The Art of Vintage Journaling: Tips and Techniques for Papercrafters

The Art of Vintage Journaling: Tips and Techniques for Papercrafters


Are you ready to dive into the charming world of vintage journaling?

Whether you're a seasoned scrapbooker, collage, junk journaler... or a complete newbie to the craft, here are some tips and techniques to help you create journals with a delightful vintage touch.


Selecting the Right Paper

First things first – the foundation of any great journal is the paper. For that authentic vintage feel, opt for papers with a natural, textured look.

Think along the lines of creamy hues, soft tans, and subtle greys.

Check out my popular A5 Hardcover Collage Journal! It is a vintage inspired journal, with some pre-made patterned backgrounds - just waiting for your creative flair. And here's a pro tip: gently distress the edges of your paper with a bit of sandpaper or Distress ink to give it that well-loved, time-worn appearance.

No matter the type of journal you start with - you'll be more comfortable and free to explore your creativity when you don't feel like the journal is 'too good' to ruin. In other words - for your first ever journal I highly recommend using a notebook or diary you already have at home, even just for a few days. If you feel free to mess up, rip pages, scribble, and generally get used to the idea of scrapbooking or journaling and are not concerned with 'messing up' a fancy beautiful book you paid $100 for... you'll enjoy the creative experience of papercrafts far more!

If you buy a journal, notebook or scrapbook, avoid ones made from very heavy and thirsty kraft papers. You'll know the type of paper I mean once you see it - super textured, and you can tell it will just suck up any bit of glue. These papers are so perfect for embellishment and adding collage elements to your layouts - but if you start with the base as heavyweight, texted, kraft paper, you'll have a really difficult time getting glues, stickers and double-sided takes adhering to the surface.

Incorporating Vintage Elements

Vintage journaling is all about those intricate details. Stamps, stickers, and ephemera can transport your pages back in time. Australian-themed vintage stamps or historical imagery can add a local twist to your creations, especially if you have holidayed a lot around the country and have postcards, tickets, photos, keepsakes from your travels - add them to your journal! One versatile and must-have embellishment for your journal is some butterfly stickers! They are such an easy go-to for any project to add some whimsy and warmth, often adding a few butterflies just gives you a beautiful finishing touch. I have lots of different colours of butterfly stickers - one of my best-sellers - check them out here.

Some other out-of-the-box vintage elements you may already have around the house to incorporate into your journaling:

  • old broken jewellery pieces like pieces of earrings, charms or beads!
  • a used, dried out, tea bag!
  • window envelopes from the latest bill that arrived to your letterbox!
  • product tags from the last pair of shoes or top you bought - these are often super chunky and really thick cardstock
  • foldback clips or paper clips
  • greeting cards you either received from someone, or purchased to gift and never did :)

Colour Palettes for a Vintage Feel

Colours play a huge role in setting the vintage mood. Stick to a palette that evokes nostalgia – think muted earth tones, soft pastels, and aged metallics. These hues blend seamlessly and help highlight your vintage elements. Need inspiration? Check out these examples below of some of my favourite vintage colour combinations!

Layering and Distressing Techniques for an Authentic Look

Layering is key in vintage journaling! This is something I am enjoying more and more as I get better at it. I say 'better' because it can fell totally weird to cover up lots of the background of something - like pretty papers! And I am learning that the overall feel and look is the end result, and the layering gives me the final look I am going for - something luxe, nostalgic, and interesting!

You can combine different textures and elements like lace, ribbon, or old newspaper clippings. The idea is to create depth and interest. Don't shy away from distressing techniques either – a bit of crinkling here, some light tearing there, and a dab of distress ink can work wonders. Vellum is great for layering, it is romantic and nostalgic, light-weight too so it doesn't add lots of bulk to your journal. My favourite thing about vellum? It rips so well and looks amazing all scrunched up and crinkled! My Nature Graffiti Vellum is a great starting point to add a new paper, ephemera texture to your journal.


Vintage journaling is more than just a crafting style; it's a way to connect with the past and bring a piece of history to life in your scrapbooks and journals.

With these tips and techniques, and your unique creative flair, you're all set to create stunning vintage-themed pages.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong in crafting – it’s all about expressing your style and preserving memories in a way that's meaningful to you.

So, what are you waiting for?

Grab your supplies, and let’s make some vintage magic! 

Let me know in the comments what you enjoy adding to your journal!

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