DIY Pen Strap – For Bullet Journals & Planners

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If you use a bullet journal, planner or other style of notebook, you know the frustration of not having your favorite pen (or penS) kept with the journal. Sometimes the journal will offer one little band to hold a pen. One pen?! Do these people not understand how much bullet journalers love our pens?! But no worries. With this easy-to-make DIY pen strap, you can create your own personalized pen strap and have your favorite pens always right at hand.

blue journal with purple strap holding 2 pens and 7 pens arranged in rainbow colors above  with title text overlay reading Customizable DIY Pen Strap

It really does bemuse me – why do journals not provide a way to carry multiple pens. If you know anything about bullet journal or planner fanatics, you know we love using lots of pens and colors. We are pen lovers, pen snobs and pen collectors. It makes no sense to make a journal that has no way to keep a pen with it (scratching head).And it also makes no sense to give me just one little strap to hold one pen. How can I choose just one of my many favorite pens (shaking head)?! 

When you make your own pen strap:

  • You can add a pen to any journal, whether it comes with a pen loop or not. 
  • You can carry two, three, or as many pens as you want.
  • You can make it the same color as your journal, a contrasting color or even a sparkly color.
  • You’re in control. Yea!
blue journal with purple pen strap, pink journal with pink pen strap and black journal with black pen strap

I was at Target for my several-times-a-week visit and the G2® Pens by Pilot Pen started calling my name. They are among my favorite pens for my bullet journal because the gel ink writes so-ooo smoothly. Turns out that I’m not the only pen lover that likes Pilot Pen G2® Pens since it’s the #1 selling gel ink brand in America.

I found the pens in the stationery section and they’re also available in the back-to-school supplies section.

black journal with black strap holding one black pen and 3 pens on table next to it

I was excited to find the Pilot Pen G2® Mini pens. They’re perfect for smaller journals and write just as smoothly and nicely as the regular size G2® pens (because who cares if a pen is the right size if it doesn’t write nicely). You can see the regular-sized pen below between the purple and green mini pens for perspective.

DIY Pen Strap

You only need beginner level sewing skills to design and make your own pen strap. 

Pen Strap Supplies

  • Your bullet journal or planner
  • Your favorite pens
  • Elastic in your favorite or a coordinating color
    • 5/8 inch elastic for the base band
    • 1/2 inch elastic for the pen loops
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pins
  • Sewing Machine
  • Scissors
stack of 3 journals, pile of wide elastic and 2 packs of pens on white table

Pen Strap Tutorial

collage of 4 images on how to make a journal pen strap
  1. Measure around your journal. Cut the base elastic the length of your measurement minus 1/4 inch. 
  2. Determine how many pens you want your pen strap to hold.  Measure the narrow elastic 1 and 3/4 inches + 1 inch for each pen. So you would measure 2 and 3/4 inches for one pen, 3 and 3/4 inches for two pens and so on. 
  3. Find the center of each piece of elastic and align the center marks. Make loops for each pen by looping 1 inch of narrow elastic and pinning it 1/2 inch apart on the base elastic. Starting with a center loop, sew each loop in place. Sew back and forth at least three times along the seam to secure the elastic well. 
  4. Turn the ends of the narrow elastic under and sew in place. 
red scissors, pink strap and black pen

5. Sew the ends of the base elastic together to form a band. Double check that you are sewing the ends together with the right sides together.  Sew a 1/4 inch seam. Sew back and forth three times to secure.

close up of purple strap holding 2 pens on blue journal

You can customize the band by measuring so that it will fit your journal vertically.

pink ruffled pen strap holding 3 pens on pink journal with gold stars

Customize by choosing ruffly elastic. 

5 colorful pens in purple strap on blue journal

Customize it by making enough loops to hold every single one of your favorite pens. 

If you don’t already own a planner or journal, I know you want to run out now and get one so that you can make your own DIY pen strap to keep your favorite pens with you at all times. Don’t you?

For more craft ideas, 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. Thanks, Kelly. You’ve heard “necessity is the mother of invention?” Well, in my case, it’s “frustration and a love of my favorite pens is the mother of a pen strap”!

  1. Those are my daughter’s favorite pens! She loves them in every color because she likes to organize her lecture notes by color. Your idea for the pen strap is brilliant! I’ve always wondered why there’s no place for a pen with a journal either, but you actually solved it!

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