How to Be an Eco-Friendly Scrapbooker

If you love scrapbooking, but cringe at the waste piling on your craft desk from packaging, scraps, and plastics, I have some solutions!

Bryonna Sieck
5 min readAug 7, 2020
Photo by Loverna Journey on Unsplash

There is nothing like finally receiving your limited-edition stickers or artist papers from your favorite online stationery shop, or filling your cart with things you didn’t intend to buy at your local craft store. If you’re already deep in the hobby of scrapbooking or creative journaling, then I don’t need to tell you that collecting stationery and craft tools is an addiction. Suppose you haven’t reached that level of scrap-obsession yet and are just dipping your toe into the wonderful world of memory keeping. This article will help you save money and help protect the planet while gaining inspiration for your next journal project.

DIY Your Journal

Have you ever heard of junk journals? Junk journals consist of mixed pages varying from junk mail, other books, packaging, or anything that you can think of to fold in half and bind together.

Handmaking a journal is easier than it sounds. There are many tutorials on Youtube that will show you how to bind pages together. The simplest style is called zine binding or pamphlet stitch. Some variations only require three holes and a single piece of thread. Others require two staples.

Instead of running out to buy a new journal, consider cutting out an older journal’s blank pages to create a new one.

I love going to the thrift store and finding water damaged, hardcover books for upcycling into a journal. I made a tutorial on how I did it here!

Tutorial on how to make a new journal from old books by author

If you don’t have the time or interest in learning how to bind books, there are Etsy sellers that specialize in making journals from reclaimed paper. Just type in junk journals or recycled paper journals in the search bar, and you will find a wide selection to choose from. Our shop, 1134 Press, has some there, but other shops I love on Etsy are Feel Good Parcel (US) and Bad Books (UK).

By repurposing paper materials in new journals, you will make something unique to you and your style. Handmade booklets also make for cool gifts, especially if you add photographs to your pages and little notes.

What To Do With the Paper Scraps?

When you set out to do a book project, you will have leftover scraps. Some pieces you can save for other projects, but some are unsalvageable. When I’m working on something new, I keep a paper bag on my desk to collect those tiny bits of paper to make more paper.

Handmaking paper is a trend that you have probably come across on your internet journeys. And yes, it is effortless to make. You just need a blender, a deckle mold (which you can buy on Amazon or make from two picture frames and a screen if you’re a die-heart DIYer), and a towel.

Using handmade paper in your scrapbooking projects immediately adds texture and unique charm. I like to use my handmade paper batches to make gift tags, envelopes, cards, and in my journal spreads.

Imagine how many brownie points you will get when you roll up to a baby shower with a beautiful gift tag and card made from recycled paper that you made! (The answer is a lot.)

Bonus Tip* Incorporate dried flowers from a withering bouquet, or potpourri that’s no longer fragrant in your handmade paper batch, instead of throwing it away!

Happy Mail, Make a Friend, Share the Love

Happy mails consist of scrapbooking materials that you send to a friend. My favorite part about making and receiving happy mail (aside from getting to know strangers) is using scrap materials to decorate the envelopes and packages.

Say you are the only person you know that art journals, it’s easy to find a “pen pal.” I posted one picture on my Instagram feed, asking for a pen pal, and I had people message me from all over the world immediately!

Sharing your resources is a great way to reduce waste and a fantastic way to make new friends. If you want more happy mail inspiration, check out the hashtags #snailmail #snailmailrevolution and #happymail on IG, Youtube, or Pinterest.

Happy mail by author

Digital Scrapbooking: Welcome to the 21st Century

Digital scrapbooking is like regular scrapbooking, but you use digital files to create layers in photo editing programs like Photoshop, Canva, etc. With it you can skip the hassle of managing physical paper, worries about carbon emissions from sending mail, or plastic from packaging materials.

The hardest part about digital scrapbooking is learning how to use the editing software. There are simple tutorials on YouTube to help you get started.
Before I start manipulating photos, I source images from Pinterest,, and Unsplash. I create a folder on my desktop to collect what I’d like to use, open Photoshop, and go to town!

A wedding photograph manipulated by author

Disclaimer: If you sell your crafts and artwork, you must always use fair use media or buy the rights. If your project is for personal use and not for profit, then have at it! Copy and paste away.

As scrapbookers and crafters, we lean toward the sentimental side of the personality spectrum. We are the conservationists of family photos, and record keepers of the day. It’s our job to help preserve our planet too!

Bryonna Sieck is a writer and book artist residing in Baltimore, MD. She graduated with an M.F.A in Creative Writing & Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore. She shares bookmaking, journaling, and paper craft inspiration on Youtube and Instagram. She co-owns 1134 Press who has published For Us: A Self Care Journal for Mamas, Those Who Fly (fiction), and Gestalt (fiction).



Bryonna Sieck

Scrapbooker, book artist, and stationery lover. She co-owns 1134 Press, an indie publisher and stationery shop. Visit for more!