I started bullet journaling a little over a year ago, at the end of May in 2019, and even in that small amount of time, my process and the supplies I use have changed dramatically. My first-ever “bullet journal” was a cheap, spiral-bound dot grid notebook I bought at Walmart, and my first spreads were made using nothing but a ballpoint pen. I used that notebook for the last week of May and all of June before moving into a Scribbles that Matter Pro, which I used from July 2019 through the end of the year.
Now, since January, I’ve been using a Dingbats Wildlife notebook, and that’s not the only supply that’s changed. Over the past year of bullet journaling and getting more and more into bullet journal YouTube, I’ve slowly grown my collection of pens, markers, and other bullet journal supplies.
I no longer use just a ballpoint pen to draw out all my spreads—but I want to be clear that there is absolutely nothing wrong if you do. The best thing about bullet journaling is that it’s so personal. You can be as minimal or as creative as you want, because it’s your journal and your life. These are just the supplies I, personally, use the most often.
The Basics: my notebook, everyday writing pen, and fineliners
All you really need to bullet journal is a notebook and a pen. I’ve already told you what kind of journal I use in general terms, but more specifically my current notebook is the A5+ size Blue Whale notebook from the Dingbats Wildlife collection. I’m not going to go into detailed thoughts on the notebook because that’s outside the scope of this post, but if you want to hear what I think of this notebook, you can go read the review I posted recently here.
Other than the notebook, though, we have the pen. I will use pretty much any pen I have lying around if I need to, but the one I keep in my journal’s pen loop is a Papermate Inkjoy gel penin the size 0.7 (I don’t know if they come in other tip sizes or not). That’s what I use for everyday writing in my bujo, like making task lists, taking notes, or filling out spreads. It’s comfortable to write with, doesn’t skip, and puts down a thick, dark line, which I appreciate. The ink also lasts a long time. Even using it every single day multiple times a day, I’ve had the exact same pen for months now.
I don’t do a lot of intense drawing or doodling in my bullet journal. I’m just not much of an artist, so what little doodles I do tend to be simple things like stars or swirls or something like that. I do, however, like to have structured weekly spreads with boxes and lines dividing the different parts of the spread. For those, I use felt tip pens. I also use them for lettering sometimes.
Specifically, the ones I use most often are the Staedtler pigment liners, though I do have a set of Sakura Pigma Microns as well. For my Staedtlers, I have a little four pack of the sizes 0.1, 0.3, 0.5, and 0.7, which work fine for me, because, as I mentioned, I’m not using them for detailed drawings, so I don’t really need that wide of an array of widths. I got the pack of Staedtlers I’m currently using not long after I started keeping a bullet journal, and they are still going strong.
The Aesthetics: Brush pens and colorful pens
As I said, I’m not exactly an artist, so for me, adding personality and creativity to my spreads usually means incorporating things like hand lettering (which I started learning when I started bullet journal) or using colorful pens to add a little splash of color.
My hand lettering skills have drastically improved since I started bullet journaling, but I’m still far from an expert. Still, I do have some specific pens that I absolutely love.
The first is the Tombow Fudenosuke hard-tip brush pen(particularly the black one, not the colors). This is one of the first brush pens I ever bought a few months after I started bullet journaling, and I absolutely fell in love with it. I have the soft-tip one, too, but I like the hard-tip much better. It’s easier to control and, I find, doesn’t dump quite as much ink onto the page, which makes it a little less prone to bleeding or feathering.
The reason why I say not the colors is because I also own the red hard-tip Fudenosuke, and it’s a little underwhelming in terms of color pay-off. The ink that the black one puts down on the page is very saturated, while the colorful one (or at least the red one that I have—I don’t have any of the other colorful Fudenosuke pens) is very faded. This is especially true when you compare it to my current favorite colorful small brush pen.
That is the Pentel Sign Pen Touchbrush pen. It’s confusingly named and can be difficult to find (there is a regular felt tip pen by the same brand that has very similar packaging and a very similar name), but despite that, I love this pen. For reference, here’s a photo showing the comparison between the Fudenosuke and the sign pen. On the left is the black Tombow Fudenosuke hard-tip brush pen, in the middle is the red Tombow Fudenosuke hard-tip brush pen, and on the right is the red Pentel Sign Pen. Notice how faded the one in the middle looks compared to the other two.
The Pentel Sign Pen is something that I bought more recently, but it has quickly become my go-to when I want to do colorful lettering in my journal. The only downside is that the tip is more flexible than the hard-tip Fudenosuke, more similar to the soft-tip Fudenosuke, which means that it is a little harder to control (at least for me; your mileage may vary), but I think it’s worth it for the color pay-off.
Those are the two main pens that I use to add some creativity to my journal, but I have some other pens that I like to use occasionally as well.
The first of these is the Papermate Flair felt tip pens in the medium size. I got a whole pack of them, so I have them in several different colors. I use these for a lot of different things, from lettering to drop shadows to, even, line work. For example, in my July spreads, my theme involves a lot of dark blue, so instead of using my plain black Staedtlers to draw the spreads, like I normally would, I decided to use a navy blue Papermate Flair.
Other pens I use occasionally to add some accents are the Uniball Signobroad gel pens. I have it in white, gold, and silver. The white one is definitely the one I use the most, since I also sometimes use it to correct mistakes (though most of the time I just live with the mistake), but I occasionally use both it and the other two to add in decorations.
I also have some cheap dual brush pens from the brand AenArt that I bought on Amazon way back at the beginning, but I don’t really use them for brush lettering anymore because they’re hard to control and fray after just a few uses. These days, I use those for coloring things in or doing drop shadows, not for lettering. In addition, I have Crayola Supertips left over from when I was a kid that I use sometimes. Finally, I do also own a pack of Tombow Dual Brush Pens, which I like much better than the AenArt ones for lettering. However, I find them to be a little impractical in a bullet journal because you have to write so big when using them. Maybe that’s just because I’m still unpracticed with them, and I’ll be able to write smaller the more I work with them, but right now, that’s the way I feel about them.
The Extras: washi tape, stickers, colorful paper, glue tape adhesive
For the most part, in my bullet journal, I tend to just stick to pen or marker on paper. I don’t usually like to glue things into my journal or anything like that. With that being said, I do have a collection of washi tape, stickers, and colorful paper that I have used in my journal before, or that I plan to use in my journal in the future.
To stick in the paper (and to glue pages together when I make an egregious mistake), I use the glue tape dispenser from Tombow called the Tombow Mono Permanent Adhesive. It makes it a lot easier to stick things into your journal than a glue stick or regular double-sided tape.
As for the actual paper options, I have neutral-colored cardstock, watercolor rainbow cardstock, and two pads of colorful newsprint meant for kids that I’m not entirely sure how I came to own them. The cardstock papers are both from the brand Colorbök, but I’m pretty sure I bought them from Walmart, and the newsprint pads are from Crayola and a brand called Fierro.
The washi tapes I own were either bought from the craft section at Walmart or from variety packs at random craft stores. I don’t know what most of the brands are because they aren’t listed anywhere on the washi tape roll itself and I threw away the packaging ages ago. But I do own three washi tapes from Scotch brand tape and three from Duck brand.
For stickers, I mostly just use whatever I have lying around. I have some butterfly stickers, for example, and I also bought a sticker set from Planning with Kay’s website to use for my June bullet journal spreads. I also have a Happy Planner sticker booklet. But I don’t use stickers all that often.
Those are all of the supplies I use for bullet journaling! I hope you enjoyed this, and I’ll see you next time!
I am an aspiring writer and lover of stories as well as a college student double majoring in French and Writing. I love reading, and I wanted to make this blog as a way to share my love of books and writing with other people like me.