Whether you are new to journaling or experienced, this long list of junk journal supplies has something to inspire everyone. These supplies are great for junk journals, art journals, scrapbooks, or any other journal style. I’ve included both popular supplies and some unique finds which may be new to more experienced crafters.
Before we start the fun journaling supplies, you need to have the basics. Start with your favorite type of journal (or use these supplies to make one) and basic paper crafting tools. Pens, scissors, a glue stick or other adhesive like mod podge are a must. A paper cutter is also helpful. Once you get the basics, dive into the list below and get inspired to start junk journaling!
A Word on “Junk” Journals
There is an old saying tha one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Junk is relative. Personally I don’t like to use “junk” supplies like junk mail, cardboard boxes, or magazine clippings printed on cheap paper. I’m creating a visual journal with artistic and creative materials, so I value finding unique supplies. Use materials you like, find your own style, and most importantly have fun!
Where to find Junk Journal Supplies
You can find journaling supplies in many places. Online scrapbook stores, Ebay, Etsy, Amazon, and specialty stores are easy options for shopping. If you are in retail stores, look at the paper crafts section, stationary, cards, and office supply areas for a variety of supplies. I’ve found some of my favorite things at estate sales and specialty stores I’ll share in the list. You can also find treasures at flea markets, garage sales, antique stores, or a thrift store. Once you start looking, ideas are everywhere.
Paper Craft and Scrapbook Supplies
Most scrapbooking supplies work well for journaling. These are some of the most popular and readily available supplies which you might already have.
- Rubber stamps – I might be just a little biased about this one, but I use rubber stamps in pretty much all of my journals. They are an easy way to decorate pages.
- Stickers – Stickers are easy to find and versatile. Die cut stickers are wonderful because you can position them on the page and plan your layout before adhering them. We have a curated selection of washi stickers, clear plastic, and paper stickers.
- Washi Tape – Another versatile and easy to use supply. Buy a washi tape set for a variety of designs or colors at a better price.
- Die cuts and other scrapbook embellishments – Most scrapbooking embellishments work, just be mindful of the thickness of chunky materials. These are getting harder to find in retail stores, so shop online for the best selection.
- Scrapbook paper and cardstock – Buying scrapbook paper gives you a huge variety of options. Its easy to pick up a paper pad on sale at major craft stores like Hobby Lobby and Michaels which are a great beginner option. I prefer using a wider variety of papers in my journals so don’t limit yourself to scrapbook papers.
- Distress or blending ink – Distress inks are a popular choice for aging pages or adding special finishes. Watch some YouTube videos to learn how to use these Tim Holtz inks. You can also use a watercolor set to create some similar effects.
Stationary and Office Supplies for your Journal
- Envelopes – Stationary and invitation envelopes come in a wide variety of sizes and make great pockets for your pages. Look for translucent glassine envelopes or small coin envelopes.
- Greeting cards – I prefer using blank cards in my journals because I find them more versatile. I usually find them at estate sales and used bookstores, but occasionally pick up something on the card isle at retail stores. I find smaller size cards to be easier to use.
- Labels – color and stamp to make your own stickers. You can also print designs on full page labels to turn any digital papers into stickers
- Notepads – these are often printed with a variety of designs and make great little papers for adding text
- Paperclips and staples – Look for paperclips in creative shapes or tie a short bit length of ribbon to the end to add a creative touch.
- Resume or letterhead Paper – High quality papers like this often have a high cotton content and are perfect for binding if you want to make your own journals. They are also a good material to dye or stain.
- Wrapping paper – Watch for designs you like and save scraps to use in junk journal pages.
Here I’m including special paper you can make yourself or find in specialty stores. Some of these are only available online. If you want to see some truly unique papers, check out Mulberry Paper and More or Vintage Paper Co (ships from UK).
- Handmade paper – whether you buy it or make it yourself, handmade paper adds an unmistakable artistic touch to your journals. https://www.mulberrypaperandmore.com
- Marbled paper – I love using marbled paper and other specialty papers.
- Vellum – Translucent vellum makes great layered designs when stamped or distressed. Try making envelopes and pockets with it.
- Tea or coffee stained paper – Staining paper with coffee or tea is a great way to create a distress look quickly. Dry in the oven on low heat for a few minutes if you want to make a large batch.
- Hand dyed paper – Rit fabric dyes are great for paper as well, and many natural dyes (like avocado which makes pink) work better for paper than fabric. Use a shallow pan to dye the paper and control the color intensity with the length of time in the dye.
- Watercolor paper – Watercolor or multimedia papers from art supply stores allow you to paint or use other wet media with less deterioration of the paper.
- Tracing paper – this thin translucent paper is fun for creating layered effects. Stamp on it and make covers to hide your journal text in photos.
Old Book Pages
Not all old books are created equal for journaling supplies. You can only have so many pages of text to decorate. Here are some specific types of books to look for to add unique character to your journal pages. Tip – it’s actually hard to rip pages out of a perfectly good book. Find one which is already damaged to get comfortable with the idea. You can also cut off the binding completely. Where to find used books: Used book stores, estate sales, library book sales, and ebay. You can also find sets of random book pages on etsy and ebay.
- Dictionary pages – You need an old dictionary. I like to use the illustrations with blocks of surrounding text. You can also highlight specific words for you page.
- Adult coloring book pages – Pages with patterns or detailed pages work best so you get great designs when the pages are cut up. I love books by Johanna Basford and you can pick them up for a few dollars on ebay.
- Puzzle books – Sudoku, crosswords, mazes, and other puzzles are fun additions to your supplies
- Art books – usually featuring a specific artist or art period. These can be expensive (and extra hard to cut up!) so look for good deals.
- Atlas or Old Maps – Atlas books are typically huge and have bright colors on the pages.
- Vintage Children’s Books – In addition to the cute illustrations on the pages, the covers are also popular to use for rebinding into new journals.
- Textbooks – look for books with illustrations – old geometry books, college science and physics books usually have line drawings. I’ve seen medical anatomy books at estate sales (I find them a little disturbing, but these can work for halloween or macabre themed journals)
- Old manuals and product catalogs – I once found an old catalog of vacuum tubes for televisions in the 1950s! Old Sears catalog pages are also fun if you can find them.
- Old magazines – full of vintage advertising, photos, and illustrations
Fabric and Fibers
- Lace – Add lace for a feminine touch and vintage feel
- Ribbons and specialty yarn – Use for bookmarks, journal closures. I like tying fibers like this to the wire on wire bound journals.
- Fabric scraps – Fabric of all kinds can be used on pages or as journal covers. Most fabric stores sell bundles of fabric assortments for quilting and crafts. This is a great way to get a variety of small pieces.
- Recycled sari silk ribbon – This stuff is one of my favorite materials! Used saris from India are roughly cut into ribbons and often redyed. This gives you a distressed but soft look. Shop these online on Etsy, Ebay, or Amazon.
Download and Print
To use the supplies in this section, you need your own printer. These are files and images you download online and print to use in your journals. This can be a budget-friendly option, just be mindful of the cost of ink for your printer. If you learn some very basic photo editing skills, a whole new world of options will open up.
- Digital Kits, Papers and Ephemera – available on Etsy and many online shops. These are frequently available as pdf files which you can print directly without any editing. Use your browser or Adobe Acrobat reader (free) to open and print these files.
- Old patents – did you know you can download patents and print the images? Try printing them on specialty paper, or stain the paper after printing.
- Fonts – There are thousands of amazing free fonts which you can download and use to print page titles, quotes, or even you own writing
- Vintage public domain artwork – Many sites have high resolution artwork of famous paintings, prints, and documents from centuries past. Printing these takes a bit of skill with photo editing software – just learn enough to scale and crop the images. Search on “high resolution public domain art”
Vintage papers are some of my favorite materials. Estate sales are the best places to find these at an affordable price.
- Old blueprints – I’ve picked up a few of these cheaply at estate sales, but they are surprisingly expensive on ebay.
- Vintage Ledger Paper and Forms – Old ledger pages with beautiful handwriting are wildly popular online and get more expensive each year. However, blank ledger paper and other forms are easy to find.
- Typing or Erasable Bond Paper – You might even stumble across some vintage onion skin paper, but regardless these papers have unique textures and are becoming more rare and valuable.
- Vintage photographs – Add a vintage photo (or reproduction) to truly age your page. Old black and white photos are available on Etsy and Ebay, and I’ve also seen some at estate sales.
- Postcards – Old postcards can be cheap or expensive. Expect to pay $1 each or more at many estate sales unless they are sold in lots. Buying sets of reproductions is a less expensive option. Consider collecting postcards from places you visit.
- Sewing patterns – Sewing patterns are printed on kraft colored tissue paper. They are one of my favorite materials. Stamp on them and layer over other elements.
Other Vintage Ephemera for Journals
- Flash cards – Vintage math and spelling flash cards are fairly easy to find online and at estate sales.
- Tickets and receipts – paper tickets are getting harder to find, but they are fun. Avoid modern receipts and labels printed with thermal ink – they darken quickly and contain chemicals you should avoid. Vintage invoices and receipts often include great typography and artwork.
- Playing cards and other game cards – Playing cards, bingo cards,monopoly money, notepads for keeping game score are a few of the vintage supplies you can find.
- Postage stamps – Cut out stamps from mail you receive or buy packaged assortments of canceled stamps. You can find packages grouped by color, theme, or country. Avoid anything rare enough to be collectable.
- Handwritten letters – You can find letters from the 1940s and later (usually in lots or at estate sales) cheap enough to use as journal supplies. Older letters and documents are collectable and become more expensive if they have beautiful handwriting. Those are best scanned and reprinted.
- Old iron on transfers for embroidery – One of my favorite estate sale finds was a catalog of iron on embroidery transfers from the late 1800s. I scanned my favorite designs so I can reuse them in many projects. I’ve also found actual iron on patterns from the 1960’s.
- Old report cards or library cards – Another little treat you may stumble across in estate sales or online.
- Financial forms – I’ve found stacks of bank deposit forms and several booklets of rental receipts. I also have some old checks with decorative a
- Seed packages – Vintage seed packets are rare but a great treat. They might still include seeds.
- Foreign language documents – Any vintage documents or papers in other languages (especially French) are wildly popular journaling supplies.