My Bullet Journal: Tools in the Toolbox

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This is the fifth in a series of posts about My Bullet Journal Journey. I’ve sequenced the posts so that they chronicle my journey and are step-by-step guides for those of you considering starting your own. 

  • #1 – My Bullet Journal: Taking the Plunge (materials)
  • #2 – How to Get Started (terms and basic set up)
  • #3 – My Collections
  • #4 – Oopsies & Reinvented Pages
  • #5 – Tools in the Toolbox 

When I started my bullet journal, I had a handful of supplies. I knew I didn’t want a minimalist journal. If I was going to do this, I was going to commit and do it right…and that meant I needed the right supplies. I started out with the most basic things, and I have since added to my toolbox.

Tools in the Toolbox

Source: JenniBick

I needed a dotted journal to help me keep things as lined up as possible. I can’t cut or draw a straight line (even with a ruler) to save my life. The dots help me keep things between the navigational beacons…sometimes. 🙂 For my journal I picked out a Leuchtturm 1917 Dotted Journal (Medium/A5) in Pink, and I’ve ordered another one in Purple. Mid-March I had already worked through over 100 pages so I decided to order a second one to have on-hand. Just in case. This also means I can slowly start setting up my 2018 bujo the right way from the start, now that I know all the mistakes I made the first time around.

My basic supplies include a Westcott Stainless Steel 6″ ruler and some Kirkland Wire Clips to hold pages open and still.

My Stencil Collection

I don’t have the best handwriting, and it’s never consistent. When I am trying too carefully, I make mistakes. When I’m in a hurry, I make mistakes. Sometimes it frustrates me and I make even more mistakes. I’ve never really liked my handwriting, which I’ve come to learn is how most people feel about their own handwriting. So to get those picture-perfect letters I indulged in several stencils to help me out. Don’t get me wrong, I still have crooked letters and ink residue across pages from the backside of the stencils, but the letters are sized appropriately

Clean Curves 4 pc set | Simply Sincere 4 pc set | Wreath and Flowers Stencil | Banners and Flag Stencil | Once Upon a Time 4 pc set | Contempo 4 pc set | Fashionista 4 pc set | Whimsical Dot Alphabet

Pens

I recently upped my pen game. I started out with Primsacolor Premier Fine Line Markers (05, #14174) and a few Pigma Micron (05, .45mm) pens. I slowly added my little 8 pack of Paper-Mate Flair Felt Tip pens, and then I realized I needed more.

51z5vplpfl-_sy300_Then I decided I needed some colored pencils, so I purchased Colore Colored Pencils 72 Premium Pre-Sharpened Color Pencil Set. I never learned how to properly used colored pencils, so it is a work in progress. Shading isn’t my forte, but I have enjoyed the variety the colors offer me.

The only thing I will say about these particular pencils I ordered is they were not packaged properly to ensure care during transit, and when they arrived they’d been bonked around in a box and several of them already broken before I even touched them. I thought they would arrive in a neat 3-panel stacking layout as pictured, but they come in a 3-row boxed set. So I then purchased a Prismacolor specific pencil sharpener for my damaged tips.

51czeqt2d4lAt the same time I also purchased Midliner highlighters (Zebra 3 Packs of 5-color sets). I am starting to find ways to incorporate them on the pages. I like that there are some bright, some pastel, and some a little dark.

After having my colored pencils for about a month, I still needed more. One of my yearbook students who had taken our bullet journal project to heart had started using watercolors in her bullet journal. I loved seeing all of the brushed calligraphy around, but with my constantly busy life living between two houses and no dedicated workspace – or any at all – I didn’t want to buy watercolors, so I got the next best thing: brush tip watercolor pens! I purchased Huhuhero Double-Ended Fine and Soft Brush Tip Watercolor Art Pen Markers (36 pack, assorted colors) toward the end of March and have been practicing and experimenting with them.

Around the same time I decided to purchase additional supplies, I realized some of my Flair pens were fading and about to bite the dust, so I bit the bullet and ordered some more. I bought the 24 Pack Fashion Colors and also the 24 pack of Tropical Vacation Colors.

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Other Supplies

I’ve purchased a handful of washi tape supplies, mostly from my local Walmart, but I did order three sets online, Echo Park Paper Company Jack & Jill Girl Damask and We R Memory Keepers Watercolor – in Green and Gray.

IMG_20170317_153617I also purchased a selection of stickers for specific pages or collections to use. I also bought these at my local Walmart over time. They range from 97¢ to $4, depending on the selection you choose. I picked a few tropical sets after I secured cabins for our cruise next summer, as well as a family tree type set because it will also be a family event. I have an assortment of other sets for Valentine’s Day, spring, friends/memories, sharks (for my students’ Shark Week project), some teacher sets, a fall leaves set, and a baking set. I also bought a traveling set that I used on my Places to Go/travel destination spread.

61iacdxihnl-_sy344_bo1204203200_My last purchase was this lettering book, Creative Lettering and Beyond. There is a lot to go through and I’m still not through the book, but we don’t all have a bazillion dollars to spend on stencils. Besides, our handwriting is unique. It only fits us, so I thought I might as well embrace it, flawed and all. Hopefully this helps me be more consistent.


I’m not sure what I’ll create for my next segment in my bullet journal journey, but I do plan on doing a favorite spreads post.

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4 thoughts on “My Bullet Journal: Tools in the Toolbox

    • Here is what I realized about the stencils: Look carefully before you buy. Some of the stencils I bought turned out to not really work well. They’re pretty, but functionality is a bit of a problem. I didn’t need the Celtic font one, for example. Look at all of the letters and numbers closely to see if they’ll work for you.

      The Flairs aren’t that big of an issue with bleed-through UNLESS you are using them as a marker. I use the black now for almost any line I need to draw.

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