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Junk Journals
Hopscotch Quilt Shop

Junk Journals are journals that are made out of recycled materials.  Junk Journals are intended to encourage writing, so each page must have a place write.

Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value. It is when you take discarded recyclable material and make it into something of value again.

Websites with Journal Examples:
These are only a few of the many sites available.  Search “junk journals” or “smash journals
Design originals
Remains of the day

Found Materials:
Brown paper bags, plastic bags, ziplock bags, printed paper bags, old newspapers, international newspapers, old cards, ribbon, lace, recipe cards, buttons, candy wrappers that have been washed, granola bar wrappers, stamps, cereal boxes, stickers, tin foil, old magazines, old wrapping paper, calendars, old envelopes (especially ones with security windows), discarded library books, old books, wallpaper, old library cards, old maps.

Glue Sticks and Sharpies:
We find the yellow UHU glue sticks to be the best!
We bring colored sharpies as they write on any surface (postcards, wall paper, etc) and that is the goal of the journal!

The Cuddle Bug or Embossing Machines:
We supervise students as they emboss items from their journals.  Postcards, envelopes, pages and even plastic bags can be run through the embosser.

Paper Cutters:
We have an adult cutting the pieces that the students bring them.  The age of your students will determine whether you need an adult doing all the cutting or whether students can safely handle this station.
We find paper cutters with the blade that comes down work better than a scrapbook paper cutter (where the blade runs along a track and the paper slides under the track to be cut).  The paper cutter with the arm is able to handle the heavy and assorted paper and cardboard that is incorporated into junk journals. 
We find 2 paper cutters are needed the first day of junk journaling.

Sewing Machine:
I bring my sewing machine and sew for students.  They bring me whatever they want sewn (pockets, ribbon, etc.) and I sew it for them.  I put a denim needle in my machine and use polyester thread.  I bring two colors (lime green and black) and students can choose the color of thread they need. They can also choose between a straight stitch and a zig zag stitch.

Creating Junk Journals:
1.  Cut old cereal boxes or light weigh cardboard boxes into covers and backs.  Each student will need a front and a back that are the same size.  We work with journals that range from 9” x 12” down to 6” x 6”.  The side panel of a cereal box can be left on the back cover to wrap around and create a flap.

2.  Have students measure their front cover in cms.  Each student should write their measurements on the inside of the front cover of their journal covers.
They will need to subtract 4cm from the height of the journal and 2 cms from the width.  Have them write the new measurements on a Post-it note.  The Post-it note should be left stuck to their desk so that they can refer to the measurements each time they need something cut.  This is the maximum size for their pages.  Every time they bring something they need cut, they need to give the person at the cutting board this measurement or a measurement that is smaller.

Using a glue stick, cut paper or wallpaper the exact size of the journal front and backs (not the size on the post it note, that is for the pages only).  Glue the paper or wallpaper onto the covers.  These can be decorated as the student chooses.

Journals can remain without closures (like a book) or, using the glue gun, glue a button to the middle of the right side of the front cover.  Use ribbon to wrap around the journal and then around the button to hold it closed. 

Students can also use large elastics or hair bands around their journals to keep them closed.

Ring Bindings:
We hole punch the pages and put two rings onto each journal.  If the journal is taller than 25 cms, we use three rings for extra stability.  We use 1” rings for the small journals and larger rings for larger journals.

We use a regular one hole punch when putting the journals together.  Punch holes 1 cm in from the outside edge of the cover. Center the pages on the cover and mark where the holes should be before punching.

At the end of the first day, we have students put their journals together the way they would like them to be and leave them on their desks. We punch the journals and pages after school or on the weekends as there is not time during the school day to put them together.

The great thing about binding with rings is that students can rearrange the pages as their journals grow.  After the journal is put together, many of Heather’s grade 3 students punch holes for the next pages themselves.

Pages can be an assortment of sizes as long as they are smaller than the measurements on the post it note. Pages should not all be the same size to add character to the journal!

Students make pages from old wallpaper, magazine pages, pages from old books, wrapping paper, etc.  We encourage students to make their pages double strength by gluing two pages together.  If the page is made from card stock or something heavy weight they do not need to glue another page to it.

We encourage them to bring their paper to the cutting station to get it cut to size so that the edges are straight.  Students should create approximately 8-10 pages to get started.

*Use a Ziploc bag as a page.  Punch holes for binding rings into the bottom side of the bag so it opens and closes along the outside edge of the journal.
*Sew on a fabric or a square of paper, stitching along the bottom and both sides of the pocket.
*Pockets can open at the top of the page or along the outside edge of the page.
*There are many pockets that can be folded by origami.  See origami section.

Encourage students to put cards or something into the pockets.  This is the perfect place for folded origami, papers or cards for writing on!

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