Bullet Journal Essentials for the Beginner

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My bullet journal is my combination planner, calendar and To Do List all in one handy, indispensable spot. You can successfully bullet journal with the most basic notebook and pen. I started out that way. But once the bullet journaling bug bites you, you’ll find that you’re interested in more of the supplies that are available. I’ve put together the bullet journal essentials for the beginner and included a free printable Bullet Journal Wish List for you.

hand writing in bullet journal with pencil with plate of dessert and knife and fork nearby with title text overlay reading Bullet Journal Essentials for the Beginner

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash

Bullet Journal Essentials


You can use a notebook you already have and even Start Bullet Journaling for $1. But there many amazing journals that will make your bullet journal experience much more enjoyable and effective.

Scribbles that Matter – I have used this journal personally and I can recommend it. 

  • Dot Grid Paper
  • Lay-Flat Binding
  • 200 Numbered Pages
  • 3 Index Pages
  • Key Code Page
  • 2 Pen Test Pages
  • Cover Pocket (envelope pocket on the inside cover)
  • Pen Holder
  • Two Bookmarks
  • Comes in 7 Different Cover Colors
  • Quality Paper that Avoids Bleeding, Smudging and Ghosting

Moleskin Notebook – A popular mid-priced journal.

  • Comes in a Variety of Sizes
    • 3.5′ X 5.5″
    • 5″ X 8.5″
    • 7.5″ X 9.75″
  • Lined or Dot Grid Pages Available
  • 192 Pages
  • Soft, Flexible Cover
  • Expandalbe Inner Pocket
  • Bookmark
  • Comes in a Variety of Cover Colors

Leuchtturm Notebook – Many claim this is the best journal.

  • Comes in a Variety of Sizes
    • 5.75″ X 8.25″
    • 3.75″ X 6″
    • 9″ X 12.5″
  • Hard Cover
  • Bleed Proof Paper
  • Paper Choice
    • Dot Grid 
    • Lined
  • Comes in 9 Different Cover Colors 
  • 249 Numbered Pages
  • Blank Table of Contents
  • 8 Perforated Detachable Pages
  • Expandable Pocket in Back Cover
  • Stickers for Labeling
  • 2 Pagemarkers

Midori Traveler’s Notebook –

  • Luxourious Leather Cover
  • Easily Customizeable
  • Refillable
  • Individual Notebook Inserts Makes It Unneccessary to Number Pages and Use an Index
  • Large Variety of Add-on Products to Customize the Journal



You can use any pen or pencil you have lying around, but choosing a pen that writes well makes bullet journaling that much more enjoyable. Many bullet journalers collect a large variety of colors of pens, markers and highlighters to customize their journal’s function and for endless creative options.

Papermate InkJoy Pens – These are my favorite pens (so far). The ink flows smoothly, they come in a range of colors, I like that I don’t have to keep track of the pen cap, and they’re reasonably priced.

  • Smear-free Gel Ink
  • Ergonomic Comfort Grip
  • Comes in 14 Different Colors

Staedtler Triplus Fineliner Pens – These are the top choice of many bullet journals.

  • Comes in .3mm Metal-Clad Tip
  • Acid Free Ink
  • Comes in 20 Different Colors

Micron Pen Set – A must-have for many bullet journalers, especially minimalist bullet journals.

I’ve used a similar set and love them.

  • Crisp, Clean Black Lines and Text Are the Foundation of the Classic Bullet Journal
  • PIGMA Ink
    • Waterproof
    • Fade Resistant
    • No Smearing or Bleeding
    • Dries Ph Neutral
  • Provides Smooth, Skip-Free Writing
  • Comes in Nib Sizes Ranging from .20mm to .50mm

Tombow Dual Brush Pen Art Markers – Another favorite of fanatical bullet journalers. Used for artistic

embellishment and to add shading for rows, columns, headings and checkboxes.

  • Bright and Pastel Colors Available
  • Each Pen Has a Brush Tip on One End and a Fine Tip Pen on the Other
  • Acid-Free



6″ Ruler – A small ruler that can be kept with your bullet journal is invaluable for designing bullet journal layouts.

Craft Storage Tote – Perfect for carrying all your bullet journaling supplies with you. 

Bullet Journal Stencils – Using stencils makes customizing your bullet journal much easier and quicker.  

Washi Tape for Bullet Journal Set Up – Make your layout design a snap with this preprinted washi tape.

Washi Tape for Embellishment – Take your bullet journal up a notch or ten by adding colorful washi tape.

Stickers for Bullet Journaling – Stickers can be used in your bullet journal for functional design, for artistic embellishment and to cover mistakes. 

Washi Tape Organizing Box – If you’re not already a washi tape fanatic, you will become one when you start bullet journaling. And I’m pretty sure that the washi tape magically multiplies at night when I’m sleeping! You’ll need a way to organize your collection of washi tape.

I’m a minimalist bullet journaler myself, so I don’t have a crazy-big collection of bullet journaling supplies. However, you can join the sisterhood (and brotherhood) of bullet journals with a proud and large collection of supplies for their bullet journals. 

bullet journal wishlist printable

I recommend that you start with just the basics and keep a wish list of items you’d like for gifts. I’ve created a handy Bullet Journal Wish List for you. Simply print out your copy, mark the items you’d like, use the notes space to specify colors and sizes, and share your wish list with family or friends who would appreciate gift ideas for you. 

You can enjoy bullet journaling with just a plain ol’ notebook and pen. But using your favorite bullet journal essentials makes bullet journaling even more enjoyable on top of being productive. Productive + enjoyable = a big win!

For more simple and powerful productivity tips, hacks and printables, see the table below. You can scroll though the table and look for ideas or search for specific ideas with the magnifying glass in the upper right-hand corner (on desktop). Click on the topic and then click through the specific article.

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  1. Wow, I don’t have so many of these neat supplies. I just use my filofax, but nice to dream about adding some color and flair to my beloved planner:)

  2. I like the idea of having a wishlist for bullet journal supplies. When my birthday or any holidays comes up, it’s really easy for me to share my wishlist with my husband, so he can just choose what he wants to give me as a gift. It’s easier for him too, so he doesn’t have to go out and shop. By the way, those Papermate Ink Joy pens are my favorite too!

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