I get lots of questions from bullet journalers – mostly those new to the system and eager to start- regarding the essential bullet journal supplies – Which notebook should I use? Do I need a special pen? Will colored pencils work?
If you find that you’re asking yourself any of those questions, what you should really be asking is….
Am I Ready to be a Bullet Journal SUPER STAR?
Yes? Well, you’re in luck. The good news is, you only need a few supplies to get yourself on the road to bullet journal greatness. Really all you need is notebook, (lined, dotted, or blank) and a pen or pencil. It’s as simple as that. But that’s not exactly what I started with. I got a little bit fancier with my supplies.
Many bullet journalers (bulletjournalists?) use the fanciest of fountain pens, brush pens, and expensive artist’s colored pencils. But that’s totally unnecessary. IF you’re an artist, then by all means purchase a gorgeous set of soft colored pencils. If you’re a calligrapher, than you may want to purchase an expensive fountain pen, a variety of nibs, and brush pens.
But that’s not me!
In my humble opinion, you need to start with a quality notebook, a black pen (or in my case a few pens), a set of colored pens, and an inexpensive set of colored pencils. That’s it!
Essential Bullet Journal Supplies
My personal favorite is the brand Leuchtturm 1917. It’s a German company, but you can find their notebooks in the US quite easily.
Here’s a picture of my three bullet journals.
The hard-cover, pink, well-loved Leuchtturm A5 on top is what I use on a daily basis. The dimensions are 5.75 x 8.25 inches and can easily fit in a medium-sized purse.
The orange Leuchtturm B5 in the middle is what I use for work. It’s 10 x 7 inches in size and roughly the dimensions of the composition notebook you may have used in elementary school.
The big daddy blue Leuchtturm A4 in the back comes in at a whopping 9 x 12 inches. Honestly, I’m still trying to figure out how to use this one – it’s huge! Let me know if you have any ideas.
All three Leuchtturms are filled with Ink-proof paper. The A5 and B5 – the smaller two – are 80 g/sqm while the larger A4 is (100 g/sqm). For us newbies, that just means that Master A5 size has a little bit thicker, better quality paper. But the quality of the paper for the A5 and B5 is just peachy, too.
Some other neat Leuchtturm features:
- Perforated and detachable sheets in the back
- Gusseted pocket
- Blank table of contents and numbered pages
- Page marker
- Elastic enclosure band
- Thread-bound book opens flat
- Sticker for labelling and archiving
Now of course Leuchtturm 1917 is by no means the only brand of notebook perfect for bullet journaling, Rhodia and Moleskine are another two favorites of the bullet journaling community. I’m not as familiar with them, but I know they both use high-quality paper, and give you the option of dotted, lined, grid, or even blank pages. Just try a quick amazon search to find the perfect match for you.
Check out all three notebooks here:
If you’re interested in some more in-depth information on the different types of notebooks, read my Finding the Perfect Notebook post.
While I would not consider it one of my essential bullet journal supplies, if you want to be super fancy and have tons of expendable income, then by all means invest in a fountain pen. I have no need for a fancy fountain pen because I have no hand lettering talent and I choose to spend my money elsewhere. My absolutely all-time favorite pens are ….. ready for it?…… just over one dollar each if you buy a variety pack.
These Sakura Micron pens are the bomb! I started with one pen, I think the 0.3 mm tip, and I used it dry. So I found a pack on amazon and I just love them so much. I posted this example on Instagram showing tip width of each pen in the pack.
Do you see what I mean by no hand lettering talent? We all do the best we can…
I used them here in my monthly spread.
I used the 08 for the January title; the 05 for the lines and subtitles; the 03 for the letters of the week and dates; and the 02 for all the entries. There’s also a 01 and an 005, but I haven’t used those smaller widths yet. The ink does ghost a bit in these notebooks, but all inks do and it doesn’t bother me one bit. And, the tips on this 80 g/sqm paper in the Leuchtturm 1917 is LIKE BUTTER! So smooth. Sakura Micron pens come in a variety of sizes and colors if boring black is not really your thing.
Pens for Coloring
This is another category in which you can spend a bazillion dollars or you can keep it simple. I chose to keep it relatively simple. I love my Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens. The tip is really fine (hence the name) and the colors are gorgeous. You definitely have to be careful with the delicate tips. My four year old got ahold of my set one day and let’s just say I’m down one green and one purple.
If you’re not a big fan of the Staedtler pens shown above, many other bullet journalers use Stabilo Fine Point Pens. They’re even a little less expensive.
The bottom line with colored pencils….ANY WILL DO. Isn’t that great? I purchased some fancy artist colored pencils a while back and they worked just fine. Then, I borrowed a few from my daughter’s set that she got from grandpa and they worked just as well and there were a million colors! Now, if you’re an artist or at least believe yourself to be one, then by all means spend a little more money on colored pencils, but if you’re like me and can’t really tell the difference, just buy a set with lots and lots of color options. We all need 12 different shades of purple, right? Right!
Alas, I do not have a picture of my own bullet journal with my colored pencils all lined up to show you here, so I will just post a few links to some colored pencil sets instead, sound good? Great.
- Shuttle Art Colored Pencils – 136 different colors – swoon!
- Prismacolor Premiere Colored Pencils – set of 48
- Triangular Shaped Colored Pencils – set of 48
- Crayola Twistables – These crayons work like colored pencils and you never have to sharpen them. Win!
Well, there you have it! To gather the essential bullet journal supplies, find yourself a quality notebook, a few nice pens, maybe some colored pencils and you’ll be well on your way to bullet journal greatness.
If you’d like more bullet journal inspiration, be sure to follow my bullet journal board on Pinterest.