Junk Art Journal


I do enjoy making books, and this idea sprang from a household task, but I think it’s going to work.

We burn anything that has our address on it, so it isn’t in the rubbish readable.  It’s a DH thing.  So we always have a huge bin of stuff waiting around till there is enough to warrant firing up the burner.  When DH and DS took on the task recently, DS found that there were a load of old exercise books that DD had put in the bin – she is always wanting to “move on” and isn’t sentimental about stuff like this.  DS felt we should save it so he set a massive stack aside for me to go thru – nothing to do with avoiding work, I’m sure…


As I was sorting thru them, I noticed that the paper was decent weight and already in “signatures” so I started reducing the bulk by taking out blocks of blank pages.  The idea was to use it as scrap paper or for random Gelli print experiments.



By the time I got done I had quite a stack!



I usually have a paper pad on my desk, where I roll off excess paint from Gelli plate play – I also press paint-covered stencils to the pages, or soak up excess ink there too. Some of the “pages” are rather interesting. Seems a shame to waste the paint and I felt I could do something with them at some point.





I took the signatures and re-stapled them – as the pages are wide, I just opened up the stapler and pressed it to the crease, over a bit f cork floor tile.



Flipping it over, I just pressed the staples closed.



Might be an unnecessary step, as I looked at the stack and thought I could make a journal from them.  I can still use the stacks to soak up excess paint and ink, but then I have a pre-decorated book of background bases, so why not? I’m sure I’ve seen others doing something like this.

I cut some covers from a nice sturdy box (it has a nifty wood-grain effect on it and is just the right size)



I tore up some of those scrap roll-off pages


and collaged them on to the box pieces.



Like making the old serendipity squares idea, I was pretty random – or I tried to be.  But I found myself making decisions about placement and size and colour more than I had planned! But you get the idea.

Just like “composition book” journals, to give the pages greater stability I would need to glue two together.  I need to check into that a bit more – just glue them? gesso them after glueing? depend on the thicknesses of rolled off paint to give them body?  Lots to read up on….

Now, the binding.  I have been trying to research sewn signature spines cause I had the idea to assemble the covers and spine using duct tape.  As I have maybe 6 or 7 signatures, of varying thicknesses, I wondered if I could punch the holes in the signatures as usual, but add just 4 larger-size eyelets to the spine and sew in the signatures so each one is sewn into the spine thru those eyelets. Does that make sense?  USUALLY each signature is sewn to the spine thru individual sets of holes – 6 signatures will mean 6 columns of 4 holes.  I don’t want the spine to be that thick! So as it is basically a “junk” journal, I may just take the plunge and give it a go.  I am also considering separating the signatures and re-grouping them so each is the same number and can be stuck two together without the risk of any leftover or odd pages.

Is this a way to avoid actually working in the journal?  Maybe. But I need the roll-off space before I start working in the “real” journal so I’m going to call it prep work.   Don’t judge me….

3 thoughts on “Junk Art Journal

  1. Sometimes the art IS the journal. I do like the process of making a journal a bit more than filling it but I’ve come to realize , that for me, that is the art/craft. Shrugs.

  2. What a brilliant Mary Anne, can’t wait to see how it turns out ;o)

  3. Brilliant idea for a journal. I admit I too have made journals rather than actually journaling!

    I have a few pins on pinterest on signature binding so it may be worth having a look on there.

    Looking forward to seeing the cover when u decide how to finish it. Something from nothing is so satisfying isn’t it?

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