“Items To Use In Your Junque Journals”

Hi There

As I have been creating the JJ Tutorial for you, I thought it would be a good idea to do a list of items you can use in your Journals.  You will get to know what to use and nothing is off limits. If you want to include it then go ahead!!


 Whether you are just starting in making junk journals or have been doing it forever, one of the things you will probably do at some point is starting to gather ephemera and collage supplies for your junk journals.

Sometimes this can be tricky – where do you start? Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be hard to find things to use in your art and junk journals – and many of these things can be found for free or super cheap!

Old Interesting Books & Magazines: This is probably one of my favourite go-to supplies for junk journals! I love to look for anthologies, dictionaries, encyclopedias, kids books, books of quotes and poetry and of course magazines! Books in other languages can also be fun to use. 

Junk Mail: Another obvious one – you’d be surprised how great junk mail can be! You can use the patterns on old security envelopes for bank and credit card statements, or cover those gigantic glossy postcards with some gesso and use them as a mini-canvas

Sheet Music: You never know where you might find sheet music or what type you might find! I’ve found some great treasures at Thrift Stores and Garage Sales.

Old Sewing Patterns: These tissue-paper-like sewing patterns make for great photo transfer backgrounds and texture in your art journal!

Scrapbook Paper Lots: If you are a memory keeper/paper crafter like I am then you probably have quite a stash of paper.

Postage Stamps: I like to save these from letters I get in the mail and then use as ephemera in journals.

Stickers: You can find stickers cheap at the cheap and thrift stores. Just keep in mind if you are shopping at thrift stores, stickers that are older usually won’t “stick” – be prepared to paste them on with a glue stick or matte gel medium.

Playing Cards: Playing cards are great to use as tags or journal cards in your journals. You can also use them to make your own altered cards for Artist Trading Cards or create an inspiration deck.

Old Games: Often times at thrift stores and estate sales you can find a lot of old beat up games with assorted paper pads, playing pieces, and game cards.

Bingo Cards: These are super cheap even if you buy them new, but it’s fun to stumble across a vintage pack of them at a  market too!

Greeting Cards: Finding assorted bags of greeting cards, invitations, thank you notes, valentines, postcards and more is pretty common at most thrift shops and garage sales!

Wrapping Paper: There are so many ways to use wrapping paper in your art journals! Whether you cut out the pictures and glue them in or use them as texture – the possibilities are endless.

Tissue Paper & Napkins: These can be a lot of fun for adding texture and image transfers on your pages.  I also like to stamp on plain tissue paper with archival ink and create my own.

Old Journals, Address Books, Planners & Notebooks: You can find all sorts of interesting journals and binders at thrift stores. These are great for transforming into junk journals!

Notebook paper, Notepads, Stationary: I love looking for to-do list types of notepads and pretty stationary paper.

Paper Clips & Binder Clips: You can always use these in some way in your journals. They are great for keeping pages to stay down flat while painting, use as a bookmark, or even use to attach tags, cards, or envelopes in the journal.

Concert and Event Flyers: You can often find these for free in small restaurants, cafes and bars. Not only for junk journals – these are a great way to discover new artists and events happening near you!

Interesting Business Cards: Vintage business cards can be a lot of fun – or you can always create an artful directory with business cards from people you know for a creative address book.

Coffee Cup Cozies: Next time you are at a coffee shop, save one of those cardboard coffee cup cozies – they make for great texture in a journal or collage!

Matchbooks: I would recommend removing old matches safely of course first – but many vintage matchbooks have some pretty nifty designs.

Ticket Stubs: If you go somewhere with tickets, hang on to the stubs! This is a great ephemera to have when you are making travel or memory-keeping types of junk journals. I also like to keep the tickets from 50-50 raffles and basket raffles.

Travel Brochures:  You can find these on your travels or just go into a Travel Agency. They are free and great Junk to add to your creations.

 Receipts – These are great ephemera, add them to your journal for a way to keep some memories.

Old Keys: Old keys are another great thing to keep an eye out for. I am always finding old keys at estate sales or even in my own garage – and I have no idea what the keys ever went to! Often times these are little keys for combination locks, though once in a while I get lucky and find some old vintage skeleton keys.

Photographs: If you have old photos, scan them into digital format to preserve and print out for artwork! This is a great way to include those old vintage photos of family members and friends without damaging or destroying the originals.

Maps & Atlases: Need some direction? Maps make for great texture and background pages in all sorts of types of creative work!

Fabric Scraps: There are so many great ways to use fabric scraps. Whether you are making a fabric textile collage or using them to create journal covers.  – there are lots of great options!

Ribbons, Yarn, Twine and String: You can use ribbons and twine to add some decorative flair to almost any journal, or even tie around the binding of a composition notebook to give it some strength as you start adding in more papers and items. You can also use embroidery thread to hand stitch some neat patterns onto your pages or journal covers.

Mail Order Catalogs: I like these types of catalogues because there are often a lot of neat things you can cut-out and use just as you would for magazines. Some of the catalogues we regularly get from my husband’s business are more like telephone book newsprint paper, and these are great for adding texture or even paper mache projects.

Cereal Boxes: Cereal boxes are great to use for journal covers since they are made of nice cardboard. You can also use the plastic cereal bags to add texture or use for stamping into the paint for making some interesting backgrounds.

Lolly  Wrappers: Have a favourite Lolly? Why not save the wrapper and add it into the journal? This can be a lot of fun to do with different types of wrappers for all sorts of texture and theme ideas.

Tea Bags: My son and I are Tea-a-holics so no shortage of Tbags here. I drink different green teas also so they are nice and colourful to add to journals.

Fruit/Vegetable Netting: Oranges, Lemons, and Onions often come in bags that are made of this plastic mesh netting. That netting is perfect for adding texture into your art journal pages with gesso or even using as a stamp.

Packaging From Things You Buy: There’s always inspiration to find in packages from things you buy. Maybe it’s the assembly directions for a piece of furniture you bought or an interesting design on some sort of product package. Maybe those packing peanuts from that package in the mail could be used as stamps!

Tags From Clothes and Fashion Accessories: I love saving the tags from the clothes I buy for myself because they are already the perfect size and shape for my journals. These are perfect for painting over with your own designs or even using as-is.

Labels from Soaps and Bath & Beauty Products: Not only are soap labels cute to decorate with – often times they can add a nice soft scent to your journal! It’s also the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a nice bar of your favourite soap!

Cardboard Boxes: I love cardboard boxes because there are so many ways to use them for journaling and other different crafty projects. I use them a lot to make the bones of my Journals.

Paper Roll Tubes: From Paper Towels to TP rolls, these are great to use for all sorts of things! Glue some foam shapes on them and you have a fun texture roller for your paint. Flatten them and they are the perfect size to use as pockets and envelopes for tags. These can also be used for mark making and stamps!

Great places to find these things are: around your home, markets, second-hand shops, Estate sales, Garage sales and local buy/swap/sell groups, FaceBook, eBay, Etsy, Cheap Shops, ask family and friends!

To Finish off this MAMMOTH LIST– Anything that is flat can be used in your junk/art journal.

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As you find things and you start a bit of a collection you will need some sort of storage for it. I use the storage that I already have and I have my Raskog cart set up with my most used supplies. I can have it near me when working and out of the way when I’m not. I love it!!

I hope my “little list” helps you get started collecting bits and pieces for your junk journals. It’s up to you what you want to include and you will have your favourites 🙂

Happy Hunting!

Kerri x