Trying watercolours in my bullet journal for the first time

Can my Leuchtturm 1917 handle my dabbling in watercolour?

My fascination with putting water colours in my bullet journal began by accident: I was perusing Instagram over the long weekend in September when I saw a video of a woman sponging watercolours into her bullet journal. She finished off the dΓ©cor with Jack-o-lantern stamps, and, voila! Instant layout. I loved the marbled effect, so I decided to talk myself into painting some of my pages, too.

My one concern with watercolours, however, was whether or not my bullet journal pages could tolerate it. I’d seen enough efforts of pages going crinkly to know the decision shouldn’t be made lightly.

The first thing I did was to look upΒ exactlyΒ how people put watercolours into their bullet journals. Most bujo watercolour enthusiasts seem to agree sponges are the best way to do it. After visiting a local art shop, however, I found a simple watercolour brush, when used with a lot of care, could also provide vivid results. Bonus for lazy people like me: my little watercolour paintbrush included a water reservoir and allowed for some really neat blending.

I got this kit by Prima for $45.00 at the I’m Impressed Paper Arts store at the Granville Island Market. You can also find these kits online at Amazon.

One of the other things that made me nervous? Page warping and design distortion. I was going to be painting onto pages that had felt pen designs on the previous page. I was going to be wetting pages with water and colour. I didn’t want this to impact the quality of my journal, but if I didn’t try…I wouldn’t know!

If you’re serious about your designs, it’s strongly recommended that you don’t take your paint quality lightly. Dollar store paints are fine for experimentation, but apparently these tend to be far more water than pigment — which could lead to that warping I was hoping to avoid. I ended up splurging on prime quality watercolours, which I was okay with because I was hoping to use these paints for other projects, like decorating handmade greeting cards.

As I put the paintbrush to the paints, and then to paper, I was screaming internally as I take a lot of pride in my bullet journal and I didn’t want to ruin it. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the pigment in the paints. Each colour I picked up on the brush was so bright; I was having so much fun painting! I decided to quit while I was ahead, though, and stopped once the areas I’d cordoned off with washi tape were covered.

One other surprise: how quickly everything dried. I only had to wait about fifteen minutes before I could try writing on the page. There was a bit of warp, but fortunately there was no distortion on the pages before; all of my felt pen designs were intact. Score!

Once I was confident that the pages were 100% dry, I closed the journal to try and get the pages to flatten. In all honesty, the appearance of the pages are similar to when people actually write in them, and it really isn’t that bad. I think over time the pages will flatten out more, so I’m not worried about the uneven look. I’d certainly paint more pages again, and would recommend watercolour decor to people who are interesting in bringing the pages of their bullet journal to life!

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