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Are Junk Journals Still Popular? 10 Reasons Why I Love Them

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If you’re wondering whether junk journals are still popular in 2024, then the short answer is: yes, they are. But don’t just take my word for it. Let’s look at some data points, shall we?

Are Junk Journals Still Popular?

If we look at some of the data available to us, we’ll see the following:

  • Some of the biggest junk journal YouTube channels have over 50,000 subscribers, while others have over 100,000. That’s a lot of people who want to learn how to make junk journals and ephemera!
  • Even my website you’re on right now welcomes over 20,000 people every month – and probably about 95% of my blog posts are related to junk journals in some way.

You know what this means, right? People are discovering junk journals all the time.

Fairy vellum junk journal pocket
Who wouldn’t love making a journal this gorgeous?

Every day, we see people joining our Facebook group who’ve recently heard about junk journals and want to know how to make them or get inspiration for their projects. Even I only heard about junk journals in early 2021 – and I very quickly became addicted to this craft.

There are many reasons why people like me think junk journals are still popular. But to add some flair to this blog post, here are 10 reasons why I personally love junk journals.

10 Reasons Why I Love Junk Journals

1. There are no rules!

This list of reasons why I love junk journals isn’t in any particular order. Except for this one.

The number one reason why I love junk journals is that there are no rules. I want you to read that again. There are no rules. While some people might try to associate rules with junk journaling (you’ll see it all the time in Facebook groups or on YouTube videos), please, please, please ignore them.

If you want to use junk to make your junk journal. Awesome! If you want to mix junk with digital papers. Awesome! If you want to use only digitals in your projects, that’s fine, too!

Franken paper junk journal covers
Some junk journal notebooks I made from trash and digitals

While junk journals may have started as a way for people to use junk, trash and packaging to make something beautiful, I believe the junk journals of today incorporate lots of different styles and preferences.

If we look at the most popular digitals, we’ll see that they’re often in a vintage theme. Junk journalers today will often mix digital papers with other random papers, vintage book pages, ledger paper and more. We might even see wonky stitching, frayed fabric, torn paper and distressed or inked edges.

To me, junk journals are a style. And it’s up to you what style you want to establish within the craft. The choice is yours. Isn’t that incredibly freeing?

READ NEXT: What Is A Junk Journal? FAQs About Junk Journaling

2. Junk journals allow for total creative freedom

Speaking of freedom, that’s what junk journals allow: total creative freedom.

Some people might find this daunting in the beginning. If you don’t know where to start, then it can prevent you from making your first journal.

But just remember that there’s no rulebook to follow, no formula as such and that you can be completely free throughout the process.

Another close up of a cluster
Forget the rules and remember to play!

Once you’ve made a few junk journals, this will feel more natural and it allows you to create whatever type of journal you want. The wackiest idea. The most beautiful journal you can imagine. The most interesting theme you can come up with. Even the simplest journal you can think of. All fine.

It’s completely up to you where you go with your junk journal, what you do with it and how you make it.

But if you’re new and feeling a bit daunted by it all, then here are some blog posts you might find helpful as a gentle guide:

3. Junk journals celebrate imperfection

When I first learned about junk journals, I was the biggest perfectionist in the world. Growing up, I was often told: “Don’t bother if it’s not perfect!” or “If it’s not going to be perfect, don’t even try.”

So when I discovered junk journals in my early 30s, I didn’t know what to do with myself.

Now that I’ve been making junk journals for the best part of three years, I feel like they’ve almost completely cured me of my perfectionism. That’s massive to me. That’s better than any kind of therapy anyone could have given me.

The reason for this is pretty simple. Just like there are no rules, junk journals don’t need to be perfect. Yes, we want them to be well-made and last for a long time, but they don’t need to be perfect. I guess the clue’s in the name, huh?

Upcycled Junk Journal Folio Lapbook
You’d never know this journal was made from trash…

If you have some crooked stitching, that’s fine. It’s part of the junk journal look that lots of people love. If you have torn edges or things are slightly wonky because you didn’t cut the paper straight, that’s fine. It adds to the interesting look that junk journals have.

In Japan, they call this Wabi-Sabi. It’s a celebration of the imperfections and quirks often found in handmade items – or just throughout life in general. And I’m here for it!

One of my favourite quotes about crafting is: “Done is better than perfect.” You’ll often hear me say it a lot in my videos, or when I’m just muttering away to myself. It’s become a kind of mantra to me and I hope it helps you as well.

READ NEXT:

4. Making junk journals (and crafting in general) helps us practice mindfulness

As a full-time blogger, I spend well over 8 hours sitting in front of my laptop most days of the week.

But when I’m making junk journals, ephemera and embellishments, I can unplug from technology for several hours and get completely lost in what I’m doing.

I can forget anything else that’s going on in the world around me and I can simply focus on the thing that I’m making.

Junk journals – and crafting in general – help us practice mindfulness. They help us to be in the moment.

In a way, it’s like crafting therapy. And especially with a lot of things that are going on around the world today, I would say crafting therapy is key to many people’s overall happiness.

5. They’re one of a kind!

I’ve never made the same junk journal twice. That’s not intentional. It’s because of the type of craft that it is.

Even if you use the same base materials to make multiple journals, you can change them up by using a different theme, a different digital kit, different papers, different book pages, different colours, different fabrics, different laces, etc. The list goes on.

And you’ll often learn as you go along. So while one journal may have a simple envelope pocket inside of it, another might have some kind of fancy hidden pocket or something that flips up.

Fairy door flip up writing spot
An interesting flip up pocket I made for one of my journals

Junk journals are one of a kind. And they’re so much more interesting than normal notebooks you can buy in a store.

When you own a junk journal that someone else has made, it’s a surprise with every turn of the page as to what you’re going to get.

And when you make them yourself, you’ll probably have an idea in your head when you start. But it won’t always turn out the way you think it will. This is a good thing. Junk journals celebrate individuality and uniqueness – and this can only be a good thing.

6. Junk journals benefit the planet and environment

Junk journals – in their basic form – are a kind of upcycling project.

If we make a junk journal cover from an envelope or a piece of packaging that we were originally going to throw in the bin or recycle, then we’re upcycling something.

Likewise, if we use envelopes, packaging or greeting cards to make some ephemera, we’re upcycling something again.

Junk journal ephemera made from trash and packaging
A bunch of ephemera I made from trash and packaging

I’ve written extensively about the benefits of upcycling in the past so I won’t go into it in massive detail here.

But – in a nutshell – junk journals benefit the planet and environment by helping you to reduce waste that would otherwise go to landfill and they enable you to give old and unloved items a new life.

READ NEXT: Why You (And I!) Should Turn Our Trash Into Treasure

7. The junk journal community is friendly and welcoming

As someone who has been a part of several online communities over the years (I basically live my life online!), I have to say that the junk journal community is one of the most friendly and welcoming ones I’ve ever come across.

When I first discovered junk journals, I immediately noticed how people everywhere were encouraging others, answering questions, giving compliments about things that people had made and thanking others when they in turn received a compliment.

I have many people who follow my blog and my YouTube channel and who have joined our Facebook group. They’re all technically strangers because I’ve never met them in person, and yet, they’re some of the most friendly and important people I have in my life right now.

In a world where we can be anything, being kind is one of the most important things we can be. And I have to say that the junk journal community – for the most part – is exactly that.

You get the odd person here and there who could probably be a bit kinder. But just ignore them because they’re few and far between.

8. Junk journals celebrate and honour history

Many of the digital kits you might use to make junk journals feature vintage images or vintage ephemera. Alternatively, you might buy or receive vintage ephemera that you can use in your journals.

Vintage book pages, music sheets, postcards and more are all things we can use in our junk journals – and in a variety of ways.

Vintage junk journal supplies
It’s fun to play with vintage goodies like this!

One of the best things about this is that junk journals celebrate history. They allow us to bring history to life through the stories we tell via our journals. And they allow us to treasure these mementoes from history and include them in something special we’ve created – rather than let them lie forgotten in an attic somewhere where they never see the light of day.

Instead, these keepsakes and mementoes can be treasured for years to come by many different people.

READ NEXT: The Intriguing History Of Junk Journals

9. They make beautiful gifts and keepsakes

Speaking of treasuring things for years to come, junk journals make beautiful gifts. They take a lot of hard work and creativity, but the result is often the most thoughtful gift I think I could ever imagine.

When you make a junk journal to give to somebody, you probably know what their interests are and what their favourite colours are, so you can make a journal to reflect that.

If they like trees, make them a woodland or forest-themed journal. If they’re getting married, you can make them a wedding journal.

Romantic wedding junk journal with lots of fabric and lace
A beautiful wedding journal I made…

If they’re really into vintage, retro and old stuff, then you can make them a journal that’s made entirely from vintage pieces or replicas.

READ NEXT:

10. It’s an honour when someone wants to treasure one of my creations

While I sell most of my journals, I still consider them a gift (in a way). It’s an honour when someone wants to treasure one of my creations for years to come. And I’m excited to send the journal to them and hear what they think about it and how they might use it.

I should say that I sell my junk journals to allow me to continue this craft. I wouldn’t be able to afford as many of the supplies I use to create my blog posts and videos if I didn’t make a small income from what I’m doing.

I discovered junk journals after my travel business experienced a downturn during national and global lockdowns.

By finding a craft that I could make a small amount of money from, I’ve been able to discover a new hobby and become part of a new community. I probably wouldn’t have been able to justify spending time on this hobby if I couldn’t make a small income from it.

That’s on me and the period of my life that I’m in right now. But I mention it because – in a way – junk journals saved me.

Even today, when someone requests to buy one of my pieces or just tells me that they love what I’ve made and that I’ve inspired them, I feel complete. And just like everything else I’ve said above, that’s something I could never put a price on.

READ NEXT: How To Make Money From Crafting

Read More About Junk Journals

If you stumbled across this blog post purely out of curiosity and you’ve never actually made junk journals (or heard about them before!), then you might enjoy some of my other blog posts.

I’ve written a lot about junk journals, but here are a few to sink your teeth into right now:

So now you know why I love junk journals so much, over to you – why do you love them? Share your thoughts in the comments below…

Did you like this blog post? Why not pin or bookmark it now, so you can read it again later?

Are Junk Journals Still Popular? 10 Reasons Why I Love Junk Journals
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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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