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The Ultimate Guide to a Budget-Friendly Art Journal

The Ultimate Guide to a Budget-Friendly Art Journal

Human beings are creatures of records and information preservation. They had been writing in different forms over the millennia. Cavemen drew on walls. Ancient Sumerians used triangular styluses in sift clay tablets. Egyptian scribes used reed pens and papyrus.

Over the years, you did the same thing. You put your darkest secrets in padlocked notebooks on your childhood. Then, you poured your hearts on Livejournal or Tumblr. You moved to social media sites Facebook and Twitter in sharing our every move. You veered away from the pen and paper combo and shifted to a digital way of chronicling your days.

For a long while, the Internet takes over your life. Your online accounts are your avenue to share your experiences and opinions. It fulfills its purpose but in the passing of time, the Internet has become too toxic, too complicated to even share the simplest, most ordinary thought. Now, you crave for the feeling of being able to share your two cents without the fear of being judged. Little by little, you are starting to go back to the analog ways.

But with beautiful stationery items gracing the commercial shelves, you are made to think that starting an art journal is about owning these expensive materials. But it shouldn’t be that way.

My 2016 art journal

I started my creative journal in 2016 when I was still a fresh graduate. Being fresh out of college means I do not have the means to afford these fancy tools. But it did not hinder me to go on with this project. On the contrary, it helped me hone my creativity and resourcefulness since I have to make do with what I have. On this article, let me share some tips and tricks for a beautifully made scrapbook despite budget constraint.

But first, what is creative journaling?

Journaling is writing a record of your experiences and reflections throughout the day. On the other hand, creative journaling goes a step further. It is documenting your life in an artistic manner. It could be through sketching, scrapbooking, collaging or painting – whatever type of media you choose to do.

You only need a pen and paper to start.

What do you need to start?

  • Pen and notebook of choice

Tip 1: These writing tools could suffice. You don’t need a Moleskine and a fountain pen for the job. I use affordable notebooks from school supplies shops, Landmark and Papemelroti. I write with a PHP27 fine-tip gel pen. Here is a comprehensive list of local brands you can use as alternative to high-end journal products.

See also: The Notebook System That Gets My Life Together

Tip 2: Why buy if you can DIY? You can make your own notebook from scrap papers and bind them together with staples or strings. There are a lot of notebook DIY and binding tutorials on Youtube for reference.

I used brochures, fineliners, washi tapes, and stickers to decorate the pages.

Materials you might need

  • Scrapbook Papers
  • Decorative Tapes
  • Colored Pens
  • Markers
  • Stickers
  • Stamps

Tip 3: These art supplies are optional and should be based on your need and style.

Tip 4: Speaking of style, decide on the aesthetic and direction you’re going for. An art journal is about flexibility yet it doesn’t hurt to put a little structure on your project. It will also save you lots of moolah because you won’t buy all the cute items that come your way.

You can make beautiful art by using recycled materials. I glued a brown bag and magazine clippings to decorate.

Tip 5: Find stores and brands that offer affordable and top grade quality art items. I usually pick mine at school supplies shops (NBS, Pandayan), Landmark, SM Stationery and Papemelroti. Looking for these materials takes a lot of time and effort. But it’s all worth it.

See also: 10 Tips for the Confused Memory Keeper

Tip 6: Build your collection little by little. You don’t have to go to the craft store and buy the things you think you need. A decent compilation of art tools takes years to build up.

Keep an eye for every possibility. Utilize magazines, brochures, and old books to make art.

Other materials you can use

  • Newspapers
  • Magazines
  • Brown Bags
  • Pretty Packagings
  • Gift Wrappers
  • Cardboard
  • Old Books

Tip 7: Thrift stores like Booksale are your friend for old books and magazines.

Tip 8: But you don’t have to buy everything. Look around and keep an eye on possibilities. I am a notorious ‘basusera’ because I keep a lot of items for my project.

Souvenirs are not only memorable. They also make beautiful ornaments for your journal.
  • Brochures
  • Concert Tickets
  • Movie Stubs
  • Boarding Passes
  • Pressed Flowers and Leaves
  • Photos
  • Receipts
  • Tags, Cards, Invitations
  • Food Packaging

Tip 9: Use ephemera from your trips and events. Aside from the memories they entail, they also make good decorations for your pages.

I put fashion tags, birthday card, and pretty wrappers to make this Christmas entry on my diary.

See? You don’t need to spend a fortune to start with journaling. Surely you will find affordable ways to make those beautiful pages. Always remember that creativity is not about the tools you use. It’s how you make your art be.

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