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The Beginners Guide To Bullet Journals & Bullet Journal Accessories


If you search the phrase bullet journal on Amazon, you’ll be met with a plethora of information, notebooks, pens, stencils and even clothing. It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out what you actually need to get started versus what are optional accessories. You may want to jump right into bullet journaling, but you’re not sure if it’s worth your time or money to invest into it. After reading this guide, you should have a clear understanding of what you need and what you don’t need. I’ll also provide some alternatives where applicable. So, let’s get started!

What You Need For Bullet Journaling

The only items required for bullet journaling are a notebook and a pen or pencil. Ryder Carroll, the creator of the original bullet journaling system, wanted a way to easily organize and track his tasks and todos. Ryder found that most systems were too complicated, and that he never used them effectively. Since bullet journaling is a functional way of managing tasks, you only need minimal materials to get started. Over the past few years, bullet journaling has become a form of art and expression. There are some very creative people out there who mange to make their bullet journals beautiful and functional. Visit Ryder Carroll’s about page on Bullet Journal website to learn more about the bullet journaling system. Now that you know what you need to get started, let’s talk about some things that will really enhance your bullet journaling experience.

Books On Bullet Journaling

Ryder Carroll provides some great documentation on the bullet journaling system he created. There’s even a free guide available on the Bullet Journal website. Reading through Ryder’s documentation is a solid way to jump right into bullet journaling, but you may find yourself wanting more information. While there’s nothing like the original, it might be helpful to learn about other ways of implementing the bullet journaling system. Your bullet journal should be customized to meet your individual needs. Reading through a well written book on bullet journaling is an excellent way to get some inspiration in a structured way.
The books below are some of the highest rated books in the bullet journaling category. They all have slightly different approaches, which is great for variety. There’s a nice mix that includes something for both the functional bullet journal enthusiasts as well as the more decorative bullet journal lovers. As an alternative to purchasing a book on bullet journaling, you can do some online research. There are numerous websites that provide information and resources on bullet journaling. You can follow this Pinterest Board for a collection of free bullet journaling tips, tricks and resources.

Dot Journaling—A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary That’ll Actually Help You Get Your Life Together

By: Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Author’s Description

Organize your life, record what matters, and get stuff done!What the heck is a dot journal? It’s a planner, to-do list, and diary for every aspect of your life: work, home, relationships, hobbies, everything. Early adopter Rachel Wilkerson Miller explains how to make a dot journal work for you—whether you find the picture-perfect examples on Pinterest inspiring or, well, intimidating. You decide how simple or elaborate your journal will be, and what goes in there:

  • Lists of your to-dos, to-don’ts, and more

  • Symbols that will make those lists efficient and effective

  • Spreads to plan your day, week, month, or year

  • Trackers for your habits and goals (think health, money, travel

  • Accouterments such as washi tape, book darts, and more!

Rachel Wilkerson Miller

Learn more about Dot Journaling by Rachel Wilkerson Miller

The 365 Bullet Guide: Organize Your Life Creatively, One Day at a Time

By: > Zennor Compton

Author’s Description

Meet the bullet system: a revolutionary organization method that will increase both your efficiency and your creativity. The bullet method will provide you with a to-do list that is so foolproof that you will never miss a task or appointment again. When you learn the basic principles of the method, you can delve deeper into the process and allow it to help you organize your daily life, take note of past accomplishments, and plan your future. THE 365 BULLET BOOK is an easy-to-follow and essential guide to learning the bullet system. There’s an exercise for every day of the year and each takes 365 seconds or less to complete. With simple, clear instructions, this book will show you how to incorporate the bullet method into your life as gradually or quickly as you like. The joy of bulleting is that it is both holistic and completely customizable to your own aesthetics and habits, so you can create your own journal from scratch and put into practice as many of the hundreds of ideas and techniques as your like such as habit trackers, sleep logs, handwriting exercises, and much more! Whether you’re a doodling devotee or a to-the-point minimalist, THE 365 BULLET BOOK is your indispensable guide to an elegantly organized life.

Zennor Compton

Learn more about The 365 Bullet Guide by Zennor Compton

Beyond Bullets: Creative Journaling Ideas to Customize Your Persoal Productivity System

By Megan Rutell

Author’s Description

FUN, COLORFUL, AND CREATIVE SUGGESTIONS FOR THE NEWEST PRODUCTIVITY PHENOMENON. Going beyond basic tools, this book offers tips, tricks and creative ways to transform your notebook into a treasured life companion, including:

  • Ornamental lettering

  • Personalized habit trackers

  • Colorful calendars

  • Decorative headers

  • Customized productivity lists

  • Inspiring artwork

  • Creative future logs

  • Unique planning pages

Megan Rutell

Learn more about Beyond Bullets by Megan Rutell

Books On Hand Lettering

Lettering and bullet journaling often go hand-in-hand. If you’re interested in setting up a functional bullet journal, but you’d like to add a small bit of creativity, lettering is a great option. Lettering is often referred to as modern calligraphy, brush lettering or hand lettering. Each of these names refer to the style and manner in which the lettering was created. If you’re interested in learning the specific differences between the different styles of lettering, I would highly recommend reaing Art of Hand-Lettering Its Mastery and Practice. It was originally published in 1978 and has undergone some revisions over the years to reflect new trends in calligraphy and lettering. If you’re more interested in jumping right into lettering without knowing all of the history behind it, you can check out the books below. Just like with the books on bullet journaling, these are the top rated books in their category. There is also a lot of information on lettering available for free online. Here are some Pinterest Boards to jumpstart your research. You can follow this board for lettering inspiration and you can follow this board for resources and tutorials on lettering.

Lettering and Modern Calligraphy: A Beginner’s Guide: Learn Hand Lettering and Brush Lettering

By Paper Peony Press

Author’s Description

Learn to letter! Learn to letter and create beautiful designs with this beginner’s guide and workbook! Every page is filled with tips, tricks encouragement and practice space to kickstart your lettering journey! Learn 5 different alphabet styles, upper and lower case letters, practice connections and dive into design and composition with this beautiful lettering book. At the end of this book, there are also 15 beautiful lettering projects to help you bring together your knowledge and skill and help you begin to create beautiful works of art! You can do this!! Let us teach you how to upgrade your handwriting and learn this amazing and fun form of art The Book Contains:

  • Learn five different alphabet styles

  • Upper and lower case letters

  • Detailed instructions

  • 15 beautiful lettering projects
    Paper Peony Press

Learn more about Lettering and Modern Calligraphy by Paper Peony Press

Hand Lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering

By Chalkfulloflove

Author’s Description

With Hand Lettering 101, Sarah brings her fabulous Hand Lettering 101 workshop right to you with this beginner workbook! If you follow Chalkfulloflove (also known as Sarah!) on social media, you and thousands of others already know how adorable her hand-lettered creations are. In this book, you will go over the basics on how to learn Sarah’s fun style of faux calligraphy. This book will guide you through each letter of the lower case alphabet, go over her technique behind connecting letters, give tips on how to mix and match your fonts, and finally lead you to make six finished projects! This is an introduction, so no experience is needed! Since practice is key, this gold spiral bound workbook lays flat and provides tons of opportunities for practice! Chalkfulloflove was created to encourage, inspire and make you giggle, so just pour yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and settle in to start your own unique, adorable lettering creations! Hand Lettering 101: An Introduction to the Art of Creative Lettering

The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide: A Complete Step-by-Step Creative Workbook to Jump Start Modern Calligraphy Skills

By Peggy Dean

Author’s Description

The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide has something for everyone – from beginners that have never used a brush pen, to seasoned letterers looking for new stylistic, expressive options and ideas. Each lesson builds on itself, unlocking endless opportunities inside the playful art of brush lettering.This book covers it all, from the ever-so-important basics, through a journey of faux calligraphy, a comprehensive brush pen guide along with how they’re used, pages of different alphabet styles, unique flourishes and ligatures, to creative step-by-step DIY projects. Dive in and discover your unique style.

Peggy Dean

Learn more about The Ultimate Brush Lettering Guide by Peggy Dean

Notebooks For Bullet Journaling

Your bullet journal should be flexible and adapt to your lifestyle and plans. A plain spiral notebook is all you need to get started, but if you’re looking to step your game up, here are some great options for notebooks. Most people like using a dot grid for bullet journaling. This option gives you the flexibility of a blank page, while still offering some guidance. The dots are great for drawing straight lines and ensuring that your spacing is equal. In addition to the dot grid layout, there are also lined, gridded and blank options available in most of the popular notebook brands. Just choose what works best for your style. There are no wrong answers in bullet journaling.

Leuchtturm1917 Hardcover Medium Dotted Journal

The Leuchtturm1917 is a thread bound, hard cover notebook that opens flat and comes with stickers for labeling and archiving. There are 249 dot grid, acid-free and ink proof numbered pages. The Leuchtturm1917 includes a blank table of contents for making an easy reference guide right inside your bullet journal. In addition to the table of contents, the Leuchtturm1917 includes an expandable pocket on the inside of the back cover, a page marker and an elastic closure.

Learn more about the Leuchtturm1917 Notebook

Moleskine Classic Notebook

The Moleskine Classic Notebook is a polyurethane, hard cover, classic notebook with rounded corners and an elastic closure. The Moleskine Classic includes 192 acid-free, ivory pages.

Learn more about the Moleskine Notebook

Lemome A5 Hardcover Dot Grid Notebook with Pen Loop

The Lemome Notebook is a hard cover notebook with a dot grid that’s great for bullet journaling. There are 180 ivory white pages that are fairly thick at 120g, and resist bleeding from most pens. The Lemome includes a pen loop as well as some page dividers. A great feature of the Lemome is that it lays flat when opened. You’ll really come to appreciate as you start to fill your bullet journal.

Learn more about the Lemome Notebook

Writing Utensils For Bullet Journaling

Now that you’ve chosen your notebook, let’s take a look at some of the most popular choices in writing utensils. For most people, chosing a pen is the easy part. The only qualification is that the pen writes well. If you’re looking for a basic pen that will provide a smooth gel-like texture to your writing, check out the Paper Make Ink Joy pens. These are a favorite in the bullet journal and planner community. They’re inexpensive, they write fluidly and they come in several colors. It’s a great everyday pen. Paper Mate also has the Paper Mate Flair pens. These are in the fine tip marker family, and they’re great because they have a thicker tip and they don’t bleed through most papers.

Huhuhero Fineliner Color Pen Set

The Huhuhero set includes 10, 0.38mm fine point pens that are perfect for drawing lines & details, painting, writing, sketching and a lot more more. The ink is water-based, dry safe, and has minimal bleeding through paper. The ink is also acid-free and non-toxic. These fiber-tipped pens create fine lines and beautiful colors.

Learn more about the Huhuhero Fineliner Pens

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers

The Tombow Dual Brush Pens are ideal for fine art, brush lettering, faux calligraphy, illustrations, water color illustrations, journaling and more! They’re definitely one of the most versatile pen sets you can buy. Each set includes 9 colors and 1 blender pen. The pens are a flexible brush tip and fine tip in one marker. The brush tip is made of a durable and flexible nylon fiber, which creates medium or bold strokes by changing brush pressure. You can use the fine tip for consistently sized lines. The Tombow Brush Pens are non-toxic and the brush tips clean themselves after blending.

Learn more about the Tombow Dual Brush Markers

Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen

This Tombow brush pen contains both the soft and hard tip Fudenosuke Brush Pens. The Fudenosuke pens feature a flexible brush tip for different lettering and drawing techniques that can create extra-fine, fine or medium strokes by a change in brush pressure. The pens are water-based, and have pigmented black ink.

Learn more about the Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens

Faber Castel Pitt Artists Pens

Faber Castel Pitt Artists Pens are famous for combining a modern brush nib design with the traditional medium of India ink. The Pit Pens are rich in color, permanented, waterproof, acid-free and odorless.

Learn more about the Faber Castel Pitt Artists Pens

Stencils For Bullet Journaling

Stencils are definitely one of those optional accessories that are really nice to have. No matter your style of bullet journaling, stencils can save you hours of time. There are stencils for nearly anything you can think of, and if you have a cutting machine like the Silhouette or the Cricut you can create your own stencils. Using stencils will allow you to quickly add dates, icons and other objects to your bullet journal. Not only do stencils save you a lot of time, but they also create consistency throughout your bullet journal. In most cases, stencils are fairly inexpensive. If you’re looking for some alternatives to buying stencils, you might consider using some everyday household objects to guide your bullet journal layouts. A ruler or straight-edge is a great place to start. You can also use something like a small mug to create circles or even an earring box to create some large squares to section off different parts of your page. A little creativity goes a long way! Here are some stencil sets to get you started. There are so many different sets to choose from, but these are some of the basic shapes and elements that most people include in there bullet journals.

Banners, Dividers, & Icons

BHOME 20 Pack Journal Stencil Set Plastic Planner Stencils

COCODE Plastic Bullet Journal Stencil Template Set of 8 with Letters Number Alphabet

The bullet journal has revolutionized how many people organize their lives. It’s a truly flexible system that will adapt to the needs of the user. If you’re struggling with ideas for how to use your bullet journal, I’ve complied a list of some great ways to use a bullet journal or planner. You can read the entire list by clicking here. If you’re in need of some bullet journal inspiration, you can follow this Pinterest Board. I hope you found this guide helpful! If you have any questions or comments feel free to contact me or leave a comment below. If you found this information helpful please share it on social media! Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in my next post!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using this link.

Eryn Rochelle

Eryn Rochelle

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If you search the phrase bullet journal on Amazon, you’ll be met with a plethora of information, notebooks, pens, stencils and even clothing. It can feel overwhelming trying to figure out what you actually need to get started versus what are optional accessories. You may want to jump right into bullet journaling, but you’re not sure if it’s worth your time or money to invest into it. After reading this guide, you should have a clear understanding of what you need and what you don’t need. I’ll also provide some alternatives where applicable. So, let’s get started!

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