Thursday, March 5, 2020

Fly Window Envelope Junk Journal For A Vintage Journey

Hello and thank you for stopping by today. We are so excited at A Vintage Journey to be celebrating our SIXTH birthday, I can't begin to express how thankful I am to be a part of this wonderfully supportive and talented team! Our birthday host is our wonderful founder Brenda and here is her brief for our Celebration challenge.

Yes! let's celebrate our 6th Birthday.  Do you remember the words from the Kool and the Gang song?

There's a party goin' on right here
A celebration to last through the years
So bring your good times, and your laughter too
We gonna celebrate your party with you.
Come on now
Let's all celebrate and have a good time
We gonna celebrate and have a good time
Its time to come together
It's up to you, what's your pleasure
Everyone around the world
Come on!

Ok ... so over to you to show us what you are celebrating in your art and craft work at the moment. Don't forget to link us into your blog post and if it's not really obvious share with us how your project relates to the challenge theme. Just remember to create your project in one of our preferred styles: vintage, shabby, mixed media, art journaling, industrial, timeworn or steampunk.

I have been obsessed with making art journals lately so decided to make a window envelope junk journal that would combine my love of journal making and recycling/upcycling for our birthday celebration.

I used windowed junk mail envelopes and old manila file folders to construct the journal and then added lots and lots of paint, stenciling, stamping and ephemera to complete it; read on for the how to (and I have a flip through video for you at the end of the post so you can see how it came together in the end).

I started with 6 junk mail window envelopes in order to make 3 'signatures' in the finished junk journal.

The envelopes were folded just underneath the cellophane windows to form the pages.  They weren't all even in height or width but I didn't worry about it at this point.

A tiny sliver was cut off each end to open the envelopes up for painting.

I hadn't been very careful opening up some of the envelopes when I received them so added a piece of cardstock where necessary to to replace the flaps that had been torn off.

Painting came next, acrylic paint was slip slapped onto the envelopes inside and out.  I decided to go BRIGHT with my colours and used yellow, green, blue, purple and pink along with some white ... celebrating the rainbow!  On three of the painted envelopes I cut an opening along the fold line underneath the windows just up to the middle fold.  A line of glue was added along the length of the long right edge and the envelope glued back together again.

Each 'signature' was made up of two envelopes, one with the cut opening (as indicated by the scissors) and one without.  The cut opening is where the hinges are going to be inserted to make the journal but more of that later on!  I added stamping and stenciling to the all of the envelopes and then added some washi tape around the top of the window pockets just to reinforce the edges.

The two short ends folded up below the windows were then adhered together on the inside of the signature to form two more pockets.  I also did a little trimming at this point to even up the edges if necessary.  More washi tape was added around the top of the short middle pocket.

I repeated this process with the four remaining envelopes to create three envelope 'signatures'.  I then cut up old manila file folders to make the tags.  Each signature had 6 tags; 2 for the window pockets, 2 for the short inside pockets and then 2 more to fit on each side of the short middle pocket on the inside of the signatures.

All of the tags were then embellished with paint, inks, stenciling, stamping and a bunch of ephemera, die cuts and printables.  I tried to use up a bunch of left overs from my stash and also stamped a sentiment to go on each of the tags.  The backs of the tags were inked and stamped with the Lined stamp for journaling spots (there's a brief list at the end of the post with some of the products I used).

I used three different methods to keep the tags that weren't in pockets in place on the inside of the signatures.  The first method was to cover a piece of card stock with washi tape and adhere it along the bottom of the envelope, just adding glue along the bottom side of the tuck strip so that the tag could be inserted into the slot.  I also embellished the short middle pockets with images that coordinated with the tag that was facing them.

On the second signature I added a belly band and a stop at the bottom just above the fold to keep the tag in place;

And on the third signature I stamped a sentiment and adhered it to the envelope just on two sides so that the tag could be slipped into the tuck spot.  The observant among you will notice that this signature is constructed a bit differently as I had an envelope that was too short to be able to fold.  There's no right or wrong way to put the envelopes together so if you make one for yourself have fun playing to see how you can put your own signatures together!

I also grunged up three hinge clips to keep the signatures closed, they were rather plump once all of the tags were inserted!

It was now time to connect them together to form the journal and I decided to use Kathy Orta King's hidden hinge binding system, click on the link to watch Kathy's video, she explains how to construct it much better than I ever could!  I made each of my hinges 3/8" tall and left a gap of 3/8" between them; if you are going to make a journal of your own the width of your hinge will be dependant upon the SMALLEST opening in the bottom of your three signatures.

The first hinge flap was adhered into the opening at the bottom of the window pocket of the first signature.  I used wet adhesive for this so I had time to move the signature if necessary to make sure it was centred and that there was no binding as the hinge was moved back and forth.

The next hinge flap was then adhered into the window pocket opening at the bottom of the second signature, making sure that the two signatures were (mostly!) lined up with each other.

And finally the third signature was attached to the hidden hinge binding.  I then added a piece of kraft cardstock to the back of the hinge to give it some strength and stability and set the whole assembly aside to dry thoroughly.

A masterboard was created for the covers of the journal, I used all of the same paint colours as I'd used on the signatures along with some of the same stamps and stencils and some very Jackson Pollock style paint spattering!

The masterboard was cut up and adhered to a couple of pieces of recycled hanging file folder (it's nice and heavy and great to use for journal covers).

The signatures were then adhered to the inside of the covers.  The hidden hinge was scored and bent to 45 degrees (leaving a 3/8" space between the score line and the envelope) and centred on the inside of the back journal cover, lining up the edge of the hinge with the back edge of the cover.

The front cover was then adhered to the front of the hinge in the same manner.

Scrapbook paper was adhered to the inside of the covers to cover up the mechanics, I just used a neutral scrapbook paper with some script stamping on it.

A spine was cut from the same paper, I made it about 1/4" wider than the distance between the two covers and then added added 3/4" on each side so I could adhere it to the covers.  The spine was scored with a couple of 1/8" score lines on each side so that it would bend easily.

The spine was adhered to the front and back covers, just adding liquid adhesive to the two 3/4" strips on each side of the spine, and clamping it in place to let it dry thoroughly.  Don't try and open the journal until the glue is completely dry or it may tear away from your journal covers (ask me how I know!).

Some ephemera was adhered to the front cover and grommets inserted into the front and back covers for a ribbon closure.

And finally, I added a scrapbook paper pocket to the inside of the front and back covers for a tuck spot for more journaling tags or notes.

I made a short flip through video to show you the completed journal, you can watch it below or over on YouTube :O)

Hope that you've enjoyed seeing how my Fly envelope junk journal came together and that you will join us over at A Vintage Journey as we Celebrate our 6th birthday, we'd love to see the art that you are loving to make right now!  Make sure to pop by to see what the other Creative Guides have made to inspire you as well, you will not be disappointed.

Thanks as always for stopping by today and happy creating and celebrating,

Deb xo

Products used:


  1. How very bright, fun and colorful Deb! I've never heard of window envelope pages for a journal - so creative! love how you've decorated them all! xx

  2. The rainbow colours definitely have an atmosphere of celebration, and I just love the inclusion of the window envelopes in your journal - what a brilliant extra touch of detail and delight in the pages. I'm looking forward to flicking all the way through in the video. Happy birthday to us!
    Alison x

  3. Oh Deb words just cannot express how magnificent your journal is with so many details and beautiful colours. The clever binding, the fabulous pages and very wonderful tags have combined to make this a splendid birthday book. I love it (and the video).
    Thanks for celebrating another year of the AVJ blog.
    hugs Brenda xxx

  4. Wow, what an amazing journal! I love the design and how you recycled the envelopes 😁. The happy colours made me smile too - fabulous! Wishing you a wonderful weekend! Happy birthday wishes! Hugs, Jo x

  5. Wow Deb I adore this - love recycling and love mini books with lots of interest and colour!! Pinning this one for future inspiration xx

  6. Love your journal Deb x It’s so nice to read of the process too x
    Wonderful details and colours x
    Huge hugs
    Annie xx

  7. Fabulous album, and love all the lively Spring colors.... could use it about now, as I am sure is true in your neck of the woods as well! Wonderful upcycling, and loved your video as well. How fun to be on the team here - one of my favorite sites! Have finally made it back to Katy's site as well.... looking forward to absorbing all the grea tutorials there! Hope all is well - Lynn xx

  8. Such clever use of those envelopes Deb! and what a fun fabulous colourful journal with so many wonderful details. Wonderful !!! Jennie x

  9. Bright, bold and definitely beautiful a fabulous way of using those envelopes. What a magnificent album/journal this has become. Love anything that's created that you can add little extras over time. Fabulous. Creative wishes Tracey x


Due to an inordinate number of SPAM comments lately I have had to turn on comment moderation. Your comment will be published as soon as it has been reviewed, thanks so much for your interest in my work! Deb xo