You’ve received your Catholic Journaling Bible. You’ve flipped through its pages and familiarized yourself with the layout. Now, you want start Bible journaling. But you’ve never done it before, and you feel overwhelmed with the possibilities and uncertain about how to begin.
Sisters, we’re here for you!
We’ve tried and tested a wide variety of Bible journaling tools and resources for you, and we’re offering our recommendations.
You Need the Right Tools for Bible Journaling
When considering what tools to use with your new journaling Bible, you need to take several things into consideration.
- Do you plan on underlining or highlighting a verse here or there?
- Do you plan on writing reflections, connections, or notes in the margins?
- Do you plan to hand-letter entire verses or pigment entire pages?
Determine your specific needs and desires first so you won’t buy thing you won’t actually use. Once you know what style of Bible journaling you’d like to do, here’s a list of our favorite tools and resources.
photo by @teawithtolkien using a sharpie pen
No matter what your journaling methods may be, here are some pens you may consider.
This is your everyday pen. These are the pens you’ll find at the doctor’s office, at the bottom of your purse, or given away for free. In all likelihood, you have a few at your fingertips right now. Ballpoint pens are versatile and universal.
Pros: ease of use, accessible, various pen widths, minimal bleed-through
Cons: not very pigmented, skips while writing
Have you ever picked up a pen, started writing, and thought, “Whoa, this is smooth!”? You probably picked up a gel pen. Gel pens are my go-to favorite for bullet journaling, letter writing, and important paperwork. The ink is smooth, saturated, and there is a pen for every person. I get most of my favorites imported from Japan via Amazon. Gel pens tend to have the most variety of pen widths for a traditional pen, typically ranging from 0.28mm to 1.0mm.
Pros: most variety in color and pen tip width, saturated and pigmented ink, minimal bleed-through
Cons: can smear while wet, superfine tips can shred paper if not careful
Sharpie pens are well-loved for their boldness, and they make a beautiful tool for your journaling Bible. They are fairly smooth to use and even come in a variety of colors. Make sure you use Sharpie pens, and not the ultra fine permanent markers (which will bleed through heavily).
Pros: bold presentation
Cons: can bleed through, so you want to put a piece of paper or two behind the page, and even then there will be some ghosting
Micro Pigment Ink
A favorite among hand-letterers and illustrators alike, I would describe this pen as a cross between gel and marker. The ink is super saturated, comes in a variety of points, and has a smooth line. Some brands are even water- and fade-proof, making them ideal for archival purposes. And while the ink is more visible on the backside of the page, I would not classify it as a bleed-through pen.
Pros: durable and long-lasting ink, perfect for a Bible “presented to” page
Cons: “ghosting” on back of page, expensive, will blot if not careful
Fountain or Dip Ink
I love these pens for their timelessness. But I do not suggest them for Bible pages. They are just for fun. Or you can use them on one of the many Blessed is She prayer journals!
photo by @katherine.bogner using the micron pigma
Colored pencils are great for adding color, depth, and personality to your Bible. And bonus, no bleed-through! I would suggest pencil if you plan on coloring an entire page.
Pros: easy to find and use, fit nicely into a pencil carrying case
Cons: you’ll need a sharpener, can be expensive (Prismacolor)
photo by @bobbi_rol using prismacolor
Writing and drawing preferences may vary, but most everyone likes to highlight Bible passages. Traditional highlighters, however, tend to bleed through the pages. You need a special type of highlighter to mark passages without damaging the integrity of the flip side.
Pros: beautiful color options, not too dark, minimal shadowing, erasable option
Cons: not a stand-alone item for all your journaling needs
photo by @bobbi_rol using pilot frixion light
Erasable tools are a staple when I am outlining or planning something. Erasable options come in pens, highlighters, and markers.
Cons: will fade if left in hot temperatures
- Pilot Friction Colors Erasable Markers
- Pilot FriXion Pencil, 0.7mm Ballpoint Pen, 12 Colors Set (also available in the 24 set)
- Pilot Frixion Ball Knock Retractable Gel Ink Pen, 0.5mm, 10 Colors Set
- TEK Mechanical Pencils
photo by @positively__imperfect using TEK mechanical pencils
Another favorite medium for Bible journaling is paint. When it comes to using the right paint, texture is important to prevent bleeding and running. Watercolor seems to work better than acrylic, as acrylic is heavier and thicker. Watercolors will wrinkle the page a bit, but they seem to flatten out well once dried and closed. To prevent watercolors from bleeding through, use transparent watercolor ground.
Pros: watercolors look gorgeous in the Bible, affordable
Cons: you won’t be able to blend colors or use as much water as you would watercolor paper
Scripture ribbons or bookmarks are great for keeping track of different books in the Bible, marking favorite passages, and quickly referencing books you are studying.
Pros: keeps you organized, affordable
Cons: some people don’t like the extra “stuff” to deal with in the Bible, can be tricky to slide into the spine properly
photo by @bobbi_rol
Nothing decorates a page quicker than stickers. Lucky for us, from monthly sticker clubs to the $1 bin at Target, there are always cute stickers to be found.
Pros: marks passages or pages clearly, allows another form of creativity and artistry, won’t move
Cons: won’t move without possible damage, can get pricey
- Studio 112 stickers (like these)
- Look to Him and Be Radiant – beautiful pre-cut and hand-lettered stickers to color and use in the margins
photo by @bobbi_rol using these stickers
For washi tape, you can pretty much find it anywhere these days – Target, Staples, and craft stores such as Michael’s. Washi tape is so fun to experiment with!
Pros: mark passages or whole pages easily, can be removed easily
Cons: can get expensive, if the wash tape is too cheap it can rip off the roll or might not remove from the page easily
photo by @bobbi_rol
Many people like using Bible tabs for quick and easy navigation through their Bible.
Pros: find your spot quickly
Cons: some people find tabs more distracting rather than more efficient; it comes down to personal preference!
One More Thing…
Many of our Blessed is She sisters have expressed concern about “messing it up” once they start using their Catholic Journaling Bible. And we understand that. The Bible is beautiful and getting started with Bible journaling can feel intimidating. But, sisters, it is the Word of God. You can’t ruin it! It is and will remain perfect. Bible journaling is simply meant to help you grow closer to God through His Word. So don’t be afraid of messing up or getting messy. Let Bible journaling be an expression of your love for the Lord, your desire to know Him better, and the lessons you learn along the way.
If you’d like a further visual experience of which tools work in the Catholic Journaling Bible, check out this video.
There are so many ways to spend time in prayer with God. And now, with the use of the first Catholic Journaling Bible, you have another way to dive in to God’s word.
Have you gotten your Catholic Journaling Bible yet? What are your favorite tools to use? Share ideas in the comments below!
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