All you need to get started is a hardback book. Make sure the binding looks strong, If it has weak binding it will likely fall apart as you start adding things to the pages. I cut out every few pages to allow more space for my new pages.
It can be intimidating to start a journal, and the best place to get inspiration is flipping through magazines. Find images that are interesting to you and somehow relate to you. It’s as easy as that! As you become more comfortable with journaling you can start trying out more advanced techniques.
Once you have your hardback book and stack of magazines you are ready to go! I recommend using rubber cement to glue everything down. It works well because it won’t make your pages wrinkle and if you need to change something you can easily peel it back up.
Xacto knives work well to cut out small areas. If you are incorporating images into you journal it looks much better if you cut right up to the edge of whatever it is you are adding. If there are small areas you can’t get to with scissors, use an Xacto!
If you are drawing something or mapping out your pages always use pencil!
Sharpies are necessary to have around, and you can find them at a variety of stores. I usually use black sharpie to add words to my pages. You can easily control it, it is more bold than pens and pencils, and it comes in a variety of colors.
Construction paper is an important material to have around. If you want a specific color for your background you can easily glue construction paper down, then add on top of it. It is cheap and can be found at Target, Walmart, as well as art stores.
I use colored pencils a lot if I am including images I have drawn in my journal. You can find cheap sets of colored pencils at a variety of stores, but if you want the best colored pencils (Prismas) you need to go to an art store (Blick, Michaels, Hobby Lobby). They are expensive, running about $1.00 a pencil, but if you get into journaling they work incredibly well!
I use gesso ALL the time in my journals. You can keep it thick to create solid white areas or water it down to create a hazy look. You can find it at any art store, but be careful because it doesn’t come out of clothes!
Bleeding tissue paper is a great way to get blocks of color, create a tie dyed look, or add color splatter in your pages. You can find this at art stores, be sure to make sure it says art tissue or bleeding tissue paper. Normal tissue paper does not bleed!
I interchange watercolors and bleeding tissue paper, they basically do the same thing. However, if I need to have more control over where the color goes I use watercolors. Because you use paint brushes to apply the paint you can control it more.
If you are going to use watercolors you need paint brushes! You can get cheap brushes at places like Target and Walmart, but I would look at art stores and get slightly nicer ones.
India Ink is a very black liquid (and it is permanent). I use India Ink a lot to create black lines, I apply it with a paint brush or a calligraphy pen, and to create black splatters. It isn’t very transparent, but you can water it down to get a grayer effect.
Packaging tape is great for creating a plastic looking cover over your pages or for creating more advanced images. You can use it to create semi transparent images by creating a tape transfer. You need an image printed on a laser printer (this is a requirement) or an image from a magazine that has a high density of color (like from a National Geographic). Images printed from a laser printer work best. Once you have your image lay tape on top (sticky side down), then you flip your image over and burnish the back (rub it), I often use scissor handles. After that you run water over the back until the paper starts peeling off (try not to let it go down the drain, it will clog your sink). Rub your fingers over the back to get the paper off. The end result should be your image “stuck” to the tape with no paper on the back. The color areas will be semi-transparent and the white areas should be completely see through. Hopefully it is still sticky and you can stick it to your page like a sticker. If not, you can glue it down with rubber cement, but sometimes it makes the ink come off of the tape.
Mod Podge is another great way to do an image transfer. For this process you need a laser printed image. Once you have the image paint a layer of Mod Podge on top and let it dry. Repeat this process again. Paint another layer (this should be layer three) and before it dries place the image face down on your page (it will turn out mirror image so plan ahead). burnish the back with your hand or scissor handles, be careful not to press down too hard! Let it dry. Once it dries wet the back with a sponge and start rubbing the paper off with your fingers. You may have to wet it and rub over it a few times to get rid of all the paper.