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8 Ways To Use Junk Journal Embellishments (With Examples)

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So you’ve made some beautiful embellishments for your journal. Now what? If you’re wondering how to use junk journal embellishments then the short answer is: decorate stuff!

But this would be a rubbish blog post if I just left it at that, wouldn’t it? Instead, allow me to run through eight different ways you can use junk journal embellishments.

Along the way, I’ll show you examples for each plus tutorials where relevant. Let’s dive in…

Psst! Not made any embellishments yet? Check out these junk journal embellishment ideas and examples.

8 Ways To Use Junk Journal Embellishments (With Examples!)

1. Decorate your journal covers

There are lots of ways that you can use junk journal embellishments to decorate your journal covers.

One of the most popular ways is to create spine tassels or boho dangles and hang them from the spine of your journal.

These look especially stunning when your journal is sitting on your shelf, and in my opinion, they add a special finishing touch to any journal. Check out my video tutorial to see how I make my spine tassels >>

Lilacs and Lavender fairy junk journal
Pretty junk journal tassel decorating the spine of my journal

Aside from that, you can also use journal embellishments to decorate the front of your journal covers.

One example of this is when I upcycled a writing set into a junk journal folio. I created a beautiful snippet roll for it, which I glued onto the front of my cover. Doesn’t it look stunning? Here’s my process video if you’d like to see what I did >>

Upcycled Junk Journal Folio Lapbook
A pretty snippet roll decorating my journal cover

Or maybe you want to create large clusters that you’re going to decorate the front of your journal with.

An example of this would be the botanical clusters that I made last year. I glued one of them onto the front of a hardcover journal and that was my cover pretty much finished (apart from adding the closure and crochet along the spine).

Botanical junk journal cover using a cluster embellishment
A fabric cluster I made for a botanical-themed journal cover

I was inspired by Tania from Tatty Treasure to make these (here’s her video) and here’s my video to show you what I used to make mine.

This was such a quick and easy journal cover to do. You could make a whole bunch of these clusters in advance so that you have various journal cover embellishments ready to go.

Here’s another example. This is my Tim Holtz ring bound journal, and as you can see, it has an interesting collaged cover.

Tim Holtz ringbound junk journal
My collaged Tim Holtz journal cover showcasing various embellishments

To make this one, I used a bunch of my scraps to decorate the front of the cover. I then added embellishments such as a vintage brooch in the middle of the closure, a readymade fabric embellishment and some buttons. Check out my process video to see how it came together >>

Finally, here’s another idea for you – this time with a festive theme. I was inspired by my friend Beth from yesimadeitmyself on YouTube to make some fabric clusters (a very popular junk journal embellishment!) and use them to make a shabby wreath for the front of my journal. It looks so unique and festive. Thanks for the inspiration Beth!

Shabby Wreath junk journal cover
Fabric clusters decorating my journal cover in a wreath shape

READ NEXT: 21 Junk Journal Cover Ideas To Inspire You

2. Make a closure for your journal

When we make closures for our journals, we usually stick to a couple of simple methods: eyelets and ribbon or a simple tie-around closure.

But you can actually use some of your junk journal embellishments to make your closures for a unique finishing touch.

One example of this is when I made my ‘Enchanted Woodland’ journal. I used a bunch of bead dangles I’d made previously and attached them to a piece of chain from a broken bracelet.

I attached some lobster clasps to either end of the chain and hooked these through eyelets to make my closure. It looks stunning on my journal – especially as this one has a magical fairy theme. Here’s my process video >>

Junk journal closure made from broken jewellery
Pretty bead dangles make this chain closure look extra pretty

Or why not take inspiration from this video from Tina at Shabbydabbydoodah? In it, she created a snippet roll, which she then attached some popper clasps to, so that the entire snippet roll became her closure.

It suits her style perfectly, which is feminine and features lots of lace. I think it looks absolutely stunning on her journal.

3. Decorate your pockets, tuck spots and belly bands

Another close up of a cluster
A simple paper and fabric cluster decorating one of my belly bands

Of course, one of the most popular ways to use junk journal embellishments is to decorate ephemera, such as pockets, tuck spots and belly bands.

You can use your journal embellishments in a variety of ways. If you’re like me and you make your clusters in advance, then you can simply glue these onto your pockets and belly bands.

Alternatively, you might decorate your pockets with stickers, fussy cuts, labels, and other ready-made embellishments like that. Be inventive and creative with them and just try things out until you find something that works for you.

READ NEXT: 10 Easy Junk Journal Pockets – Ideas & Tutorials

4. Use your embellishments as tuck spots

Speaking of pockets and tuck spots, have you thought about using your embellishments as the tuck spot itself?

Take my ‘Lilacs & Lavender’ fairy journal, for example. I made a fun stacked envelope piece for my cover and I added little clusters onto some of the envelopes. By glueing them on two sides, I created little tuck spots for simple journal cards. Here’s my process video to show you how I made the stacked envelope cover >>

Stacked envelope junk journal cover
I used clusters as tuck spots in one of my fairy journals

Another example is this bird nest embellishment that I made for my altered book journal. Once again this embellishment not only looks decorative but also doubles up as a tuck spot. Check out my process video here >>

Altered book pages - bird nest tuck spot
This cute bird nest embellishment doubles up as a tuck spot

With embellishments like this, you’re not going to be able to use them for heavy or bulky pieces of ephemera. But if you’re just slipping a simple journal card, tag or some note paper into your tuck spot, then these work perfectly fine. Plus, the tuck spots are already decorated so you’re also saving yourself a step.

READ NEXT: 14 Creative Things To Do In A Journal Or Notebook

5. Decorate your journal cards and tags

You can also use your junk journal embellishments to decorate other ephemera such as journal cards and tags.

The easiest way to do this is to make paper clusters, fabric clusters or a mix of the two in advance, which you can then glue onto simple backgrounds.

Maybe you’ve made a collage masterboard out of book pages. You can simply glue your cluster onto the tag to pretty it up. Here are some journal cards/tags I made from my first masterboards >>

Collage masterboard junk journal tags and journal cards
Some journal cards and tags I made from a collage masterboard

Or maybe you have some patterned scrapbook paper or a kit tag that you want to decorate. Clusters and other simple embellishments are a very easy way to do that.

READ NEXT: 15 Junk Journal Tags & Journal Cards To Inspire You

6. Decorate your journal pages

Of course, your journal embellishments don’t have to be tuck spots or pockets. You can use them to simply decorate your journal pages.

One of the most popular ways to do this is to use fabric clusters on a journal page. Not only do they add a bit of texture and a 3D look to your page but they also look really pretty.

Fun envelope page inside The Night Before Christmas Little Golden Book Junk Journal
A pretty fabric cluster decorating one of my journal pages

Alternatively, you could use paper clusters, labels, stickers, fussy cuts, and all manner of things to decorate your journal pages.

I love the idea of decorating journal pages because it inspires you when you’re actually writing in your journal. After all, you have something pretty to look at rather than a blank journal page.

READ NEXT: 10 Junk Journal Page Ideas To Inspire You

7. Use your embellishments as page tabs and bookmarks

Speaking of practical page embellishments, you can also use your embellishments as page tabs and bookmarks.

One of the simplest ways to do this is to have paper, cardstock or fabric sticking out of the side of your journal page to make a tab.

Or you can get more creative with it. One example I can give you from my own journals is when I made my ‘Enchanted Woodland’ journal. I glued faux leaves onto the edges of some of the journal pages.

Fold out pocket inside the enchanted woodland journal
Using faux leaves to decorate some of the pages in my ‘Enchanted Woodland’ journal

I then staggered them at different heights so that when you look at the book from the outside, the leaves have a 3D layered effect. This was simple to do but it looks very effective.

Enchanted Woodland junk journal
The faux leaf embellishments look almost 3D when you look at the journal from the outside!

Or you can make the junk journal tag I showed in this video, which doubles up as a layered journal tag and a bookmark. The leaf chain hangs out of the top of the book to act as a bookmark and also becomes some pretty journal jewellery.

Junk journal tag bookmark
A junk journal tag that doubles up as a bookmark and journal jewellery!

READ NEXT: DIY Book Spine Bookmarks – Quick & Easy How To!

8. Hide a secret writing spot

Finally, you can get really creative with your junk journal embellishments and use them to hide secret writing spots. Who doesn’t love a secret writing spot? They’re so much fun in journals and they’re easy to make.

One of the simplest ways to do this is with a fabric flip. All you need to do is glue the top of a piece of fabric onto your journal page so you can flip up the fabric to write underneath it.

Of course, you can decorate the fabric flip with lace, buttons, brads, fussy cuts and labels to make it look more interesting.

Fabric flip junk journal page idea
A simple fabric flip hiding a writing spot

Another of my favourites is swinging embellishments. I’ve done these a few times in my journals now. All you need to do is put a brad through one of your embellishments and your journal page to create a “swing” effect.

Here’s an example from my ‘Enchanted Woodland’ journal where a ticket embellishment reveals a tiny little pocket for an even tinier tag.

Corner pocket inside the enchanted woodland junk journal
This ticket embellishment swings out to reveal a tiny pocket and tag

READ NEXT: Regency Letter Folding Technique (Jane Austen’s Method!)


And there you have it! 8 different ways you can use embellishments in your journals. I hope you’ve found some inspiration today. Over to you now – what are some of your favourite ways to use junk journal embellishments? Let me know in the comments below…

Did you like this list of junk journal embellishment uses? Why not pin or bookmark this blog post now, so you can refer back to it later?

8 Ways To Use Junk Journal Embellishments (With Examples!)
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Justine Jenkins

Justine is the brains behind the House of Mahalo craft blog, YouTube channel and Etsy shop. She's been cross-stitching since she was 10, baking since she was 6 and just generally creating something fabulous for as far back as she can remember. In 2020, Justine started upcycling various items around the house, and in 2021, she discovered the wonderful world of junk journals. Since then, she's made well over 30 journals and folios by hand, alongside various handmade gifts and home decor pieces. Justine now shares tutorials and inspiring DIY ideas via this craft blog, her YouTube videos and in her Facebook group called Junk Journal Ideas and Inspiration.

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