The bullet journal (or also commonly known as bujo) has been all the craze over the past few years and you’ve probably seen fun and beautiful spreads all over Pinterest, Instagram, and basically every popular social media outlet.
Recently, I personally got into bullet journaling and was pleasantly surprised to find that it has helped enriched my life in more ways than one. Not only is it an awesome productivity tool but it’s also a great creative outlet.
What really intrigued me to start one was how customizable the whole method was and the creative aspect of it. Art has always been one of my escapes and so I felt that it just naturally fit!
I was also looking for a system where I could plan my days and weeks (one of my goals this year is to be more productive) but I also wanted to track my mood, daily habits, and other random tidbits all at the same time. Bullet journaling totally fit the bill and now I wish I had started one earlier!
Essential Bullet Journal Supplies For Beginners
If you’ve been meaning to start your very own bullet journal, I’ll be listing out all of the essential supplies you’ll need in this post.
Also, just as a side note, if you find that you’re a little overwhelmed with all of the supplies you need to get, remember that you can always go at your own pace. Take baby steps and just purchase a few things at a time. You don’t need everything all at once to start!
Choosing The Right Bullet Journal
First, let’s start off with the hard part – choosing the right bullet journal for you. There are so many bullet journals out there that choosing the right one can be down right confusing.
Factors To Look For
When I am choosing a journal, here the main factors I use to determine if I will most likely like it:
1. Good Paper Quality – Thick smooth paper is a must. The pages can’t be too thin or else your pens will bleed through and the back of the page will not be usable.
2. A Faint Dot Grid – Having a dotted grid is useful because it can give you some guidelines as you’re writing and drawing (and if you need help writing straight, it is a must!). However, many journals have a really prominent dot grid which I’m not a fan of because it can be quite distracting. For me, the less noticeable the dots, the better.
3. Front Cover – The cover has to be attractive yet sturdy.
4. Back Pocket – I prefer journals with back pockets because it’s handy if you have loose papers, receipts, and stickers.
5. Bookmark – Most journals come with a ribbon to bookmark where you leave off. The higher quality journals come with two ribbons, which is even better!
You might be totally different when it comes to choosing a journal but those things are what I look for.
Now, onto the list of journals that are great picks for beginners!
1. Leuchtturm1917 Dotted Notebook
Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Notebook – This is a classic bullet journal that is well-loved amongst the bujo community. It comes with high-quality paper with a table of contents customizable by you, and numbered pages to help you get organized and easily find old notes.
2. Archer & Olive Dot Grid Notebook
Archer & Olive Dot Grid Notebook – If you’re looking for a bullet journal with extra thick paper, check out this beautiful notebook from Archer & Olive. It has a whopping 160gsm page thickness so there’s no need to worry about your pens ghosting or bleeding! Other great features are a convenient pen loop, two ribbons to mark where you are, and a back pocket.
3. Scribbles That Matter Dotted Notebook
Scribbles That Matter Hardcover Dotted Notebook – This dotted journal has an adorable and fun cover with etched sketches. It includes a pen loop which is perfect for traveling, a key code page, index pages, as well as a handy pen test page (so useful!).
4. Little More Bullet Journal
Little More Bullet Journal Dot Grid Notebook – The Little More bullet journal is absolutely adorable yet functional with an added pen strap for convenience. It is smaller in size so it’s a great choice if you’re always on the go and like to bring your journal with you.
5. Dingbats Dot Grid Notebook
Dingbats Wildlife Elephant Dot Grid Hardcover Notebook – These dotted notebooks are adorable with different wildlife animals on the cover. The notebook pictured above has an elephant at the front but there are so many more animals and colors to choose from!
6. Minimalism Art Dotted Journal
Minimalism Art Soft Cover Dotted Journal – If you’re looking to start your first bullet journal and want something really affordable to test the waters, The Minimalism Art dotted journal is a great choice. This one has a soft cover so it’s great if you’re not a hard cover fan.
Once you’ve picked out your bullet journal, now you’ve got to find the right set of pens that will work for you. From different types of pens to a whole array of nib sizes, there are a lot of options available out there.
One of my favorite things to experiment with in my bullet journal are pens. Before starting a journal, I never imagined that buying and trying new pens could be so exciting and fun!
If you’ve never had a bullet journal before, you might want to just go with a black pen and a few other colors to experiment with. You don’t need a ton of colors right off the bat!
Do check out the sets that come with a variety of colors if you’re planning on getting more colors in the future though because getting them in a pack is more cost effective in the long run.
Features to consider
When you’re looking for pens, I recommend looking for pens that:
- Don’t bleed or ghost
- Dry quickly and don’t smudge
- Aren’t dry and scratchy
- Are water-based because this helps prevent bleed through
Do keep in mind though that the paper quality of your bullet journal will affect how the pen performs.
Also, if there’s anything you take away from this post, remember to avoid alcohol-based pens at all cost and only stick with water-based pens. Alcohol-based pens WILL bleed through which will ruin your journal because everything you write on the front will show on the back of the page!
There are so many nib sizes you can choose from that you might need to experiment to figure out which size(s) you enjoy using the most.
I generally prefer using pens that range from 0.3mm to 0.5mm. It will depend on the situation though, such as if I need to write in really small font or if I’m sketching.
1. Fineliner Pens
A definite staple in your bullet journal kit should be a set of good quality fineliner pens. These are great to use whether you’re looking to sketch in your bullet journal or write precisely.
Sakura Pigma Micron
First up, we have the Sakura Micron Fineliner. The 0.3 mm tip is perfect to write in small font and create detailed sketches and I find I’ve been gravitating towards using this lately.
If you’re not sure which size is best for you, experiment with different sizes to see what you like best. This 6-pack set comes in a range from 0.15mm all the way to 0.5mm.
Stabilo Point 88
Another great option you need to check out is the Stabilo Point 88. These pens are a serious dream to write with because of how smooth they glide across the page! These pens are 0.4mm in size and they come in a rainbow of colors.
Faber-Castell PITT Artist Pen
If you’re looking for a good quality alternative to the Sakura Micron, the fineliner pens from Faber-Castell are also awesome pens that I really enjoy using.
Staedtler Triplus Fineliner
These Staedtler Triplus Fineliners are a staple in the bujo community. There are so many colors to choose from – I recommend getting the whole set!
2. Gel & Ballpoint Pens
Next up, I’ll be talking about my favorite gel and ballpoint pens. If you don’t like the feel of fineliner pens, gel and ballpoint pens might be better options for you! These are more like the typical pens that you’re probably used to using on a regular basis whether at work or school.
Zebra Sarasa Clip
One of my favorite gel pens is the Zebra Sarasa Clip in 0.5 mm. It doesn’t skip, writes smoothly, dries extremely fast, and there are a ton of colors to choose from. The clip is also really useful when you want to securely attach the pen to your journal. These are great for not just bullet journaling, but for every day life as well!
Paper Mate Inkjoy
Another great gel pen alternative is the Paper Mate Inkjoy Gel Pen in 0.5 mm. These dry so fast that there is no chance for them to smudge and they’re not scratchy at all. I love them and highly recommend them if you’re looking for a good quality gel pen.
If you’re looking for an erasable ballpoint pen, look no further. The Pilot FriXion pens are great if you tend to often make mistakes. These come in 0.7 mm so the nib is a little thicker than the other pens mentioned so keep that in mind.
3. White Gel Pen
It’s normal to make mistakes when you write. Instead of using white out, just use a handy white gel pen and write over the letters that you want fixed. It takes up less space to store and it’s less noticeable than white out.
4. Brush Pens
If you’re looking add some brush pen lettering and calligraphy to your bullet journal, you’ll want to invest in some brush pens.
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
This pack from Tombow includes a black soft and hard tip brush pen that will give you complete control and flexibility as to how your letters turn out.
Tombow Dual Brush Pen Set
If you’re looking to add some color to your bullet journal, these pastel dual brush pens from Tombow are a must! They’re double-ended with a soft and hard tip on each side so they’re great for coloring sketches.
Your bullet journal starter kit isn’t complete without a set of highlighters. Not only are they great to add some color to your journal but they can also help bring your attention to important things.
These Zebra Mildliner highlighters are much loved by the bullet journal community for a good reason. If you find that normal highlighters bleed through your journal, these won’t. The pastel highlighter box is my favorite out of the 3 and I highly recommend them!
Pilot FriXion Light
If you find that you tend to mess up when you’re highlighting, this set of FriXion Light highlighters from Pilot are perfect for you! Just erase your mistakes when they occur and you’re good to go.
Stabilo Boss Original
Another great pastel option are these Boss Original highlighters from Stabilo. These are thicker so they’re perfect for highlighting larger font and bigger chunks of text.
The beauty of a bullet journal is that it allows you to have complete freedom on how creative you want to make your own spreads. Since they’re blank, you’re going to need a ruler to create the outlines of your spreads.
I highly recommend getting a portable ruler that you can easily put inside the flap of your journal or one that fits easily in your pencil case. See-through rulers are great because they allow you to easily see where you draw.
Stencils are a great additional tool that you should have if you’re looking to keep your bullet journal tidy, neat, and symmetrical. Here is my list of must-have stencils.
Circle Stencil (This is a must if you’re looking to create circle mood trackers)
If you’ve looked into bullet journaling, you’ve probably come across how everyone raves about washi tape.
These tape rolls are great to instantly change up the color scheme and entire feel of your bullet journal spreads as there are so many different sizes, styles, and prints. But here’s a warning though – it can become a serious addiction once you start collecting them!
To store your rolls and keep them organized and not all over the place, I recommend purchasing a washi tape dispenser. If you start accumulating a bunch of rolls, you’ll want to purchase multiple ones to better organize them into different categories depending on the roll’s size and style.
Stickers can help decorate your journal and make the whole bujo process more fun and personalized. Here are some sticker sets to help you mark important dates and events and improve your productivity.
Sometimes you might not be sure whether a certain event or to-do item is set in stone. It’s normal to change your plans every once in a while so write down these uncertain items on a sticky note and stick them in.
Here are 2 adorable watercolor sticky note pads you need in your collection! Can you tell that I’m totally obsessed with watercolor?
Stamps can be a serious timesaver when you’re setting up your bullet journal spreads. If you have to write and draw the same exact things over and over again to set up your monthly spreads, such as months and dates, it can become pretty time consuming, repetitive, and tiring!
Instead of constantly writing repetitive things out yourself, save time by using stamp pads and complete your spreads in a fraction of the time!
With so many tools that are involved in starting a bullet journal, I highly recommend getting a pencil case that specifically stores just your bullet journaling accessories.
You can use a regular pencil case or an attachable pouch that conveniently fastens to the front of your bullet journal so that it keeps all of your supplies together. This is perfect for when you’re on the go!
Need more guidance?
If you need a little more guidance before delving into the world of bullet journaling, check out the following 2 resources.
Dot Journaling Set: A Practical Guide
If the thought of starting your own bullet journal totally overwhelms you and you’re looking to learn more about the method, check out the Dot Journaling Set – A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together.
This set includes a practical guide on how to start bullet journalling and a small journal to get you started. It’s pretty informative and helpful if you’re just starting out and need a little help to step into the right direction.
Modern Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide To Pointed Pen And Brush Pen Lettering
If you’re looking for more resources on how to do calligraphy and brush lettering, I highly recommend checking out Modern Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide to Pointed Pen and Brush Pen Lettering.
It includes the basics of how to start brush pen lettering and how to create your own unique style.
I hope that this list of essential bullet journal supplies and accessories was helpful and gave you some ideas on what you need to start your very own bullet journal.
Remember, if you feel overwhelmed, you don’t need to purchase every single item on this list to start. You can always start off with a few pens and add more supplies to your collection as you get more comfortable with the whole process!
If you find that bullet journaling just isn’t for you after reading this post but you’re still looking to get organized, I recommend that you find a more traditional planner that works for you. Check out my recommendations in my post on 15 kick-ass planners to improve your productivity and keep yourself motivated to reach your goals.
Don’t forget to check out my other posts on bullet journaling, goal setting, and being more productive with your day:
- How To Slay Your Goals This Year & Get Sh*t Done
- 25 New Year’s Goal Ideas For 2020 + Why Should You Set Goals This Year
- How To Stay Motivated To Reach Your Goals
- 15 Kick-Ass Planners You Need To Get Real Organized
- 8 Things You Need To Do Before 9 AM For A More Productive Day
- 6 Ways To Start The Week Off Right Every Sunday
- 30 Productive Things To Do Before Bed Instead Of Watching Netflix
- How To Be More Productive When You Work From Home
- How To Stay Healthy And Sane When You Work At A Desk Job
- 18 Fun Gifts For The Bullet Journal Lover
Have you thought of starting a bullet journal? Let me know in the comments!