Possibly the most common thing I hear from people who want to start a journal but have yet to take the plunge is that they do not feel they are artistically gifted enough to make their journal look aesthetically pleasing. I understand where this fear comes from – you only have to look on Instagram to see the multitude of truly beautiful journals to feel daunted. However, with a few key pieces of stationery in your arsenal there really is no need to fear. Even the most artistically challenged amongst us can create gorgeous weekly spreads as long as they have the right tools! I’m going to share with you my favourite, and essential, journal supplies to set you up in the best place possible to start your first journal.
I cannot tell you the number of journals I have seen where people are using awful, scratchy biros and expecting their handwriting to look good. My number one tip is to invest in a decent black pen. You do not need to spend a fortune – in my first journal I used a child’s black handwriting pen throughout. This makes writing look uniformed and these pens are specifically designed to be easily controlled and look neat. Perfect!
Since then I have invested in a pack of black fine liners. These are fantastic because within each pack comes a variety of ink pens all with different sized nibs. This is brilliant if you are planning on adding illustration to your journal. Thicker black pens are also fantastic to practice your calligraphy skills – I’m going to be posting a cheat’s guide to calligraphy in a couple of weeks so keep your eyes peeled for this!
Get your hands on them here:
One of the easiest ways to create fantastic lettering with absolute ease is to invest in a stencil. Some of my neatest and most impressive spreads have included stencilling because without fail my writing looks neat and sleek. They are not expensive and they last FOREVER. This stencil pictured is one I have had since primary school – that’s nearly 20 years old!
You can purchase many kinds of stencils – they don’t just have to be letters. Have a look on Amazon and see what’s out there!
Get it now:
This is possibly the most fun stationery item to keep and some people own THOUSANDS of different kinds of washi tape. I myself probably have about 30 different kinds of tape. It is the easiest way to quickly stick little pictures or offcuts into your journal, to create a fun scrapbooking style. The great thing about washi tape is that it doesn’t leave marks on walls so you can also use it to stick up pictures in your home. I’ve used it here to customise my desk space. Washi tape can be torn, so no need to faff around with scissors, and it really does come in all the different colours and patterns under the sun! I managed to pick up loads of washi tape when I was travelling around the USA because they sell it in their supermarkets. In the UK it is a little harder to come by and I recommend ordering online. My favourite washi tape (the peach one pictured above) was ordered off Etsy – and of course it is always wonderful to support independent businesses and designers.
I’ll admit that these were a later addition to my journal stationery supplies but now I would encourage anyone starting a journal to invest in a pack of brush pens. Apart from anything else brush pens are the best way to learn how to do calligraphy. I personally find them so much easier to control than normal felt tip pens, which some other journalists use. These brush pens come in gorgeous pastel colours, but I also own a pack of brightly coloured brush pens too. They can be used as highlighters to brighten up parts of your text, but I mainly use them to write the headers on each page. For pastel colours I recommend Faber Castell pens. They are genuine art suppliers so the quality is excellent. For brighter colours I recommend the brand Lyra – I have had their brush pens set for about three years and they are still vibrant.
My final tip is to invest in prints. I started using these a few years because I was not confident enough to create my own illustrations yet I wanted my weekly spreads to look full and engaging. They are a great way to fill up any empty space. I used to save images that I liked on Pinterest and then order them all as photos to be printed from an online printers, such as Snap Fish. If you’re going to do this make sure you try and credit the original artist’s work! This is a quick and cheap way to gather a collection of adorable illustrations and quotes.
For my birthday this year my wonderful friend Tash gifted me a box full of these notecards. They range from life-affirming, positive quotes to gorgeous photography. They now pop up all the time in my journal. You can find loads of them on Etsy!
That’s the basic tools that I think are required to create a beautiful journal. When you come to creating a weekly spread, simply pick a colour theme – choose a pen, a washi tape and a print that all look good together, and you’re all good to go.
I hope you enjoyed reading my blog and I’ll catch ya soon.