Junk Journals: Not Your Mother's Scrapbooking

Scrapbooking has come a long way. Sure, there are still plenty of traditional ways to document your memories, but the whole genre has branched out into so many fun subcategories, from digital scrapbooking to my personal favorite, junk journals.

Junk Journal Covers

This scrapbooking is different, starting with the journal itself, not what you would typically think of as a “scrapbook." A vintage book with binder spine makes a perfect junk journal. It serves the same purpose of displaying pictures as an album or traditional scrapbook, but it plays into a style of memory-keeping that intersects with the world of mixed media art, upcycling and collage. 

Embroidered Page

Junk journaling is not limited to just pictures, store-bought ephemera and the occasional splash of colorful washi tape. Junk journals are so thick with embellishments that they won’t close. For example, the pages of this scrapbook are covered in fabric, embroidered and then adorned with vintage ball fringe.

Mix and Match

Often, traditional scrapbook elements lend themselves perfectly to junk journals. Pocket pages fit into vintage binder books (and if they don’t, well, that is what a hole punch is for). Journaling cards, stickers and more items will blend right into the mixed media style.

Smash It Up

The thing I adore about Smash Books is that they take the intimidation of the blank page away. These journals come with printed pages, pictures, quotes and prompts. Most times, I only keep about half of these images, like the motel sign here, but I find the pictures inspire the layout. This vintage photo lab envelope I found in a stack of my grandmother's belongings works perfectly on the corresponding page. Inside the envelope are more pictures.

Fabric Ad

Scrapbooking paper is beautiful but it can add up. Think about using imagery from magazines, old books and catalogs instead. The background for this layout of a ballet trip with my daughter is a fabric advertisement.

Add and Subtract

If the spine of your journal is a binder, there is nothing that says you can not add (or subtract) pages as much as you'd like. I loved the graphic on this vintage pantyhose package that I picked up at a flea market, and I just knew it would be perfect for one of my junk journals. I was right.

Craft With Kids

"Raised in Craftivity" is a motto I try to live by with my children. The glorious imperfections of junk journals and smash booking lends itself to collaborating with children. My children have their own junk journals they work on with me, and we also have joint art journals, plus many pages within my scrapbooks are adorned with their embellishments, which is better than any sticker I could ever buy.

Pictures, Pictures and More Pictures

No matter what style of scrapbooking you do or gravitate towards, the end goal is always the same: preserving precious memories. There is no right or wrong way to do it, just the way that appeals to you. Whether you love the elaborate controlled chaos of a junk journal or the tidy look of a photo album, as long as you are printing, saving and documenting your photographs, you are doing it correctly.