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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Junk Journals, Materials and Tools - What would you need to get started?

In the last chapter, I talked about Junk Journals and why I started making them. In this one, I'm going to talk about the materials and the tools I use, and what you would need to get started.

Of course, you would need paper. Paper can be salvaged from a number of sources, those which I've tried are listed below:

Magazines. Some magazines come printed on good quality paper. After reading it, you can tear out the pages you like. For magazines which are printed on glossy paper, you may have to do some pasting with other writing paper or you may have to paint it with gesso. I'll talk about these later.

Brochures and flyers. Every week, 5 of these get put into my mailbox. I don't think the company intended for me to use them in journals. However, the glossy paper that some of them are printed on means that you may have to do some pasting or painting so that you can use them.

Statements from banks, credit cards, insurance. Word of CAUTION first: Make sure the statements are outdated before you do anything with them! These are also typically printed on good quality paper but you do want to make sure you pay off your credit card bills before you paint over them and forget about them! Also, in the case of bank and insurance statements, make sure all financial affairs are in order before putting them in the junk pile. I would usually have my husband help me to check if the statement needs to be filed before I do anything with it.

Work. Like I mentioned in the introduction, we use tons of paper at work. This is my favourite source of paper because all our work documents get printed on good quality printing paper. If only one side of the paper was used, that means the other side will be gloriously blank. Another word of CAUTION: Make sure you absolutely do NOT need the document anymore before doing anything with it! My practice is to collect the paper in a pile and only use it at the end of the year. 

Free notebooks, notepads and diaries. These may be given out by the banks or sometimes as gifts. I love them because it's easy to change their appearance by wrapping them in a design I like. By now, my friends know of my hoarding instinct so they save any free writing material they get for me. Score one for friendship!

Other advice: Collect paper in a variety of thickness. Soft paper can be used for painting and writing, stiffer and thicker paper can be used to make journal covers. Stiff cardboard can also be cut into strips to bind paper together. (More on that later)

Wow, that's a ton of paper up to use! If you already have all these lying around, what else would you need to transform them into books?


Basic tools would be:

  1. Scissors for cutting
  2. Glue to stick pages together and pictures on pages

For a more finished look, you can also use:

  1. Needle and thread for basic bookbinding
  2. A bookbinding stapler
  3. Duct tape or bookbinding tape

Now No.2 may sound a little strange but it's a great tool to have to give your journals that really professional zine look, so it's my great pride and joy! They are usually expensive and can't be found in your normal stationery store, so when I found out that Daiso (a $2 shop in Singapore) was actually selling them, I bought one right away! 

This is what my bookbinding stapler looks like: 

 The unique part about it is the white part. It holds the staples and it flips out, as shown below:
 All the way to a right angle.
 This allows you to staple paper right in the middle, and your journal will open very nicely.

This stapler is my pride and joy, considering it only cost $2 but it made my journal-making so much better! I'm tempted to buy it every time I go to Daiso just in case this red one breaks one day!

Then there are other stuff also, that make your journal a whole lot prettier. There are places where you can buy great paper or washi tape to give your journal that extra decorative touch. However, before you go there, you have to read the following:

Crafter's Anonymous - Hi, My Name is...
Personal confession: I don't only use junk paper but I also have a crazy load of craft paper, notepaper and notebooks, some of which I have had for a few years. -_-!!! When I first started scrapbooking, I went a bit crazy and bought almost every paper I thought cute. Then I hoarded them because I became afraid to use them. What if my project turned out ugly?? 

After a couple of years of this, I had the following epiphany:
What it reminds me is that I am here to DO things, not buy them. The paper I buy is meant to help me accomplish and achieve journal-making goals and I would never get anywhere near those goals if all I'm doing is accumulating paper. (Unless your goal is to set up a paper museum) Once that clicked in my head, I decided to throw caution to the wind and just use what I had.

It makes me proud to say that I haven't bought any new paper since but I've been slowly chipping away at my hoarded pile. If you feel like buying some nice paper just to spruce things up in your journal, I wouldn't stop you, but if you are going to spend the money, make sure you really like the paper and make sure you do use what you have. 

But if you really want to spend money on nice stuff...
Now you're done with the warning, here are some of the places I've been to:
(Note: These stores are all in Singapore but some also have websites for you to purchase online)

For paper and scrapbooking materials:
Kikki.k sells all kinds of wonderful stationery and sometimes it takes all my willpower to walk out of here without buying anything. and Typo Stationery have a great range of notebooks and to-do lists and notepads.
The Paper Market is a dream for me and a nightmare for my bank account. Everything to do with scrapbooking can be found here, like paper, washi tape and stickers.
Daiso sells a good range of craft materials, every one of which can be bought for $2, so if you are on a budget, this is the place to go. (Unfortunately, a Google search only brings up this online store which only allows you to buy in bulk. Singaporeans can find the outlet nearest to them via a quick Google search)

For inspiration and paper:
I also buy some of these magazines for inspiration and er, paper.
Flow Magazine is one for the paper-lovers and those who want life to go a bit more slowly. They sometimes include free gifts for paper-lovers (like journals) and they also release a Book for Paper Lovers every year, which is a thick tome full of beautiful paper.
Frankie Magazine is an Australian magazine full of quirky creative inspiration. They take interesting photos which I sometimes cut out to scrap and they are also printed on good quality paper.
Daphne's Diary is beautifully designed and also comes with paper goodies to cut out. 
Cloth Paper Scissors focuses on art techniques and mixed media and they also have a section on their website on art journalling and handmade books. It's a great source of inspiration.
In Singapore, all these magazines can be found at Kinokuniya or Basheer at Bras Basah Centre. I do recommend calling the stores before going down because they don't get released every month and I have made a few wasted trips before. -_-!!! 

Ok, now you know what you need to get started! Next time, I'll talk about a few easy techniques to start off with!

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