Use These 6 Types of Junk Journal Embellishments to Get the Most Out of Your Journal

Whether you make your own junk journal from scratch or order a blank one made by someone else, you’ll want to really personalize it with colors, patterns, images, and textures that reflect your unique style. One of the best ways to do this is with the embellishments you make or buy for it.

Wait...the what? Embellishments...the bits and pieces added to a journal to create places to store things, write notes, organize pages, hold things together, and make everything prettier.

Types of Embellishments

There are lots of types of embellishments, which fall into a few broader categories. Read on to learn more.

Tags

Tags generally resemble bookmarks. They may serve as bookmarks in a journal, but can also be handy places to jot down notes. Because they’re not fixed pages, tags can easily be moved to different spots throughout a journal.

Tags are fun and easy to make out of a variety of materials such as cardstock, cardboard (a great way to upcycle food packaging), chipboard, and more. Making your own allows you to customize them by size and shape, and decide how to decorate them.

As with any of the embellishments discussed here, tags are readily available to purchase, from independent artists on platforms like Etsy and from online and brick and mortar craft stores. If you want to buy, I always recommend supporting independent artists and crafters over buying from big businesses, of course!

Pockets

Junk journal pockets are pretty much exactly what their name implies--places to hold papers and other items within a journal. I can’t imagine having a journal with only a pocket or two...one of the biggest benefits of junk journals over plain (blank page) ones is that they are multipurpose. A single junk journal can simultaneously be a writing journal, art journal, scrapbook, and photo album!

You can make simple pockets from envelopes, small paper bags, folded paper or cardstock (for starters) and in a variety of shapes and sizes. Making an extra-wide page and folding the excess paper in creates a built-in pocket. Pockets made separately can be affixed to pages using glue or double-sided tape. “Floating pockets” are great -- these pockets affixed to paper clips slide onto the top or side of a page and can be moved around as needed.

Tuck Spots

Tuck spots, like pockets, hold papers and other items in a journal. They may be obvious or hidden. For example, if you add an envelope pocket to your journal page by gluing down the left, right, and bottom edges only (leaving the top edge unglued), you’ve just created a tuck spot behind the envelope!

A belly band -- a strip of paper, cardstock, fabric, lace, etc. added either horizontally or vertically across a page -- is a common type of tuck spot. 

Tabs

Adding tabs to page edges (or to the tops of tags) helps organize a journal. Like tabs in a planner, journal tabs allow you to easily find and flip to pages or sections. Tabs can also be purely decorative. I particularly love decorative fabric tabs. Made from scraps of my favorite fabrics, they’re not practical for writing on  but they add touches of color and texture.

Journaling Spots

Aside from blank spaces on junk journal pages, lots of embellishments can serve as places to write -- the fronts and backs of tags, pocket fronts, along belly bands, and more. Sometimes, however, you just need some extra little places to jot down dreams and ideas. Paper or cardstock that flips down to reveal extra writing space -- called journaling spots -- provides this.

Embellished Paper Clips

I can’t imagine making embellishments for a junk journal without having a hoard of paperclips on my work table. I don’t actually consider embellished paperclips a separate type of embellishment, but rather more a method to use when creating certain types.

As with “floating pockets,” adding paperclips to other types of embellishments makes them mobile. Sandwiching a jumbo paperclip between several layers of cardstock or paper is one of my favorite ways to create a floating journaling spot.

Slip charms, tassels, or beads onto paperclips to make junk journal jewelry (or “bling”). Clip journal jewelry onto page edges or your journal’s binding to dress it up.

Who's Ready to Embellish?

Use any -- or ALL! -- of the above embellishments in your journals to truly make it your own. As I’ve mentioned a time or two (or ten), making a journal is fun and rewarding...but embellishing it is akin to icing the cake AND licking the spoon!

Stay tuned for more about embellishing...up next, I’ll dive into decorating tags, pockets, paperclips, and more. In other words...embellishing the embellishments

Thanks for reading, and catch you next time!