10 things to put in your junk journal

Wanting to get creative and start smashing bits of paper into a notebook?  Or maybe you’ve been keeping journals for a long time and you’re looking for a fresh idea or two.  Whatever the case is for you, I hope you find some inspiration in this post to fuel many happy journal days. 🙂

I like to keep an eclectic, scrappy-style journal, somewhere between a scrapbook and a ‘traditional’ bullet journal.  I tend to have the most fun with this style because when it comes to my journal–like everything else I own–pretty much anything goes!

Read on to see some of the scraps and bits I put into my journals. . .


1. old playing cards

IMG_4939 (2)If you have an old deck of playing cards laying around that’s been missing a seven for months, or you simply upgraded to a new deck–use the old cards in your journal!

Playing cards have a classic look about them that will add some color and interest to any page, and they’re made of satisfyingly sturdy paper (‘card’-stock, anybody?).

Try gluing a small photo to the back of a playing card and tucking it into a page pocket for a nice surprise.



2. personal photos

IMG_4943 (2)Speaking of photos–they’re a great way to really personalize your journal!  Print out photos from your phone to get those memories on paper.

If you’re really looking for a fun way to add photos to your journal, look into a camera with instantly developing film (like the instax mini 9).  Add it to your Christmas wish list! 😉

*Not sponsored by Fujifilm.. I just like my instax.


3. paint swatches

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We can debate the ethics of taking paint swatches from the store if you only intend to use them for crafts, buuut. . .

If you’ve got some lying around, use ’em!  They add quick and bright colors to any journal spread.


4. post cards

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One of my personal favorite items to use in my journal!  Post cards are like mini posters and can be so aesthetically pleasing.

I often browse thrift shops for old post cards, like these retro National Park Service designs!

Try taping the post card down along one edge to create a hinge, and behind it you have plenty of space for writing and pictures!



5. random packaging

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Sometimes the packaging of a snack or candy bar will catch my eye.  Saving that one for sure!





6. botanical ephemera

Another easy way to add some character to your journal!  You can find packs of botanical scraps and ephemera in all kinds of places–craft stores, Etsy shops, and antique shops, to name a few.

I love the simple nature vibes I get from gluing in little floral bits and pieces.  IMG_4961 (2)


7. stamps

IMG_4971 (2)Oh, stamps.  Those cute lil stickers that open the doors (mailbox doors, that is) and take our mail all over the world.  Stamps are highly appreciated in the journalling community for their punch of pleasantness.  I save the stamps off of all kinds of mail, even if they’re “ruined.”  If I’m gluing them into my journal, it doesn’t matter whether they’re used or not!


8. tea bags

IMG_4964 (2)After I started ‘junk’ journalling, I trained my mind to think creatively about things that would otherwise have been trashed or overlooked–like tea packaging.  Staple in an unopened one that you want to save for later, or repurpose the paper tea bag wrapper to make an instant lil pocket on your page.  The possibilities are endless.


9. receipts and coin roll papers

Going out shopping?  Tape your receipts right into your journal!  Not only does this add IMG_4974 (2)scraps and chunkiness to your journal, it also is a great way to keep up with your receipts after small visits to the store.  It’s instantly filed away according to the date, if you’re keeping a chronological daily journal.

Other unimportant banking papers–like the wrapping off of a coin roll–can be nice decorative scraps to add, too.






10. tea tags


Don’t forget about the tags!  Yet another thing that often gets thrown away are the IMG_4977 (2)descriptive tags on a tea bag, but they can easily be reused in your journal.

The best thing about these little tags?  They make great tabs that can stick out from the pages of your notebook!  Use them to mark a special page, paint over them and add words, tape them, staple them. . . go to town!

I keep a tiny half-pint Mason jar by my tea station as a catch-all container for those tags.  Make a cuppa, pull off the tag, and pop it in the jar.





What else would you add to this list?  Let me know in a comment below!

Happy journalling!

~Linzi Loo