There are a LOT of different bullet journaling supplies out there. While I will never turn down a trip to the stationary aisle, trying all these different supplies while fun can also be a huge task when you’re first starting. Throughout my bullet journaling quest, I’ve tried a lot of different supplies, from different journals to different pens to different washi tapes. Here, I’ve compiled a list of the supplies I’ve tried including use cases for all of these. As I try more and more supplies, I’ll continue to update and add to this list. (I last updated this list on May 18th, 2019.)
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Best Notebooks I’ve Tried
All of these products are ones that I have actually used. I don’t get paid for my reviews of these products (though I wish I did!) so you can be sure that these are honest reviews from me. If you have a product you think I should try, leave a comment or reach out to me on social media. Time and money willing, I’ll try to give it a shot.
A note before we dive in: I am a firm believer that you DON’T need any fancy notebooks to get started. Any notebook and any pen will do. These are all just suggestions from me and my experience.
What I’m Using Now (May 2019): Dingbats Wildlife A5
For $20, this bullet journal has been my favorite so far. The Dingbats Wildlife Notebook comes in a few colors with cute animals on the front. As per usual, I chose the A5+ dot grid, because I find the dots not as intrusive as lines or square grids (personal preference). This notebook is slightly bigger than the other A5 notebooks (hence the plus) but not overly big. The paperweight is 100 gsm, and it’s smooth, almost silky, to the touch. I think this coating helps prevent a lot of bleed through (aka ghosting) for most of my pens. That said, it’s not full-proof, you can sometimes see a little if you’re a little thick with your ink.
The dot grid is 28 squares by 39 squares. The pages are also perforated, which I have found has advantages and disadvantages. If you mess up, just tear it out. No big deal. But then you are stuck with a little nub of paper (if that bothers you). A disadvantage I’ve come across is that the perforation is within the first square of the dot grid. If you use a brush pen in this area, you might find the colors seep through. It’s a minor thing, but it’s worth mentioning.
There are some negatives to this bullet journal. If you like having a pre-made index, pen test page, or key, this doesn’t have those. In fact, it doesn’t have page numbers at all. So if you wanted to add an index, you’d have to add page numbers. Personally, this doesn’t bother me, but it is technically a major part of bullet journaling for some. My key hasn’t changed enough to warrant a special key, I’m used to testing my pens on the back page, and I’m too lazy to number all the pages.
Hint: You can always bookmark pages by folding washi tape around your page’s edge. I’ll do a blog all about the uses of washi tape soon!
That said, if you absolutely need those built-in key and index pages or page numbers, there is a “pro” version. This Dingbats Earth with Bullet Journaling Features is also available on Amazon and is only a few bucks more ($22.95). It includes two bookmarks instead of one, page numbers and a special key and index section. It even comes with bullet journaling instructions and fun facts about wildlife. This one ONLY comes in a dotted grid though. Personally, I’m a woman on a budget, so a few dollars more for things I don’t use much of wasn’t worth it to me. But the options are there!
What I Started With: Moleskin Classic Hard Cover
My first bullet journal supply…this is where it all started. Remember, I’m a woman on a budget, so in the beginning, I didn’t want to drop a ton of money on something that I might not continue to use. I didn’t even know if I’d like the bullet journal method. Plus, Moleskin Classic Notebooks are readily available in a variety of stores. So I didn’t have to wait even two days to pick one up.
The one I have linked is the one that I personally used, but there are more options (for higher prices). But I used the large, hardcover classic notebook. This one is the thinnest one I have, and I learned quickly that I wanted a little more space. This one has a dot grid of 24 squares by 40 squares.
Moleskins have a variety of sizes, colors, paperweights, etc. For the one had 240 pages, quite a few more than Dingbats. But the paperweight for the classic series is only 70 gsm. That’s a significant difference and there’s quite a bit of ghosting on most pages.
There aren’t any page numbers, no pre-built index, key or pen test pages, and you only get one bookmark. If any of those are a must, this is definitely not the notebook for you. In all honesty, if you’re just starting out, you might want to invest in a notebook that does have all of those features, and for a few bucks more you can get a higher quality paper and all those features in say the Dingbats or Scribbles That Matter notebooks.
All that said, if you’re on a tight budget, and don’t care about ghosting, want something smaller and don’t need the extra bullet journal pages set up for you, this could work for you.
The Classic: Leuchtturm1917 Medium A5
Recommended For: I don’t actually recommend this one. There are better options if you ask me.
You can’t talk about bullet journaling supplies without talking about this one. When I bought my Leuchtturm 1917, it was $25. It has since gone down in price due to the release of a more “official” version (this one here). Not bitter about that at all. Honestly, the difference between the two don’t really justify the $5 price difference at first glance, but I haven’t bought the official Bullet Journal one; just this Leuchtturm1917. So let’s dive into that.
This is a line of notebooks made by the founder of bullet journaling, though this particular series does not have the official “Bullet Journal” lettering on the cover, it was still made with bullet journaling in mind. It includes page numbers and an index section in the front. There’s your typical pocket in the back and two bookmarks. I’ll be honest, I never knew what to do with two bookmarks. The one just never got used. There’s no pen loop, and obvious flaw if you ask me, but you can buy a pen loop sticker from them if that bothers you that much.
There are 249 pages in this notebook. The last 8 pages are perforated, which I never realized until writing this. The pages in this journal are only 80 gsm, so only a slight step up from the Moleskin. There is definite ghosting between pages. Your dot grid is going to be 26 squares by 38 squares. You also get free stickers with your leuchtturm to label the notebook when you are done. I didn’t do this, but some people might.
With the price drop (not bitter), and the variety of colors, it might be worth it if the Dingbats and the Scribbles That Matter notebooks weren’t on the list. If you’re going to spend $20, I’d recommend buying the Dingbats or Scribbles TM instead of this one. The “official” Bullet Journal upgrade, might be worth it though when compared to this one, but I haven’t used that one yet.
Great For Beginners: Scribbles That Matter Iconic Version A5
As far as bullet journaling supplies go, this is one of my favs. This is a great option for people looking for a starter journal. Scribbles That Matter is a notebook created for bullet journalists. This may be on par with the Official Bullet Journal, but since I haven’t used that one yet, I can’t say one way or the other. I can say that the Scribbles that Matter journal is often a little cheaper. One negative though is that they have been known to go out of stock, which is actually what prompted me to buy a Dingbats notebook instead of another Scribbles That Matter notebook.
They offer a variety of cute colors. The iconic version has a cute embossed design on the front, where the pro version does not. I used the iconic version which had 201 numbered pages (that’s a recent update.) Paperweight is 160 gsm, which I question slightly (is it really that high), but I can attest to minimal ghosting.
Aside from page numbers, this notebook also includes, a key page and three index pages and a pen test page located in the back. There are two bookmarks (but again, what do I do with that second one?) and the standard pocket in the back.
If you’re looking for a notebook with all the bells and whistles, I’d highly recommend this one. The only thing I caution is their low inventory. Like I mentioned earlier, I was all set to buy another one, but they were out of stock for a full week before I decided to just try something new.
Best Pens I STILL Use
The second most important part of any bullet journaling supplies list: the pen. There are tons of pens out there, and while I recommend you try anything that floats your boat, I do have some pens that I just go to naturally. These pens (hardly) ever fail me and are great to add to your collection.
Sakura Micron Black
These are my absolute favorite. I use these on pretty much every spread. This comes in many different tip sizes. The pack I have linked here gives you more variety. I currently have the .25mm, .35mm, and .50mm which gives me enough variety for outlining and designing my spreads.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of knock-off versions of Tombows that work just as well, but I bought Tombows first and really never looked anywhere else. The dual brush pens give you some flexibility and the variety of colors means you can do so much with them. These are perfect if you want to do colorful calligraphy. They often include a blending pen too or a blending palette. I have these as well as the pastel versions.
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pen
Tombow Fudenosuke Brush Pens are perfect for anyone in crisp black calligraphy. These are perfect for straight calligraphy. These are a recent addition to my pen collection. You can use the white gels bens on this ink to create cool highlights on your calligraphy if you desire.
Sakura Gelly Roll White
These Sakura Gelly Roll Pens in white work great to add highlights to your calligraphy. These are a more recent addition to the pen collections so as I use them more I’ll be sure to share more tips and tricks about them.
Zebra Mildliners are great highlighters. These ones have a fine tip and a wide tip. I tend to use the fine tip for colored outlines on boxes or for doodles. This item on Amazon gives your three packs, for a total of 15 different colors and it’s pretty cheap!
What do you want me to try?
I want to continue to grow this list over time. If you have an idea of a supply you’d like me to review, pen, notebooks, washi tape, whatever, drop me a note here!