I’ve been on a bible journaling kick for awhile now, and I’ve finally got enough pages behind me now to recommend some bible journaling supplies and know what I’m talking about ;-). (You know, plus, I’m an artist, so I actually know stuff about art supplies…)
Essential Bible Journaling Supplies
A Beginner’s List of Bible Journaling Supplies:
- Bible (recommendations here)
- Pencil (just a regular one) 😉
- Eraser (a soft, white eraser)
- Black Pen (recommendations below)
- Colored Pencils (recommendations below)
This page below was created with just these simple supplies from the list above, and it has been my most popular bible journaling page on social media by far.
The rest is all icing-on-the-bible-journaling-cake, so don’t sweat it if it’s not in the budget! I have ordered this post starting with the things you need the most, and ending with the least essential supplies. This way, if you’re operating on a budget, you’ll know where to start. 😉
Black Outline Pens
I wholeheartedly recommend this set of black Faber-Castell pens! (Here’s a smaller set if you’re operating on a tight budget.) I love mine, and it comes with a large variety of black tips. The brush tip is my favorite, but I love them all. And it’s so great to be able to select a smaller pen for detail work, or a wider pen for bolder strokes. I have not regretted this purchase. I put some washi tape around the bottom of mine to help me be able to easily grab the tip I want without having to read the marker.
You can see on the page below I used a variety of these markers- from thin tips, to thicker tips, to the brush tip at the bottom. (The brush tips are what allow you to create the lines that get thicker and thinner. I like to use this when writing in cursive- so pretty!)
Do the black pens bleed through bible paper? The skinny ones really don’t, but the very bold ones do show up a bit.
I did try the micron pens that everyone recommends, but I highly prefer my faber castell set. I gave the micron pen to a friend. I will say, however, that the micron pens did not bleed so that’s good.
I used a black scrapbooking pen on my first pages (too impatient to wait for my special pens to show up in the mail) but it bled through pretty bad. In fact, I think it bled through more as some time passed. So when I wanted to journal the page behind it, I painted over the bleed through with cheap white acrylic paint.
I am extremely partial to my Prismacolor colored pencils, but I’ll admit to having a bias due to being an artist. I love how smooth they are, how they’re easy to blend, and how much you can saturate the paper with them. Shoot- I even love the smell!
However, I saw the twistable Crayola colored pencils recommended a lot for Bible journaling, so I got a set for Lydia with her bible journal, and they’re quite beautiful and work well. Plus they don’t have to be sharpened, so that’s awesome. If you’re not a colored pencil connoisseur, these will serve you well. And I looked into it- all of Crayola’s colored pencils are acid free, so no worries using them in your bible. You can see that Lydia has good saturation here, and even accomplished some blending.
Do the colored pencils bleed through bible paper? No. Colored pencils aren’t going to show through to the next page. Although if you’re bearing down too hard, colored pencils can make a dent through to the other side of the paper.
My most favoritest bible journaling supply ever are Faber Castell gelatos! You do not need these, but man are they fun!
What I love about gelatos:
- They’re quick and easy to use for background colors
- They’re easy to blend, even for the non-artist
- They’re permanent once dry
- They dry with a very smooth texture- almost like they were actually printed in the book (better than the chalky feel of a dry watercolor paint)
- They make a surface over the paper so that when you draw over them with things that would ordinarily bleed through, they don’t bleed through. (The only thing I had bleed through a gelato covered surface was a sharpie marker, and even then, just barely)
- They can paint like watercolors when you add water
- You can totally read through them, so it doesn’t compromise the text of your bible
- They’re a very fast and easy way to put down color, unlike colored pencils that can take a very long time to fill large areas
I recommend starting with the pastels pack. Lighter colors are more forgiving for the beginner, and you’ll be able to read through them without problems. Next I got the bright color set, and the metallics. (Lol- I told you I love these things!)
Do gelatos bleed through bible paper? Not at all. And as mentioned above, when other supplies are drawn over them, those don’t bleed through either because the gelatos act as a shield.
After creating a beautiful page, you’ll want to tag it so you can visit it any time you like. I didn’t think I would do this, but after creating a few pages and not being able to remember/find them, I started tabbing them. Most bible journalers I’ve see make their own custom tabs for each page, which is super cute! I, however, made cute crafty tags for the books of the bible, so I just mark my journaled pages at the top with these simple post-it tags.
The bible tabs I made are printable if you’re interested. 😉
White Gel Pens
These white gel pens can have some very beautiful effects! I was expecting to be disappointed with them (remembering my gel pens in middle school and how they were never capable of laying down consistent ink) but these actually work very well! They color over almost anything with ease. Gelatos do have to be thoroughly dry before the gel pen can be used over them, but it still works.
I have also found myself using this white gel pen as “white out” to fix small mistakes I make. Very handy.
Does the gel pen bleed? Not at all!
So now that I’ve discovered gelatos, I rarely use watercolors in my bible anymore. But. I’m including them on this list because while it’s not likely that you have gelatos laying around your house, you probably do have some watercolors, and they can be a great way to add some color to your pages.
You don’t need to be an artist to use them. Here’s a page my non-artist friend did with a black pen and her kid’s watercolors.
I like to put a freezer baggie behind my bible page before watercoloring to keep the other pages from getting wet. Then paint with your watercolors. While the page is wet, it will be very fragile, so don’t disturb it again until it’s fully dry. If it wrinkles up while drying, you can place a piece of computer paper over the page, and then iron it flat with your regular iron (no steam).
This is a fun and easy way to add splashed of color and whimsy to your pages, but is a totally unnecessary supply. I love that it can be peeled back up without damaging the page if the placement wasn’t right the first time.
Of course, washi tape can also help you attach things into your bible.
Brush Tip Markers
I loved the black brush tip marker so much that I started experimenting with these colorful brush tip markers (which are actually Lydia’s- lol). All the bible journaling pages I see online have black outlines, and I’m not sure why. I like using the colorful markers because it can go over the text of the bible and still be read through. Another unnecessary supply, but still fun.
Do the colorful markers bleed through? Well, yes they do. But not that bad. You could clear gesso first if you’re really concerned.
So everyone seems obsessed with recommending highlighters for bible journaling, but I’ve put them at the bottom of my list for a reason. They’re very neon bright compared to everything else I put on my page, and they seem to stick out like a sore thumb.
I’ve found that I highly prefer to use whatever supplies I am using to journal that page with to do my “highlighting”. So if I’m coloring with colored pencils, I color over the verses with yellow colored pencil. Or another color of colored pencil. Or I might make a box outline around the verses with my black pen. Or you can color the whole page, and leave just the passage you’re highlighting the white of the paper. I’ve “highlighted” with gelatos, markers, and watercolors too. I just don’t see the need for a pack of highlighters. I recommend for you to match your “highlighting” to the style of your page.
Everyone else seemed to recommend these highlighters, which I ordered, and didn’t like. Did they bleed? Not really, but you can see the color a little bit.
I’m going to conclude by saying… don’t worry so much about the bleeding! The journaling bible is supposed to be beautiful and artsy- not perfect. And if it bleeds through and you really want to journal the page behind it in the future, you can paint over it with white paint. Voila- white canvas. And I’ve actually seen where bible journalers do this regularly. If you’re still worried about it, clear gesso painted over the page before you begin can stop bleeding in its tracks. 😉
PS. We’re raising baby chicks!!! And you know what they say… chickens are the gateway drug of farming! 😉 This is the page from above that had such bad bleed-through. The white paint made it all better!
You can find all of my bible journaling posts here. And all the product links in this post are affiliate links, which help maintain the costs of running this site. Thanks for supporting Catholic Icing! <3