April 8, 2018

The Wise Lark's Top 6 Bullet Journal Decorating Tips

Top Bullet Journal Decorating Tips



Bullet journal decorating is among my latest hobbies. My Instagram feed is a testament to that. I find the process of planning and decorating a blank notebook from scratch therapeutic. It's customizable which allows me to include tools that can help me cope with my depression. I have been sharing my bullet journal with family and friends, even my psychiatrist, and so far, they're giving me positive feedback.

Maintaining a bullet journal and decorating it can get tedious. When I started, all I had was a notebook on which I unloaded my thoughts on an almost daily basis. It's where I placed my long-term goals, feelings, and ToDo's, page after page. It took a little over a year, and a lot of adjustment before my bullet journal reached its current format. If you are planning to start a bujo, or planning to bring your bullet journal game a notch higher, then I've got some tips for you.

The Wise Lark's Top 6 Bullet Journal Decorating Tips





1. Choose a layout you are comfortable with, and modify it according to your needs.



There are tons of layout inspirations you can find on Instagram (#weeklyspread #bujoweekly #bulletjournalspread), Pinterest (Pinterest Board: Bullet Journal Layouts).

You don't have to follow all, but you can get some ideas by checking out what works for other people.

This is the layout I'm using at the moment:





Simple, but it works for me.

2. Swatch your pens, highlighters, and pen-highlighter combinations before working on your notebook, and look out for bleeding, ghosting, smudging.


I can tolerate some ghosting, but not bleeding. Most waterbased pens do not bleed on the papers that I've used (at least 80gsm). Alcohol-based pens mostly bleed, at least based on my experience. So it's important that you try them out first.

Since I'm lazy, I don't swatch all of my pens on my notebook. For me, swatching one from each set and try to see if it will bleed, ghost or smudge on my notebook's paper, is enough.

Smudging is especially applicable when using highlighters. I suggest you try out your pen-highlighter-paper combination before planning on making layouts that will require you to highlight.

Extra Tip: If your highlighter and pen smudges on your notebook but you want to use them anyway, you can try reverse highlighting. Apply the highlighter first, allow to dry, then write the word.

For my favorite bullet journal materials, check 5 Planner Essentials for Stationery Junkies.

Don't know what ghosting/bleeding mean? Check out their definition in this article from Fountain Pen Love: What’s the Difference Between Ink Feathering, Bleeding and Ghosting?




3. Decorative adhesives can make your life so much easier.


Practically speaking, who has the time to learn how to paint and draw and maintain a bullet journal at the same time you're busy hustling with your non-art related job? If you already know how to paint or draw, and it's already part of your routine to do art, then this tip is not for you. For those of us who don't feel like we're "artistic" enough, then decorative adhesives such as stickers and washi tapes can be great lifesavers.

Additional Tips:

Check out my blog posts about stickers -
How to Motivate Yourself Using Bullet Journal Stickers
DIY Stickers: Cheap and Easy Way to Hoard Stickers

To get some of my free sticker printables, subscribe to The Wise Lark

For a link to some awesome free printable stickers, follow my Pinterest Board -
Free Planner Stickers Printable



4. Allow a color palette to guide you.


I believe Lots-a-colors means lots-a-fun, but when there are too many colors on your spread, it can look busy that it becomes stressful to look at. If you aren't sure about color combinations, you can try looking at some color palettes online. My favorite website for color palette inspiration is Design Seeds.



5. Don't be afraid to experiment and make mistakes.


Picked the wrong color? Misspelled some words? Placed a sticker on the wrong part of the spread?

A lot of things can go wrong with your bullet journal. It's normal, it happens, and it's okay. You don't have to tear that page, or worse, scrap the whole notebook just because of a mistake! Some mistakes you can cover (with stickers *wink *wink) but for those that you can't? Let them stay there. Learn from it, and move on. Okay?




6. Last but not the least, do not compare.


As you look for inspiration online, it's very tempting to compare your spreads with those of others. I hope you won't fall into this trap. It is your bullet journal and what matters is that you are comfortable using it. Afterall, functionality trumps aesthetics when it comes to planning.

It is okay to look at other people's bullet journal spreads for inspiration, but do yourself some favor and do not compare.

That's all my advice for now. Grab your bujo, some supplies, and plan with all your heart! Don't forget to link us to your spreads in the comments section!

For you, what's the most challenging part when decorating your Bujo?



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