Making Junk Journal Covers

Vintage Book Cover

Recycling is one of the greatest things about making junk journals. When it comes to making covers, you probably already have items in your home that could be re-purposed. It just takes a little creativity!

 Old Books

Vintage Book Cover

My favorite thing to use for making junk journal covers is vintage books. Old books are eventually discarded because they are coming apart or no longer useful. They collect dust in thrift stores,  library basements and attics.

What better way to keep them alive then to recycle them into new cherished treasures!

I especially love when I can gut a book completely and use the whole cover, spine and all. When I'm lucky enough to find a vintage book in excellent condition, I create a hidden stitch spine so that the junk journal I make looks like the original book on the outside - in other words, my sewn signature threads aren't visible on the back of the spine. 

If the spine is badly damaged, it can be cut off and the front and back covers used on a ring-bound junk journal. Or a new spine can be built with chipboard and covered with a durable material like Kraft-Tex.

Of course they don't have to be vintage books. If you have hardcover books on hand you can make them look perfectly vintage with these distressing tricks.

File Folders

Junk journal cover made with hanging file folder

I also love using file folders to make my covers - hanging folders, tabbed folders, colored ones, manila. They make a durable base and can be embellished, painted, stained or just left plain. 

This fabulous tutorial takes it one step further and shows how to make the cover AND base pages entirely with file folders. Check out Michelle's file folder mini featuring my Steamtown Spring journal kit.

Food Boxes

Junk journal cover made with granola bar box

Food boxes are another popular recycled product for junk journal covers. The chipboard is perfect for creating covers. They can be covered with patterned paper, paint, printables – the possibilities are endless.

Of course the topic of journal covers can't be mentioned without addressing what type of glue should be used in making your project. Follow this link to my short list of best adhesives for making junk journals. 

Share Your Journal Covers

Below you'll find more junk journal cover inspiration. Want to share yours?

Tutorials And Inspiration

Click below to see journal cover ideas from other visitors to this page...

Mixed Media Journal Cover Tutorial 
Here's a fun way to decorate an old book cover. Art supplies used: 1) Faber Castell Gelato crayons 2) Matte gel medium 3) Acrylic paint …

Painted Envelope Junk Journal 
This little junk journal was really fun to make. I used many supplies from the Creative Collections club box from Rachel's Jazzy Creations. I also used …

Faux Leather Hardcover Technique 
Here's another faux leather technique I use, this time on an old hardcover Reader's Digest book.

Soft Leather Look Cover Technique 
I created this faux leather junk journal cover with my favorite new product, Kraft-Tex. It looks and feels just like leather and it was really easy to …