For yearsss, I have seen gorgeous bullet journal pictures on Pinterest and Instagram. I have always wanted to do one, but I knew that I would never have the time or the motivation to draw out a layout each week.
Plus, I like my Happy Planner.
After seeing a bullet journal list of America’s National Parks, I had an idea. Why not make a bullet journal for bucket lists?
We already know that bucket lists are my jam…I’ve posted 4 of them here on the blog:
- Deployment Bucket List
- Fort Bragg & North Carolina Bucket List
- Fort Hood & Texas Bucket List
- Deployment Bucket List: Round 2
Ummm…..how have I not thought of this before?
After making the decision to start this journal, I read several articles on ‘How to Start a Bullet Journal’ and they pretty much all say the same thing:
- buy a journal
- buy something to write with
- make a plan/outline
- start writing
And that’s pretty much all it takes. Except….
Which journal should I get? Which pens are the best? Should I use color? Markers? Colored Pencils? Watercolors? How much will this cost? Should I do the index first? Where do I start? Where do I end?
So.many.questions! It’s enough to make ya crazy!
I did some more research and went shopping.
What Bullet Journal Should I Get?
The first answer ended up being really simple for me. I went to Michaels and bought a journal. All of the ones recommended online were around $20 -$30, which I think is wayyy too expensive for a freakin’ notebook. But I braced myself for the cost and decided to do it anyway.
So, imagine my surprise when I found a one for $5!
Yes! $5! I was so excited I almost bought 2.
If you look in the sketch pad section of Michaels, they sell ‘sketchbooks’ with the dot grid patterns just like bullet journals. They have leather covers and come in a ton of different colors. You really can’t beat it!
Dot Bullet Paper Notebooks and Journals ,Writing Journal with Pen loop,Dot Journal ,Hard Cover Writing Notebook with Paper Pocket,8.5x 5.8IN,Wood Color, 100gsm Premium Thick Paper 192 Pages for School SeasonRETTACY Bullet Dotted Grid Journal with 256 Pages,A5 Dot Grid Hard Cover Notebook with 120gsm Thick Paper,8 Perforated Pages,Smooth PU Leather,Inner Pocket,5.75” × 8.38”Black Lined Journal by Artist’s Loft
You could probably find ‘true’ bullet journal-ers that will tell you that these are crap and they’re not ‘real bullet journals’, but whatevs….they’re just jealous because they spent $30 on a blank notebook.
The only negative thing I have discovered about my cheap bullet journal is that the pages are made out of ‘regular paper’. I imagine that ‘real bullet journals’ use thicker cardstock paper so that ink doesn’t bleed through to the other side of the page.
After I got started, I did have some issues with my pen bleeding through the page. However, since my bullet journal is about traveling anyways, I’m leaving every other spread blank and plan on adding pictures from our trips. So, it will be sort of like a travel journal.
Which Pens Are the Best?
Umm….honestly, I have no clue. Every bullet journal blog that I looked at gave a different answer. And all of them were expensive. I am just using a fine point black pen that I picked up at Michaels for less than $3.
Sorry that I’m not more helpful in this department.
Zebra Pen Mildliner, Double Ended Highlighter, Broad and Fine Tips, Assorted Colors, 15 PackSakura Pigma 30062 Micron Blister Card Ink Pen Set, Black, Ass’t Point Sizes 6CT SetTanmit Dual Brush Marker Pens for Coloring, Dual Tip Markers Colored Bullet Journal Pen Great for Adult Kids Coloring Books, Drawing, Writing – 34 Colors Art School Supplier
Should I Use Color?
Or at least I am anyway.
I have seen layouts and lists in bullet journals that are done entirely in black and white and they are gorgeous. I was tempted to keep mine that way too, but after I got one of my lists wrote out in black and white, I was itching to add some color to it. And I am so glad that I did!
I think the spreads look so much more interesting after I add colorful little illustrations.
What should I add color with?
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to adding color to your bullet journal. The images that are most likely to catch my attention are the ones that use watercolor.
Obviously, that would be a terrible choice for me, as I know nothing about painting and my journal has thin paper. So, I chose to use colored pencils.
Markers and colored pens are other options, but since I was already having bleeding issues, colored pencils make the most sense for me.
How much will this cost?
I walked out of Michaels having spent less than $10! My husband was so proud!
The bullet journal was $5 and the pen was $2.65-ish. And that was all I needed to buy. I already had colored pencils and a ruler here at home.
I’m making this bullet journal with:
- 1 cheap journal
- a pencil
- 1 fine point black pen
- a box of colored pencils
- a ruler
This proves that bullet journaling can be a cheap hobby. I’ve looked at several different blogs that recommended expensive journals, fancy pens, watercolors, high-end brushes, a ‘practice’ journal, calligraphy pens, etc.
If you have the money to put into it….go for it! But don’t think that you NEED all of those things to make a bullet journal, because you don’t.
Kalour Professional Watercolor Pencils, Set of 120 Colors,with Two Brush,Numbered and Lightfastness,Water-soluble Colored Pencils for Adult Coloring Book,Water Color Pencils for Artists Beginner Kids80 Colors Alcohol Markers for Adult Coloring anngrowy Permanent Art Markers for Artists/Kids Coloring Drawing Sketch Dual Tip Alcohol Based Highlighter Markers Art Set Bonus 1 Colorless Blender MarkerColoring Markers Set for Adults Kids Teen 36 Dual Brush Pens Fine Tip Art Colored Markers for Adult Coloring Books Bullet Journal School Office Drawing Sketch Double Sided Color Marker Pen No Bleed
Should I make the index first?
That’s a hard no! At least for this type of bullet journal.
I made an outline of what I wanted to put in my bullet journal in a Word Document. However, once I got started actually making the lists and writing them in the journal they ended up taking up more pages than I originally intended.
I thought that my National Parks list would take up one spread, but I was so wrong. It ended up being 2.5 spreads (5 pages), plus the blank pages that I left in between the spreads for pictures.
Don’t write page numbers in your index until you are completely finished with that layout.
Where do I start? Where do I end?
There is no definite answer to these questions. It all depends on you and what you want to put in your journal.
My bucket list bullet journal is unlike any that I’ve seen online. It’s not a schedule, a to-do list, or even a big ‘life bucket list’. It’s more like a travel bucket list, based on where I’m living at the time. This journal can be whatever I want it to be.
This bucket list bullet journal might seem random and useless to someone else. But for me, it’s inspirational and makes me want to get out of the house and explore. Even if it’s just look around the military town I’m living in. And that’s what I want it to be.
You can see a peek of it here!
16Pcs Journal Stencils Set – Time Saving Bullet Journaling Supplies/Accessories Kit -Ultimate Productivity Planner Stencil for Bullet Journal Stencils A5 Dotted JournalsBullet It! Lists for Living: A Notebook for Charting Your Tasks, Hopes, and DreamsUltimate Productivity Stencil Set for Dotted Journals – Time Saving Planner Accessories/Supplies Kit Makes Creating Layouts Easy – Incl. Bullet Point Checklists, Daily/Weekly/Monthly Calendars
I need to write a travel bucket list for my college assignment. How to do it?
Start by writing down things that you’ve always wanted to see and places that you’ve always wanted to visit. You can look at Instagram and Pinterest for ideas if you get stuck.