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Junk Journaling A-Z Glossary of Terms

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

Are you new to Junk Journaling? Not sure where to start? See our Beginner's Guide to Junk Journaling on YouTube! Read below for more information about junk journaling & our A-Z glossary!

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What is a Junk Journal? A junk journal is a handmade or altered book with pages created from many sources: recycled materials (old sheet music, maps, illustrations, notebooks, etc.) and also printable images (such as junk journal kits from Etsy, etc.). It can be made of paper, fabric, etc., and usually includes ephemera (things such as old stamps, receipts, tickets, postcards, etc.).

What do you DO with a junk journal? Junk journals can be used as: - Diaries - Photo Albums - Scrapbooks - Art Books - Creative Idea Journals - Baby Books - Planners - Botanical or Nature Field Guides - Recipe Books - Ephemera or Memorabilia Keepers - Prayer Journals - And MORE!

New to Junk Journaling?

Here's a printable kit to help you make an EASY first journal! Just click on the image!


A to Z Junk Journal Glossary

Here are some common terms to help you understand the world of junk journaling!

Accordion Fold/Fan Fold This is a fold in which paper or pages goes back and forth, kind of like an accordion or paper fan.

“Altered” Things (Paperclips, Books, Envelopes, File Folders, etc.) Altered things are items that have been changed, often using papers or crafting materials. So, an altered paperclip is a paperclip that has been turned into a decorative craft, but usually still functions as a paperclip.

Applique Ornamental needlework "patches" in decorative designs.

ATC Cards ATC is Artist Trading Card. These are decorative cards and can be anything from artwork to old postcards. Quite often they are 2.5x3.5 inch and can be traded with other crafters in swaps.

Belly Bands A bellyband is a strip of paper, ribbon or fabric that is glued or sewn onto a page either vertically or horizontally. You can tuck cards or other items behind it.

Bling Sparkly accessories such as glitter, jewelry, charms & dangles.

Bookplates (see Label Holders)

Brads/Fasteners Brads are small metal fasteners that can be poked through a hole and used to secure items together.

Boho Style Boho is a relaxed style that can encompass different ideas but is influenced by a “gypsy” or “bohemian” style. It can be bright or muted colors and often is influenced by nature such as leaves and feathers.

Clusters A small collage made from scraps of paper, fabric, lace, beads, etc. Clusters can be glued or sewn together and are used as embellishment decorations.

Bone Folder A handy tool used to flatten creases in paper.

Bookbinding Kit These can be purchased and usually include wax string and large needles as well as awls for poking holes and other items. The kits are used to bind pages into the cover & spine of a book.

Bookplate/Label Holder These are usually metal pieces (or sometimes printed) that often go on the cover of a journal and can be used to hold an image or words.

Bulb Pins Small pins that are straight and narrow on one end and fat and round at the other (also called gourd pins).

Bulldog Clip (or Hinge Clip) This clip works kind of like a clothespin and is usually made of metal. They can be used to hold journal pages together or to clip an item to a journal page.

Cardstock Cardstock is a thicker, more sturdy paper used to make cards. It comes in different weights (pounds or grams depending on where you buy it).

Chipboard Chipboard is a type of sturdy, thick cardboard. It can be used for creating journal covers.

Copyright/Copyrighted Materials: Copyrighted materials are legally protected and cannot be used without the copyright-holder's consent. *Note: It is important for crafters not to use "copyrighted" images or material when selling a journal or other craft items/digitals. If you are creating junk journals or digitals to sell, be sure to follow copyright law. Here is more information about what is considered "copyrighted" images. *(And yes, things such as Harry Potter, Disney, etc., are usually copyrighted.)

Corner Cutter (Corner Rounding Punch): A handy device for cutting/rounding corners on papers, pages, etc.

Cricut Cutting Machine A Cricut is a digital die-cutting machine for cutting printed images (it does not print). It can cut many different materials such as paper, card stock, vinyl. Some can even cut wood, fabrics, leather and cork. Many junk journalers use Cricut to “fussy cut” stickers and other small, intricate images.

Crop-A-Dile A tool by We R Memory Keepers for punching multiple-sized holes and setting eyelets (round metal pieces) into tags, etc.

Die Cuts Die Cutting is a quick and easy way of cutting out a shape with a machine (rather than by hand). Machines like a Sizzix can be purchased along with shape templates for cutting.

Digitals/Digi Kits/Printables Digitals are files (JPG, PDF, PNG, etc.) that can be purchased, downloaded and printed to create craft projects, junk journals, etc.

Distress Ink Pads of ink that can be used to give items a vintage appearance. Usually it is dabbed onto the edge of pages, tags, cards, ephemera, etc, to give it an aged look.

Embellishments Embellishments (or embellies) are items used to decorate your journal. They can be clusters, fussy cut images, stickers, charms, etc.

Ephemera Things that are meant to be used and then discarded, such as ticket stubs, receipts, wrappers, postcards. The term has also come to mean items used for decorating a junk journal such as printable ephemera. Quite often these items are made from “ephemera” such as tags or cards made from old playing cards, sheet music, etc.

Printable ephemera from My Porch Prints

Eyelet A round metal piece often used in journal tags where a piece of ribbon or string might go.

Flip A piece that flips to open or reveal a hidden pocket, etc.

Folio/Folder A piece that works either as a stand-alone or a journal insert. They usually include folding flaps and pockets for holding ephemera (tags, cards, etc.). They can often be inserted into the journal and sewn in with the pages.

Freebies These are items that are given away by crafters, usually as a "thank you" to customers or subscribers. My Porch Prints Freebies can be found in the "Files" tab of our Facebook Group. :)

Fussy Cuts Any image that you cut around, following the shape of an image. Popular fussy cut items include flowers, butterflies, etc. They can also be printable items that require intricate cutting. Many crafters use machines such as Brother Scan-N-Cut or Cricut to “fussy cut” for them, instead of hand-cutting.

Envelopes filled with fussy cut flowers.

Grommet These are larger than eyelets but work in the same way. They are round metal pieces that can be used to create closures for journals.

Happy Mail Happy Mail is something you send to a person to brighten their day and usually consists of a craft project (such as a card) that you’ve created and can also include crafting supplies for that person to use (stickers, cards, tags, lace, charms, etc.)

Hidden Spine This is a method of bookbinding where the thread or ties used to bind the pages to the spine are "hidden" and do not show on the outside of the spine.

Insert Something you place between your journal pages (such as a folder or envelope) that is usually removable.

Label Holders (sometimes called Bookplates) These are usually metal and are often used on the front cover of a journal. They can hold small paper pieces with words or decorations.

A masterboard is a type of collage or mixed media paper. It often consists of small pieces from several papers and can be glued or sewn. Sometimes sewn versions are referred to as “frankenpaper”.

Pamphlet Stitch This is a method of sewing pages into a journal.

Public Domain Images "Public Domain" refers to creative materials that are not protected by intellectual property laws, such as copyright, trademark, etc. Public domain images can be used when creating journals to sell. *Note: It is important for crafters not to use "copyrighted" images or material. If you are creating junk journals to sell, be sure to follow copyright law.

Scrapbook Trimmer A device that uses a sliding blade to cut paper.

Shabby/Shabby Chic A feminine decorative style that usually consists of soft pastels (often pink) and florals (often roses) and lace.

Signature A signature is a group of folded pages. Most journals consist of one or more signatures of pages.

Snippet/Snippet Roll Snippets are usually long, thin collages made of paper and/or fabric scraps. They can be glued or sewn together. The idea is that you can make one long roll an then cut small “snippets” from it to create clusters for decorating/embellishing a journal.

Steampunk Style Steampunk style is derived from a fictional Victorian society that runs on “steam”. It often involves science and industry, but in an “old fashioned” way. Some items found in steampunk are gears, corsets, inventions, metals, hot air balloons, clocks, etc.

Tabs/Page Tabs Tabs are small foldable pieces of paper, fabric, etc., used to mark a page.

Travelers Notebook (TN Journal) A TN journal refers to a slimmer-sized journal. They are usually 4.5x8.25 inches (or similar dimensions).

Tuckspot A tuckspot is like a pocket. It is a place to “tuck” a tag or card in a journal. However, unlike a pocket, a tuckspot is usually more open, sometimes only being only partially attached to a journal page, leaving an open space in which to “tuck” items.

Vintage Vintage is a style that can either mean actual “old” items (usually anything over 20 years old). It can also mean an aesthetic where items appear to be aged, having torn edges, sepia tones and neutral colors.

Wax Seals/Sealing Wax Wax seals are made from melting sealing wax and pressing an image into the melted wax. Faux wax seals can be made with a type of hot glue. Sometimes dried flowers or glitter, etc., are pressed into the seal.

Click image for our faux wax seal tutorial

ZIP File A ZIP file works like a folder that contains other files (like JPG or PNG files, etc.). The files are compressed to make them smaller and easier to transport or store. A zipped file can be unzipped (or extracted) and the compressed files that are inside can be opened and used.

Of course, these are not "all" the terms associated with junk journaling. We will continue to add as we discover new ones! Thanks for stopping by! We hope you'll follow us on Facebook and visit us on YouTube for crafting and junk journal tutorials!

Stephanie My Porch Prints

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