It has been almost a year since I was first introduced to the wonderful world of Ryder Carroll‘s Bullet Journal, and even though I was a little intimidated at first, I haven’t looked back since! (Thanks, Kerry…!)
But what’s a Bullet Journal? Well, to me, it’s a diary, to-do list, and a notebook all in one. It can be as creative or as basic as you want, or need, it to be because the concept is so flexible. The flexibility of the Bullet Journal (BuJo) format meant that I could easily keep up with it unlike other diaries I’ve had in the past.
Now, after a year of experimenting, I’ve come to have a few essentials with me whenever I set up a new log or page, and I thought I would share them with you this evening!
- A 30cm ruler
This is a fairly basic, unexciting piece of equipment but one that is SO useful that I probably wouldn’t set up a new page without one.
I’ve tried to journal with a 15cm ruler but alas, it was too short for what I wanted to do. I often ended up slipping on the page, mis-aligning myself, and drawing big, wobbly lines across my work.
A 30cm ruler is long enough to cover two pages of an open journal with some left over, so making daily, weekly, and monthly layouts are quicker and easier since you don’t have to keep moving your ruler up and down and you won’t lose the last mark you made!
2. Papermate Flair pens
These pens were the first pens I bought for my journal and I don’t think I will ever use anything else!
What I love about these pens in particular is that they are highly pigmented without ghosting or bleeding through the page. How many times have you written or drawn something to find out that you can see everything through the other side and the ink has ruined the next page? Or you’ve been writing only for the ink to smudge when you move your hand or turn the page?
I’ve never had those issues with these pens even though they’re similar to colouring-in pens you might have had as a child. The nibs are firm and average in size making them ideal for a range of writing, drawing, and colouring projects.
I like to use Leuchtturm1917 journals so the ink quality, ghosting and bleeding may vary depending on your paper, so be sure to test them out first if you can, just in case!
3. Double-sided sticky tape
Honestly, I hadn’t considered double-sided sticky tape until my darling friend Emily bought me some for my birthday this past June. Admittedly, I was confused by this gift and totally skeptical because who buys someone sticky tape as a gift?!
BUT NOW I HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT!
Double-sided sticky tape is amazing and I love using it to decorate the covers of my journals, attaching tickets and postcards, and for making collages.
Not only is this tape a stronger than ordinary glue, it lasts longer, it’s quicker and easier to use, it’s less messy, it doesn’t make the pages of your journal wrinkle like glue can, and you don’t need any drying time!
Frankly, it’s miracle stuff…
If you’re anything like me then you aren’t artistic in the slightest.
I don’t have the patience to draw or sketch and so I never practiced, but because I never practiced I’m not very good. Trying to draw in my journal is fruitless. It leaves me with nothing more than over-erased pages and a heap of frustration because what I see in my head isn’t being translated to the page by my hand.
Decorating my pages became a lot quicker, easier, and fun when I started using stickers and stopped trying to flex a creative muscle that didn’t exist in me.
My favourite place to buy stickers at the moment is Hobbycraft – they offer flat ones, 3D, and layered stickers so there’s something for everyone’s needs! I found that 3D stickers were great for bulking out my journal, making it look thicker and older – an aesthetic I quite enjoy in diaries and journals.
Is there anything more satisfying than a thick, heavy journal?!
5. Washi tape
One thing I’ve noticed in Bullet Journal circles is that newbies have no idea how to use it but those who have been doing it for a while absolutely adore it!
I like to use it in decorating pages. In my mind, washi tape is just one really long sticker! You can use it to frame photographs, add a different dimension to pages, cut it into banner shapes for headers, and much more!
Washi tape is growing in popularity and it’s now popping up almost everywhere. I’ve bought tapes from Paperchase, Hobbycraft, Poundland, and even Primark! They’re usually fairly inexpensive depending on where you buy and often come in multipacks so you get more for your money.
My obsession with washi tape is so great that I’ve had to buy a perspex storage box to keep them organised and I fully expect to be drowning in tape before the end of the year!
Sadly, I’ve never had the need or opportunity to send postcards. I don’t go abroad and I very rarely go on holiday, even when I do it’s never for long enough to need to buy and send a postcard.
But now I see myself buying them every time I go into a stationery shop, simply because they’re so good at decorating the cover of journals and hiding a multitude of BuJo sins!
I like to buy my postcards from Paperchase since they have many cute, funny, and vintage designs as well as inspirational quotes and photographs of famous landmarks.
It’s very rare that I don’t find a postcard in Paperchase that I like. Better still, they only cost around 80p on average, meaning you can usually buy a card to transform your journal with just the change in your pocket!
Whenever I make a mistake that I can’t erase or turn into something purposeful, whenever I spill something on my journal or have a blank page I don’t know what to do with, I always have a postcard on hand to cover the offending area. It’s a pretty and hassle free solution!
If you can’t afford to buy a journal with a beautifully decorated cover, adding a postcard to the front of a plain journal can easily transform it into something more appealing.
They’re simple but effective little things.
7. Vintage/decorative/scrapbooking/wrapping paper
Any kind of paper as long as you think it’s pretty will do the job! I love using different kinds of printed papers to make collages in my journal when I have empty pages or a mistake that I want to cover – it’s another alternative to the postcards.
I also find that collages break up weekly and monthly pages which keeps my journal looking a little more interesting – it isn’t just page after page of to-do lists and calendars!
Again, I like to buy my papers from Paperchase, mostly because I love the designs, but you can buy decorative papers almost anywhere, especially in the winter when there’s more wrapping paper available for Christmas!
Collages in your journal can act as a backdrop for photographs and quotes you love and act as a mini scrapbook which means you get to keep all of your favourite things in one convenient place.
After 11 months of journalling, those are my Bullet Journal essentials and I think I would be lost if I didn’t have any of them!
What are your journalling or crafty essentials?