I changed how I use my bullet journal this year. It feels mad to say it, but my bullet journal was getting me down last year. So in 2022, I decided to change the way I used my bullet journal. It was going to be a place I could decorate and be creative with no expectations, no sharing on social media. It was going to be just for me, (yes I understand the irony of writing this post).
But the weird thing is it helped. I don’t feel any expectations. I don’t feel like my bullet journal should look a certain way. And I’m much happier for it. I’ve said many times in the past that I love how people decorate their bullet journals. I love seeing all the themes, honestly, it’s incredible how creative people can be. But it’s not for me. So today I want to share some quick and easy ways to decorate your bullet journal.
How To Decorate Your Bullet Journal
What You (Might) Need
I don’t want to get too in-depth on the sorts of decorating supplies you might need, mostly because I don’t recommend specifically going out and buying anything. I have a selection of pens, pencils and markers on hand. But the truth is, when it comes to specific items, I mostly use whatever is closest to hand.
One thing I will say is you might want to think about how you’re decorating. If you’re going to be doodling, or lettering in your bullet journal, marker pens will work. But if you’re more like me and collage bits together, paint pens tend to work better.
When it comes to stickers and washi tape, I don’t buy a huge amount. What I find works best for me is placing an order for items in similar colour schemes. I try not to spend too much but usually, this lasts me a good while. I’m still working my way through bits I bought before the pandemic started. As for stickers I’ve begun experimenting with making my own out of vinyl cut with my Silhouette machine. I had dreams of eventually selling stickers and other bits to decorate your bullet journal but that’s still just a dream for now.
In this specific instance, I am separating calligraphy and lettering because they are two slightly different things. Doing calligraphy in my bullet journal was one of the ways I got started, first with “faux-calligraphy” before getting into brush and dip pens. I still think this is a great way to decorate your bullet journal and is still something I do now. When combined with other elements it’s a really easy way to add a bit of decoration. And because of the flexible nature of calligraphy, you can make it bigger or smaller to fit exactly in the space you have.
When it comes to calligraphy, I don’t use the dip pen much in my bullet journal. You can if you want, but I find brush pens or paint pens work better because they are faster. In some instances, I even prefer them, especially when I want to do a monoline calligraphy style.
MORE LIKE THIS: 5 Handlettering Styles For Your Bullet Journal
Lettering is something slightly different, which you can also use to decorate your bullet journal (and I wrote a whole post about different lettering styles to try). If you think of calligraphy as writing letters, lettering is more like drawing letters. You don’t even need much artistic skill to do this, in fact sometimes a more natural lettering style can look better. But if you do need help, you’ve got the grid (you do use a grid notebook right) to help you draw letters and keep your lines straight. And the best thing about this is you can also use the grid to add a simple drop shadow to your letters.
Washi tape & stickers
I use a lot of washi tape in my bullet journal, not just as a form of decoration, but also to add notes and even hide mistakes. I’ve tried to get into a habit of using the washi tape I buy, rather than hoarding it. As a result, I’ve stopped buying extremely decorative washi tapes. Instead, I find block colours or tapes with simple geometric designs tend to work best with the other decorations in my bullet journal. I try to choose tape in colours which work together, but again, this is not planned out and is more a case of making do with what I have.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been experimenting with making my own stickers. But for the most part, the stickers I own had been acquired over the years, mostly from Papergang boxes. Weirdly enough I’ve found I’m more drawn to the stickers I make myself. However, that shouldn’t stop you from going wild with all the stickers to decorate your bullet journal. There can never be too many stickers in your bujo and when you combine them with washi tape and other elements you can design something really fun and unique. And best of all, it’s much faster than drawing decorative elements.
Collage is probably one of the best ways to decorate your bullet journal. And I’m not just saying this because it’s what I like doing! Collage can be a great way to use up scraps and little bits of leftover paper. I have a few magazines I’ve collected over the years which I cut up to make shapes, but I’ll also collage any little scraps I’ve got left over from my calligraphy work. Small bits of vellum or tracing paper can work well because you can see the colour underneath.
Once you’ve got some bits to put together, you can combine them with stickers, washi tape and even post-it notes to create a design. The best part is because they’re small they don’t take too long to make. Sometimes I can get a little too precious with my designs, I always feel they need to be just perfect. But these collage pieces are so small I don’t have the chance to get too detailed.
This is not by any means a comprehensive list of all the ways you can decorate your bullet journal. I’m sure a quick google search will bring up many many more options. But one thing I’ve always noticed about some of the bullet journal videos is that they can be very time-intensive. Not that it’s a bad thing if you want to decorate your bullet journal in that way. I just prefer a different method and wanted to share.