Get New Scrapbooking Ideas by Doing a Circle Journal

Liz Ness's Page Peeking Out

One of the cool things about a circle journal is that it’s a great way to get inspiration.

  • The participants are initially inspired by your book, they add their own twist to it, and then you get inspiration from their twist. And since you inspired their ideas, you’re even more likely to adore what they do!
  • If you and your circle are paper scrapbookers, circle journals are a chance to see and feel things in person, which in my experience is always better than photos of people’s layouts and projects.

What’s a Circle Journal?

It’s a themed mini-book that you give to a circle of friends. Each person contributes a page to your book. Liz Ness started our awesome circle journal group and we’ve done books two different ways.

The Safest Way
The first way is real safe if you’re mailing your books to people you don’t know extremely well because you met them online. In this case, the group decides on a theme, you make the same page for every person in the group, and then you mail the group your pages. When you get everyone’s pages, you put them into a mini-book foundation that you create yourself.

Paperclipping has had a group like this for a long time in The Crop Circle. You can sign up to join for the next round if you want! It’s free and open to anyone.

The Riskier Way
After having success with our first book, we tried the more traditional but riskier way. We each made our own foundations and chose our own themes. We decided on a rotation order and exchanged addresses. Then we each mailed our books to the person after us in the rotation. That person is supposed to add their own page to your book, based on your theme. Then they send it to the next person, and so on. Theoretically, it’s supposed to eventually come back to you. Whether it finally makes it or not depends on your peeps!

After three years my book eventually made it to six members of our awesome group of about ten people. I would have loved to have waited longer to get the others, but we agreed as a group that we have all gotten too busy with our businesses to be able to keep going.

Now I get to share with you the inspiring things they did!

Note: You can see the cover, the Before photos of pages, and my own page in my article, Express Your Playful Side with Your Scrapbook Designs

Instruction Page

The Good Stuff 1

We began our books with an Instruction Page. Here are my instructions —

The Good Stuff instructions


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There is still room for two or three sign-in’s, so I’m hoping I can entice my three local scrappy friends (Tami, Dedra, and Adrianne!) to finish my book!

I love the idea of having a sign-in page because it ended up being the most inspiring page for me! Each person went with my hanging, layering theme and almost all of them used a piece of transparency like I did.

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Some hung theirs with brads, some with clips, others with wire or book rings.

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Detta and Teresa Tyree's Sign-ins

Please excuse my failed attempt to put the focus on Teresa’s layers on the book ring. It’s hard to do when you’re trying to hold the book in one hand, a heavier-than-average camera in the other, while also keeping the camera at enough distance to be able to get it to focus!

Put The Inspiration to Use

I took all that inspiration from these six awesome sign-in’s and made a similar gathering as a header in the book I’m currently altering . . .

Page Header in a Book I'm Altering

Side View of Embellishment Gathering as Page Header

Layers from top to bottom:

  • book binding ring
  • ribbon
  • two scraps of patterned paper that I circle-punched
  • a transparency
  • a journaling page from My Mind’s Eye – Lush

(Thank you, awesome He{ART} Friends!)

Circle Journal Pages

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I pulled a bunch of my leftover pages from very different mini-books, even cut some down into two inches tall, and told them to use as many as they wanted and even move them around. They totally went to town with it. Some used multiple pages and some used just one side. There are a few blank sides in-between and I’ll fill those in, myself.

Here are a few looks to give you an idea of how fun these are . . .

Liz Ness's page

Debbie's Page

Jackie's Page

Detta Owen's Page

Renee and Teresa's Pages

Teresa Tyree's Page

The humor of this last one is just way too much! Do you spot a Cullen on that page? No, Teresa Tyree is not intimate with you-know-who. You can do this at Face In Hole. I don’t think I have a picture nearly as intense and dramatic as Teresa’s though, so I’ll just enjoy hers!

Circle Journal Inspiration

It’s an I’ll scratch your back, you scratch my back situation. I’ll inspire you and you’ll inspire me. And it’s just really, really fun.

It’s more of the good stuff.

  • Erink

    Wow, this is awesome. I can’t believe your book was gone three years though! I did a circle journal once and it was not a great experince. Several members of the group didn’t keep to the time table and one of the ladies had her book ruined by a fellow group member. I like the first option. I could do risk free option. I am off to check out the crop circle! Thanks for the inspiration. Hope you are enjoying Spring Break this week!

  • Yeah, I’ve heard some horror stories, which is why we’re doing the safe way with Paperclipping!

  • I just love seeing this all again — so inspiring for sure! Plus, I loved your sign-in inspiration! Transparencies are one of my favorite things to use these days. =)

  • Scrappyru

    I’ve had one successful circle journal group and one that was not good at all. The successful one was great fun and I loved seeing everyone’s styles of scrapping. (this was the early days around 2002 or so). I also loved the challenge of coming up with a page for each book. It’s a great concept when you’ve got a good group of scrappers that you know and trust. The bad experience was when one girl kept everyone’s journals and then went incognito so no one could find her. We had to send out warnings to the other end of the group not to send anything else to her but she kept about 4 or 5 books before we realized she had no intention of forwarding them. The less risk option sounds nice after that but I did like the experience of seeing everyone’s books as they came to me and getting ideas from them. I haven’t done one in a long time but it was a fun experience when you’re doing it with good friends.

  • I haven’t been using transparencies quite as much as I used to so it was really fun to get inspired to use them again! I would love to see everyone else’s books too!

  • Dettaowens

    I am so excited to see my page again. It has been so long that I’d forgotten what I did. I wish I’d taken a picture. I love seeing the others, too.

  • I should photograph the sides and send it to you! I know I’ll forget, but it
    might help if you email me about it. ??? I agree — you should have

    (so overwhelmed right now!)

  • Dedra Long

    You know I love the concept of circle journals, even though I have only been in one and there was a sudden death of one of the members, she was a wonderful friend and she also ran the circle group. When she suddenly passed away the group fell apart. It was early on in the process.
    Your circle journal looks fabulous. We desperately need to get together and I would love to have that entry in your journal!
    Tell Israel and the kids hello!
    love ya.