Junk Journal Glossary

Junk Journal Glossary

Are you new to junk journaling? If so, this glossary of terms will help you understand the lingo associated with this creative hobby. If you are wondering what is a junk journal, I suggest you read this post first before continuing onto the glossary.
From awls to signatures, here is a list of words and phrases you should know when it comes to junk journaling:

AWL: An essential tool in junk journaling, an awl is a pointed tool used to make holes in the signatures and/or spine of a junk journal. If you don't have an awl, some alternatives you can try are a sewing needle stuck into a wine cork, a safety pin, a sewing machine needle, or a push pin.
BELLY BAND: A strip of paper or fabric that is used to hold other embellishments in place. Belly bands are attached to the journal page by applying glue (or sewing) to the top and bottom of the strip. They can be placed on the page either vertically or horizontally.
BLING, CHARMS, PENDANTS: These are decorative items such as jewelry charms, costume jewelry pieces, beads, pendants, buttons, etc. used to decorate a junk journal.
BONE FOLDER: This tool is used for scoring and creating crisp folds in paper. Bone folders are made out of different materials (genuine bone, plastic, or teflon) but you will get the best results with a genuine bone folder. Bone folders with pointy or sharper edges can be used along with a ruler or scoring board to create creases in paper or other materials.
CLUSTER: A mini collage used as a junk journal embellishment, clusters are made by gluing (or sewing) scrap pieces of paper, lace, and fabric. They can be further decorated with buttons, stamps, and charms.
COLLAB: A collaboration between two or more junk journalers to create a journal spread in their junk journals according to an agreed upon theme.
COLLAGE: An artistic composition that involves gluing together various materials like papers and fabric onto a flat surface. In junk journaling, collages are used to create unique backgrounds for journal pages.
COLLAGE MASTERBOARD: This is a larger collage that is then cut down into smaller pieces to create tags, cards, and bookmarks for a junk journal
COPYRIGHT vs CREATIVE COMMONS vs PUBLIC DOMAIN: If you plan on selling the junk journals that you create, then this is very important to know. “Copyright” gives the owner of a creative work the exclusive right to use that material while also protecting that material from unauthorized use by others. “Creative Commons” is a type of license that allows distribution of copyrighted materials under certain terms. “Public Domain” materials are not protected by any copyrights and can be used free by anyone, even for commercial purposes. 
DIGIKIT/PRINTABLE/INSTANT DOWNLOAD: A set of digital pages, usually in JPEG, PNG, or PDF format) that you print out and use for a junk journal. They can include anything from decorative signature pages, pockets, tags, labels, or images for fussy cutting.
EPHEMERA: Ephemera are items that are made and meant to only be used for a short period, such as a movie ticket, postage stamp, or event flier. These types of items can be used to decorate a junk journal.
FOLIO: A “folio” is a sheet of paper that is folded in half. Each of the two sections is called a “leaf” and every side of a leaf is a “page.” 
GATOR MOUTH: Sometimes when a junk journal is heavily embellished, the opening of the journal swells and is thicker than the spine of the journal. This is referred to as the “gator mouth.”
HAPPY MAIL: Like penpal mail, this is physical mail that people send each other with fun and interesting junk journaling materials.
SIGNATURE: A grouping of folded sheets of paper. A signature has anywhere from 10-20 sheets. Most junk journals include approximately 3-5 signatures.
SNIPPET ROLL: A snippet roll is similar to a cluster. It is a small collage of various items such as paper, fabric, stamps, stickers, etc. that are created as a long strip that is rolled up. Then you “snip” parts of the roll off and use them to decorate a junk journal. 
SPINE DANGLE: Junk journals often have a handmade tassel as decoration along the spine.
STORYBOOK JOURNAL: This is a type of junk journal in which children’s story books are upcycled and turned into a junk journal. The original pages of the book are included within the junk journal signatures. 
TUCK SPOT: A tuck spot in a junk journal is similar to a pocket, except it is only glued or sewn on one or two sides. 
WAXED THREAD: The best type of thread to use for making a junk journal is waxed thread. It is the strongest. The wax gives extra hold and reduces tangling of the thread.
WRITING BOARD: Since junk journals are heavily embellished, writing in them can be a bit tricky. This is when a writing board comes in handy. It is a stiff flat board that can be used for support while writing in a junk journal. A writing board can be decorated to match the junk journal and placed inside it.
ZIP FOLDER/ZIPPED FILES: If you are purchasing a printable/digikit to use in a junk journal, you may receive the files in a compressed “zipped” folder. Many digikit creators, including myself, like to organize files into a zipped folder in order to reduce the storage space of the files on a computer. 
Final Thoughts

Whether you're an experienced junk journaler or just starting out, understanding the terms associated with junk journaling can help you create beautiful and unique journals. These are just some of the most common terms you will see or hear in association with junk journaling. I hope you have found this glossary helpful.
Back to blog


Hi Pam, it is still possible to unzip files on your phone, but you may need to install a file manager app which will allow you to unzip.


I do not have a computer. I have a otg to connect phone with printer. Can I print ZIP files?i can PDGs. Thanks

Pam Wheeler

Thank you so much for explaining the different terms used in Junk Journaling. I’m just starting to add junk journals to my craft room, and this helped a lot. Can’t wait to get started.

Susan Gragg

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.