How to Use Printables in a Bullet Journal & Big Announcement

by | Jun 10, 2020 | Beginners Guides, Bullet Journaling

So lovely readers, if you’ve been following my goings on closely you’ll have seen that I’ve started running workshops to help get more beginners into Bullet Journaling and overcome their insecurities and obstacles about starting a journal and getting started. In the workshops I talked a lot about how you can make the Bullet Journal less of a ‘burden’ on your time when you’re starting out – since finding time seems to be a big problem for those beginners. One suggestion I gave was to use planning printables. Of course I was then asked – “Where do we get them, do you know any good shops to buy them from?” And well… good question. I don’t really. And then I got to thinking – why am I not doing this?! So yep, you guessed it I’ve set up my own planning printable shop! Introducing…

The Stationery Magpie Printable Shop!

So yes I have created my own printables in my own unique style which is slightly wonky and messy. All of the writing on the printables is from my own hand writing – either digitalised via my graphics tablet or using my own hand drawn font. I wanted to make printables that reflect my style of planning which I don’t think is really that common. My printables are funky, simple and they all have a bit of my personality in them – my handwriting. To start with I’ve created a lot of the core pages that you can use in a journal including the key, index, future logs and monthly layouts.

Add your own patterns on top of printables.
Printables can easily be customised to make them unique to you!

Practical Printable Advice

Now of course the word is in the name – you have to be able to print a printable to use it off your computer. If you don’t have a printer I don’t really have another option for you regarding how you can buy them at the moment- I hope to be able to offer physical products in the future but not for a good while! So if you don’t have your own printer you might have to ask family or friends who do have a printer or get them printed at a shop. Of course if you want to you can also use these digitally.

Print Settings for Printables

Most printables, including mine are A5 size. Most journals that people use for bullet journaling are also A5 size but in actual fact if your corners are rounded then it might be a little large for your journal. When printing make sure you change the scale of the size of the print out to 100% or ‘actual size. If you’re worried about the printable fitting try a few test copies on some cheap paper before printing on your nice paper. My printables have an edge that you can follow to cut out. They fit in most standard popular Bullet Journaling notebooks and the dot grid spacing is 0.5cm.

If you want create your own planner you can also print them larger scale but the larger you go the more the print quality may suffer. It should be alright at A4 but test it out first.

Set the printing size 100% or 'actual size' rather than fit to paper when printing on A4.

Which Paper to Use for Printables?

One of my rules for Bullet Journaling supplies is that if you’re going to spend money on anything – spend it on the notebook because paper quality matters. A rubbish pen can still look ok on good paper but rubbish paper will challenge even the best of pens and can damage them. No no no. We don’t want that after spending our good money on fancy pens. So of course if you’re going to colour in or decorate your printables you’ll still want a decent quality printer paper. I recommend at least 120gsm and a smooth finish. This Navigator Printer Paper is what I use and you can get it on Amazon or find something similar in most supermarkets or local stationery shops.

Just because a printable is premade doesn't mean you can't add your own style.
Paper colour can vary in journals which you’ll need to take into account when printing printables

Another thing to note is that some journals use off white or cream coloured paper including Leuchtturm1917. If you’re keen to have a journal that matches your printable you’ll either have to take this into account when choosing a Bullet Journaling notebook or when buying your printables paper.

Supplies for Printables

Besides the obvious paper and printer that you’ll need you’ll also need a decent pair of scissors or a paper guillotine or trimmer. I’m in love with my paper guillotine as it cuts perfectly straight edges and is so fast and easy. You can get really cheap ones like my Texet Paper Trimmer (not suitable for a lot of paper and it isn’t perfect but the price makes up for it). Another unnecessary but cool tool is this Paper Corner Punch which will round the corners of your page perfectly. If you want your printable fit nicely I definitely recommend it (or you could save a lot of money and round the corners yourself with scissors!)

Different Ways to Use Printables

What I love about printables is that the way you use them can actually be pretty flexible. You might think you just print, trim and stick it in to your journal but there is so much more potential! Even though you haven’t technically created what’s on the printable you can still get creative with how you use it. And I’ve made my printables plain enough that you can add lots of extra decoration to truly make them your own!

Compile Them and Create a Planner

If you know you want a pre-printed structured planner some people actually just a lot of printables attached together to create their own planner! You can get hold of A5 sized ring binders to punch holes in the pages or you could print 2 pages on one side of A4 and fold them to put into a travellers notebook using elastic! If you have a notebook that you love the cover of but the paper isn’t quite up to scratch use a printable on good quality paper!

Cut Printables Up and Reorder the Elements

Just because I’ve strucutred a printable in a certain way definitely doesn’t mean you have to use them like that! I don’t know how other printable creators feel about it but I am so up for you cutting them up using the bits that you need and reorganising them on the page to make a layout that suits you.

If you want to be a pro use a paper trimmed to cut your printable pages.
Cut up a year at a glance to use the calendars separately!

This could be especially useful for those pesky little calendars that are annoying to draw out but a very useful little module to have on multiple pages. One purchase of a Year at a Glance spread and you could re-use it and re-print it to create lots of little calendars for an entire year of journaling on multiple spreads.

Add a Printable as an Extra Page

If you suddenly realise that there’s a page missing in your Bullet Journal such as a ‘Year at a Glance’ then you can easily create an extra page using a printable and some washi tape by sticking down one side. You don’t have to stick the printable down you can leave it as a flap and if you’re really confident with your printer you could even make it double sided!

Cover up Pages That Have Gone Wrong

Now I’m a a big advocate for mistakes happening and embracing them but yes even I have made a couple of messes so big that I had no choice but to cover them up since I didn’t really fancy wasting all the money I spent on my good notebook and setting it alight. Enter the printables! It can cover up a mess nicely if printed on good paper and give new life to a dead page.

Planning printables can be used to cover up pages that have gone wrong in your journal.

Put them Anywhere you Like – Not just your Journal

You don’t actually need a Bullet Journal to use a printable. There’s nothing stopping you from using things like the Future Log or the Year at a Glance as cheap easy calendars or planning pages that you can put up just about anywhere! If you need to refer to dates often when you’re working stick a Year at a Glance up by your desk, or add a future log if you want somewhere to note everyones birthdays and special events for year.

Go to the Stationery Magpie Printable Shop

Printables are a great way to save time when Bullet Journaling. Here's my best advice for using printables and information about my new printable shop!

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