Reduce, reuse, recycle!

Hey! It’s Phil. Today I’m going to show you an unbelievably quick and simple spread for days where you don’t have the time to devote to your art journal. I love being able to interact with my journal and using photo corners gives you a chance to include items you don’t want to permanently include in your journal, or gives you some extra space to write. As I like to be a bit quirky, giving something that would normally be thrown in the trash a second chance as the ‘star of the show’ is really fun.


  • A found object
  • Photo corners
  • A5 card stock which has been doodled on
  • Pre doodled card stock to back your found object
  • Old envelope for the mornings post
  • Your favorite glue stick (mine’s Pritt Stick)
  • Pen for your quote and journaling
  • Ruler
  • Bone folder


Start by going through your trash/recycling and find something that speaks to you – business/appointment cards, blurred photographs or clothing tags work well for this

Glue your found object to some cardstock of your choice. I’m using a piece I’ve been practising my hand lettering on

Cut the cardstock and found object down to size

Grab your A5 pre doodled card stock and cut it to size if need be. I like that these triangles remind me to play buttons

Fold in half and use a bone folder or back of a spoon to make a nice crease

Now get your photo corners onto your found object – either on all four corners or on two opposite

Using your ruler and the centre crease as a guide, place your found object onto the page

Now grab your typewriter or pen and write a short quote on your envelope – I love using lines from overheard conversations like this one

Cut out and attach your quote on the opposite page using glue stick

Remove the found object from the photo corners and add some additional journalling

Now you have a completed spread using things that were destined for the tash. Treat yourself to a mug of tea and feel smug in the knowledge you’re a eco warrior!

Action Steps


Go through the trash and find something that speaks to you


Use photo corners to attach your found object to a journal spread


Add a quote or snippet of an ‘overheard conversation’


Journal on the back of your found object


Share your work on Instagram or in the Get Messy Gallery

Phill Rushmere

Phill is the 30 (something) year old INFJ from Norwich on the East Coast of England. By day a Compliance & Quality Manager and maker extraordinaire by night. A lover of bookbinding, hand lettering and of course art journaling. His style of art journaling could be described at minimalist, as he enjoys balance between positive and negative space.


  1. Maura Flood

    This is great, Phil! Now I will look at paper trash differently!

    • Phill Rushmere

      Thanks Maura!

      Yes there is some gold in that trash!!

  2. Alyssa Rothwell

    I’m always up for going through the recycling bin

    • Phill Rushmere

      Excellent, glad to hear it Alyssa!

  3. Charlotte Erichsen

    If I repeat that a hundred times, my table might be clean.

  4. Chris Silker

    A-ha! A way to use all the interesting scraps of packaging I’ve been collecting!

  5. Michelle Johnson

    Great tutorial Phill! How fun!!! I am gonna give this one a shot!

  6. Suzanne Earley

    This is great, Phill! Thanks for sharing with us! I struggle with collecting ephemera, but will start looking at my trash a little differently now! I open the bills at work and every envelope I throw away makes me wonder if I could be doing something with it…

  7. Kellye Crocker

    My husband is always laughing at how I “steal” from the recycling. Love your ideas here, Phill! Thank you!