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Best Ways to Use Vintage Ephemera for Junk Journaling

Junk journaling has gained popularity in recent years as a creative outlet that combines art, storytelling, and memory keeping. One of the key elements in creating stunning junk journals is the use of vintage ephemera.

Vintage ephemera refers to old, often paper-based items such as tickets, postcards, letters, and photographs that evoke nostalgia and capture the essence of bygone eras. Incorporating these treasures into your junk journaling projects adds a unique touch and brings depth to your creations.

In this article, we will explore some of the best ways to use vintage ephemera for junk journaling.

Collecting Vintage Ephemera

The first step in using vintage ephemera is building a diverse collection. Thrift stores, antique shops, flea markets, and online platforms can be excellent sources for finding vintage treasures. Look for items like old postcards, handwritten letters, stamps, book pages, vintage photos, advertisements, and maps.

If you’ve seen my handmade journals, I often use antique postcards as covers. If you’d like to learn more about vintage embroidered postcards, I wrote an article about it here!

Another great resource for antique hunting is Facebook! There are many groups that are dedicated to antique ephemera and paper goods. These groups offer one of a kind deals on unique items that you may not easily find anywhere else, and the prices can be quite affordable.

Sometimes, sellers will either list a price, or they will do a DOND, which refers to ‘deal or no deal’. Basically, you offer up a price you’d pay for the item, and the seller can either accept it or reject it. Some of these groups also hold auctions with well-known auctioneers that specialize in antique ephemera.

The groups I am currently in are:

Important note for readers who want to buy online: always try to buy using Paypal!

Paypal offers both buyer and seller protection in case you get scammed. Make sure to use the ‘goods and services’ category when you are sending money, because this provides you safety as a buyer. One thing to note is that the seller will have to cover the fee that comes with this service. The ‘friends and family’ option removes your safety option as a buyer, and you will have to cover the wire transfer fee.

Using other payment service options carries risks because they usually have little to no protections in place for buyers or sellers. I personally only use Paypal for this reason. Do not use Cashapp or Facebook Pay unless you are dealing with an experienced seller who has many buyers and positive reviews.

Creating Themed Pages

Vintage ephemera offers an opportunity to create themed pages in your junk journal. For instance, you could dedicate a section to a specific decade, such as the 1950s or the Victorian era. Arrange vintage photographs, ticket stubs, and magazine clippings from that era, allowing them to transport you and your readers to a different time. Themed pages make your journal visually captivating and add a delightful narrative.

Incorporating Handwritten Elements

Vintage handwritten elements, such as letters, recipes, or diary entries, add a personal touch to your journaling. You can either include the original document or create replicas to preserve the original piece. Use translucent vellum or tracing paper to overlay the handwriting on your journal page. This technique gives an ethereal quality to the text and allows readers to engage with the sentimentality of the written word.

One of my FAVORITE junk journal creators!!!

Using Ephemera Pockets and Tuck Spots

Incorporate pockets and tuck spots within your junk journal to hold smaller vintage ephemera pieces securely. Pockets can be made by gluing or sewing a folded piece of paper or an envelope onto the page, allowing you to slip in photographs, postcards, or other paper mementos. Tuck spots are small slits or pockets where you can tuck in notes, letters, or tags, creating interactive elements within your journal.

Embracing Imperfections

Vintage ephemera often comes with imperfections like tears, stains, or creases. Embrace these flaws as they contribute to the authenticity and character of your junk journal. These imperfections can serve as prompts for storytelling or can be enhanced with artistic techniques such as distressing, tea staining, or ink splattering. Embracing imperfections adds a vintage and worn-in look, enhancing the overall charm of your journal.

Pairing Vintage Ephemera with Mixed Media

Combine vintage ephemera with various mixed media elements like watercolors, acrylics, stamps, washi tape, and ephemera of different textures. Experiment with blending colors, incorporating hand-drawn elements, or adding textures through techniques like embossing or stenciling. The combination of vintage ephemera and mixed media techniques adds richness and individuality to your junk journal pages.


Vintage ephemera opens up a world of creative possibilities in the realm of junk journaling. By thoughtfully incorporating these treasured relics into your projects, you can create visually captivating and deeply meaningful journals. Let the nostalgia, stories, and charm of vintage ephemera guide your creative journey, and watch as your junk journal comes alive with the magic of the past. Happy journaling!

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