Are you starting your first bullet journal in 2019? Check out the ultimate beginner bullet journal supplies checklist to get the most out of your journaling experience.
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Over the past 3 years, I have collected thousands of pens and other bullet journal supplies.
Some of these supplies have turned out to be crucial elements in my planning routine, while others haven’t moved since purchase.
As the bullet journal community grows and more people are using the system, there are also more retail companies releasing supplies marketed towards journaling. This comes as no surprise.
However, amongst the sea of pens, washi tape, stencils, and journals, you have to be selective of what you are purchasing. Otherwise, you are likely to end up with supplies you don’t use or love as well as empty pockets.
From my experience, I want to share the bullet journal supplies that are my everyday drivers. The supplies that have been worth the money and have been beneficial to my planning and creative routine.
Because some of these supplies are a little pricier up front, I also want to include some alternatives that are good products, but at a lesser cost to you.
But, before getting into the supplies, I want to share my top tips and advice for bullet journal beginners.
Beginner Bullet Journal Tips and Advice
If you are starting your first bullet journal and are browsing through Pinterest, Instagram, and Amazon, you might be feeling a bit overwhelmed. Between the over the top weekly spreads and 200-page results for fineline pens, it’s understandable.
I want to give you my best advice and tips from 3 years of bullet journaling to help you get a better feel for the system and come into it with confidence.
Don’t Play the Comparison Game
It’s easy to get wrapped up in the gorgeous watercolor spreads, intricate fineline drawings and wedding invitation worthy calligraphy. But, as a beginner, don’t let yourself get caught up in the comparison game.
Remember that it probably took that person hundreds, if not thousands of hours to achieve the creative skill you are seeing in their image. But also remember that most Instagram photos are doctored.
They are made brighter, set up with props that make the photo more aesthetically pleasing, have increased contrast and saturation.
Trying to compare your journal to one you see on Instagram, Pinterest, or a blog will set you up for failure. Instead, focus on your own skills and seeing your improvements.
It’s going to take time. Everything from the creative side of bullet journaling to finding a weekly layout that works for you will take trial and error.
Be patient with yourself and only compare your work to your previous work.
Sometimes, when I catch myself comparing my weekly spread to someone else’s, I flip back through my old journals or sketchbooks and remind myself how far I have come.
Create a Planning Routine
Creating a planning routine will help you to stay consistent with your journal and ensure you are getting the most out of it.
However, the key to your success is to not set yourself up for failure by scheduling yourself for an hour of planning time every day, right off the bat.
Start small. Commit yourself to 5-10 minutes a day, at a time that works best for you. This might be in the morning before you go to work or school, or it might be in the evenings when things have died down and you have time to sit uninterrupted.
Start with the basics. This means filling in your to-do list for the day, marking off habits, and checking for upcoming tasks and appointments.
Once you are doing this successfully, you can slowly start integrating other aspects into your planning routine.
As a beginner, you will probably have some questions. Please don’t hesitate to come to the community and ask for advice.
There is an ever growing population on Instagram, YouTube, and blogs that have experienced people willing to help. If I had to pick one thing I liked most about the community it is that they are the most accepting and generous group I have ever had the pleasure of networking with.
When you find yourself in a rut with your journal, don’t know what to do next, or need some advice, reach out.
Don’t Take Advice Too Seriously
Isn’t this a bit awkward? But, I think this might be one of the most important pieces of advice.
There are blogs, YouTube channels, Instagram accounts, books, etc. that are geared to help you start and be successful with your bullet journal. And we are incredibly lucky to have all of these resources at our disposal.
But, the bullet journal system is popular because of its flexibility and because everyone has their own take on it. So, when you come across advice, take it lightly.
Get the basics down, continue to read and explore your options, but ultimately, you have to find your own path, so to say.
Just because I tell you that the following beginner bullet journal supplies are ‘the best’, doesn’t mean they will be the best for you. Or just because you read an article about why you need to include daily gratitude, doesn’t mean it’s the right option for you right now.
So, have an open mind and absorb information, but don’t get sucked into the idea that you have to follow a certain structure.
If you don’t know where to start with your bullet journal journey, I highly recommend reading Bullet Journal 2.0, my blog series that covers all of your questions and concerns about the system.
The Beginner Bullet Journal Supplies Checklist
These are the supplies I consider my must-haves. They are the pens, markers, and other supplies I use on a very regular basis. Want to know what other bullet journalers use in their journals daily? Check out this post on bullet journal supplies recommended by the pros.
Fineline pens are a pillar in my journaling kit. They are the best for creating bold lines that won’t smudge (usually) when used with markers and watercolor.
There are a lot of excellent fineline pens on the market, but currently my favorites are the Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens. They seem to last a long time, making them very cost-effective. In my experience, they also smear less than other brands.
Although I’m not huge on using stencils, I love my circle maker with a moveable interior ring.
This tool allows me to create both large and small circles. It’s perfect for design elements, but also for creating larger circle trackers like the one seen in this video.
This tool is very affordable and has become a top-player in my bullet journal supply collection.
Tombow Dual Brush Pens
While these pens are a more expensive investment, I have never regretted buying them. There are over 100 colors available and the dual tip means they are multipurpose.
I regularly use my Tombow Dual Brush Pens for calligraphy, but even more often I use them for adding color to my weekly spreads and writing small colorful headers with the fine tip.
Monthly Stamp Set
Want to save time when setting up various spreads? This monthly stamp kit is an awesome tool for saving time and creating perfectly even mini calendars.
I love adding a miniature version of the current month to my weekly spreads to see a general overview of the month. This tool is quick and comes with both Monday and Sunday start, as well as monthly headers, a decorative box, and other various small stamps.
While the list is rather short, it’s very real. These are the supplies I use regularly. These are my must-haves. And while there are other great supplies on the market, this post was meant to help guide you in the right direction, not confuse and overwhelm you with tons of products.
You don’t need to buy every product that is recommended here or anywhere else right away. Build your collections slowly and find products that work best for you.
If you want a more complete list of supplies I think are great, you can check out this post on 13 Bullet Journal Supplies that Won’t Disappoint and 3 to Avoid.
Don’t have time to read the whole post? Want to save it for later? Pin the image below to your favorite bullet journal board.