Bullet Journal Supplies for 2017
I’m not gonna deny it – the main reasons I started bullet journaling were to use up the stationery I’ve hoarded and justify buying new ones. I’m still waiting for the day when I walk into the living room to see my family and close friends gathered in front of a giant banner that says, “INTERVENTION”.
But what started out as something to fuel my love for stationery became a fine-tuned and multi-functional planning system that actually helped me get my shit together. If you aren’t familiar with the bullet journal, pop on over to my introduction to this powerful productivity tool and learn how it works, along with some pros and cons. TL;DR – it’s a flexible analog organizing system where you can prioritize your tasks, keep track of goals and habits, and compile whatever else your heart desires.
Because the bullet journal is super customizable, it can be as simple or as intricate as you want it to be. That goes for both its functionality and appearance. There’s no right or wrong way to use the bullet journal as long as it serves its intended purposes. Thinking of starting one or looking to change things up with your current bullet journal? Here are a few supplies that I’ve been loving since I began bullet journaling back in 2015.
Before we start, I just want to throw in a quick reminder that you don’t need to spend a ridiculous amount of money to get the full benefits of the bullet journal system. Figure out what you want out of your journal and go from there. Okay, I’ve rambled on long enough – on to my current bullet journal supplies!
The only things you really need for a bullet journal are something to write in and something to write with. Nothing fancy, unless you want to go that route. Heck, I used a cheap spiral notebook I found lying around to test the waters before investing in something more durable.
Leuchtturm1917 (2015-2016): I know I said “current”, but this notebook is a reigning community favorite. With 249 pre-numbered pages, an index, and a wide range of color and paper options, it’s no mystery why. It lays perfectly flat and includes two ribbons, an elastic closure, and an inner pocket in the back. If you can get past the $20+ price tag, it’s the ideal notebook for bullet journals. Still, it might not be for everyone.
Midori MD (2017 – until the day I die, probably): It lacks most of the bells and whistles of the Leuchtturm1917, comes in just one color, and requires a protective cover to prevent bending. And yet, I can’t see myself using any other notebook for bullet journaling. I love its simplicity and the exposed binding that allows the notebook to stay completely open with ease.
And the paper. Oh my goodness, the paper. I didn’t think I would appreciate high-quality paper this much until I tried this notebook. It not only handles most fountain pens, water-based markers, and a bit of watercolor without bleeding through the pages, but it also makes anything done in Copic markers look vibrant and smooth. The fact that it’s half the price of the Leuchtturm1917 on Amazon is a bonus.
MUJI Gel Pens: For the longest time, these were my go-to pens. While they aren’t the most ergonomic pens on the market, the highly pigmented ink flows smoothly and effortlessly onto paper. You can learn more about their strengths and shortcomings in my MUJI Stationery Favorites.
Uni-Pin Pens: This pen came in the JetPens’s Drawing Pen Sampler my friend gave me last year, and I’ve been using this brand ever since. In fact, I’m still using the exact one I received! Apparently, you can write up to 2000 meters before it runs out of ink. It’s a water-proof and fade-resistant felt tip pen that’s on par with Micron and Staedtler pens but at a fraction of the price.
Pilot Hi-Tec/G-Tec (current favorite): I use this pen for everything, from bullet journaling to adding details to my drawings. Thanks to its insanely smooth ink and needle-point tip, my writing has never looked better. It glides right across my notebook without skipping and feathering. Best of all, it doesn’t smear like for most of the gel pens that I’ve used, including the MUJI pens.
Most of my possessions are a lot like me – relatively plain at first glance, but full of surprises once you take a closer look. And my bullet journal is no exception, especially since I decided to add more color to my journal this year.
A Splash of Color
Mildliners: I wish I knew about these double-ended highlighters when I was still in school because I got so sick of fluorescent yellow and green. The Mildliner colors are easy on the eyes, so I love using them to color code and decorate in my bullet journal. You can buy them individually on JetPens or in packs of five, but the best value I’ve seen so far is on Amazon, where you can get all 15 colors (although, I heard that there are 5 new ones) for less than $1 each as opposed to $1.50 elsewhere.
Tombow Brush Pens: If you have a larger budget for your bullet journal, then give Tombow Brush Pens a go! These water-based markers have a brush tip that makes hand lettering a breeze and a fine felt tip for the little details. While it’s cheaper to get them in sets on Amazon, I prefer buying them individually to get just the colors I want – seriously, there are nearly 100 to choose from.
Crayola Super Tips: Never underestimate what you can do with Crayola products. These markers are great for creating both thin and thick lines, so you can easily use them to do just about anything you can do with the Mildliner and Tombow pens. I also like combining the marker ink with water on a laminated sheet to add a watercolor effect to my pages. And the best part: you can get 50 colors for $7 at Target.
Washi Tape: I used to think that washi tapes were so extra, especially considering how pricey they can get. I still think that they are, but I have a newfound appreciation for them that borderlines obsession. They add color to the pages, cover up mistakes, and hold things in place. What’s not to love? Well, there’s still the price, but you just need to shop around. I get most of mine from Daiso for $1.50 each or in sets, which tend to cost less than if I were to buy them individually.
Tombow Permanent Adhesive Applicator: If double-sided tape and correction tape had a love child turned prodigy, this would be it. The Tombow adhesive was such a game-changer because it made adding photos, cutouts, and other loose papers hassle-free. Refills are available, but a little goes a long way because it really clings onto the paper products.
Stickers and Sticky Notes: Whenever I have grocery lists, important notes, or an enormous task that’s been broken down, I usually write them on sticky notes so they’d stand out on my bullet journal pages. I also use deco stickers to highlight events or urgent tasks, but most of my stickers are purely for decoration.
Decorations: I always save the decorating part for the end of the week when I have some downtime. That way, I spend less time fussing over how my bullet journal looks and more energy focusing on the tasks that are actually written in the journal. In addition to all the extras I listed above, I like using stamps, random cutouts, and origami paper (courtesy of Daiso) to add more color and fill in the empty spaces.
As long as you have a notebook and a pen that you enjoy using, you don’t need a single one of these items to start and maintain a bullet journal. Again, there’s no right or wrong way to set one up. If you want to keep it simple, great! If you want to go HAM on the decorating and customizations, no one’s stopping you.
My favorite part about bullet journaling is the fact that it’s always evolving. Through trial and error, you can find what methods and supplies work best for your lifestyle and budget. Don’t get too caught up with what others are doing or what supplies they’re using – just have fun and do your own thang.
If you have any questions about the bullet journal, feel free to send them my way! Thanks for reading and happy journaling!