Bujo, for those who don't know, is the contraction of 'bullet journal', a DIY hybrid combination of a diary and a planner which has grown increasingly popular over the last few years to the great delight of stationery manufacturers who are making big bucks out of it.
Just prior to start my fourth bujo for the year ahead, I had three whole years to experiment and see what suits me and what doesn't for this type of journal. First of all, the restrictive number of pages; broken bindings when the notebook gets too thick after sticking too much stuff on the pages; botched pages you can't tear off; non-consecutive pages involving a route game with indexes; time consumption every month and week to arrange your spreads, layout, etc. For me, it eventually became a boring routine which killed my spontaneity and creativity.
Therefore I set out to find a more functional and mostly quicker solution. I started eying at loose-leaf organisers, but got deterred by the cost, while regular binders are too ugly and too bulky. So I had the idea to look for loose-leaf binder rings similar to spiral bindings but which could be opened and closed at leisure. “Ask and you shall find”. I did and I found what I was looking for.
- 2 sets of 3 metal loose-leaf binder rings
- 1 hard cardboard folder
- A4-sized pattern colour sheets
- A4-sized plain colour sheets
- A4-sized plain white sheets 90G
- A4-sized transparent punched pockets
- heavy-duty puncher
- washi tape
1. You start by creating a template which will be used to punch your loose sheets, cover pages and transparent pockets. For that, I recommended using a sheet rigid enough so that it won't tear off and coloured to make out the contour of each hole. Ideally it should be an A5-sized sheet but otherwise you just need to fold an A4-sized sheet in two and separate it using a cutter. The spacing between the three holes bottom and top is determined by the sets of rings, but it is usually standard spacing. For reference only, you may use the sketch featuring the spacings I have used. Please, make sure you got your template right before punching all your sheets!
2. Use this template as a basis to cut out two A5-sheets in the hard cardboard folder. Pick up some paper with printed patterns of your choice to decorate your cover sleeve and another assorted plain colour one to stick on the inner sleeve. You might prefer to use only one type of paper so that outer and inner side are identical. In this case, you'll just need to fold two a4-sized sheets and stick them on the front and back of each cardboard sheet. As you can see on the photo gallery below), I have used a plain pink sheet for the inner sleeves and covered the front with patterned paper overlapping one third of the inner sleeve. You may also use wrapping paper if you don't have decorative paper sheets.
3. In order to protect the cover sleeve from stains and splashes, you may insert each decorated cardboard sheet making your front and back cover inside a A4-sized transparent punched pocket widthwise. Fold and cut off the extra bits including the punched bit.
4. Make sure the front cover sleeve is inserted the right way, i.e. printed side in front of you with the opening of the plastic pocket on the left. Place the template with the holes on the left. I recommend using paper holders to make sure the sheet won't move when you punch it. You'll have to punch one hole at a time (except if you have a 3 or 6-hole puncher). Repeat with the back cover sleeve but inverting the side of the opening and the holes (on the right).
5. Use the same method to make additional transparent pockets inserting folded A4-sized sheets, that is 14 for month cover page, year cover page and additional section you may (or may not) need. Don't forget to cut out shaped labels to write the title and stick on each page before inserting.
6. Last step. Blank loose sheets are easy but a bit tedious to make (still less expensive than refills). To fit the capacity of my binder rings, I have chosen to make 180 pages in addition to the cover sleeve and month covers, while I can always create some more later on. For that number of pages you'll need 180÷4=45 A4-sized plain white sheets which you'll have to fold in two and separate using a cutter. Punch them by groups of the maximum capacity your puncher can hold.
Now it's time to use your bullet journal just as you would with a regular notebook or print your spreads like I did. It's a bit time consuming at first, but still ultimately you'll save a lot of time and trouble as you can always reuse it the following years just modifying the calendars — which takes seconds with spreadsheets. I have used LibreOffice Calc with a font I made ages ago using my own handwriting, so it's double-cheating!
TIP: To help you write straight, print out the grid of your spreadsheet (5x5mm) on the back and front of a loose punched A5 sheet which you'll place under the page you want to write on. Cut the outside of the holes so that you can move your gridded page quickly without having to open and close the rings every time. I did the same with a flexible ruler included when I purchased my previous dotted notebooks and use it as a bookmark.
The lazier (or the less inspired) may also find some pre-made page templates on line, but these may not be suited to your own personal needs.
You may use the gallery below for reference (sorry, no sideshow function available on Eklablog since it has been taken over by Webedia, so you'll need to click on each thumbnail to view the full size picture).
Hope this tut was inspiring for you. Please, feel free to leave a comment, ask questions or make suggestions. I still have so much to learn (and I love it).
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Tags: bujo, bullet journal, organisation, creativity, eyael
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