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Discovering Circle Journals

By: Elizabeth Moad - Updated: 13 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Circle Journals Scrapbooking Crafts

If you like scrapbooking, then you will love the new craze of circle journals. To create a community scrapbook, a group of friends pass around a series of albums with each person creating a page or a layout in each book. If you would like to be a part of it, read on.

What are Circle Journals?

A circle journal is a scrapbook album which is passed between a group of people, who each design their own layouts to add. Although a relatively recent pastime, the idea itself has been around for years. Women have taken part in communal projects as a way of meeting new people and expressing their creativity with others for centuries. This has taken the form of making quilts, round robins, songs and stories that everyone can take part in. They are artistic and a great way to learn more about others and yourself.

What Should it be About?

The themes will depend on the group you are including in your circle but they can be about anything you like, such as holidays, children, weddings, music or anything else you are interested in.

What is the Point?

Participating in a circle journal means you get to make new friends, have fun, contribute to another’s book and end up with a creative book at the end. It is also a chance to be inspired by others' work. You will gain many different perspectives on the same subject and have a good time too. You can also explore new ideas or techniques before committing them to your own scrapbook pages. Your book will travel counties and maybe even different countries. Imagine all the inspiring influences the book will contain!

What do I Need?

All you need is a communal book and your normal scrapbooking materials. Plus some stamps! Bear in mind the fact that the book will be posted several times so you may want to look for a small, lightweight journal. Take into consideration how many pages you will need so each member can make their entries.

How do I do it?

  • Firstly, either join an existing circle or start your own with your friends. Once established, you need to work out the rules between you. Decide what the theme is going to be, which materials can be used, how long you each get, how many pages and in what order you will embellish the book. Also think about how many times the circle journal will go around before the book is finished, deciding on how many people are in the group.

  • photos, background and embellishments You may want to create the title page together if you can all meet up and an introductory page with instructions or rules about your journal. Some people explain their theme and why they chose it on this page. If you do not wish for certain colours or products to be used you should say this here in the instructions. 20px break
  • filling in a sign in sheetThe next part of the journal is called a sign in. You can do this in different ways, but a sign-in sheet is the most common way. You can ask members to personalise their name in some way if you wish, for example a photograph of themselves. Don’t forget to add yourself. The last part of your journal you will make before sending it to the next person is a two page layout relating to your central idea. Leave space for the next recipient to do their layout. 20px break
  • posting the journal and sign in sheetWhen your journal is ready, send it on the next member of the group. Meanwhile you can be working on someone else's. Decorating the cover of the album when you have the completed project back again. When you have finished, sit back and enjoy seeing other people's creativity! 20px break

How Can I Join a Circle Journal?

The easiest way to do a circle journal is with people in your area - perhaps those you crop with. You should be able to find out information on scrapbooking websites. Always be careful when talking to people on the web though and never reveal your home address without being sure the person is genuine. Keep in mind that the more people involved, the more people to keep up with and the longer it will take for the journal to be completed and returned to you. Alternatively if you want to start your own, let others know you wish to start a circle journal and allow for them to sign up. You need to have some place to communicate with the group. Some groups do this in forums. One good idea is to set up a yahoo group page. Members can complete a database with their information (giving their name, address, online name and so on).

Before beginning the circle journal group, be sure that everyone understands the commitment of time and money they will be making. It takes months to complete a circle journal. This means that every few weeks you must complete entries in another person’s book and mail it.

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