If you discovered this article by searching on google or Pinterest, then I’m going to assume you’re a newbie when it comes to bullet journaling. You’re looking for advice on what supplies you need to buy to help you set up your first bullet journal. I get it, you’ve never had a bullet journal before, you’ve never used one. So how the hell do you decide what you really need in order to start one? What are actually the essential supplies you need to get started with a bullet journal?
There are a lot of blog posts out there that will give you lists of what you need to start a bullet journal. Lists of all sorts of awesome supplies, and really, they’re just trying to get you to buy stuff through their affiliate links. Fair play, and to be honest, my links in this post are affiliate links too (However, it that doesn’t affect you. If you buy something, I’ll get a small commission but it won’t affect the price you pay).
I’m not going to bullshit you though, the following list will give you the essential supplies for bullet journaling. You can stop reading after that, you can move on and get started on your bullet journal, knowing you have everything you need. I hope you don’t though because I’ll offer advice on other supplies you may want to consider for your bullet journaling experience. So without further ado…
The Essential Bullet Journal Supplies
- A Notebook
- A pen (or any writing implement)
That’s it. Nothing else is required. Going back to the bare bones of bullet journaling, all you really need is a pen and a simple notebook, it doesn’t even have to be a dot grid notebook – gasp! Now if you’re ready to get started I suggest reading my How to Start a Bullet Journal post. If you want to know more about what you need to start a bullet journal, read on!
All those beautiful and creative journals that you see on Instagram and Pinterest can really be disheartening to see as a beginner. And it can be very overwhelming. But you must remember that your bullet journal is your own and it can be whatever you want it to be. Here is a bullet journaler who keeps it simple, but her journal is still a marvel to look at – Sarah from @sarahboparah uses just a pen and a notebook for a beautiful minimal style!
Now of course when it comes to the essential bullet journal supplies, you can either go budget or high-end.
Budget Essential Bullet Journal Supplies
- Grab one from the stationery cupboard at work or if you don’t work in an office environment,
- A standard notebook kids use at school
- A cheap notebook from your local stationery store or Target/Michael’s/Typo/Kmart
- Good old Bic ballpoint pen
- Raid the work stationery cupboard again
High-End Essential Bullet Journal Supplies
- Nuuna Dot Grid Notebook – I’ve heard great things about these notebooks, but since they are quite expensive, I’ve yet to try one. It is definitely on my list to try though.
- Archer and Olive – I have one of these but I haven’t used it yet. They don’t really cost that much, but if you’re outside of the US shipping is expensive and the notebooks, although have high-quality paper, there aren’t that many pages in a notebook, hence the high-end classification.
- Fountain pens – You can get cheaper ones or ridiculously expensive ones, but seeing as you can get away with using a cheap ball-point pen, these are definitely considered high-end
Mid-Range Essential Bullet Journal Supplies
- Scribbles That Matter – One of my all-time favourite notebooks, this is the first notebook I would recommend if you had $20 to spare. You can check out my review on it here.
- Leuchtturm – This was what I used for my first ever bullet journal and is also the maker of the official Bullet Journal notebooks. I enjoyed using my first one so much, my second bullet journal was also a Leuchtturm. I would highly recommend it.
- Dingbats – I’ve used one of these and there’s not much to fault, but you can check out a full review of it here.
Now if you want to get a little bit fancy, you’ll need a few more supplies to add to your arsenal. These are still pretty basic as well and won’t even cost the price of a regular trim latte.
- A pencil – for drafting up pretty pages
- An eraser – for erasing that draft
- A ruler – not essential, but if you’re a perfectionist and can’t deal with wonky lines, then this is a necessity.
- A pencil case – to hold all your essential supplies, especially if you like to take your bullet journal and supplies out with you.
With these extra supplies (that still won’t break the bank) you can get a bit more creative. This weekly layout below was something I created using only my Dingbats notebook, a pencil and eraser, a black Bic biro, and a ruler. I think it still looks great! And yes, the lettering was done with just the black biro, you can check out my fauxligraphy post for tips on how to create these headings.
Other Supplies to Consider
Once you have the essential bullet journal supplies and you’ve had a go at bullet journaling for a while, you will probably start to want more stationery. But what’s next? There’s so much out there and you can get a bit overwhelmed with what to buy. Hopefully, by now you have some idea of how you like to decorate your bullet journal if you choose to at all. And this will narrow down your
- Brush Pen – If you have never done brush lettering before, I highly recommend you start off with a single pen to learn and practice with. Brush pens can be very expensive, and nothing can be more disappointing than spending a lot of money on something you can’t use. If you’re a beginner, smaller brush pens are easier to learn with. I recommend a Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen.
- Colour – Do you want to add colour to your bullet journal? If you haven’t got yourself a quality journal yet, and you can’t deal with ghosting and bleeding, I’d recommend coloured pencils. This can look amazing if you know how. Just look at Rhio’s pages on Instagram for inspiration! They are amazing!
- Colour (continued) – Felt pens are also a great option for adding colour whether it’s full on colour or just touches of it. Crayola supertips are a great place to start as they’re cheap, you can create brush lettering with them, and you can use them with water! Yu of @bluelahe on Instagram uses Crayolas in her bullet journal and even has a youtube video on how she uses them for her lettering.
- The very talented Grandezza (@grandezzasjournal) has used water with her Crayolas in this weekly layout. Make sure you check out her youtube video on how she creates this watercolour effect.
- Coloured Brush Pens – If you have the money and want to kill two birds with one stone ie get coloured brush pens, then I highly recommend Tombow Dual Brush Pens as these are great for lettering, they have a thin end for detailing, or colouring in and they work well with water.
- Helix Angle and Circle Maker – circular layouts and spreads are super popular at the moment, you can easily trace around a cup or a bowl, but this tool is super cheap and makes creating circular spreads incredibly easy. This is one item I’ve only recently purchased, but wish I had ages ago! You can see how I used it to create a circular habit tracker in this post here.
- Washi Tape – This is great to have in your stationery supply for adding quick colourful decoration to your pages. It’s also great for covering mistakes and sticking bits and pieces into your bullet journal. It’s also cheap. But I warn you – washi tape is addictive. You can never stop at one roll, the more you have the more you’ll want and you’ll never use it all.
What’s On Your Stationery List?
There are a lot of other items you could buy to add to your stationery hoard, but this list I’ve provided is what I believe you need to start a bullet journal. They are the essentials. Everything else is just a “nice to have”, you can still create beautiful bullet journal pages without them. I hope that as a new bullet journaler this post has removed some of the overwhelm involved in trying to decide what supplies you really need to start a bullet journal.
So tell me, what’s going to be first on your list of stationery purchases?
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