Best Bullet Journal Supplies for Beginners
My Favourite Supplies
This week marks my first anniversary of bullet journaling, so I thought I’d mark the occasion by answering some FAQs. I’ve shared more on my Instagram story highlight, but one of the most common things I’m asked about is SUPPLIES!
My First Order
This time last year, I was eagerly awaiting my first delivery from Nikki’s Supply Store. After perusing this blog post, I ordered myself:
Archer & Olive kraft paper gold crescent moon dot grid journal (Out of stock - Click for all other available Crescent Moon Journals)
I splashed out on an Archer & Olive dot grid for my first journal as I knew that investing in something beautiful would make me more likely to stick with it. I had my heart set on the crescent moon design but the white dot grid version was unavailable at the time, so I opted for kraft. It was a bold choice for a first journal as it meant that I couldn’t use Tipp-Ex (Wite Out) and had to come up with more inventive ways to correct mistakes, of which there were many! It provided quite a different introductory experience as many pens behave differently on kraft paper, but it was a lot of fun and I loved experimenting.
I can’t recommend these enough! I had absolutely no experience with lettering and these allowed me to focus on getting used to the bullet journal system, while adding a pop of colour and fun to my initial minimalist spreads.
I just couldn’t resist! It’s still one of my favourite and most-used washi tape designs.
Fineliners are an absolute staple for most bullet journal users and these are the most popular for a reason! They dry quickly, are waterproof, don’t fade, ghost or bleed and come in a wide variety of thicknesses. I particularly love the limited edition black and gold versions.
So cute but alas, not hugely practical for a kraft paper journal as the colours are so subtle. These are getting a lot more use in my current white dot grid journal. I love that they have a chiselled tip for highlighting, and a finer tip for doodling and lettering.
I have changed how I use bullet journal symbols over the last year, but started out by colouring boxes to denote that a task was complete. These worked well and saved my fineliners! They’re great for doing chunky boxes, outlines and titles, and I particularly love the metallic versions, which look beautiful on kraft and black paper.
Learning from my initial order and first year of bullet journaling, the supplies I recommend to new users are:
A dot grid journal
You can use plain or lined if you prefer, but the dot grid really does lend itself to creating custom layouts. Nikki’s Supply Store stocks three brands of dot grid journals at different price points:
Definitely the luxury choice, but so worth it in my humble opinion. The responsibly sourced FSC-accredited 160gsm paper has a super smooth finish and is thick enough to stop bleed-through or ghosting when using pencils, markers, fountain pens, fineliners and even watercolours! The covers are hard-backed, bound by hand in linen and foil embossed. They also feature an elastic closure, back pocket and two ribbon bookmarks. They come in a choice of three sizes: travellers, A5 and B5.
One of the most popular dot grid journal choices but I must confess I’ve never used one so can’t comment. I believe this is what Ryder Carroll - creator of the bullet journal system - uses, which is a pretty solid recommendation. They’re A5 and include an elastic closure, two ribbon bookmarks, an index page and page numbers throughout.
These are an absolutely fantastic budget buy! The paper is almost as thick as Archer and Olive’s at 140gsm which is a must for the heavy handed among us. I find lighter paper a bit of a false economy as it often means I can’t write on both sides without major ghosting. The hardback cover has a lovely soft texture, and it features an elastic closure and ribbon bookmark. They’re slightly smaller than A5.
All you absolutely need to get started is a journal and something to write with, but the following will definitely come in handy and you probably have some of them already:
To sketch out layouts / designs
I’ve recently discovered this Tombow mono eraser which is so handy for erasing precise areas
I must confess I don’t use a ruler for drawing straight lines as I like the hand-drawn quality of imperfect lines, but it’s very useful for measuring and marking out grids
For layouts, titles and doodles - Sakura Pigma Micron are my favs
Every day writing pen
For weekly spreads and to do lists - I’ve recently switched to using a Kaweco fountain pen, but you may prefer a ballpoint or gel pen. It’s worth trying a few out to see which works best for you.
I highly recommend keeping it simple for the first month or so while you get used to the bullet journal system, but coloured pens are great for highlighting specific tasks/events or sectioning things out. I love Sakura Gelly Rolls and Stabilo 68s for a thicker line
If you’re using a white paper journal, a white gel pen is SO handy for correcting little mistakes. I use the 10 / 0.5mm Gelly Roll
For some quick and efficient decoration and colour
Keeping everything together and easily accessible is definitely a good idea when forming a new habit!
If that feels a bit overwhelming or you’re looking for someone to take the decision-making out of your hands, check out Nikki’s Bullet Journal Starter Kits. Choose from a Leuchtturm or Archer & Olive journal and save 10% vs buying everything separately!
Now, what are you waiting for? There’s no need to delay until January. I started my journal in the last week of November and it definitely removed the “new year, new me” pressure that no-one needs! Happy journaling!