Making a lockdown/Covid-19 junk journal

For some time I have been wanting to make a junk journal. A junk journal is a book which is often made with found and recycled materials to be used as a way to collect and record memories, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. Although the idea of a junk journal has fascinated me, it is an idea that I had not put into action. The main reason I hadn’t started was that I like my projects to be authentically me and that entailed finding and using my own meaningful junk!

Because this plan has been ruminating for some time, I had started gathering little bits of ephemera relative to my/our lives with the thought of putting together several different journals. As I have collected things my ideas for themes have changed, but two themes have emerged as definite winners while collecting bits and pieces.

Style and Fashion – For just over a year I have collected any labels from clothing I have purchased, and paper bags or tissue that clothes or shoes have been wrapped in. As I have been working in a clothing retail store, I have purchased more than I normally would and it has also been interesting how the labels I am purchasing have changed. I have also kept some scraps of material from alterations, thinking I can incorporate these.

Japan – I have lots of bits and pieces from over the years and an ongoing fascination with all things Japanese. Holly also likes anime and manga, and I am a fan of midori travellers notebooks, plus I have kept wrapping paper, maps and anything interesting from Phil’s work trips to Japan.

Now that I have collected up my own ‘junk’ I thought this forced home time might be a good time to put the plan into action. I started looking at tutorials about making junk journals (there are many out there) and found I was constantly looking at Johanna Clough’s you tube channel as she has a pile of awesome process videos on making journals. If you are thinking of getting started I recommended looking at her blog, or her you tube channel for detailed how to. Note: I have no affiliate links to anyone – I just like her style.

So, I am all ready to go right? But then, I start worrying that I shouldn’t start a new type of project and use up my ‘good junk’. What if I make a mistake? What if I don’t get it right? Now, if you have ever saved a piece of scrapbook paper because you were waiting for something special to use it for you will understand the fear of ‘using’ the best stuff. I am totally making fun of myself here as I scold my Mum for this (all the time), telling her to use her good wine glasses and cutlery. I tell customers to wear their good clothes and not save them up. Yet, here I am worrying that I will make a mess of my ‘junk’. Anyway, the fear took over, so I decided to play it safe and make a junk journal about Covid 19. This way I can practice my ideas, kind of a rehearsal before I make my two big projects.

I decided to use an old book for my cover – funnily enough I have a stash of old hardbacks that I bought at a book fair to use for a class about 5 years ago. I have made a couple of altered book albums in the past, and these ones have been waiting to be revived into something new and exciting. I went about removing the pages, and roughly sanded the front cover of the book and applied some gesso. I had a look in my fabric scraps and found something cheerful and bright, with a touches of yellow, green and red, and glued this to the inside covers. I will decorate the cover, but for now I will leave it until my inside colour scheme emerges.

I had a look at the photos I had taken during the last 5 months and thought about the stories I wanted to tell and looked back at what I had written on my blog during Lockdown 1. I decided I would make 5 signatures (little mini sewn booklets) and each signature would have a slightly different topic.

  1. About Covid 19 – What are the rules and regulations? What and when are NZ’s alert levels? Timeline and how things have happened.

2. Food and Drink – what we have been eating and drinking and stories about food shortages

3. My stories – feelings and emotions, what has been happening with my health during this time, what I have been doing with my time and exercise

4. Outdoors & Nature – What I have noticed while walking, the seasons, how the birds are singing more.

5. Family life at home – what we have been doing, our pets, games we’ve played, what we have been watching and listening to

I knew I wanted to share quite a few stories so I made the 5 signatures using plain watercolour paper and patterned scrapbook paper. I feel a junk journal should also have pages made of recycled products like junk mail, bills, menus, wrapping paper etc, but I have so many unused scraps that need a home, I decided to use these as my backgrounds in this journal. I had not been saving things specifically for that journal until now. The signatures included some punched out frames, and trifold and smaller size pages inside. They were then sewn together with embroidery thread.

Now for the fun part – to decorate and add photos. I printed a few small wallet sized prints from last lockdown, but have run out of photo paper. The joys of lockdown mean I can’t just pop down the road and get more, so I will have to order online or wait to see if Auckland gets back out of Level 3 this week. At the moment, it feels a little like a scrapbook mini album rather than a junk journal, but I am using up scraps and not going out to buy product to make the album. I anticipate I will use more recycled products in the other journals as I have had time to collect for them. In the meantime, I am now going about decorating with anything and everything and I am happy to have this journal to practice on, as I find what cut outs, folds and pockets I like to work with to suit my style. As I progress I will update with pictures.

I have also stuck down a couple of layouts that were partially complete.

It’s a good idea that I create scrapbook albums, as I asked Holly if it was her Nana or Aunty Kim that took her to Matilda – only to be reminded that I had gone with her. Memory is a tricky thing.

I hope that everyone is finding time to do something they enjoy while we continue to try to keep out of the way of the pandemic. I know that recording my memories reminds me to appreciate what we have and my journaling helps me process my thoughts. So, lucky to have this hobby as it really is one of the best forms of self care for me.

Happy creating.

Cherie x

4 thoughts on “Making a lockdown/Covid-19 junk journal

  1. Well said Cherie. I seem to think you have managed to save quite I bit of stuff just like your Mum. As I have just packed up my belongings to shift house and there is a huge amount!! I will be taking your advice this time and use my good stuff. So I hope you get to the age I am and still have some things to pick and choose from lol. Looking forward to living closer to you and being able to see more of your creations. Love you lots and think you are a Wonder Woman. All my love
    Mum xxxx😍👏😻


  2. I love your idea of creating mini lockdown journals and the categories you’ve chosen. In the UK, toilet roll panic buying was a massive thing too as well as tinned food, pasta and flour. Looking forward to seeing some more photos of our creations.


  3. I’m exactly the same on the “use your fancy dishes and clothes ” front and yet worrying I’ll misuse a piece of scrap. But I like to think clothes and dishes are replaceable (garage sales rock). Junk paper is unique 😃


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