Use Alcohol Markers on Your Bullet Journal With These 10 Hacks!

Last Updated: January 27, 2022

Do you love bullet journaling but don't know how to use alcohol markers on them? You're not alone! Using markers is a great way to add color, dimension, and personality to your journal spreads. However, most bujo lovers are worried about ghosting, bleeding, and ruining their beloved journal pages. In this post, we’ll show you the best markers for bullet journals and share some of our favorite tricks and hacks on how to use them.

Bullet journal decorated with washi tapes

Gold Splatter Cosmic Berry Wide Washi Tape

Are alcohol markers good for bullet journals?

The simple answer is no. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try alcohol marker drawings or coloring on your bujo. Bullet journaling isn’t just about the pens and markers you use; it’s also about the quality and thickness of the paper. Most bullet journal notebooks have good quality paper but might have lower GSM. Go for bullet journal notebooks with higher GSM (between 160-180 GSM), so you can use alcohol-based markers and have minimal bleeding or ghosting through the pages.

Alcohol-based markers from Altenew

Artist Alcohol Markers Bundle (36 Colors)

Best Markers for Bullet Journals

So you’re a fan of bullet journaling and considering using alcohol markers to add color and personality to your pages. However, you have no idea what the best markers for bullet journals are. You’re also worried that a marker will ruin your precious journal pages. Worry no more; we’ve got a few recommendations on the best bullet journal markers for you!

3 Types of Markers and Pens

  1. Alcohol-based Markers -  This type of marker has inks suspended in an alcohol-based medium. Alcohol markers are the go-to for most coloring enthusiasts because of the vibrant, rich, smooth, and easy-to-blend colors that could make any artwork pop. This marker is typically smudge-free, acid-free, non-toxic, and dual-tipped (brush and fine or chisel). A wide variety of colors is available, allowing you to experiment with different color combinations and gradations. It is quick-drying, permanent, and great for various types of artwork. The industry standards for good markers are Copic, Prismacolor, and Windsor & Newton. In the paper crafting world, Altenew’s Artist Alcohol Markers have quickly become a fan-favorite because of the rich and vibrant colors, smooth and easy blending, and better price point.

Alcohol marker coloring on a handmade card

Nature's Views 24 Artist Alcohol Markers Bundle

Here’s a must-read review of the best alcohol markers for beginners.

  1. Water-based Markers - The two main components of water-based markers are inks and water. Since it is water-based, it reacts to water and is therefore not waterproof. As a result, it is harder to blend and prone to streaking. Its flowy quality, though, makes it ideal for a few coloring techniques that are more messy or abstract. It’s also perfect for achieving a lovely watercolor effect. Tombow and Crayola make some of the most popular water-based markers in the market today. Altenew’s Hawaiian Shore Brush and Fine Tip Pens are the latest addition to our collection of high quality and bang for your buck coloring mediums! This set includes 12 vibrant Hawaiian-themed colors, with each marker containing a fine nib for detail work and a brush nib for covering large areas, blending, and calligraphy.

Water-based brush pens for bullet journaling

Hawaiian Shores Brush & Fine Tip Pens

The Tombow Dual Brush Pens are a staple in every bujo lovers’ pen collection and are considered good markers for journaling. The Tombow Fudenosuke pens, on the other hand, are a favorite for those who are into calligraphy since their hard tip makes it easier to do upstrokes, especially for heavy-handed people.

Best pens for bullet journaling and card making

Fine Liner Pen Set

  1. Waterproof Markers - As the name suggests, waterproof markers won’t budge no matter how much water you add to them. It is essentially a permanent marker with indelible ink. In addition, it is smudge-free, fast-drying, and fade-resistant. The most important feature of waterproof markers is they are archival, making them perfect for bullet journaling and scrapbooking. Popular waterproof bullet journal markers and pens are Sharpie, Noodler’s Ink, and Sakura Pigma Micron. If you’re looking for the best pens for bullet journals that don’t bleed, try Altenew’s Fine Liner Pens! These pens come in a set of four different sizes (005, 01, 02, and brush). Each pen contains waterproof jet black ink, making them the perfect complement for watercolor and other water-based mediums.

Need more information about the different types of markers for drawing and coloring? Here’s a quick guide for you!

Paper and cardstock for alcohol markers


What paper do you use alcohol markers on?

The best paper to use alcohol-based markers on are Yupo paper, alcohol marker paper, and cardstock. Regular copy paper is too thin and might tear easily when used for heavy marker coloring. You need something smooth, thick, and sturdy. A good quality cardstock will help you avoid bleeding, ghosting, and won’t ruin your marker’s tip.

Alt text: Best paper for alcohol markers

Rose Tea Stamp Set

Best paperweight for bullet journals

If you’re looking for the best paperweight for bullet journals, get something between 160 GSM to 180 GSM. Remember, the higher the GSM, the better. However, higher GSM also means thicker paper. You still want it to feel like paper and not like cardstock or cardboard.

Alcohol ink background on a bullet journal

Alcohol Markers Refills

Do alcohol markers bleed through paper?

Unfortunately, they do. Especially if the paper isn’t thick enough or has low GSM. But don’t give up on those Pinterest-worthy alcohol marker drawings that you’ve always wanted to try!

You can still use journaling markers - you just need to cover them up. For instance, you can place an extra scrap paper underneath the page you’re working on to prevent bleeding through multiple pages. Likewise, finding the best markers for bullet journals is essential in ensuring that you don’t ruin your beautiful journal pages. But it’s only half the battle.

Bullet journal decorated with heart balloons

Mini Delight: Birthday Love Stamp & Die Set

Here are a few tricks and hacks on using alcohol markers in your bullet journals and how to cover up those pesky bleeding and ghosting!

  1. Adhere two pages together. This will make your page thicker and add an extra layer of protection.
  2. Do your stamping and coloring on a piece of Yupo, cardstock, or alcohol marker paper, then adhere it to your journal page.

Washi tapes on a journal page

Dotted Wide Washi Tape

  1. Cover the bleeding or ghosting with washi tapes.
  2. Use patterned paper to decorate around the bleeding or ghosting.

Bullet journal with 3D embossed background

Buffalo Plaid 3D Embossing Folder

  1. Use stickers or photos to hide the bleed marks or spots.
  2. Add a DIY tag - instant decoration and cover-up for bleed marks!

DIY tag on a bullet journal

Cheerful Bloom 3D Embossing Folder

  1. Use a die-cut to cover the bleed marks.
  2. Try the 3-dot technique. Grab your fave pen and do the 3-dot technique around the bleed spots.

Heart die-cuts on a scrapbook journal page

Halftone Hearts Nesting Die Set

  1. Use enamel dots for a quick and easy bleeding cover-up.
Floral washi tape colored with alcohol markers
  1. Some washi tapes have gorgeous designs that can be colored with bullet journal markers. Simply color in the design and fussy cut them or use them as a background on your bullet journal.

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you absolutely cannot use alcohol-based markers (or any marker, for that matter) on your precious bullet journals. Adding a little bit of artistic flair to your journal pages is possible with the vast array of bullet journal markers, pens, and other coloring mediums out there. You just have to choose the right paper, pick some good markers and remember the tips and hacks we’ve shared here. If you need more inspiration for your alcohol marker drawings and colorings, drop by our All About Crafting page!

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