Bullet Journal Extras

I wrote a post about re-starting my bullet journal earlier in January - Bullet Journalling Anyone? - and shared a few of the things I'm using mine for and it seems to have struck a bit of a cord, so thanks so much everyone for all your lovely comments.

I also raised the idea of sharing a few of my tools of the bullet journalling trade, so to speak, and as you seemed to quite like the idea, here I am today to show you those too!

Now, before I begin I did just want to say that you don't actually need anything more that the cheapest notebook and biro to actually use the bullet journalling system.  If you ever fancied a go but don't want to buy a whole load of stationary to get started then don't let this post of pretties stop you.  This is just me sharing a few of the things that I like to use, not because they are strictly necessary, but because that what makes it fun to me.

There are a few basics in here that anyone who wants to move beyond the most simple and pure bujo might find handy though...

First up, is the notebook.  Now, as I said, you don't need anything fancy here, but a popular choice amongst bullet journal aficionados is the Leuchtturm 1917 notebook.  (Don't ask me to pronounce it!)  They come is a variety of sizes, but the A5 version makes a good, portable bujo size.

To be honest, they aren't the cheapest notebooks in the world, but the reason they are so popular is because they have plenty of pages of really smooth, quality paper which is nice to write on.  There is a space for an index at the front and the pages are already numbered (both used in the bujo system), they also come in a choice of formats, lined, plain or the very versatile 'dotted' format that make it super useful for vertical and horizontal 'spreads'.

The one I personally use is the Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Notebook and if the above reads a little like an ad then I do apologise!  It's just that I love mine a lot.

The other pad pictured is a Rhodia A4 Dotted Notepad.  They have similar beautifully smooth paper and are great for brush lettering practice if you want to get into that.  The brush pens that I'll talk about below glide beautifully across it.

Next up, let's talk about a few of the basics.

Even if you are not looking to spend any cash on this particular 'habit' there are a few things that are really handy if you want to venture into something just a little more creative.  Although I certainly don't get too hung up on having 'perfect' pages (that way madness lies!) a pencil and rubber are undeniably handy for a roughing out potential layout ideas and a Tippex Mouse is also a nifty way to remove any pen errors that a too much of a blot on my pagescape.

The next most useful thing, is a ruler.  But my top tip is to look for a 20cm/8" one.  The standard school pencil case kind that you see everywhere is only 15cm/6" and it falls short of reaching the whole way down a Leuchtturm page (or any other A5 note book come to that), so you need to move the ruler and draw twice for every vertical line.  It doesn't seem much, but the constant shifting wears thin pretty quick I can tell you, whereas with the 20cm kind, it's a clean whoosh all the way down.

I find a clear one is best and mine is a super basic plastic one like this by Westcott.  Although, I kind of wish I had a fun animal shaped one like this!

I also keep some highlighters in my bag 'o bujo bits.  These Pilot Frixion Highlighters are ones I had already but I quite like them because they are pastel colours and a bit more subtle.

Probably time we actually committed some ink to our pages, so lets talk pens now.

I like to have a few pens in different thickness.  The bolder ones are great for titles and emphasising text and the finer ones are good for general notes and maybe a little doodling.

I started out with a pack of 3 Faber-Castell Artist pens (looks like you get 4, with an extra super fine now).  Mine came in a set of three different thickness, medium, fine and super fine and they are what I use most for all my layouts.  Medium for bold titles, fine for lines, super fine for notes.

I also have a calligraphy style pen which I like to use for titles.  It has a much smaller, finer nib than the brush lettering pens below, so although you use it in the same way, you can write a lot smaller, which is very useful.  I use the Tombow 'Fudenosuke' Hard Brush pen as it was recommended by those in the lettering know and although I need more practise, I do like how it looks.  You can also get a soft version, but I haven't tried that yet.

The other pen in the top picture with a love heart on tope is just a regular gel pen which I got from Sticker Stack.  (They don't seem to have any of those in stock at the moment, but it is a cute shop if you fancy a look.)  I like it because it has a really fine nib, so I'm going to start using that for writing some of my notes.  (I do seem to have trouble writing small!)

Another general pen I thought I'd share with you is my fountain pen.  I don't actually use this in my bullet journal too often because I'm too impatient to let the ink dry but I do love using it to practice some neater hand writing.

Mine is a Lamy Safari, nice and cheap for a fountain pen, but it writes like a dream.  
(Mine needed a little bit of 'breaking in' but now we work so well together!)

Last of all is that wonderful brush lettering that looks so pretty...

If you've ever fancied having a go at this style of writing, and I really recommend that you do because it's not as hard as it looks and it is lots of fun, then these Tombow Dual Brush Pens are a good way to go.  You get a lovely thick brush nib at one end, and a regular felt tip style nib at the other end (handy to 'touching up' any imperfect lettering).

They come in a whole host of colours, which I obviously love and those brush tips bend and flex beautifully to create that wonderful contrast between the thick and thin lines.  The only downside of the Tombow pens is they are a little pricey.  But you can buy them individually and I've also seen plenty of lettering guides on using Crayola Super Tips as an alternative.

I won't get into the 'how to' of brush lettering (or modern calligraphy) as there are dozens of lettering guides out there, but here's a good You Tube video by Destination Decoration to get you started on the basics.

One final pen to tell you about is very much a 'cherry on the top' type, but again, it's one I love, so I thought I'd share it here.  It's a Uni-ball Signo Gel Pen with white ink and I first saw it used together with the Tombow brush pens to create a little decorative highlight on the letters.  Can you see the little flashes of white I used on the picture above?  Not remotely essential obviously, but it's a fun touch.  I've actually found it surprisingly useful, as looks great when used on brown paper, or plain brown tags for wrapping, as well as those colourful card envelopes that you get a lot of these days.

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Ok, that was a lot of information!  I hope it wasn't too long for you.

To make it easier, I'm adding a little summery of all the items I mentioned below (with links) for you and if you fancy a read of my original post about bullet journalling, to see the kind of spreads I'm using and get some ideas, you can find that here: Bullet Journalling Anyone?


Bullet Journal Notebook: Leuchtturm 1917 A5 Dotted Notebook
Pencil and eraser
Covering up errors: A Tippex Mouse
20cm / 8" Ruler: Westcott Clear Plastic Ruler
Super Fine - Medium Tip Pens: Faber-Castell Artist pens
Calligraphy/Fine Brush Pen: Tombow 'Fudenosuke' Hard Brush
Pastel Highlighters: Pilot Frixion Highlighters
Fountain Pen: Lamy Safari

Brush Lettering Pens: Tombow Dual Brush Pens
Alternative Brush Lettering Pens: Crayola Super Tips
Brush Lettering Practise Pad: Rhodia A4 Dotted Notepad

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S x

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  1. Wow, what an informative post, so much detail. Love the details..ha. Think I am off for a browse at the links you posted. Im feeling a spending spree coming on! Ha! Thanks so much for a fab post Sandra. X

    1. Ahh, so glad you liked it and have fun with your shopping! :)

      S x

  2. Thanks so much Sandra, I've been waiting for this post. I've just ordered some pens (bought the notebook after the last post), so I'm nearly ready to set out on this adventure. I'm really hoping it will help me to be more organised....

    1. I hope so too! I feel like I'm doing better than last year, but time will tell I guess :)

      S x

  3. Oh no.... I feel like I need to buy it all! Such a great informative post! I will ponder on it further before committing... but I will probably be back and some point, to help fill my shopping cart! Thank you for all this useful information and tips! Maria (Dinki Dots) x