STARTING ON YOUR BULLET JOURNAL JOURNEY
When searching for bullet journal supplies there are hundreds of options available online and in-store. To make things a bit easier for my bullet journaling beginners, I am going to remove the overwhelming thoughts about each supply, and help you choose the right ones for your bullet journal! The first and second time I picked up supplies for my bullet journal I was so stressed out. There were so many choices and yes, I spent way too much money on supplies that didn’t work for my needs, and that I didn’t actually need.
So this post is going to be for my beginner bullet journalers, so I can share my knowledge. I will go over what you really need to start your bullet journal so you don’t have to waste the time and money I did on my journey.
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SUPPLIES FOR BEGINNERS
When you first start your bullet journal journey, there’s really only a handful of things you need. You need a notebook, pen, pencil, and most people prefer a ruler for their lines. That’s it as far as what you NEED.
Now, if you want your bullet journal to be more creative than something plain and basic, you can always add to your bullet journal supplies like I did. Now, don’t get it twisted, I didn’t buy ALL the things. But, I did invest in some of them. My original set of supplies for bullet journaling was a notebook, a set of pens, a set of washi tape, stencils, colored pencils, and a pack of stickers.
I still use everything from my first purchase, but I have also added to my selection. Since then I have found another set of pens I prefer for certain parts of my bullet journal, and highlighters that I absolutely LOVE to create with. An upgrade can make a huge difference in your bullet journal, but again, you can do what’s best for YOU and YOUR vision of your bullet journal. I know some people who have ALL of the stuff, and I am simply not that creative to get all of that and justify spending all of that money.
With that in mind, I would suggest starting small and growing as you need or want to, to make sure you don’t get overwhelmed. If you already know you’re super creative and artistic, then it may be a bit different for you and I can definitely understand investing more at first because you already have the creative gene. However, for those of us who can’t draw a stick figure, start small and grow your arsenal over time.
When choosing a notebook it’s important you consider your style, how you write, and if you’re creative or not. Paying attention to these considerations will help you choose one of three types of notebook; hardbound, spiral, or ring binder. Originally, I started with a hardbound, then went to a spiral, and now I’m using a binder notebook.
Here’s my PERSONAL list of pros and cons for each type of notebook.
- Some have thicker pages like Archer & Olive and Scribbles That Matter.
- Lays Flat which makes writing and designing easier.
- Usually the covers feel very fancy and rich in your hands.
- Issues with the spine coming undone
- Can’t make mistakes. If you do, you have to skip the page or tear it out and tearing it out ruins the spine quicker.
- Hard to work with in a small space since it lays flat and you have to keep both sides open at once.
- You can turn back the page to work on only one page at a time if you’re limited on space.
- If you make a mistake, you can rip a page out without ruining your spine like a hard bound bullet journal.
- Very affordable
- Spiral journals tend to have less pages than hardbound because of the spine itself.
- Some spiral bound notebooks have light paper, so you have to check before using a heavy pen that bleeds.
- Make a mistake? No problem! Just remove the piece of paper and replace it with another one!
- Has lots of room for pages.
- Can use any type of paper that fits.
- You can move pages around so that you have the most recent days at the front, at the back, or wherever!
- Has plenty of storage slots in the binder. (left and right pocket, card holders, and 2 spots for pens.)
- You can work on the pages OUT of the binder, then put them in when you’re done. So you don’t need a ton of workspace.
- There are two pen holders so that you always have your favorite pens wherever you go with your binder.
- It has a magnetic buckle closure.
- I will let you know if I find any!
This is my absolute favorite bullet journal notebook! I insert dot grid paper and replenish as needed. Dot grid paper is used over lined paper in a bullet journal so give you a structure to help with your creativity. If you need a smaller notebook, there’s also an A6 available, which is just as incredible, only a little smaller if you have to save on space. There are also quite a few colors available to choose from. Another thing I love about this notebook binder is the storage that comes with it. There’s a large pocket in the front and back cover, as well as multiple card slots on the front cover. If you travel a lot, there are two pen slots as well to bring your favorite pens with you.
- Stylish Design: Sooez A5 Binder with a stylish and professional design, smooth and comfortable touch. Beautiful in its simplicity. The planner cover size is: 37*24cm (14.57*9.45 inch), is perfect for your crossbody bags and backpacks. Attractive rich macaroon colors can light up your day instantly. Inner paper not included.
- Practical Structure: Sooez notebook binder is structured with a convenient magnetic buckle closure, 5 card slots and 2 pockets for passport/ tickets/notes etc, 1 stainless steel 6-ring (0.79 in diameter) binder and 2 pen elastic loops keep your pens at your fingertip, recording your life anywhere, anytime.
- Premium Material: Made from high quality PU leather, which is more durable. With strongly attractive magnet, the magnetic buckle can be easily closed very tight. 6-ring binder is made of sturdy stainless steel, can hold the paper firmly and prevent from falling off.
This is my second favorite bullet journal notebook! Now, keep in mind that’s because I am not a fan of hardbound notebooks, but a plethora of bullet journalers are. I use the A5, but my next one will be a B5 since I have more room to work now. I love this notebook because it’s great when I just want something small and light to carry around. Since my previous desk didn’t have a lot of space, this was a great option because I could fold back one side when working on it. I also love that I can rip out any pages that I mess up on.
- Measurement: 8.27″ x 5.67″, A5 Size
- 2 notebooks value pack makes it a ideal gift for everyone.
- Transparent Hardcover well protects the notebook. 80g high-quality acid-free ivory white paper makes writing an enjoyable thing.
- 80 sheets/160 pages per notebook. The 0.5cm/0.2″ dot grid inner paper makes it an ideal notebook for daily uses.
- Miliko has already done pen tests. It perfectly works with the most frequently used pens. There is no ghost and bleeding.
This is my favorite hardbound notebook. The dot grid version as mentioned is the best for bullet journaling so you can allow your creativity to take over, while still making your angles and lines the same length when needed. This particular hardbound notebook comes in an abundance of different colors. No matter what your favorite color is, I’m sure there’s a hue of it available in this particular notebook. If you want or need a different size, there’s also an A6 and B5 available.
- The A5 MEDIUM notebooks are the perfect size with a wide range of colors making them ideal companions for all walks of life — this notebook series is perfect for midnight ramblings, daily entries, thoughtful reflection, careful chronicling and illuminating life stories
- Thread-bound to open flat which helps make reading the contents easy and adds efficiency to note-taking
- Features 80g/m² acid-free paper with high ink compatibility to help prevent bleed through, an expandable gusseted pocket on the back cover, 2 ribbon page markers and an elastic closure band
- Includes 251 numbered pages of Dotted paper with 8 perforated detachable sheets, a blank table of contents for easy organization and notes, also includes stickers for labeling and archiving
- Durable hardcover notebook in a lovely Blue color with FSC MIX paper made from responsible sources — measures approximately 5¾ inches by 8¼ inches (145×210 mm)
A favorite amongst many bullet journalers. It has dotted grid paper, a pen loop, preprinted index, numbered pages, two ribbon bookmarks, and is A5. It does have a hardcover that’s soft to the touch and smooth paper inside which makes writing super easy and joyful. The paper included is thicker than Leuchtturm and Moleskin, so there’s very little ghosting. So far, I haven’t found any pens that bleed.
- DONT RUIN YOUR HARD WORK: Pens and markers glide across the ultra smooth ink proof 160gsm acid-free paper. Zero bleeding, ghosting and feathering for beautifully clean double-sided musings. Our journals have a Pen Test page so you don’t ruin all your hard work
- START ORGANIZING RIGHT AWAY: Bullet journaling should be fun which is why we’ve made our journal an overwhelm-free zone. Includes key code page, index pages, dotted numbered pages and 2 color coded bookmarks for optimal organization and stress-free set up
- WONT FALL APART: The silky yet sturdy faux leather cover protects your plans and ideas for years to come. Strong binding means even die hard journalers won’t have to worry about pages falling out from avid writing. Lay flat design for smoother writing
- PLAN YOUR LIFE WHEREVER YOU ARE: Journaling isn’t a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. This A5 journal is perfect for portability and best for travel so you can have it on you at all times.
ARCHER & OLIVE DOT GRID JOURNAL
Although I don’t personally use this journal because I am not very creative, this is known in the bullet journal community as one of the best, to some the best, dot grid journals on the market. It comes in a multitude of sizes including A5, B5, B6, 8×8, and traveler. It lays perfectly flat to let your creative juices flow. Archer & Olive includes 160 GSM crisp white paper with no bleed through or ghosting. For the super creative souls out there, you can also use light water color in this journal. There are a plethora of different cover colors and designs to choose from. They’re vegan and provide eco-friendly packaging for our earth conscious journalers.
PENS, MARKERS, HIGHLIGHTERS
The notebook you use may be the ‘bread’ so to speak, but the pen is the ‘butter’. Your pens can determine not only how much you like using your bullet journal, but how often you use it. An old pen you find in your desk drawer won’t have the same effect as using a pen that you love, that writes beautifully on paper. Since you’re reading this, I am going to assume you’re new to bullet journaling, which means it isn’t a habit yet. Having the right materials and stationary you love, will help you form it into a lasting habit.
This is the first set of pens I used when I started bullet journaling. The reason I used this set first is because it was the cheapest set. That being said, I still use this set. These pens have given me no issues with bleeding in the various journals I’ve tried. They’re great for doodling and coloring in doodles. Since you’re just getting your feet wet, I would definitely suggest giving something affordable a try before getting into the more professional pens.
- 24 UNIQUE VIBRANT COLORS: Fine point colored pens, No Duplicates, 0.4 mm fine tip marker pens.
- SMOOTH COLORED PEN: Fine line markers pens with Metal fine tipped and outstanding super smooth performance in all areas of journaling.
- QUALITY INK LAST LONG: Water-based ink, Dry safe, Minimal bleed through, Acid-free /Non-toxic Ink, these fiber-tipped pens create fine lines and intense water-based colors.
Since you’re just starting out, these are pretty much like knock off Tombow markers, but not as good. They’re lighter and don’t have as much ink, but they’re good to start off with. They also come with 5-7 extra nibs for replacement, which I haven’t seen with any other brand of markers so far. The other part of the marker, the pen tip, writes smoothly in a gliding effect, much like a ballpoint pen.
- Each art markers set Includes 34 dual-tip brush markers (1-5mm) with ultra-fine tip (0.4mm) for a total of 68 complementary colors (broad dark color and fine light color).
- This convenient dual-tip design allows you easily switch between creating crisp details and laying down thick, thin, or varied lines in one stroke. 0.4mm fine tip is great for sketch outlining & details, works well for intricate coloring books, writing, doodling; 1-5mm soft brush tip for shading, coloring, quickly color in large areas art project, hand lettering and calligraphy beginners.
- 100% Safe: odorless and harmless, water-based ink, easy to wash on clothes and skin. These colorful markers are completely non-toxic, kids safe, plus they wash off easily with water. They’re environmentally friendly and dry fast to avoid smudging for strong adhesion to the page!
If you’re looking for a beautiful set of black pens that are affordable, check these out! They come in various nib sizes, so you can get thin ones for fine lines and thicker ones for bolder strokes. They’re long lasting and durable. I’ve had mine for over 8 months, and still going strong.
- Experience smooth, skip-free writing in crisp, rich black ink to achieve consistent lettering and lines widths.
- Professional inking pens used by comic artists, illustrators, watercolor artists, archivists, and laboratory professionals.
- Pigma ink is archival quality on paper: waterproof, chemical resistant, fade resistant, bleed free, quick drying and pH neutral.
- No smears, feathers, or bleed-through on most papers.
- Precise line widths make this fine line pen set ideal for drawing and writing.
- Includes 1 of each size: 005 (0.20mm), 01 (0.25mm), 02 (0.30mm), 03 (0.35mm), 05 (0.45mm), 08 (0.50mm)
Pilot G-2 pens have been one of my favorites for as far back as I can remember. These are my go-to pens for my creative pages as well as my study journal. They give me a variety of colors while hitting my paper nice and smooth. I don’t recommend them for fine lines, but for coloring in my doodles or just making my creative pages, they work great. This pack in particular I tend to use because of the various colors, but they do have just black packs or red, black, green, and blue.
- G2 is America’s #1 selling,1 longest lasting,2 smooth writing gel ink pen brand G2 Fine point is the most popular G2 point size Comfortable grip & refillable
I am including these pens because almost every bullet journaling friend I have uses these. The Mono drawing pens are great for doodling, lines, outlining brush strokes, and writing. They have three nib sizes in this pack, so something for every need.
- Contains both the soft and hard tip Fudenosuke Brush Pens
- Features a flexible brush tip for different lettering and drawing techniques
- Create extra fine, fine or medium strokes by a change in brush pressure
- Great for calligraphy and art drawings
- Soft tip and hard tip water based, pigmented black ink
PAPER MATE FLAIR FELT TIP PENS
These are one of my absolute favorite pens for bullet journaling. I love the variety of colors and their fat tip. They are fade and smear resistant, so I don’t smudge them along the pages with my arm or hand.
Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens
- Medium point felt tip (0.7 millimeter) produces Bold, expressive lines to match your personality
- Smear and fade resistant, so smudges are officially history; Point guard technology prevents tip from fraying
- Water based ink won’t bleed through paper so your writing stays put
- The Point guard prevents the tip from fraying, so the party never stops
These are the absolute best highlighters/pens you will find on the market, in my opinion, and others who have bullet journals. There’s a broad tip and a fine bullet tip so you can switch between highlighting and underlining easily. The colors are beautiful and vibrant, and so far, long lasting.
- Double ended highlighter featuring a broad, chisel tip and fine bullet tip for broad highlighting or fine underlining
- Each highlighter features water resistant, quick drying ink in soft colors
- Available in 15 subtle hues: Brown, Vermilion, Gold, Magenta, Smoke Blue, Red, Violet, Gray, Dark Blue, Green, Blue, Blue Green, Yellow, Orange, Pink
- Durable barrel with cap that fits securely and indicates highlighter color
- Ideal for notetaking, reading, underlying, and color-coding
Stickers are a wonderful addition to bullet journaling. Not only can they be used on weekly and monthly pages, but you can also use them on holiday and creative pages. I love decorating my pages with stickers, including on the holidays to make my pages pop! This one has stickers for every month of the year, and is my favorite set.
- Monthly Greenery And Gold Foil Sticker Pack with +1100 stickers (25 sheets) provide the ultimate planner stickers variety
- Boost your productivity with the amazing monthly planner stickers; Set goals & create lists for every month
- Make each day a masterpiece & keep the motivation going with the incl. inspirational stickers
- ZICOTO Planner Stickers are top rated and the most popular stickers available
- The new greenery gold foil monthly sticker set with unique designs adds even more eye catching touch to your planner or calendar
This is another favorite set of mine. Similar to the one mentioned above, it’s also aesthetically pleasing. I love the holiday, book, and coffee stickers with this set and have used it numerous times. I highly suggest one of these two sets when starting out.
Aesthetic Planner Stickers
- Ultimate XXL Sticker Pack with 1500+ stickers (33 sheets) you’ll have a wide variety of planner supplies
- Boost your productivity with the amazing productivity planner stickers; Set goals & create lists
- Happy Planning – Stay on top of things with your new calendar stickers; 100% functional & 100% fun
- Make each day a masterpiece & keep the motivation going with the inspirational quotes stickers
- The high-quality journal stickers add a eye catching touch to your planner or calendar
Washi tape is used to add a creative flair to your bullet journal pages. They’re NOT needed, but are enjoyed by a lot of bullet journalers. I use them on some of my pages, but not all. This set features botanical leaves, succulents, cacti, floral designs, geometric prints and more. I am a sucker for greenery and I absolutely love indoor plants, making this one of the sets I love the most.
- HIGH QUALITY TAPE: Made from high quality Japanese washi paper with an adhesive that sticks well to paper and craft projects, the tape can be torn by hand or using a washi tape dispenser, and can you can reposition, adjust, stick and unstick without leaving any sticky residue.
- MULTI-USE: Great for your collection of scrapbooking supplies, bullet journal supplies, bible journaling supplies, and planner stickers and accessories. Many designs can also be used in place of scrapbook stickers, planner stickers, and bullet journal stickers.
- DIMENSIONS: Each roll of tape is .59 inches wide and 23 feet long. (15 mm x 7 meters.) The rolls contain more length of tape than many tape sets available on Amazon, which means your collection will last longer and give you more use out of your favorite designs.
This pack of stickers, although not as aesthetically pleasing, features a lot of simple quotes that you can add to your bullet journal pages. It also has a lot of planning, productivity, and labeling stickers. There are 28 pages, and a total of 1378 stickers.
- Daily Planner Stickers intend to help you make organizing daily life in a fun and creative way. Wide range of various calendar stickers themes make each day a masterpiece and help to boost your productivity.
- Various themes include 4 sheets for organizational & productivity stickers, 8 sheets for event & holiday stickers, 6 sheets for inspirational quotes stickers and 10 sheets for reminding, planning, decorating, and much more.
- Monthly Planner Stickers Set are made of high quality paper. 18 sheets are made with glossy finish. The other 10 sheets are matte and durable, you can write on them without feathering and ink through. They stick to the paper very well without coming off. All of these factors make them high quality, durable, nice to touch and will fill life with bright colors.
Aside from being obsessed with indoor plants, I also love astrology, crystals, chakras, and healing. So I’m sure it’s no surprise that I absolutely LOVE these washi tape! They’re a beautiful bold, decorative black and gold washi tape that look absolutely beautiful on any layout, journal, or diary.
- Size: There are 3different size, 2cm/0.8in(W), 1.5cm/0.6in(W), 1cm/0.4in(W), each roll is 3m/3.28Yard(L).
- Material: These black washi tape are made of premium paper and gentle glue, not easy to damage and keep strong stickiness for a long time on the surface smooth.
- Multiple Uses: Decorative masking tape can be used to decorate your diary, hand book, bullet journal or gift wrapping, beautify lipstick, eyeshadow box, pencil, and it also can decorate your home or office.
- Unique Design: Elegant black and gold design, more attractive eyes, beautiful flower pattern on the tape will look extraordinarily dazzling.
Don’t forget that you don’t need ALL of the bullet journaling supplies on Amazon or in Hobby Lobby to start bullet journaling. Your most important supplies are your notebook and pens. Some people like myself love using stickers, washi tape, and stencils because I am not very creative and I have no artistic ability. Others however, are very creative and don’t need the extra help. But remember, it’s the process of bullet journaling that’s important. The more enjoyable the process is for you, the more you will want to bullet journal. For me, that means awesome bullet journal supplies, a nice cup of coffee while I design my layouts and my favorite music playing. Once you start, you will find a nice balance between your supplies and layouts that suits you.
I hope you enjoy bullet journaling as much as I do! Remember, this is for YOU. To help YOU and improve YOUR life. I use mine for productivity, mental health, hobbies, self-care, and self-improvement. It has been an amazing addition to my life, and I’m confident it will be for yours too.
Keep following for more bullet journal posts as I go through all of the beginner topics in this bullet journaling for beginners series!