I often hear people say to me they don’t journal because they “don’t have the right journaling supplies”. What are the right supplies for journaling? When I started my journaling journey again all I had was a basic notebook and a pen – and I thought it was great for a start!

As time went by, and my basic journal came to an end, I wanted more. More than basic. I really didn’t have money for some fancy stuff so I bought a nice little notebook in a supermarket and ordered some cute pens and washi tape online. I think the cost of all of that was less than 20 dollars.

Since I’m not creative I decided to find inspiration on Pinterest. I found many cute images but simply couldn’t draw them on my own so I’d print them and glue them in my journal. Since this is an Ugly journal blog, it’s fair to say they were not pretty πŸ™‚ I really did my best but the creative spark in me is simply missing. But that never bothered me too much. I was doing something I love and I knew there were a lot of things I need to let go of if I wanted to enjoy doing this.

It took me more than six months of gluing printed images from the Internet to get to the journal I want. I am still a creative noob. I still don’t know how to draw – it’s funny I call my journal an “art journal” although it lacks that *art* component. But somehow I managed to make it look “arty”.

But let’s back up a bit and see what you need to start:

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journaling supplies for beginners

1. Notebook

So, let’s start with the basics. Obviously, you need a notebook if you want to keep a journal. But which notebook is the best? Honestly, it doesn’t matter! When I started to journal I used a basic ruled notebook with softcover (you know, the school type). At the moment I’m using an awesome notebook I bought in my local supermarket for less than 5 dollars! Unfortunately, it’s near the end but I already have an empty one waiting for me – a beautiful, red classic Moleskine I got as a birthday present from my husband.

When I started my Bullet Journal I really, really wanted an official Leuchtrumm1917 notebook but simply couldn’t afford it so I bought a random A5 dotted notebook online and I must admit it served me well. I’ll be starting a new BuJo soon and I already have the next one – a cool looking, holographic cover notebook that looks awesome!

2. Pens

The second thing you obviously need are some pens. At the beginning I used a basic blue ballpoint pen I found in the store. It was useful but didn’t make me happy – I wanted something more. So I bought these super cute pens with cats and I still use them! Not only super cute but great for writing, too. They have a thin tip that’s ideal for writing.

Of course, you want to add color to your journal – that’s where the brush pens come in. Where I live we don’t have a big selection of colored brush pens, so my husband got me a Calli.Brush pens for Christmas and now I use them all the time!

Recently I started to buy more “serious” supplies and the thing I am most happy about are my new Tombow Fudenosuke brush pens. I use them all the time in my regular journal, bullet journal, quotes journal… Actually, in all of the journals I use (and I use a lot of them). They are quality brush pens and ideal for a beginner.

Oh, and recently I bought a set of colorful gel pens. They are not necessary to have but I simply couldn’t control myself during Back-to-school sales πŸ™‚

3. Washi tape

One thing I simply can’t imagine my journal without is washi tape. Washi tape is one of the best tools to have for journaling (except for my Ultimate tool for the non-creative soul – wrapping paper :)). It’s inexpensive and spruces up those pages in a second. I have hundreds of them in all sizes and patterns.

best journaling supplies for beginners

4. Stickers

You want to add drawings and doodles but don’t know how to draw? The perfect solution is stickers! (And wrapping paper, of course :)). There are millions of different kinds of stickers you can buy – letters, plants, stamps, movie stickers, favorite characters, travel stickers or something completely abstract – the possibilities are endless! They cost only a few dollars but are a perfect addition to your stash of supplies.

5. Scraps

Another thing that I often use in my journals are different scraps. Magazine cutouts, different color paper, messages from fortune cookies, scraps of newspapers, tickets from the movies or concerts and any other piece of paper that looks cool. This gives your journal that junk journal vibe and that definitely gives it a more artistic feel.

So, using loads of washi tape, colored pens, some stickers, cut-outs from magazines and wrapping paper, I somehow managed to get to the point I can actually call my journal semi-art journal πŸ™‚

I only used the basic stuff but with time my appetite grew bigger. Since I started a blog in particular. The list of supplies I use and need is getting bigger by the day. But I finally have an excuse to buy everything I like πŸ™‚

Now my biggest problem is storage – I don’t have a designated place for my supplies so I’m all over the place!

As you can see, you really don’t need much to start. A notebook and some pens are perfect for a start. If you want to start journaling but don’t know how maybe this post here will help you out.


    1. Magdalena

      Thank you so much, Laurie! Oh, I forgot to mention the glue! Honestly, I use any glue I can get my hand on (really – everything works for scraps on paper). But yeah, I agree with you, sometimes it’s really hard to find the time for journaling!

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