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  • Writer's pictureCassandra Martin-Himmons

How To Use Collage Journaling As A Creative Outlet

Have you ever thought about using creativity techniques in your journaling?

Person with glasses holding a journal up covering the lower half of their face.

If not, why not?

It’s your journal, you can write or create in any way that works for you. Once you’ve cultivated a journaling practice, you may get bored with writing the same way over and over again. And boredom is a surefire way of watching your stress levels creep up.

That’s where injecting some creativity into your journaling can help to make it more fun for you and increase your motivation to maintain your journaling habit. Which is important because journaling is one way of helping you manage your stress before your stress manages you.

Now some of you may be thinking to yourselves, “I’m not creative and I wouldn’t know where to begin.” Well, have no fear, that’s where the Making Time Blog comes in. When it comes to creativity, it’s all about doing what feels right to you. After all, creativity is a form of self-care. Read on for 5 ways to inject creativity into your journal.

Add Some Color

Various colors of crayons on a black and white hexagon tile.

One of the easiest ways to shake things up is by adding color. You can use colored pencils or markers for title pages. Or use blocks of color to divide pages into sections.

Maybe if you’re doing different types of journaling such as gratitude journaling and goal setting, you can use colored pens for each distinct type of writing.

All these techniques are simple, can be done by anyone and can really make your pages pop.

Add Props

Props on a black and white background.

Another easy way to perk up your pages is by using props.

“Props?!” You say.

YES! Props.

You can use stickers, wax seals or washi tape to insert personal flair into your journaling. If you’re like me and don’t draw, using these props can be a way of adding art into your journal.

Doodle and Draw

If you are blessed with the ability to draw, there’s no better place to do it than in your journal. You can write about a goal that you want to achieve or a problem that you’re dealing with. Then doodle in the margins or in between entries to flesh out your ideas.

Or instead, dive deeper into your ideas through drawing. You can create a mind map, draw faces that mirror your emotional state or use drawings of water droplets to keep track of your hydration.

You might even consider creating a section in your journal for your drawings. Take a full page to draw pictures using your medium of choice.

Write Poetry

If you like wordplay, perhaps poetry might be your thing. Writing poetry can be a wonderful way of exploring your feelings and getting your creative juices flowing.

Make a Collage

A journal with drawings, pictures and other college elements.

If you want to add some visual appeal to your journal but don’t want to draw, why not try making a collage? Find photos or words that appeal to you from magazines or online and glue them into your journal in collage format. You can use this as a way of processing problems that you have or to jumpstart your thinking and creative process.

You can also treat your collages as a vision board or mood board if you’d like. That way the pictures can help direct your focus to your goals and desires. It's all about what works best for you at the time.

So now that we’ve talked about the 5 ways of making your journal more creative, let’s take a closer look at using collages in your journaling.

Collage Journaling

Collages can help you tap into your creative side while learning more about yourself.

You can keep a journal that is exclusively for collaging or you dedicate a couple pages here and there to creating a collage when the mood strikes.

The more you use this type of journaling, the easier it’ll be to find those images that inspire you.

When you’re considering using collages in your journaling, the first thing you’ll want to decide is whether or not you want different collages for various aspects of your life, or a single collage that incorporates multiple areas.

You can even use a single word or phrase that captures a goal that you want to accomplish, a problem that you’re trying to solve or something that inspires you. Place the word or phrase at the top of the page and then create a collage to match.

Then it’s time to look at the type of journal you are going to use.

A regular notebook may not be the best option for this type of journaling because the pages may be too thin to stand up to the glue and paper items attached to the page. If you plan to use paint or ink stamps on your collages as well, heavier weight paper will be important.

You should also consider the size of your collage journal. If this is something that you plan to do often, you may wish to get a journal that is at least 8.5” x 11” so that it can hold larger collages.

Finally, consider the binding. A spiral bound journal will be more flexible and easier to maneuver when you’re creating your collages. While a sewn binding is tougher and will most likely hold up longer.

Tips for Collage Journaling

The first rule when it comes to collage journaling is that there are no rules. Seriously! It's about what works for you. However, to make it easier for yourself (at least into you get into your rhythm) try these tips:

  • Lay out your supplies before you start as it’ll make it easier to create while you’re in the zone.

  • Choose your images ahead of time. Besides the usual ripping pictures or words out of magazines, you can also make copies of photographs, use old ticket stubs or create works & images that have meaning to you in Canva, Google Slides, MS PowerPoint or any other program. Really you can use any type of paper ephemera or memorabilia.

  • Once you have your pictures, arrange them to fit the page the way you’d like them. Then go to town. You might decide to color or paint the background of your page. Or use construction paper to create a boarder for your collage.

  • Now it’s time to adhere your words and images to the page. You can use paste, glue sticks, tape or glue dots – whatever you like the best.

There you have it! The basics of journaling with collage. Don’t overthink it. Just collect images that best reflect your theme and let your creativity do the rest. Have fun with it! You can definitely do it as it's all about Making Time.

A blue spiral page divider

How are you going to inject some creativity into your journaling practice? Let me know in the comments section.

Collage Journal Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash


Cassandra Martin-Himmons is a facilitator, stress management coach and author of “Yes I’m Grateful,” a gratitude journal. She believes in empowering her clients to help them manage their stress and increase self-care. In her spare time, she enjoys papercrafting, volunteering and travel. Connect with her on Instagram or LinkedIn


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