles if you like. Play around with textures and colors to give your journal depth and character.

  • Add Journaling Spaces:

Amidst the beautiful chaos of your collages, remember to leave some space for your journaling. Whether it's reflections, thoughts, or memories, this is where you'll pour your heart onto the pages. You can use vintage typewriters, calligraphy, or your regular handwriting to add a personal touch. Play with daily prompts to stay creative.

  • Decorate Junk Journal Pages: 

Enhance the aesthetics of your journal by incorporating ephemera like old stamps, vintage photos, and dried flowers. These little touches will add more charm and interest to your pages.

a dry leaf on top of a vintage document

Where to Find Junk for Journal? 

Finding the perfect junk for your journal can be an exciting scavenger hunt. Here are some places where you can source unique materials:

Antique Stores and Thrift Shops: Antique stores and thrift shops are treasure troves for vintage papers, old books, and unique trinkets that fit perfectly with the junk aesthetic.

Flea Markets and Vintage Fairs: Flea markets and vintage fairs are excellent places to find vintage postcards, antique photos, and other exciting memorabilia that you can incorporate into your journal.

Family Heirlooms: Look through your family's old photos, letters, and documents. Not only will these items add sentimental value to your journal, but they also provide a connection to your heritage.

Nature Walks: Take a stroll in nature and collect dried leaves, flowers, and other natural elements to use as embellishments.

Print It Yourself: If you need help finding specific vintage papers or ephemera, consider printing them yourself. There are plenty of online resources that offer printable vintage papers, images, and postcards. You can visit my store Melanfolia and download aesthetic props for your first junk journal. Print them on recycled and office paper or even use tea-staining techniques to age the paper and give it an authentic vintage look.

Let's summarize...

After reading this guide, I hope you feel inspired to embark on your junk journaling journey. Creating a beautiful and unique aesthetic junk journal is an incredibly fulfilling and creative experience. Remember, there are no rules for junk journaling – embrace imperfections, experiment with various materials, and make it a reflection of your personality. This unique keepsake will not only capture your memories but also become a treasured piece of art that you'll cherish for years to come. Happy journaling!
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