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Junk Journal Vs Art Journal Vs Smash Book

Updated: Feb 17, 2022

There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to journaling. Journals vary from person to person, preference to preference, taste to taste, and pattern to pattern but one thing similar in junk journals, art journals and smash books is that – they are mostly made with a mix of found ad recycled materials. What the purpose of a journal is, also varies from person to person. They are like that drawer in your kitchen, which has a little bit of everything.

There is no ‘official definition’ as to what all 3 of them are, there isn’t one in the dictionary as well! Here are the definitions of each of them according to me:

Junk Journal :

A diary/book made with the help of recycled items and other random items as a way to collect memories, thoughts, ideas, and inspiration. It is a mix mash of things and everyone has a different and unique way of filling a journal with memories. Here is how a junk journal can be used and some inspiration for your own journal!

1. Everyday Journal

Using it as a diary to document your everyday life. You can collect and display ephemera like little tickets, tea bags, passes and do a little write up along with them. Using it as a daily journal is a great way to remember different things and stages of life and it is also a fun way to document and remember all the big and small moments alike. It becomes like a scrapbook sort of thing for many people but you can always include small write-ups and notes or a list of tasks to do to make it more personalized.

2. Personalized Gift

A junk journal makes for a very personalized gift. It is a creative one for sure, especially with all those sentiments attached and making a great gift to gift your loved ones on special events like birthdays, anniversaries, graduation ceremonies, and sometimes just on random occasions as a surprise.

If the recipient appreciates your gesture, then it could be amongst the best gifts they’ve ever received.

3. Base it on a theme

Another great way to use a junk journal is to follow a particular theme. If you google ideas about themes of junk journals, you’ll find tons of them. You can take a lot of inspiration from your surroundings and different objects or just pinpoint a certain theme and then your junk journal will revolve around it. You can make it all about flowers, or a certain theme like Harry Potter or Alice in Wonderland. These theme journals can be a ton of fun and you can explore different subjects and several spectacular themes.

You are not at all restricted to these 3 ideas and you can do literally anything with your junk journal. In fact, you can even use your junk journal as an art journal!

Junk Journal As An Art Journal

Combining scraps of paper, paint, and other stubs together with mixed media supplies like acrylics and watercolors turn a junk journal into an art journal! Some people use the already filled junk journals as the base for an art journal and then fill it up with patterns and other stuff. If you are an amateur or an addict or you haven’t picked any color in your life, you can still make an extraordinary art journal easily, you don't need any particular set of skills to make an art journal.

There is only one rule that you need to know when it comes to art journals;


The more you experience art journals, the more curious you become as to how many different possibilities there are. Some art journals might be like sketchbooks, some like diaries, some like scrapbooks, and they might either be a mash of everything or very organized and neat. No matter what and how you do it, it is PERFECT. An art journal is a place for a person to express their creativity and hence you should just do whatever you want to, toss all that reservation out of the window. The most important thing that matters is, are you enjoying the process.

They work like a creative escape for people and the more you create, the more beautiful your pages will become. Learning how to create an art journal can take you to a new world on its own! You can do literally anything in them; from writing to drawing to dropping stuff to making splashes here and there, it is extremely freeing!

You can put your dreams, goals, and plans in it in any manner that you feel like and also helps you put your thoughts and feelings in an artistic manner which will help you express them more freely. An art journal will help you awaken your inner artist and the creative gifts that you didn’t even know you had. It is also an amazing way to introspect and do some reflective thinking to grow both, personally and spiritually!

All you need to do is unleash your inner artist with 4 things; a journal. Paints and brushes, markers and pens, old books, magazines, and posters. Then just get to it and you will build a collection of amazingly creative thoughts over the years.

Create different backgrounds; use torn papers from magazines or using only colored paper, just use paper scraps and paste them on your page. Just use a simple glue stick or any other adhesive and now the background is ready to be painted, you can even leave the background as it is. You can use random paint strokes, blocks, splashes, and shapes as well. If you want to put messages that you want to be hidden, you can easily write messages down and hide them with doodles and paint, so that only you know what

it is. Always let the paper dry before you close the journal, else it will stick and ruin all your hard work.

Smash Books

A smash book is a journal in which you can write, draw, paint, write and glue stuff. No planning is really involved – you just design it at the moment. For example, if you get a ticket stub or a special tea bag, just take it with you and put it in your smash book. You are not restricted to a particular theme hence you can be as messy as you want, as random as you want, and make each and every page entirely unique and different from the other ones.

Just get all your supplies, glue everything in whichever manner you want, but don’t follow a theme as you do in a scrapbook. Write down what you want to, add page titles, dates, days, time, names of places, and fill it up with things that you love or want to capture. You can literally add whatever you want to!

All 3 concepts differ in how to go about but their essence is the same; say goodbye to perfection! Use whatever you want; layers of paint, random shapes of paper, embellishments, glitter, just anything you want that will let you bring out the artist in you! It’s OK if all the pages are not of the same size or if the diary/journal become very thick due to pasting a lot of things, just don’t get caught up in trimming each page

to make it equal. The imperfections are what makes a journal and smash book personalized and perfect!

Their beauty is its imperfections. Add more of what you are (your personality) in the journal to give it that personalized touch. Don’t keep anything out of a journal just because it is not “expected” or “conventional” or “doesn’t make sense” to everybody, if you feel like putting it in, then just go for it and make your own masterpiece!

and don't forget to #StayRad

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