Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Junk Mail Art Journal Tutorial

Junk mail. Even if you are on the blocker lists, you still receive it. What to do with it? Make art. of course! You'll need:
           *Two envelopes, one unused (the kind that come inside your credit card offers and such)
           *Letters (the size of your book depends on how many you use)
           *Cover Paper (I used scrapbooking cardstock, but you could use any heavier weight paper)
           *Scrapbook or other paper for end papers
           *Tape (masking, and I also used gaffer's tape for the spine)
           *Gesso (found in the art section, this semi-transparent white medium prepares your paper        for painting)
           *Paint, papers, and other art supplies to fill your journal with!

Step One:

Slip the flap of the unused envelope inside the other envelope.

Tape the intersection on both sides to create the spine.

The book is constructed pamphlet style, so keep those letters folded. Turn the letter horizontally, and glue one end to the inside of one envelope. Fold the rest of the letter over it (it should do this naturally, from the fold lines that already exist).
Continue to add pages by taking one end of a folded letter and gluing it to the end of the previous letter. You can add as many as you wish, but be aware that the pages are not bound to the spine, so too many pages will cause the pages to pop out a bit.

I used four letters for this book.

To reinforce the spine (and make it look pretty) I used gaffer tape along the outside. Gaffer tape is a flexible, cloth tape that can be found in scrapbook stores and where book binding supplies are sold.
Glue cardstock on the front and back of the envelopes, but not over the spine. Tie ribbons around the outside as a closure, then add a second piece of gaffer's tape over the first, encasing the ribbon and the edges of the cardstock.
Glue decorative papers over the inside covers to create end papers. I used clips while it was drying to ensure the edges stayed down.

Gesso the pages to prepare them for your fabulous artwork! Some junk mail is brightly colored, so you may need a few coats, or you could cover the page with tape, paper scraps, recycled paper bags... use your imagination! 

Above are a few pages from my book. You can see a simpler book using just envelopes on this post. That's all there is to it! If you make your own journal, be sure to post a link in the comments. I'd love to see it!


  1. Wow! You know, I CAN'T WAIT to get the mail today! I want to start working on this as soon as possible! Great ideas; thanks for posting them for us! :D

  2. very very nice. i love how you have put this book together.

  3. Very cool idea, trash to treasure for sure!

  4. this is such a creative idea! i love it! as i get older, the more and more junk i get in the mail. i hate throwing it out because of the waste of paper. and recycling works, but recycling factories still punch out so many toxins into the air. this is a great way to recycle those silly papers you don't need! :)

  5. "travel blogger crossing.. fast but fun reading"

    love ur art!

  6. absolutely delightful! I love this and will definately give it a try! I hopped over from Skip to My Lou and am so happy that I did. Please accept my invitation to drop in at my place one day this week when you get a moment. I have become a follower and hope that you will do the same. until later...

  7. I can see this being a project for "A week of my life" where the content would reflect on my week, either a grocery list, the hardware store flyer, some doodles done while in a meeting, etc. I guess it could be a rediscovery of the word 'scrapbook'. Fun fun fun!

  8. Perfect for a back-and-forth letter with your favorite Mail art buddy.

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  10. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find so many useful info here in the post, we need work out more techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.  JUNK PICK UP

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