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Bullet journal with lined paper

Can You Bullet Journal With Lined Paper?

When it comes to bullet journaling, many people tend to use a dotted grid paper but the thing with bullet journals is that you can use any form of a notebook.

So if you’re wondering if you can bullet journal with lined paper or even a blank notebook the answer is yes, you can but there are many factors to take into account such as the texture and strength of the paper to hold art supplies that will affect your journaling experience.

Of course, a typical bullet journal is preferred (and recommended) since it has light-colored dots that won’t get in your way but rather it will guide you when drawing or designing which makes it much easier.

More than that, the pages of the journal itself are thicker than a usual notebook, for example, you won’t pens to bleed through the paper causing the other side to look nasty.

This, in fact, is a very crucial thing when using different kinds of pens like brush pens, watercolors, washi tapes, or just gluing things in general so of course, you will need a journal that will be strong enough to hold supplies.

Now if we’re talking about a lined paper that is typically very thin and weak, do expect a lot of bleeding through because these kinds of papers cannot hold as efficiently and effectively as a normal high quality dotted journal would.

Pros and cons of using lined paper 


  • It’s cheaper
  • You can make mistakes
  • You can experiment
  • Easier to write with
  • Personalized cover
  • You don’t need to bust out a ruler


  • Weak paper
  • It’s already lined
  • You won’t be able to use specific art supplies
  • You’re limited with designs
  • You’ll need pens that won’t bleed

Whereas if you had to use a bullet journal, you definitely would not encounter all of these problems. 

Since there is no specific rule that states you cannot use lined paper, at the end of the day, the choice remains with you.

Either way, you could try using lined paper first and if you feel like you’re ready to start with a real journal, go ahead. 

But before that, here’s a few questions you might want to answer that will help carve your decision.

How will you use the bullet journal?

Since we’ve put together the advantages and disadvantages of using lined paper as a bullet journal, you might be wondering if it would be worth your time?

If you are planning to use lined paper then you will have to decide on these three things:

1. Will you be using your journal in a minimalist style or in an artistic manner?

2. Will you be decorating with heavy art supplies that require thick paper?

3. Are you fine with pages that thin and bleed through?

Using a journal for a simple purpose like notetaking, brainstorming, drawing mindmaps, or even writing diary entries, then a bullet journal with lined paper will be perfectly fine!

When I first started with bullet journaling, I had to use a lined paper notebook because I didn’t want to use an expensive journal.

Let’s be real here for second, high-quality bullet journals are expensive and sometimes these things are just not in our budget.

If you’re only a beginner at bullet journaling, then using lined paper is a fantastic way to test different styles as well as what works and what doesn’t without ruining or tearing pages from your expensive journal.

You’ll also be able to get rid of that fear of starting a brand new journal.

You know how when you have a new journal and the papers are so fresh and clean, you sort of feel guilty for damaging it in case you make a mistake? 

It took me a long time to overcome this feeling but after switching over to a lined notebook for a while, it gave me the chance to make mistakes while also gaining more confidence in my drawing skills. 

My recommendation would be to try using lined paper first rather than purchasing an expensive bullet journal.

However, this does not mean you shouldn’t get one if you feel like you’ve got this – in fact, go ahead and purchase one because you’ll definitely be journaling with higher quality paper! 

Ways to use lined paper as a journal 

Now that you’re interested in using lined paper instead, let’s look at a few ways you bullet journal and what to bullet journal about while doing so. 

Personally, I prefer to use lined paper for long written journal entries. They turn out must neater since I’m accustomed to using lined paper for such a long time.

The one major drawback to using lined paper is that if you plan to have detailed drawings or doodles, unfortunately, the lines are going to show and this will affect the way your drawings and spreads turn out. 

So instead of your journals looking neat and tidy, they will be busy and cluttered. Objects you intended to stand out would, in fact, drown out. So, in this case, the lined paper would not be ideal for bullet journaling. 

However, there are always solutions to problems and a great way to work around this one would be to use stickers instead.

1. Weekly To-Do List

Here’s a simple spread that uses lined paper but makes it look just as gorgeous if you had used dotted paper.

Can You Bullet Journal With Lined Paper
Image Source: Instagram

This one just goes to show that yes, you can still make amazing spreads if you had used lined paper.

The artist kept it simple by using a light-colored highlighter and small symbols to add detail.

2. Notetaking

As we mentioned before, using lined paper for notetaking is absolutely great and there are a few ways to make them look awesome simply by adding a fancy font like over here.

Notetaking with lined paper
Image Source: Carries Art

Try to get a thicker lined paper if you plan to draw or use thick colors on the paper.

3. Journal Entries

Here’s the perfect example of how lined paper can be used for bullet journaling. This spread makes great use of two different fonts for it’s spread and I’m sure that isn’t too harsh on the paper either.

Bullet journal diary entries with lined paper
Image Source: Decade Thirty

I won’t go into too much detail of using lined paper since I’m sure you’re going to add everything as you would for an ordinary bullet journal.

The main point here is that yes, using lined paper for bullet journaling is an option and there are many ways to do but at the same time, there are many limitations to using lined paper.

Although, a lined paper notebook is preferable for those who are always in a hurry and aren’t very artistic or good at drawing.

If you want to spend less time decorating or bullet journaling, then you’d rather stick with a normal journal.

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