5 Essential Supplies To Start A Bullet Journal
As the new year approaches, a lot of people are considering starting their Bullet Journals, so I’m here today to talk about supplies.
I know there is a big misconception that to start a Bullet Journal, you need to first sell your kidney for ALL the stationery available. But you don’t and don’t let that stop you from starting your BuJo today!
So welcome to this no-bullshit list of essential Bullet Journal supplies for beginners, the things you need and will 100% use.
When it comes to Bullet Journal supplies, things can get pretty crazy.
There are so SO many supplies out there ( just check my post The Best Bullet Journal Supplies For Any Artistic Level) and often, it seems like you need to be a millionaire to afford to start a Bullet Journal.
Well, it’s not really true and believe me, you don’t need $50 journals and $5 brush pens when you start.
These are all nice things you might want to add later on, but for you to begin, just these basics are enough.
Firstly, let’s talk about the most common mistakes Bullet Journal beginners make with their supplies.
There is also a freebie for you at the end of the post to help you get the best supplies, so be sure to scroll until the end.
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Tips on Bullet Journal Supplies For Beginners
Here are a few simple tips I learned during my Bullet Journal adventures, and I think they’ll be helpful for you as well:
1. Start basic
Don’t think you need to buy all the supplies and spend your rent money on a custom-made notebook.
There are a lot of things you might want later, but for now, start from the bare basics (like the supplies we’ll be talking about today).
2. Start cheap
Bullet Journaling is an adventure and when you start, you’re more likely to make a lot of mistakes, but also tons of fun new discoveries. You will, for example, discover if you prefer white paper or ivory, or if washi tape isn’t really your game (it was not mine, and I still have tons of washi tape left from my first stationery haul).
Start your journey from cheaper suppliers, so you can enjoy experimenting and discovering without buyer’s guilt.
3. Don’t look at the others
Everyone in the Bullet Journal community recommends different stationery. However, you definitely shouldn’t throw caution to the wind and buy all these things. Yeah, don’t do that!
The supplies I use might be different from the ones you end up settling down for, and you won’t know which ones you need until you get some bullet journal experience.
For example, as I said, my neverending buyer’s guilt is washi tapes. There are many ways to use them and I see how so many amazing artists decorate their journals with washi. So I went for it; they were some of my first purchases and so cute that I couldn’t stop buying them here and there.
However, time showed that washi tapes just aren’t my style. Total Waste Of Money.
Or at least it was until I discovered I could use stickers and washi for my memory keeping pages.
It doesn’t happen all the time though, I know that I still put my watercolors to no use.
Now that we figured that out let’s dive into those bare minimum essentials you definitely should get.
This is the heart and soul of your Bullet Journal, so you want to choose the one you like. Only you decide what kind of notebook it will be!
I know a lot of people say only dot grid notebooks are suitable for Bullet Journaling, but it’s not true. You can use ANY kind of notebook.
Having said that, I DO think the dot grid is probably the most convenient and popular type of notebook for BuJo, so if you have a chance you might want to give it a try. You can start from my list of 13 Best Notebooks To Use As Your Next Bullet Journal.
There are many factors that come into choosing a notebook:
- Paper density
- Paper color
You can get more info in my post on How To Choose a Perfect Notebook For You.
I can’t tell you which one to buy, because it’ll all depend on what you want and what you need from your Bullet Journal. However, here are a few options you might want to consider.
For several more budget ideas feel free to check my post Bullet Journal on a Budget: The Best Cheap Bullet Journal Supplies.
If you however want to invest in a 160 GSM journal, check my post Best 160 GSM Bullet Journal Notebooks: The Ultimate Comparison.
This is one of the most famous brands of dot grid journals and it’s super popular and well-known (and loved) in the Bullet Journal community.
They’re also pretty accessible in most of the world since Amazon can carry them all over the world.
They’re dot grid journals with two ribbons, smooth dot grid paper, and a back pocket. A great beginner’s notebook.
- 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 page markers / bookmarks and an elastic closure band
This is a great budget notebook, and its paper has a much higher density than LT1917.
These notebooks come in a few different colors and have thick ivory color paper. Back pocket and just one ribbon.
It’s a great notebook for beginners because you’re getting decent quality, but at the same time, you’re not overspending.
- DURABLE HARDCOVER JOURNAL - Touched comfortably, sturdy hard cover protects your art for years. The elastic pen loop is always available for your pen and kept well.
- LAY-FLAT 180° LARGECLASSIC NOTEBOOK - Let you reading more easy and note-taking efficiency. The tight band of journal keeps it securely closed. And firm binding ensures pages don't get peeled away from the cover. Enjoy your writing by hand with no distractions.
- 180 PAGES DOTTED BULLET JOURNAL - Thicker paper resistant to passionate artist. Dotted grid notebook helps guide your writings, stand out very clearly. Perfect for bullet journaling, compiling recipes, creative writing, planning a holiday, keeping track of your workouts, or just doodling and drawing.
Archer and Olive
This is a premium and a bit more expensive journal, but I do love them so much that I decided to add it to the list nonetheless.
It has the pure white paper of GSM 160 and absolutely the cutest designs.
Click HERE to check out Archer and Olive journals, and you can also use code MASHA10 to get 10% off your order.
Pencil and Eraser
I mean Duh! But wait! Listen! I mean, read! Your pencil will be your most used tool, so you should really put some thought into it.
The first mistake here! Try not to get a pretty pencil, but one you’d feel comfortable using for hours at a time.
Personally, I prefer mechanical pencils, and I’m 100% in love with a Pilot Dr. Grip pencil because it’s absolutely the most comfortable one I’ve ever had.
- PILOT DR. GRIP: This smooth-writing ergonomic ballpoint pen features our smear-resistant Advanced Ink & a wide barrel with an ergonomic, latex-free cushioned grip to help reduce writing stress.
- ERGONOMIC PEN: Commended for ease-of-use by the Arthritis Foundation, Pilot's Dr. Grip Ballpoint pen comes in medium & fine point & is available in blue, black, or red smear-resistant ink.
- PRESCRIPTION FOR WRITING COMFORT: If you love Pilot Dr. Grip ballpoint pens, try our full Dr. Grip line including Frosted, Multifunction, PureWhite, & FullBlack retractable, refillable ballpoint pens!
The eraser is just as important. You don’t want it to erase your journal paper together with the pencil, and you don’t want it to leave some color on your spreads.
So just find one that works best for you, I’d recommend a white soft one or a foam one. My current best friend is a Sakura Foam eraser.
- Feature 1: W resin construction of foam (special foam) and erasing polymer (erasing ingredient)
- Feature 2: Light to the touch / erasing pieces together
- Feature 3: Erases well / Has a resilient / Eraser is stain resistant
The bread and butter of your journal is the black pen. That’s what you use to draw and write.
I bet when I said that, you started thinking of Sakura Microns or maybe Tombow Mono pens. But you don’t need those, at least not yet.
Just pick a pen you feel comfortable with and go wild. It can be a fineliner or ballpoint pen or whatever other ones you like.
It can be something you picked up from a local art store, or maybe you stole from your sister, your kids, or your mom.
But if any of them is ALSO a Bullet journal addict, first, prepare to fight for your life. And second, please share this blog with them! They will thank you, and so will I!
Here are, however, some recommendations if you feel a little bit more like investing in pens.
Stabilo 88 Pen
These pens have nice black ink and last for a very long time.
I also feel like they are on the affordable side, especially if you get a set deal.
- .4mm tip
- Ventilated caps for long lasting ink
- Hexagonal body for comfortable grip
These ballpoint pens are my absolute favorite ones to use for writing. They come in a few different sizes and with different designs, so they can fit any style.
The ink is super soft, and it’s a pleasure to write with them.
These are some of my favorite fineliners. They last for a long time and have dark black ink.
Moreover, when you buy a set, you get them in different sizes, which helps when you try to create a bit more elaborate doodles and drawings.
For more pen ideas be sure to check out my list of The Best Pens For Bullet Journaling.
- Uni Ball's world-renowned Pin fineliner perfect for high precision.
- Uni's high quality "Super Ink" is not only water and light resistant, but also "Tamper-Resistant", meaning that the ink can not be washed of using chemicals and solutions used by people to fraudulently modify documents.
- With their steel tips, the Pin range offers an extended lifespan when compared with cheaper imitations.
Finally, get yourself a ruler. Honestly, it can be a $1 ruler from Walmart – as long as it helps you draw straight lines, it works.
When it comes to rulers, I have an extra little one to recommend to you. It’s a Helix circle ruler. This baby will rock your world and will help you to get creative with circles in your Bullet Journal, including such pretty things as circle habit trackers.
Bonus – Markers
By now I think you got all you need to start a Bullet Journal.
But if you feel like something is missing – it is. There is no color among these supplies.
Now, you can completely enjoy black-and-white layouts or some minimalist Bullet Journal pages. But if you don’t, I bet you’re thinking of buying something to add a splash of color to your pages.
Before you do, though, check for whatever you have at home, the result might surprise you!
Your old colored pencils will work just fine, and so will your highlighters and those colored pens you have left from school days.
TIP: always make sure you do a pen test on the last page of your journal before using them full scale. This will help you to figure out what supplies work in your journal and which ones don’t.
Now, in case you threw away everything that reminded you of school once you graduated (and who could blame you) and decide to buy something, go for Crayola Super Tips. These are very affordable and you can get free delivery if you sign up for Amazon Prime Free 30-day trial.
Crayola Super Tips will provide you with plenty of colors and can serve you as coloring markers. Moreover, the special tip still allows you to use them for brush lettering.
So I’d say it’s a great deal!
- 20 CRAYOLA MARKERS: Features 20 Crayola Super Tip Markers in washable colors.
- VERSATILE ART TOOLS: Supertips Markers can make thick or thin lines for a variety of coloring techniques.
- CRAYOLA COLORS: This bulk marker set features 20 different colors to make sure you always have the shade you need.
Free Stationery Guide
I know how easy it is to get overwhelmed by all the stationery out there, so I’ve created a little guide that will help you to pick the stationery you’ll love.
Sign up in the form below, and once you confirm your subscription the guide will be on the way to your inbox.
Which supplies would you say are your essentials? And which ones gave you buyer’s guilt?
Share with us in the comments!
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And Remember! Keep Bullet Journaling, and don’t be a Blob!
I can’t believe that you are the only person who recommends UNI PIN fineliners. Thanks for your honest review. I purchased them recently and I love them than any other drawing pens.
I was surprised as well how little people use them – they are great and can withhold so much!