Hi everyone! It has been a long time since I last wrote—about a month! My little vacation was much needed, but I can’t wait to get back into the groove of blogging. Everyone needs to take a break every once in a while, right? From most things, in fact, whether it be blogging, working, school, or even a hobby. Anyway, I’m back!
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Today we’re taking a break from our regularly scheduled programming to talk about supplies! There are so many supplies out there, and most newbies have no idea where to start. When I first started bullet journaling almost a year ago, I slowly built up my collection and tried a bunch of different options to see which ones I liked best. While it’s fun to try everything, not everyone has the time to do that, and it’s scary to buy a nice notebook or pen without knowing whether you’ll like it (especially because they’re so expensive!). But there’s no need to fear! I’ve solved that problem for you by putting together a list of the best supply options for bullet journaling.
Speaking of price, most art supplies aren’t cheap. It can be daunting at first, and it’s best to start out slow. There are a few reasons why I like to invest in nice supplies for my bullet journal:
- Having good supplies motivates me to use my journal. Many people think that bullet journaling is a waste of time and money because we spend too much time making our journals look nice. That’s a valid concern, and if you want a completely minimalist, black and white journal, by all means, go for it. But some of us need a little extra motivation. Because I’m excited about my supplies and the chance to get creative, I’m more likely to use my bullet journal, which makes me more productive. If I didn’t decorate my journal, I probably wouldn’t use it at all, and what use is that?
- I’m an artsy person! I like to be able to decorate my bullet journal because I enjoy doing it, and it’s easier to do that with nice supplies.
Now, let’s get on to the fun part: the actual supplies! For your convenience, I’ve separated the list into categories: everyday writing pens, colored pens & markers, paper & notebooks, and accessories.
Everyday Writing Pens
The pens you use for daily writing in your bullet journal.
The Pilot Metropolitan is by far my favorite fountain pen. I just recently got into fountain pens, and I love how smoothly they write and how easy it is to switch inks and try out different colors. I have the turquoise Metropolitan with a fine nib, which you can get here (Amazon), and I use it for all the daily writing in my bullet journal. If you’re interested in learning more about fountain pens, you should definitely check out Goulet Pens. They sell a wide variety of pens, and they also have lots of great resources on their website. I would also recommend getting the Pilot con-50 converter (here or here), which is about $5, so you have the option of using bottled ink instead of cartridges. If want to hear more about fountain pens, please let me know in the comments and I can write a post about them.
Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens
Of all the felt tip writing pens I’ve tried, I like the Faber-Castells the best. I love how they come in different sizes and there are so many color options. The only downsides to these are that the tips do wear out, and they’re not cheap to replace. Also, it’s hard to find colored pens in the smaller sizes. I have the pack of four in black, the pack of four in sanguine, which is a lovely shade of brown, and the green olive brush pen. Because I have my trusty Metropolitan, I don’t do all my daily writing with a Pitt Artist Pen, but I still use these regularly for drawing out my daily headers.
Sakura Micron Pens
Microns are very similar to Faber-Castells. I love the selection of colors and sizes of this pen: there’s .005, .01, .02, .03, .05, and .08, and a ton of different colors. I have the set of black pens in different sizes.
If you’re looking for a more cost-effective alternative to the Faber-Castells and Microns, definitely check out Le Pen. I got a single black one at my local art supply store for (I think) under $2, and I found this four pack on Amazon for about $8.
Colored Pens & Markers
Pens and markers for coloring and doodling in your bullet journal.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
I absolutely love my Tombow Dual Brush Pens. On one end is a brush tip, perfect for calligraphy and coloring (example: my bullet journal birthday doodles), and the other end is a smaller felt tip for detail work. There are a bunch of other cool ways to use tombows, like creating a pretty watercolor effect. There are so many gorgeous colors, and they’re just so fun to write with.
(Pro Tip: print out this color chart from Tombow to keep track of which markers you have. If you want to be able to stick it into your bullet journal, print it at 55%.)
Staedtler Triplus Fineliners
These fineliners were practically made for bullet journaling. They’re small enough for little details, come in a bunch of different colors, and are stored in a super nice case. I have the 10-pack, the pastel 6-pack, and the neon 6-pack. Personally, I love the pastels, but I’m not as crazy about the neons—they’re a little too bright for my taste.
The Papermate Flairs are a bit thicker than the Triplus Fineliners and more like markers than pens. They do ghost a little in my Leuchtturm notebook, but overall, these are good markers.
The only highlighters I use in my bullet journal. Mildliners are more pastel, or mild, hence the name, than regular highlighters, and the colors are just gorgeous. And as an added bonus, they’re double sided! There’s a highlighter tip on one end and a thinner tip on the other. I have this pack, and I’m hoping to get some more sometime soon.
Paper & Notebooks
It’s not bullet journaling without a journal, right?
I can’t stress this enough, Leuchtturm notebooks are AMAZING! They’re sturdy, and they have built-in features that are perfect for bullet journaling. The paper quality is on point, and there is little to no ghosting whatsoever. Here’s a full list of features that my a5-sized, hardcover, dot grid Leuchtturm1917 notebook has:
- durable hard cover (comes in lots of colors!)
- dot grid, perfect for bullet journaling
- 80g ivory paper
- 249 numbered pages
- a pocket in the back
- elastic closure
- stickers for archiving purposes
- a pre-printed index in the front (!)
- two ribbon page markers
2020 Update: Leuchtturm also recently released new notebook colors, like this one!
Rhodia Dot Pad
Rhodia’s paper is super-smooth and perfect for writing, especially with fountain pens. I use my dot pad for anything from scribbling to practicing calligraphy to letter writing to brainstorming to testing out bullet journal spreads. I have the a5-sized dot pad, as well as the same one with blank paper, but Rhodia has pads and notebooks in a variety of sizes. It’s super convenient that the Rhodia dot pad has the same sized dots (5 mm) as the Leuchtturm notebooks.
The little things that make everything so much easier.
I don’t know where I’d be without my trusty Wite-Out tape. I know mistakes make us human, and it’s okay to mess up, but sometimes I just really want to cover something up and try it over again. This is a lifesaver. Seriously.
It’s a lot easier to draw straight lines when you have a ruler. If you have one that’s six inches long, like the one I have, it can fit in the back pocket of an a5 Leuchtturm.
Having a compass is super helpful, especially when I’m drawing mandalas in my bullet journal. There are two different options for compasses: the one that I have, where you place the compass on the paper, put your pen in the hole, and twist it around while holding the center in place, or the metal one you probably used in your grade school math class.
Stick it in the back of your journal, and voila! You’ll always have a pen handy. Leuchtturm pen loops come in a variety of colors.
Store all your bullet journal supplies in an organized fashion with a cute case! This one seems to be the same as the one I have.
For the hard-core bullet journalist. If a pencil case isn’t enough, this supply organizer is fantastic. I may have gone a bit overboard with the supplies when I first starting bullet journaling, and I quickly ran out of space to house my collection. When I found this caddy at Michael’s, it was like a dream come true! It has a lot of space in the bottom, as well as a tray and a handle on the top. Currently, I keep only a few essentials in my pencil case—the stuff I will definitely use every single day—and the rest goes in my supply organizer.
I’ll let you in on a little secret—I love washi tape. In fact, I have a whole board for it on Pinterest. Most of my washi collection if from Target, Staples, or Etsy, where a quick search for washi tape will find thousands of results. My favorite Etsy shop for washi tape is TheWashiShop, and I like StickerParadise as well. I use two washi tape dispensers that I got for Christmas to store my washi tape (they’re connected with this stackable post).
This isn’t really an accessory, but pencils don’t fit into the other categories either. So, anyway, pencils! Great for sketching out headers, drawings, and spreads before you go in with the pen. It’s always scary when you’re doing something important or big freehand with a pen because if you screw up, there’s no going back. I keep a mechanical pencil in my bullet journal case so I don’t have to worry about sharpening and those annoying pencil shavings that always get everywhere.
What are your favorite bullet journal supplies? Let’s chat in the comments below!