Stencils are a great way to get that artistic look in your bullet journal even if you don’t have an artistic gene in your body. Or maybe you actually are artistic but you just want an easy way to draw boxes, banners and tracker icons without the time it takes to draw everything from scratch. Stencils have come a long way since the days when I was in elementary school and I’ve gone a little bit nuts in the past several months with my stencil collecting.
Maybe you think that using a stencil in your bullet journal feels like “cheating” — after all, so many people rave about their drawing skills that it might feel like you need to keep your stencil usage behind closed doors. No more! Come into the light and let’s proclaim our stencils as necessary tools of the trade. You officially have permission to embrace the stencil obsession and use as many stencils are you need to for your bullet journal creations.
Let’s explore and see what’s in my stash.
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Plastic Bullet Journal Stencils
There are a number of different sellers on Amazon selling big sets of plastic stencils. The one I bought includes 20 different stencils with lots of different shapes and boxes to use in your bullet journal spreads. The plastic is thin and I found that the best way to get a clean line is to use a bit of washi tape to hold down the stencil tightly on the page, then trace your shape. This is a great starter set because you get the chance to try out so many different shapes and boxes that you get to figure out which ones you use the most often so when you upgrade to a higher quality stencil you only purchase what you know you’ll use. I also love that these are so thin that you can put them in your notebook or journal and not worry about them being too bulky. You can take 2 or 3 along with you without any extra thickness in your journal.
There are lots of other plastic stencils available online. I’ll list some homemade options down below, but I’ve hunted down some of the best that I’ve been able to find on Amazon from the mass market sellers. Check out some of these amazing stencil options!
- Vivile Drawing Stencil – I love how intricate these A6 stencils are. They will take a steady hand and maybe a bit of stencil mounting spray to get a clean trace – or maybe you could use them with some of those cool new spray market sets by Crayola to get a unique look. Don’t miss this second set they have with a fun party-themed stencil options. They come with holes already punched to store in a mini binder.
YUEAON 24 pack of Stencils – these square stencils have everything you’d need for great bullet journal collection ideas. There’s a few holiday options, some nature ideas, a beautiful mandala, and even kitchen stencil shapes that would be ideal for a meal planning or recipe collection page.
Brass and Metal Bullet Journal Stencils
When you’re ready to upgrade, this is where you’ll want to go. I bought the first set of two a few weeks after I got the plastic set above. The very day I got those first two
brass stencils from Paper Farm on Amazon (no longer available on Amazon, check the link below for Jayden’s Apple shop on Etsy), I immediately went and ordered the other set of two they had too. Yes, they’re THAT good. I love that these are heavy duty and sturdy. I don’t worry about the stencil slipping while I’m tracing the shape and I know that these will last for many years without wearing out. There’s also little ruler tick marks etched into the edge of each of the stencils so I can use these as a ruler as well. They’re definitely a bit bulkier than the plastic stencils so when I carry these along I usually only grab one or two. I usually tuck them into the pocket of my journal cover rather than inside my journal.
There are a lot of other great brass stencil makers online. Here are a few of the ones that caught my eye:
- Pocket Size Journal Stencils – You see these multi-pack set of stencils from lots of different sellers and I love that they’re small enough to tuck into the pocket of your journal of can be used as a bookmark. Lots of great shapes on these gems.
- Tibetara Metal Stencils – I’m really impressed with the selection of stencil options by Tibetara. They are a craft supply maker/seller on Amazon and seem to update their inventory often with new products, so keep an eye on them for new arrivals.
- Jayden’s Apple on Etsy – Whenever people in the Facebook Groups ask for recommendations on stencils, Jayden’s Apple always gets mentioned. So many beautiful stencils and I love that they have examples of how the stencils can be used, too.
- Good Created on Etsy – Another great seller of brass stencils on Etsy is Good Created. The items that catch my eye with this seller is that many of the stencil options include a task list with lines – which would be ideal for those who use a blank journal and might need some structure in certain areas of your page but don’t like a journal with dots or lines pre-printed. This would be great for a sketchbook where you wanted to add a short narrative about your drawing and need some way to write in straight lines.
For those of us who are handwriting challenged and have had to embrace sloppy lettering… sometimes we just want something to look neat and orderly. So why not pull out your handy dandy alphabet stencil and create something stellar to polish off your next weekly spread or collection page. Add a bit of washi tape and nobody will ever know you’re “not creative.” When I started pulling out all my stencils (have I mentioned I have an entire craft/art room in my house?) I was surprised at how many I actually owned. Not only are there some new ones in the plastic stencil pack I bought above, but there were more.
I have this set of rigid plastic alphabet and numbers that helped me make this layout below (as you know, I don’t actually use weekly layouts in my bullet journal, so I made this JUST for you!). First I traced the outside edge of the Dear Lily Stencil to create the box (don’t draw the top line), add a drop shadow with a gray Mildliner and some extra hand-drawn messy outlines to give it a handmade look. Then I used the same stencil to create those task boxes inside the box. Add the day letters and it’s done!
Don’t fret… I have more alphabet options! (I know you didn’t doubt me on that, right?)
- Set of 8 Alphabet Stencils – so many options here! Includes script and block letter, plus a really cool number collage.
- Calligraphy Stencil – I love this beautiful font of calligraphy-style letters. This set comes with both upper and lower case letters.
- Word Stencils – You don’t have to worry about spelling words correctly when you just skip the alphabet and go straight for word stencils. I love the beauty of these.
- Wall of Words – while we’re on the topic of words, I love the motivational sayings that make up this stencil – pick a few and add them to your collection pages. Lots of great sayings here for a weight loss or fitness tracker.
Architectural and Professional Stencils
Have you been to your local office supply store and browsed the aisle where they have supplies for architects? I love that aisle (let’s be honest, I just love the whole office supply store, but I especially like that section). Here you’ll find all those tools you needed in high school math class – compass, triangle, that little half circle thingie (I’m probably the only nerd you know that was terrible at math, so I don’t know all their names). But look a bit closer and you’ll find a few stencils that will also work for your bullet journal. There’s the stencil with dozens of different size circles, and also the one with all the different size squares. And don’t forget the french curve shapes (I’ve got more of those that I know what to do with).
But my favorite is the Alvin TD116 Template – it’s an all-in-one pocket stencil that includes a curve at the top, a variety of squares, circles, triangles, and hexagons. Plus it’s got a little french curve and some oblong shapes that work great as header flags for boxes. I also love my template that is all squares – a couple of dozen squares in all different sizes (or the one with all circles).
Also remember that in the category of professional stencils comes an amazing array of templates for building houses, planning landscaping, or even creating fashion, jewelry, accessories. I’ve collected dozens of these over the years and also inherited a lot of print-maker templates when I took over as the graphic designer at my day job. When searching for these types of stencils, look for “technical drawing templates,” to get the best results. They might not be templates you think of when searching for bullet journal stencils, but they are so useful that I wanted to include some resources for you here:
- Mr. Pen 6-piece Template Set – This set includes a variety of sizes of French Curves, plus two different drawing templates for circles and basic shapes.
- Geometric Drawing Template – I have this set and use it often – in fact, the Savings Tracker below is made with one of these templates. I love that it’s a rigid plastic so there’s no slipping and if feels sturdy when I’m tracing shapes.
- Mr. Pen Mathmatical Drawing Set – Ahhh… it’s a protractor (that little half-circle thingie). Here’s a great set that includes a lot of technical drawing options.
- Drafting Tool Template – I love this set because it’s narrow enough that you could use it as a bookmark. And for those of us with a touch of OCD and need things separated by shape, this is perfect!
Helix Angle and Circle Template
When you need to draw a circle, what’s your go-to method? For a long time, I’d just grab the closest round thing (plate, cup, a roll of tape) and trace around it. But then I got this Helix Circle Stencil doohickey. I’m sure there’s a very serious reason to own one of these, but personally, it reminds me of my childhood when I had a Spirograph (Ummm… this is probably a good time to confess that I recently bought myself a new Spirograph set). But anyway, back to this circle thing. The inside spins and there are all these guide holes that you stick your pencil into and then spin the inner part and you draw a perfect circle in a dozen different sizes. This would be an awesome way to draw those circular bullet journal trackers for mood or habits. It’s fun to play with and it does a good job making circles – you should totally get one of these! Check out the gallery below for ideas on how to use this template.
My niece playing with my Helix Circle Maker.
Kid Stencils for Fun and Fashion
While I’m searching for cool stencils for my bullet journal and planner notebooks, I always forget that stencils “
Trix stencils are for kids” and there’s a treasure trove of really cool stencils buried in the children’s department at the local craft store (and online too!). Check out this set of great stencils by Learning Essentials on Amazon. Are you making a bujo tracker to help you save for a car? There’s a stencil for cars and trucks and all manner of vehicles (just in case you also to track the oil changes on your bulldozer or feeding schedule of your pet dinosaur, there are stencils for that too).
A lot of women like to create spreads in their journals to inventory their wardrobe. Someone in one of the online forums a few weeks ago was looking for stencils of clothing. Guess what?! Fashion Plates (from my childhood) is still made and there are a plethora of stencils of clothing in every imaginable shape and size that you might have in your closet. Or if you want a grown-up version of fashion templates, check out this amazing brass stencil by Jayden’s Apple for Wardrobe Planning.
Of course, when you think of kids stencils you think of the basic shapes – circle, square, triangle – and those are definitely available, but also the best alphabet stencils are in the kids’ section. Numbers too! I haven’t been to Toys R Us lately, but it might be time to go stationery shopping and see what they have. Here are a few more I found online:
- Learning Resources Primary Shapes – super simple shapes in a variety of sizes. A set of 5 basic shape templates – combine shapes from different templates to create drawings or layouts in your bullet journal.
- Sotogo Fantasy Stencils – I mostly love this set because there are a dragon and a mermaid … and an octopus. C’mon! We all need a dragon in our bullet journals. Right?
- Frecklez Travel Stencil Set – I think I’m having too much fun with these kids stencils! This one has a whole space themed template … and a horse-drawn princess carriage!
Holiday and Seasonal Stencils
We all like to include seasonal layouts on our bullet journal pages. I’ve seen some really amazing Christmas spreads in the past month or so and can’t wait for the next holiday to see what you all create (and I can copy). I recently came across a set of gorgeous Christmas Stencils that I wanted to share with you. As soon as I opened the package I knew I’d found something special and immediately opened my book to trace the reindeer. The material of these stencils is more rigid than the flimsy plastic stencils – substantial enough to be rigid while still being flexible. I was worried about how they’d work out with such tiny shapes, but I didn’t have any major problems with the tiny shapes and detailed design work. Once I saw how great the reindeer turned out, I went on a hunt for other holiday options, of course.
Some other holiday and seasonal stencils I found:
- 6-pack Christmas Stencils – these are 6″ square and have beautiful and intricate designs that would be perfect as a cover page in your bullet journal to ring in the holiday season.
- Fall Leaves metal stencil – so many shapes and sizes of leaves on this metal stencil. This would be great to create a tracker (mood, savings, habit) for your monthly spread in the fall.
- Dreamweaver Metal Stencils – there are just too many good ones to link individually, so this is the search results page for the metal stencils made by Dreamweaver. So many awesome options! There’s a pumpkin patch, a Christmas tree, snowflakes, more fall leaves,
- Kids Holiday Stencils – and we’re back to kid’s stencils again, but I love this simple set of all the fun holidays. Look at the Easter Bunny!
Handmade Stencils on Etsy
I’ve purchased a few stencils from makers on Etsy – in fact, one stencil I bought is something I use every single day. The variety on Etsy for handmade stencils is endless and there are even some makers who will custom make a stencil based on your design or special request. New makers are coming onto the site regularly so be sure to do new searches every once in a while. But some of the favorite sellers of the bullet journal community include:
- Dear Lily Designs – this is the shop where I got the little business card-sized stencil that I use every day for my daily habit tracker. I love that these are all small enough to fit into the business card slot of my journal cover or tuck into a pocket on the inside of my journal. She has lots of single stencils and template sets to choose from and the quality of the plastic she uses is very nice too.
- Jaydens Apple – based in Hong Kong, but shipping around the world, Jayden’s Apple has about 30 different brass stencils to choose from, there are some very unique options here
- Moxidori — specializes in journal stencils, supplies, and accessories
- Oops A Daisy – a U.K. based shop specializing in all things stationery and paper crafting.
- Journal This Now – not on Etsy any longer, but they now have their own site for stencils and stickers. There are hundreds of stencil options!
Gallery of Ideas – how to use stencils in your bullet journal
Reindeer Christmas Stencil traced in black with added silver pen accents.
This is the type of habit tracker you can create using the Helix Circle and Angle Maker Template.
A simple circle becomes a goregous future log concept
Do you have a favorite layout you created using a stencil? Share a link to it in the comments so we can be inspired!
What’s your favorite stencil?
Who did I miss? Are there other great stencils out there that I don’t know about yet? Share your resources in the comments so we can all learn from you.