Cutting And Sewing
Tips and Tools 

When making junk journals, you need some basic tools for cutting and sewing your supplies. They don't have to be expensive. It's better to start with basics from the list below, until you decide that making junk journals is something you enjoy and want to keep doing.

Paper Cutting Tools


Scissors are essential for fussy cutting, trimming ribbon, cutting your binding thread etc.

Craft knife

I use a craft knife for so many different things when making my books:

  • separating a book cover from the book block
  • trimming chipboard, file folders, book cloth
  • trimming the edge off of a signature so that all the pages are the same width

Paper Trimmer

This one is a must, in my opinion. If you don't invest in a trimmer you'll find yourself spending alot of time on trimming the pages for junk journals. And don't forget all the tags and journaling cards too! It doesn't have to be an expensive one but you'll find that there is a huge difference in quality if you plan on using it often. There are blade trimmers and rotary blade trimmers. The straight blade type is my least favourite because of how quickly the blade gets dull. I prefer the rotary self sharpening trimmers with a metal base. Anything plastic doesn't last as long and can even create crooked 'grooves' in the base, causing your straight cuts to not be so straight. A guillotine style is also a great choice and allows you to cut multiple sheets or thick chipboard with ease.

Rotary Cutter

Another cutting tool for making junk journals is a hand held rotary cutter, typically used to trim fabric. It's great for paper as well. It requires a self healing cutting mat as the surface you're cutting on, as well as a quilt ruler or metal ruler.

Sewing Tools


An awl will be essential if you plan on sewing signatures in your junk journals using the pamphlet stitch or other sewn bookbinding technique. It's a spike used to pierce holes into your paper prior to sewing pages together. An inexpensive plastic handle awl will work well, but there are also higher quality awls with a wooden 'ball' handle, commonly used for piercing holes into leather and thicker materials. Awls come in various sizes, but smaller is better when working with paper. Try and match the spike size as closely as possible to the needle you'll be using.

Darning or bookbinding needle

A darning needle is a large needle perfect for sewing signatures of paper. It has a large eye that can accommodate larger thread and a tip that isn't as sharp as smaller sewing needles.

Sewing machine

Another sewing tool that could be worth having is a sewing machine; it's not essential but can be fun to use for sewing decorative stitching. I love using a straight stitch on images that I layer onto my pages, as well as the zigzag stitch. It adds a beautiful layer of texture and detail. I use my larger sewing machine needles for sewing paper (denim or thick fabric) and use whatever thread I have at the time, which is usually all purpose cotton or polyester thread.

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