Five Ways to Use a Dot Grid Journal
While bullet journaling may be the most common use for dot grid journals, it’s by no means to the only way to use them. Those little dots provide a diverse base for a whole world of planning, record-keeping and creativity! Whether you’ve built up a huge collection of journals because you just couldn’t resist the pretty designs (I’ve been there!) or maybe you tried bullet journaling, it wasn’t for you but you don’t want to waste the rest of the journal…read on! Hopefully there’s something here to pique your interest, and no journal will be left unfilled.
I’ve featured five of my favourites, and there’s even more ideas at the end of this post…
First up is one that combines my two favourite hobbies: journaling and crafts. I’ve been meaning to start a craft journal for ages, and I’m so glad that writing this post finally gave me the push I needed. I used to wonder why people used precious crafting time to plan and record their projects, but I’ve really slowed down in the last couple of years and tried to make more intentionally. This is also a handy way to remember those little things I SWORE I’d remember when I picked up a project again a month later, and definitely didn’t, like seam allowance, stitch settings etc.
Most of my spreads are geared towards dressmaking as that’s my main crafty hobby, but you could cater your spreads to whichever crafts you’re into.
I’m new to brush lettering but was pretty pleased with how my title page turned out. Next, I’ve included a couple of functional-but-not-very-aesthetic pages for keeping track of finished projects and project ideas. The latter will remind me which fabrics I’ve mentally assigned to garments so I don’t end up using something I shouldn’t! The dot grid paper is really handy for drawing charts and boxes as it keeps those columns nice and even.
Journal supplies as before plus Pentel Fude Touch brush pen
My fabric stash page is one of my absolute favourites and I can’t stop staring at it! I hope it will remind me to “shop my stash” before making any spontaneous fabric purchases. I originally planned to add actual swatches of fabric, but I was wary of making my journal too bulky or creating an uneven writing surface. I printed photos of my fabrics onto sticker paper, and cut the “swatch” shape with my Cricut as I didn’t want to blunt my pinking shears. You could sketch your fabrics if you don’t have access to a printer and don’t want to include actual swatches. I’ve made a note of the fabric composition and when and where I bought each fabric.
I couldn’t decide what to draw on this blank page, so I attached a postcard with washi tape. This is a great way to fill blank pages in your journal as it adds a little decoration but can still be easily removed if you decide to send the postcard!
Journal supplies as before plus star doodles washi
I know that the quantity and type of information I’ll want to record for each project will vary, so I’ve kept the layout of my project pages quite loose. That’s one of the reasons that a pre-printed “sewing journal” didn’t work for me. As well as tracking basic info like the pattern and fabric I used, I’ve made a note of the alterations I made, some notes for next time, and included an inspiration pic and a snap of the finished garment.
Journal supplies as before plus gingham washi
As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been trying my hand at brush lettering this year. It certainly hasn’t come easily to me but I find the key is practice, practice, practice! The dot grid paper is really helpful for achieving consistent sizing and spacing, and Archer & Olive journals have lovely smooth paper which won’t fray your brush pen tips.
Once you’ve got the hang of the individual letters, you could fill your journal with hand lettered quote pages to practice a variety of different lettering styles.
Next up, something for the green fingered journalers! I’ve developed a bit of a houseplant obsession in the last couple of years, but I don’t have the best track record of keeping them alive. Depending on how many plants you have, you could include a few spreads as part of your regular bullet journal, or create a dedicated plant journal.
Journal supplies as before plus Pentel Fude Touch brush pen
You could also include:
- A watering, feeding and dusting calendar
- A record of your plants’ height and growth
- A map that shows where each plant is in your house
- A record of how much you’re spending on plants. On second thoughts…
If your green fingers extend to the great outdoors, a gardening journal could help you keep up with your lawn mowing, planting, feeding and watering schedule. I particularly love the calendar, as a quick glance shows which jobs need doing in any given month.
If you’ve got a large vegetable patch or an allotment, you could use the dot grid paper to plot out a to-scale plan and record where everything is planted.
Small Biz Journal / Project Planning
I currently include a few small business spreads in my main bullet journal but I’ll soon be a full-time freelance virtual assistant and will need a separate journal to keep track of my workload and clients.
The “social tracker” is a variation of the habit tracker I use in my bullet journal, and is a great way to see at a glance when/where I’ve posted on social media and whether I need to check emails, DMs etc. The time sheet is pretty self-explanatory and has been a staple of mine since I started helping Nikki out with Royal Mail Click and Drop admin eighteen months ago.
I’m a very visual person, and find it really helpful to have a breakdown of every individual task that I need to do as part of a project. I find a shot list very helpful when filming an Instagram reel, as it helps me remember which shot is coming next and whether I need to set up for a particular transition. This method works well for a wide variety of tasks, including work projects, baking and decorating a cake, planning an event etc.
Journal supplies as before plus pink grid washi
I mentioned Zentangles it in my blackout journaling post, but if you’re not familiar with the term, they’re an easy-to-learn, meditative way of creating beautiful abstract images with combinations of dots, lines, curves and orbs. It’s an excellent way to unwind and I really loved creating this page. While you can go completely freehand as I did with the two curved designs, the dot grid paper means you can draw geometric designs and straight lines with ease. Well, kinda straight. I’m actually not great at drawing straight lines without a ruler but I think Zentangling on a regular basis would definitely improve that!
Hopefully that’s given you a little inspiration but of course, the possibilities really are endless! Here’s a few more ideas for your empty dot grid journals to keep you busy:
- Budgeting and finance
- Commonplace book
- Dream journal
- Film / TV log
- Morning pages or long-form journaling
- Reading log
- Recipe book and meal planner
- Scrapbook or junk journal
- Study notes
- Travel journal
- Wedding planning
If you’ve been inspired by any of the ideas in this blog post, I’d love to see your creations! Please tag @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.