If you’re new to bullet journaling and you need to back up a bit to find out what it’s all about,
visit my page Why Bullet Journal?
In it I concisely explain the concept and provide tons of links to more inspiration.
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Looking to start a bullet journal but not sure what you need to actually do that? You’re in the right place.
Let me begin by saying that starting a bullet journal can be intimidating! So many spreads on Pinterest look perfectly immaculate, and many of those posts area created by individuals with a treasure trove of supplies.
To get started, you do not need all of that. If you’re interested in getting organized, tracking your progress, and developing lists, don’t put it off just because you don’t have the right ‘stuff’. The important thing is to start now, while you’re interested and excited about it.
In fact, I’ve known several people who start with a spiral notebook and the random assortment of colored pencils that just never seemed to disappear after grade school. Eventually, these people move on to a more ‘official’ bullet journal, once they have gotten their feet wet and know what they want. Nothing wrong with that!
Again, the important thing is to start NOW.
My Short List of Bullet Journal Supplies
2. Writing utensil
I know… that’s a pretty short list! I’m going to add more, but I just want you to realize that is all you need. You can slowly gain other supplies as you learn what works for you and what you’ll actually use. In fact, you might consider rewarding yourself every so often for sticking with your bujo!
If you’re ready for that next step now, keep reading – we’re moving into the fun stuff!
Bullet Journal Notebooks
There are several ‘brand’ notebooks that different prominent bullet journalers talk about, but before we dive into those, here’s what you need to know:
- Many notebooks have a hardcover / softcover option (and surprisingly this doesn’t seem to effect the cost much). So before buying, consider if you want your bujo to hold up in the long run or be lighter for transport.
- Many notebooks come in blank, grid, or dot forms.
Blank means you have to be really good at eye-balling things to keep them straight.
Grid means you need a quite a bit of help with keeping things ‘straight’ and you don’t intend to do much doodling.
Dot is right in the middle – gives some guidance but doesn’t take up much visually.
- There are different sizes, but the standard size that you see on Pinterest and in blogs is 5.75 in x 8.25 in or A5. If you want to mimic others’ spreads for a while, I’d double check the size when buying!
My first bullet journal was my trusty hardcover Rhodia dot notebook. Although it only comes in black and orange, I didn’t mind, because it only cost about $15 and the paper quality is AMAZING. The Rhodia Dot Notebook also comes in several beautiful colors, in softcover – read my review here.
This is my current bullet journal, although I have NO idea how to say Leuchtturm1917! There are so many beautiful colors of Leuchtturm (mine is white), and I love the double page marker. The paper is slightly different than my Rhodia – thinner but more absorbent – which is good and bad. Good because my Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens seem to work better, but bad because the ghosting is considerably more noticeable.
I’ve also heard Moleskine notebooks thrown around, but they’re all softcover. Also, there aren’t many dot notebooks to choose from without some searching on Amazon. Here’s one I found:
Pens and Markers
Again, a pencil or pen will do, but if you are interested in upgrading a little bit, here are some things you should know:
- ‘Ghosting’ is a term that refers to how a pen/marker will show through a page. Usually you want to go for utensils that don’t ghost, but if they do a little bit, don’t fret!
- Brush pens will work best with higher quality paper, so I don’t suggest buying expensive brush pens to use on your discount notebook.
- There are varying thicknesses to pens and markers. For general use, opt for thinliners that allow you to write in small spaces. For doodling and filling, opt for markers and color pencils. And for calligraphy, go for brush pens.
Staedtler Triples Fineliners
My first pens were actually for bible journaling: the Staedtler Triplus Fineliners. I just happened to stumble upon them, but it turns out they’re a bujoing staple. I love the set of 20 because there are so many colors, but for a little less you can just get the set of ten. (You can purchase a set with a prop-up case OR a roll-up case!)
Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens
One more writing utensil that I can’t go without mentioning are the Tombow Dual Tip Brush Pens. One side is a round, fine-tipped marker, but the other is a brush marker, which means it is meant for calligraphy and hand-lettering.
Experimenting with Tombows is so much fun, and if you are interested in beautifying your bujo, these will be a great investment! (However, these markers take some getting used to. If you’re not interested in hand-lettering, just stick with crayola colored pencils for doodling and filling.) Below is my FAVORITE set, the bright set.
I didn’t create nice, tidy bujo pages before I dug out my handy dandy ruler! I actually started out with just a wooden one I had in my desk from my teaching days (those seem like forever ago now!).
Since then I’ve upgraded to this 6-inch beveled ruler from Hobby Lobby for just $2, which I love because it is smaller and less awkward. The gridlines are super helpful and being able to see through it helps me line things up even better than before.
A bujo friend also mentioned how she uses a flexible ruler, which sounds like another great alternative!
So there you go; the three necessities for bujoing: a notebook, a writing utensil, and a ruler. Remember, you don’t need to spend $$$ to become a bullet journaler!