When you’re first getting into bullet journaling, it can seem a little overwhelming. There are many different bullet journal supplies that you could get, and it could be confusing to sort through everything. As a beginner, you’ll want to start off with a few of the basics. Then, once you are more advanced, you will probably want to invest in better tools, or fun extras.
How to Get Started Journaling
As a bullet journaling beginner, there are a few things that you should make sure you include as you’re starting your bullet journal.
The most important part of any bullet journal are calendars. Bullet journals are great for mapping out your time, which includes writing your schedule down, as well as all of your obligations. There are two different calendar types that you should include in your bullet journal.
A monthly calendar is a great way to make short notes on events that you know are coming up during the month. Having a monthly calendar in your bullet journal is like a summary of the month. You can take a quick look at the most important events that are approaching. When the month is over, you’ll have a little window into the things that you did during that month. To do this, it is easiest to dedicate about two pages of your journal to each monthly calendar. You can use a traditional calendar layout, or a different method that might work better for you.
It can also be helpful to keep a monthly log. In your monthly log, you can keep track of tasks that you need to get done within that month. This can go next to your calendar, and would just be a small list of general things that need to get done.
Daily logs are the heat of bullet journals. This is the most important thing that you should include. It’s up to you how you design the layout of your daily log pages. Use layouts and notations that make sense to you when you’re writing your daily logs. After all, this bullet journal is only for your personal use, so you should make sure that you design it in a way that is best for you!
In your daily log, there are a few different things that you will need to mark out. Make different lists for tasks that you need to get done that day and events that are planned for that day. You can also use your daily log to take notes on anything you need to remember in the following days. Keep it simple and down to items you will use often.
A daily log might look like something like:
- day and date
- to do list
- meal planner
- wellness tracker/checklist
- space for doodles or notes
A future log is used to mark the dates and times of events that are going to happen in the future. This is especially helpful if you don’t plan the layout of the bullet journal in advance. If you don’t have every monthly calendar in your bullet journal, a future log will keep track of all the important things that you need to add to those calendars when you make them later. Sometimes these are like my giant To-Do lists and events.
If you map out your entire bullet journal before you start using it, a future log might not be helpful to you. With all of your calendars and daily logs made, you can just flip to that page and add the event to the monthly calendar.
Having an index in the front of your bullet journal is optional, but it is a great way to keep track of any important pages in the bullet journal that you might need to come back to. Keep the index in the front, and add to it as you create your bullet journal.
It can be helpful if you make sure that you keep your index short. This way, you won’t run out of space for all the important items you to include. Some journals just use keys instead of indexes or even both to help keep it more organized.
Keep in mind that the purpose of the index is to mark any important pages that you think you’ll need to look at again in the future.
Monthly logs are a great thing to add to the index. This will help you to flip through your bullet journal, and to keep it looking organized.
It’s not always necessary to put every one of your daily logs into the index, but if you have an important day that you need to look back to, you can add that to the index too.
You can you stickers or small slips of paper to organize all the different pages of your journal as well. I just use the small strips for the month I am using to keep it neat and clean, but do what feels right.
This is also an optional addition to a bullet journal. In a collections list, you will be able to mark different things that you want to keep track of, such as any goals or ideas you might have. It’s also good for listing things you want to do, such as movies to watch or books to read. Having a collections list helps you keep track of all those little things you might forget otherwise.
Bullet Journaling Tips for Beginners
When you first start bullet journaling, you might be tempted to make your journal very decorated or intricate. Try to start off simple. If you do too many designs, you might get tired and quit before you’re finished making the journal. You may wish to start off with basic outlines, you can always go back and make it look prettier when you are finished.
If you aren’t sure what you want your bullet journal to look like, you can search for examples. Get a few ideas, and then test them out on blank paper, not your notebook. That way, you can be sure of your design before you start your bullet journal.
It’s also a good idea to make your designs in pencil first, so if you make a mistake you can easily fix it. Then, go over your pencil designs in pen. Once the pen dries, you can erase any visible pencil marks from the page.
If you are new to bullet journaling, there are a few essentials that you will need to get started. As you continue with your bullet journal, you might want to invest in other products. You could try these fun free printable bullet journal stickers.
Bullet Journal Supplies
All you really need to get started bullet journaling is a notebook and a pen. This means that your design might be a little limited, and your bullet journal might not look as interesting as you want it to. There are a few other essential supplies that you can get to make your bullet journal look great, and it doesn’t have to cost you too much money.
You can’t have a bullet journal without a notebook! Any notebook can hold a bullet journal, but there are some things that you should consider before picking out a notebook. Here is a great bullet journal to use for a beginner. This journal has dotted pages, is inexpensive, and comes in a variety of colors.
If you buy a notebook with traditional horizontal lines, it could limit your design to the intervals of those lines. A notebook with grid paper will limit you in a similar way, having to adhere to the pre-organized grid structure, however it gives you flexibility to craft lines easier for organization without the set layout.
Notebooks with plain pages are great because they allow you to be as creative as you want to be. If you need a notebook with more guidance, you can buy a dotted notebook. This will help you to measure even spaces, and keep any lines straight. However, it’s not as limiting as a regular notebook or a gridded notebook.
If you want a journal that has blank pages instead of dotted, this is a version of the same journal above, but with blank pages.
The type of pen you get depends on how you intend to write in your bullet journal. Any regular pen will be fine, but mixing it up is a great way to get more creative with your writing, designs, and outlines. A great way to try to do this is to get different sized pens. These will create lines with different thicknesses, and you can use them for different things.
With a thin pen, you can draw finer details, or write small subheadings easily. Having a thin pen will also make it easy to write inside the monthly calendar. Try using a small pen to make changes or additions to your bullet journal. For example, you wrote an event on your calendar, and found out the location later. Write the location under the calendar event like a little footnote, so it doesn’t take up too much space.
If you have a thick pen, use it to make bold lines in your journal. Using bold lines makes things stand out more. You can make bold headings, or even write a few words in a bold pen to make them stick out on the page. You can also use a bold pen for outlines, such as creating the grid for your monthly calendar, or making boxes to write notes in.
Another great option if you want a different mix of pens and letter styles is to get a lettering pen pack (image above). This comes with both thick and thin pens, as well as a few other shapes that you can use for fun headings and designs.
Colored pens are an easy way to add some interesting accents to your bullet journal. Buying a large pack of colored pens is a great way to begin adding some drawings and designs into your journal. If you’re not great at drawing, you can try using colored pens to frame outlines of note boxes or the monthly calendar. Using colored pens to write headlines, such as the month or the day, can add a lot to the look of your bullet journal. You can also add small, easy shapes such as dots or stars to the corners of the pages.
Felt tip pens are also a great way to add color and a different look to your bullet journal. These are very flexible, and can be used to write anything. They have a slightly thicker line than a regular ballpoint pen, and they look a bit like colored markers on the page.
Chances are, you already have one of these in your house. If you don’t, having a ruler is an important tool for bullet journaling that you should invest in. If you don’t have a ruler, you will have a lot of trouble creating those straight lines you need in your journal, especially when you are creating the grid for your monthly calendar. You should get a clear plastic ruler, so that you can see other parts of the page while you are making a new line. This will help you make sure the line you’re adding is in the right place.
A triangular ruler is a great tool to use because it is easier to hold onto than a flat ruler. It is a lot less likely to slip as you’re drawing a line against it. Triangular rulers also have more units of measurement, which could be helpful as you’re making lines.
In a pinch, you could use any object with a straight edge as a ruler, such as the side of a book or the flat edge of an extra pen or pencil. However, having a real ruler will save you a lot of time and energy. Rulers are more reliable, and you will be able to use the measurements on the side to make sure that your lines are in even intervals. This is especially helpful to have if you buy a notebook that doesn’t have any dots or other guiding lines.
Bullet Journaling Extras
These are additional items that will help you make your bullet journal look more decorated. Not necessary at all, but if you are more creative and artistic or looking for additional functionality, these are the best bullet journal supplies you can add. There are also some more advanced items that you could use once you develop a good technique or style of bullet journaling.
If you love painting, having a watercolor journal is a really easy way to incorporate painting into your bullet journal. With watercolor, you can do many different designs in your notebook. The muted colors are great for backgrounds and small designs and embellishments that you can include along with your writing.
If you’ve never heard of washi tape before, it’s like a decorative strip that sticks onto a page, just like tape. It’s great for creating a border around designs, and would look great as a frame for the whole page or as a smaller outline for a note box or smaller section on the page of a bullet journal.
It would also look nice as a way to underline headings or important parts of the page. It comes in different sizes, so you can use either a thin or thick line. You can even cut the tape up into smaller sections, or into different shapes.
Washi tape is incredibly easy to use. All you have to do is cut a strip of the tape to the correct length and stick it onto the page. It doesn’t need any extra adhesives, as it’s designed to work similar to how regular tape works. Washi tape isn’t strong, though, and can tear easily, so you should not use it to hold different things together like you would use regular tape.
Fountain pens are notoriously difficult to use. They require a little bit of patience, but when you learn how to use them well they create beautiful lettering. It’s a huge step up from a regular ballpoint pen, and is a great way to make your bullet journal seem a little bit classier.
You can get fountain pens in a large range of prices, so if you’re new to using a fountain pen you should get a less expensive one to learn on. Once you know the basics, you can upgrade your fountain pen to an advanced design. Fountain pens usually only use black ink, but you might also be able to find a blue fountain ink pen.
Brush pens are great for a lot of different things. You can use them for lettering and calligraphy to create bold, dramatic looks that aren’t possible with a regular ballpoint pen. You can also use them in any extra art or designs that you want to put around your bullet journal.
They come in many different colors, so you can have a large variety of them and are able to use them for any different color theme you have for the different sections of your bullet journal. Having a brush pen is a great way to upgrade the look of your bullet journal, and you will likely find a lot of different ways you can use this kind of pen.
Stickers might not seem like an extravagant extra, but they are a fun add-on to any bullet journal. Even if you do a lot of sketches in your journal, you can use stickers to add a different look or element to any page. You could even get stickers that help make your journal look more organized, with a set that is made specifically for use in bullet journals. We also love these cute little cactus stickers– so many to choose from!
There are so many adorable ways to create your bullet journal adventure- just remember, this journey is for you! So always start simple and organize it the way your brain works the best. Some people love color, while others choose black and white. Some bullet journals use printables to organize their pages and others hand draw everything! There is no wrong way to do this. so take you time and enjoy.
If you are looking where to buy bullet journal supplies- Amazon or Michaels are my usual go to. You can find a lot of cool pens and stationary at any paper store- like Papyrus as well. Just know that it isn’t necessary to spend tons of money to create the bullet journal of your dreams. And an organizational tool won’t work well if it isn’t used, so create what works and go with it. Overtime you will develop the best methods and layouts for you.