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Sunday 9 January 2022

Reduce Waste Paper and Make Junk Journals and Notebooks

Every year, students use many books to write and draw on. Sometimes by the end of the year, not all of them get used up. I always ripped out the un-used pages and save them. Please, I ask that parents do the same and don't throw them out along with the book. Don't waste them. I always end up with piles and piles of them. So what do you do with those un-used pages, apart from scrap paper? I make them into junk journals and notebooks.     

If you don't have any excess paper from your children's exercise books then there are other types of paper around you. I've used shopping paper bags, printed computer papers (these are usually printed on one side so I use the blank side), wrapping paper, gift-wraps, children's artworks on paper, yes and even old books that nobody wants. 

For the covers,  you'd need something a bit stiff. I've used cardboard from packaging such as cereal boxes and covered them with gift wrap. I've also used shopping bags that are made from thicker cardboard.  Sometimes, I'll come across a boxed packaging that is so pretty that I can use without having to cover it. 

Making junk journals and notebooks is about using what you have. No need to buy anything or throw out anything. This reduces a lot of paper wastes. I've made and given some to friends and their children. They love it because you can make a themed book to suit their personality or likes.

Below are a few examples then I will take you through the process of making one.   

My Art Journal

My Collage Journal

My Writing Journal

This one uses computer papers that has been printed on one side. The side that has been printed on will be stuck together or I will glue something over it.

Brown Paper Bag Journals


How to Make a Junk Journal

1. Select a cover

For this journal, I used a printed paper bag, See below.
Cut out the four sides of the bag. For this project, I used one large side for the journal and one small side for the notebook. Take out any handles. I decided to use the hole at the front and the rope handle of the bag as decoration by tying a bow. Fold the covers in half.

2. Select the pages for your journal

For this journal and notebook I used a selection of orange papers to match the cover. I had orange craft paper )leftover from children's crafts - usually the pinks and blues are first to go. Orange is children's least favourite colour so I still have stacks of these. I also used magazine pages and pages from an old address book that were unused.
I wanted white writing paper also so I used lesson plan pages from an old book, spare exercise pages from my children's exercise books, and printed computer papers.
Arrange them in the order that you prefer. I tried to distribute them evenly so not all the orange papers are together.
Once they are in the order that you like then cut them to fit the covers. I cut them slightly smaller than the covers. Then fold the stack of paper in half and put them inside the cover.

3. Bind the pages to the cover

You can sew your pages onto the cover and traditionally, people usually sew. But I like to staple mine as it's faster. I have a long arm heavy duty stapler so it makes it easy for stapling thick pages. But below I will show you how to staple around 10 pages to a cover using a standard stapler.

Open your journal and lay it down flat onto a piece of thick cardboard (cut from a box). Make sure that the middle crease of the pages align with the cover crease. Open your stapler.

Press down onto the crease with the open stapler. 

Staple twice along the journal spine with two evenly spaced staples.

Pull the cover with the pages up and out from the cardboard, Be careful as the staples will be still standing straight.

Use your nails to press the staples down, being very careful not to poke yourself.

And here are the finished journal and notebook.

Try it out. Kids love books with pretty pictures to write in. And you'll be saving the planet by not buying another exercise book or journal.

For other ideas on how your family can be more eco-friendly, please read the following blogs:

10 Ways to Raise Environmentally Friendly Kids

My Family’s Environmental Goals for 2022 and 3 Environmental Books We’re Reading


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