I have always loved stationary items. It’s like a secret obsession to have a nice pen or cute stapler. When I was a teacher, it was a completely normal obsession (teachers love stationary items btw!) So, when I started my bullet journal it was a natural fit! I got to be creative and use fun pens and markers and stencils and stuff! 💖
These are the products I started my bullet journal journey with that are very budget friendly (I was unemployed when I started – 💲 was an issue)
1) The Journal – this is obviously the most important component in this adventure. I do strongly recommend this is where you put the investment. I use a Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted A5 hardcover journal. The dotted lines allow for a lot of versatility in creating charts, tables and doodles. They also disappear into the background so the pages look white.
This journal has a blank table of contents and 249 numbered pages, 8 perforated and detachable sheets, a gusseted pocket (LOVE this!), 2 ribbon page markers, elastic closure band, the thread-bound book opens flat, bleed-proof paper, and stickers for labelling and archiving. Seriously, the Leuchtturm 1917 is the Lamborgini of bullet journals.
The Leuchtturm journal comes in 20 different colours (black, purple, new pink, berry, red, orange, lemon, emerald, ice blue, azure, Nordic blue, royal blue, navy, army, anthracite, sand, white, lime, taupe, chocolate) You can also choose lined, dotted, squared, or blank pages.
OMG – I just discovered there are metallic colours! (silver, gold, copper). This will put a kink in my rainbow plan!
2) Budget-Friendly Pens – I really enjoy using the Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens. You can get them in packs from 2 to 36 and they come in 32 beautiful colours. They write smoothly and dry quickly.
Warning: I have found they will smudge if you have really sweaty hands like me ✍. But for the price, they are a great pen!
3) Highlighters – I use highlighters all the time in my bullet journal. They are bright and super easy to use for trackers. I like the Sharpie Pocket Style Highlighters – Chisel Tip. I use these because they are so reasonably priced and don’t smear. Next year I am going to try some more subtle highlighters.
4) Pencil Crayons – As a teacher, I have probably tried every single pencil crayon on the market in a classroom. These are the best budget friendly pencil crayons I have found – Prang Thick Core Coloured Pencil. They come in many colours and they even include gold and silver! These pencils sharpen well and shade and colour evenly.
5) Calligraphy – I use the Staedtler Calligraph Duo Double-Ended Markers. Once I realized how to use them ( I know 🤦♀️!) I really enjoy these markers for fancy writing. They have a narrow (2mm) and a broad (3.5mm) tip.
However, I have found a problem with them. The caps have a smaller circular cap inside and if you do not pay attention to putting the cap on properly you can jam the marker in and cut the tip, causing a line in your writing. This has only happened on my broad tip side. BOO!
6) Glue tape – I use glue tape when I want to put pictures or mementos in my journal. I like the Elmer’s CraftBond Permanent Tape Runner. It is acid-free and photo safe, so it will not discolour or anything over time. It is also refillable.
7) Rulers – Your best bet is a math geometry set. Then you will have 2 triangle rulers,1 straight ruler, 1 protractor, and 1 graphic compass. I also suggest having a 12-inch ruler for lines across 2 pages (it’s just easier). I also like clear rulers so you can see what you’re doing.
8) Eraser – I often sketch out my designs with a pencil and then go over it with ink. So, you need a good eraser. My favourite is Staedtler Premium Quality erasers. They do not smudge the ink and erase just about everything. They are latex and phthalate free.
9) Pencil Sharpener – Pencil Sharpeners are not made equal 😉. I have also tried many many pencil sharpeners in the classroom and my favourite is the Staedtler Double-Hole Tub Pencil Sharpener. It has 2 holes for different size writing utensils. The shavings go into a handy little tub to be dumped later. It sharpens really well and makes everything nice and pointy.
10) Storage Container – With all the supplies you will be collecting you will need a little storage container. I have already outgrown my first one (and its only August). This 12-inch Plastic Supply Storage Box is so handy with 2 trays inside and a bulk bin underneath. It completely opens up and has a handy carrying handle and a snap-tight clasp.
I started by buying the journal and Paper Mate pens. I had the pencil crayons, sharpener, eraser, and rulers from my days as a teacher 😉. Over a few months, I added the other items, more markers/pens and the storage container (to hold all my goodies).
~ Lacey ~