10 Ways to Level Up your Bullet Journal or Planner in 2024
Happy New Year, pals! I hope you’ve had a good start to 2024. Have you decided on your planner system for the new year yet? Absolutely no shade if not as we like to take things slow around here. If you’re still undecided about what to use, check out this blog post where I talk you through my decision process for this year’s planner. If you’re not sure whether bullet journaling is right for you or you don’t know where to start, this post is packed full of helpful tips and FAQs.
Whether you’re trying bullet journaling for the first time or are looking for ways to shake things up this year, I hope this blog post will provide you with heaps of inspiration. I’ve rounded up 10 ways to bring new life to your bullet journal or planner and it might even inspire you to learn a new craft…
With that said, I just wanted to reiterate that it’s absolute 110% A-okay if your bullet journal is just a notebook and a pen and you’re not interested in decorating it or creating Pinterest-worthy spreads. There’s a couple of suggestions at the end of this blog post which are geared towards how you use your bullet journal rather than how it looks, so scroll to the end if this sounds like you.
Without further ado, let’s get to it…
Using Washi Tape in your BuJo
Ok, let’s kick things off with something nice and simple. Introducing washi tape into your planner is a quick and easy way to bring a little colour and fun, and I think we could all do with a bit of that in January! No artistic skills required, it takes seconds and you can always remove it or reposition it if you don’t like it.
I rounded up 12 Creative Ways to Use Washi Tape in Your Bullet Journal last year and of course these ideas can be applied to any diary, planner or even just a notebook that you scribble your to do lists in. Everything looks better with a little washi tape!
Level Up Your Planner with Brush Lettering
Brush lettering is definitely something I want to brush up on in 2024! It’s a super efficient way to make even the plainest of spreads look a little fancier, and it’s a skill that comes in handy for so much more than bullet journaling! I shared loads of advice for beginners in this Brush Lettering Tips & Tricks blog post, from which brush pens to buy to how to hold your pen.
Practicing brush lettering is a great way to get out of the habit of doom-scrolling on Instagram too as you can do it in front of the telly, on your lunch break or even on your daily commute if you can snag a table seat!
Can you use Watercolours in your Journal?
If you fancy learning a new skill in 2024, why not try watercolours? They’re an affordable way to dip your toe into the world of painting, and our Sakura Koi Watercolour Sketch Boxes come with a water brush and sponge so you can dive right in. They’re super portable too and great for creating on the go. How cute is this page that Nikki created in her travel journal last year?
If you’re new to watercolours and don’t know where to begin, check out some step-by-step videos on YouTube. I love @HaBuiArtDiy and @ShaydaCampbell. If you’d like to incorporate watercolours into your bullet journal or planner, I recommend using a notebook with thick paper such as Archer & Olive, or creating your masterpiece on watercolour paper and sticking it in. You can always do a test swatch in the back of your journal to see how it holds up if you want to avoid wrinkly pages!
Using Stencils in your Bullet Journal
Have you ever tried using stencils in your bullet journal? Our Geometric Shape Stencil makes creating monthly spreads a breeze! It’s made from flexible orange transparent acrylic so you can see exactly what you’re doing.
If you’d like to go one step further, why not try creating your own stencils from acetate or thick cardboard? You could cut them freehand using scissors or a craft knife, or use a digital cutting machine such as a Cricut or Silhouette. I wrote a blog post for CraftBuds detailing how I make stencils with my Cricut Maker. It’s a great way to speed up the process of creating your weekly spreads, or you could add a little flair to your boxes as I’ve done here.
Make sure you use a quick-drying pen or marker for stencilling as you don’t want the ink to smudge underneath! I love using fineliners for basic outlines, and Stabilo 68 Markers for bolder lines. The metallic ones make everything look so fancy!
Creating Collages in your Planner
There’s something about cutting and sticking that just feels so nurturing for your inner child. If you can’t remember the last time you got down ‘n’ dirty with a pair of scissors and a glue stick, you must give it a go! You could make a monthly cover page for your bullet journal, or create a fun scrapbook-style spread to remember a day out or holiday. I just adore the playful spreads that Nikki creates in her travel journals. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Travel Journaling if you’d like to see more travel inspo!
I love using our A5 Dot Grid Pads to collage in my bullet journal as they don’t add too much bulk. We’ve got two blog posts packed with inspo on how to incorporate our coloured dot grid papers into your bullet journal:
- Journaling with Our Pastel Dot Grid Pads
- 8 Ways to Use Coloured Dot Grid Papers in Your Bullet Journal and Beyond
Up Your BuJo Game with “Ransom Lettering”
In keeping with the theme of cutting and sticking, I absolutely love creating “ransom”-style lettering in my bullet journal where it looks like each letter has been cut from a different magazine or newspaper.
This style is your friend if you struggle to keep your hand lettering consistent (hi, it’s me) but want to create an impactful title or heading. The letters themselves don’t need to be that varied or artistic but using different coloured paper and pens really creates a really striking effect. Our Archer & Olive Kraft Dot Grid Notepad works so well with black and white paper!
Adding Photo Spreads to your Planner
Adding photos to your bullet journal is a great way to start using it as a memento, rather than just a way to keep track of tasks and deadlines. Nikki created a “Year in Polaroids” page in her BuJo and printed out a photo from every month. You can watch her creating the page in this Instagram reel.
You can see more inspo and ideas for adding photos to your journal as well as a review of both the Polaroid Hi-Print and FujiFilm Instax Mini Evo in this blog post.
Creating Dutch Doors in your Bullet Journal
Have you ever created a Dutch door in your bullet journal? The split pages allow you to see the same base page while flipping through multiple pages, or can help you easily navigate to a new section. It’s a great way to avoid duplicating information across multiple spreads.
Let me know if you’d like to see a whole blog post on the different ways to use Dutch doors in your bullet journal as there’s endless possibilities!
Introducing Mindful Journaling to your BuJo
If you’d like to introduce new sections or mindful journaling to your bullet journal in 2024, check out our new Make-a-Memo Pads from Korean stationers, Paperian. Choose from six different layouts:
- Drawing a Day
- Travel Note
Why not use a strip of washi tape to attach them into your BuJo or stick them above your desk? I love the idea of using the review pad to include reviews in books I’ve loaned to friends or donated! These mini pads are a great way to try out something new without committing to a whole journal or section for recipes, gratitude etc.
Trying New Weekly Layouts in your Planner
It’s very easy to get into the habit of using the same BuJo spreads all the time. If you’ve got into a bit of a rut with your weekly layouts, why not mix things up for 2024 and challenge yourself to use a new style every week for a month or two? I rounded up eight of my favourite weekly spread layouts in this blog post, along with a separate blog post on how to decorate them.
I hope that’s given you a little inspiration to mix things up in your bullet journal or planner this year! Why not bookmark this page so you refer back to it? If you’ve been inspired by any of the suggestions in this post, we’d love to see!
Please tag @nikkissupplystore and #NikkisSupplyStore on Instagram, where you can find heaps more journaling and stationery inspiration. You can also follow me, @joy.margot, for more craft content and pictures of my cat, Juniper.