Upcycle Junk Paper

Upcycled junk paper cover

Into Junk Journals

I upcycle junk paper to make junk journals. How much junk paper do you throw into your garbage bin or recycle bin each collection day?

Where does it all come from?

  • There’s packaging from foods, from medications, from cleaning products.
  • What about the flyers from local shops that fill our letterboxes?
  • Do you get a newspaper or two each week? Or a magazine?

Is there a way to use all that paper?

I make junk journals from most of the paper that comes into my house and also into some of my friends’ houses.

Our paper recycling bin is usually less that one quarter full because I harvest the paper for my junk journal making.

It ain’t easy being green!

Kermit the frog

Kermit didn’t know about upcycling junk paper into beautiful journals!

What is harvesting paper?

Harvesting is cutting or tearing out useful parts of the junk paper.

  • Pictures and words, to paste into pages
  • Plain unprinted paper, for writing or decorating
  • Envelopes, for making into pockets
  • Tissue paper and wrapping paper, for collage
  • The sides of cereal or cake mix boxes, great for covers
  • Medication boxes, excellent for making tags and journalling cards
  • Pretty tissue boxes, for tags and belly bands
  • Other lightweight packaging, for tags
Upcycle junk paper sentiments added
Upcycled junk paper sentiments added

Harvest your junk paper for making tags, journal cards, and covers for junk journals.

Where to store the papers?

Of course, you need a storage system for all the harvested paper. Here’s what I did with some dog food boxes.

Category labelled folders are in a plastic storage bin (made for hanging file folders). Some of my categories are:

  • envelopes (for tuck spots)
  • paper bags (for pockets)
  • stickers
  • notebooks (for writing spaces)
  • magazine pictures (for decorating tags and pages)

Because all the paper is covered by the lid of the box, it stays clean and dust free.

In an old ring binder, there are plastic sleeves with sturdier materials inside. These include:

  • scrap cardboard (for tags, or reinforcing)
  • file folder scraps (for mini journals)
  • patterned paper strips (for altered paper clips)

Lastly, under my desk is a carton with other cartons inside. The smaller boxes house junk mail, book pages and other harvested junk papers. This is my usual starting place to upcycle junk paper into my junk journals.

I have also started a system using special pizza boxes. More on that later.

I have had many careers in my 70+ years, but always creativity was at the forefront. I am passionate about using less and wasting less. I love design, painting, decorating, and now I am combining all that into making junk journals. Creating is like breathing for me!

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