I started my first bullet journal a few years ago without really knowing what it was. What I did know was that the planners for sale in stores didn’t really offer what I was looking for and didn’t allow for the level of creativity and flexibility I needed to get excited about planning and journaling. I spent a lot of time last year designing and tweaking a printable version of my perfect monthly journal which I still use and love- I don’t always have the time to draw weekly/monthly layouts by hand. Lately though I’ve been really inspired by all of the amazing hand lettering I see on social media and just drawn to the paper on pen version of journaling. And for that I need plenty of notebooks!
So I started make my own bullet journal notebooks for a few reasons:
- There are a few really great grid notebooks for bullet journaling like the Leuchtturm 1917 and the Rhodia dot grid journal, but I really wanted stark white dot grid paper instead of the ivory shade that is so common with notebooks and journals.
- Making my own notebooks for journaling has completely eliminated the fear of messing up a new notebook or ‘wasting’ pages.
- I have total control over the quality, weight, and color of my pages.
- Making your own high quality notebooks is incredibly affordable.
This tutorial is for a durable softcover notebook, making a hardcover journal is only slightly more difficult and there are tons of bookbinding resources out there and I will be posting a tutorial on making a hardcover journal soon!
Bullet Journal Supplies
- 1 sheet of heavy 8.5×11 Cardstock Paper (I used Brazzil Scrapbooking paper in the color ‘lollipop’. I would recommend purchasing this in person at a craft store so you can feel the weight/texture in person, one sheet is typically under $1)
- 14 sheets of 24 lb Printer Paper (I used this)
- printer (A duplex printer is best at lining up the dots on the front and back of a page. I prefer using my Canon inkjet printer for the dot grid instead of my Brother laser printer, the inkjet prints a beautiful dot grid whereas the laser prints a pixelated dot grid and gives the paper a strange texture.
- Metal ruler
- Utility Knife
- Heavy Duty Thread, needle, 5 pins, and tacky gluestick OR a long reach stapler
- Self healing mat or cutting board
- Corner Rounder
- 1 small piece of 220 grit sandpaper
- PDF Grid patterns zip file
1. Cut your cover cardstock into a 7.5×9.5 sheet and fold it in half to make a 7.5×4.75 cover. Download the grid pattern zip file and unzip. Choose the pdf for the grid pattern you want to use and print your grid onto the front and back of the 14 sheets of 24lb paper. Fold this paper in half width-wise and place into the fold of the cardstock cover.
3. Thread your needle with ~3ft of thread. Match up ends of thread, do not tie off. Remove the first pin from the book while holding the paper together. Push the threaded needle through the pinhole from the outside, pulling the thread through until 1 inch of thread remains on the outside of the book.
6. Bring your needle back through the original hole and pull until taught.
11. Take a piece of fine grit sandpaper and smooth out the edges and corners. That’s it! You can flatten your notebook by placing it under a pile of heavy books or creating a makeshift bookpress with two wooden cutting boards and a few clamps.
Here is a picture of a quick weekly layout I did on the inside of bullet journal. I need to work on my lettering a bit but I love it! Here I was using the Micron 005 and 02 pens.
Check back soon for the hardcover notebook tutorial, happy Bullet Journaling everyone!