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You can create a bullet journal with a simple spiral notebook and your favorite pen. It may be all that you ever need, but tools for bullet journals are widely available and make it so much easier and fun that you will likely want to get some.
I actually recommend that you do begin with an inexpensive notebook to begin with. You’ll want to try things out and experiment with what layouts you want. Inevitably, you’ll hate some of them and want to rip out those pages.
You’ll be a lot happier tearing out pages from a cheap notebook than from one of the gorgeous journals you might want to buy later. So play and get a feel for what you want in your own bullet journal.
Note: Bullet Journal® (also know as BuJo®) is a trademarked name owned by Lightcage, LLC. Although the name and system is used widely, it’s important to acknowledge that it is, in fact, an intellectual property protected by federal and international law. As a writer, the rights of the designer of the system, Ryder Carroll, are as important to me as are my own. For more on the Bullet Journal® system, check out Bullet Journal.
For you, a simple notebook with a pin grid layout and a good pen might be all you ever need. Bullet journaling is about the system of layouts and the various collections you want to put in your notebook, not about a brand of notebook or pen.
If you do want to house your bullet journal in a sturdy notebook designed for it and to use art pens that won’t bleed through and will let you add in some artistic flourishes, I’ve got you covered.
But really, try out the cheap notebook first. You’ll find in just a day or two that you know what you’ll want to put in that beautiful bullet journal.
The bullet journal is a completely customizable system for organizing your daily thoughts, planning out your to-do list, sorting through a variety of upcoming tasks, and setting goals for the future. It marries a traditional day planner with a diary, notebook and sketchbook. By investing a little time to create a one-of-a-kind bullet journal, you’ll be able to log entries quickly and keep the process simple.
So remember, keep it simple to begin with. Because you are working in a month by month format (see How To Set Up A Bullet Journal), you can add in collections or other categories as you think of them without messing up the system in the slightest. Just start with the basics and add more personal pages and collections as you think of them.
The Best Tools For Bullet Journals
Bullet Journals and Pens
You can use lined notebooks for bullet journaling, but the preferred type has dotted pages. These dots allow you to create lines to box in headings, guides for drawings you may want to include, and a nearly-invisible line for writing in a straight line.
Although I’m not attaching any particular recommendations, a flexible transparent ruler and correction tape is something that you’ll find useful as you create, and work in, your bullet journal. You’ll use your ruler to help you create lines and designs. You may go through several different adaptations and stages as you plan the perfect bullet journal for your lifestyle, and corrective tape will quickly become your new best friend.
My hands-down favorite journal is the Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal. I’ve been using these for a couple of years and they’re sturdy, very well made and the color selection is amazing. It contains 249 numbered pages of bleed-proof, acid free dotted paper. Made with the highest quality materials and an easy to wash hard cover, each book is thread bound and opens flat for easy note taking. It also includes a blank table of contents, stickers for labeling and archiving, 8 perforated, detachable sheets, expandable inner pocket and page marker. The A5 size tucks easily in your purse so that you can always have it with you when you need it.
In recent years, the popularity of bullet journals has brought a lot of competition for your journal dollars. Here are some other gorgeous choices:
For regular writing in my bullet journal, I like the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens black superfine 199. It’s extra thin, which allows me to either write in greater detail or draw some very fine lines in any design I create.
I also have the Faber Castell FC167137 Wallet Pitt Pen Nibs Art Set. It includes 6 pens in varying widths, so you can create caligraphy script, and thin and thick lines.
When it comes to adding color, I love the Fineliner Color Pens Set. It has 24 vibrant colors. These are perfect for bullet journal decorations, though you have to let your page dry completely when using them because they are water based.
Customize It: Make It Your Own
Once you have your basic layouts and an understanding of where you want to go in your bullet journal, you can get creative by customizing your journal.
Many people utilize page tabs in their journals for quick referencing and locating. Your index does that for you, of course, but tabs are useful to quickly get to the current month.
Some people prefer to use Washi tape to mark their pages; it comes in a huge variety of colors and patterns and is both easy and fun to use. Washi tape is a paper or tissue-based crafter’s tape with an adhesive back that is very pliable and perfect for bullet journaling. It can be used to create page markers and fill in empty spaces in your journal.
|2018 Calendars Stickers for Bullet Journal, Easy to Peel and Stick Monthly Index Dividers||20 Rolls DIY Washi Tape, Rainbow Candy Color||Washi Tape, Set of 12 Rolls, Length 32.8ft, width 0.59inch|
If you are even a little artistic (or would like to be because no one will see this but you) there are all kinds of fun touches you can add to your journal. Stickers, stencils and stamps give your journal personality. You can mark special days and upcoming events with coded stickers to serve as personal reminders. Colored pens are another great tool for marking important events and for decorating your journal.
Take a look at the multiple pages of gorgeous bullet journal decorating accessories you can buy!
Would you like to learn more about bullet journaling?
Be sure to check out all my linked bullet journal posts throughout this article and linked to the images below. If you want even more, here are a couple of books I’m happy to recommend:
Let It Out: A Journey Through Journaling by Katie Dalebout guides people to go deep and sift through the thoughts clouding their minds. It’s a great book to accompany your bullet journal if you are working through changes in your life and trying to find your direction.
Faith Journaling for the Inspired Artist, by Stephanie Ackerman shows you how to combine your love of art with your faith! Engaging prompts, exercises, and lettering techniques.
Whether you choose to start a bullet journal for the simplification aspect, the organizational need or the creative desire, the finished product will keep you inspired and motivated the entire year.
You will love reflecting on the experiences and highlighted moments you have had over the past year. You can marvel at your triumphs once more as you re-read through your journal. You will also be able to pinpoint areas that may need a little more of your attention in the coming months.
When you take the time to create a journal that reflects your individual style and needs, writing and doodling will become the high point of your day. Find and experiment with different pens, tapes, templates and stickers.
Just remember that the best tools for bullet journals are the ones you’ll want to use every day.