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Nitty & Gritty / DIY  / DIY: A5 Planner Spread

DIY: A5 Planner Spread

In the original bullet journal system, Ryder Carroll introduced a running log method that keeps track of your to-dos, events, and note items with just a pen and paper. The bullet journal notebook is supposed to be the only notebook you need to keep your life straight. The system is so incredibly simple, yet effective, and it has become wildly popular.

What You Will Need

Hopefully you are convinced that making your own custom bullet journal is the way to planner peace! Great! Here are some supplies I recommend getting …


When you start looking into ring-bound planners, you might be overwhelmed by the choices and it’s probably difficult to choose one. The topic of choosing ring-bound planners deserves its own blog post, but to preserve your sanity, I am going to give you a few options based on a few rules of thumb. If you plan to print your own inserts (which is an awesome decision!), I recommend getting a ring-bound planner that fit A5 papers, (the size of paper that is similar to half a US Letter paper sheet). This is because you can get cheap A5 papers from many stores. This will allow you to print, print, and print lifetime supplies of inserts really quickly. Here are two incredible options.



After selecting your ring-bound planner, you are one step closer to holding your very own custom planner! The next thing you need is a good pack of A5 papers. If you are a paper junkie and want your journal to be flawless, no bleed-through, no ghosting (dang, you are a premium type of girl!), please do invest your lovely money in 32lb Bond A5 papers. As far as I know, there’s no place to get it offline, so on Amazon you go. This will make you feel like petting your princess planners every single day.

If you are more down-to-earth, you probably don’t mind a bit of ghosting here and there…the great! You can purchase regular 24lb A5 papers. (500 sheets of A5 papers will cost you around $20, that’s 3.8 cents per sheet).

You may ask ‘where can I get A5 dot grid papers’ that are pre-printed and pre-punched. Trust me I flipped the whole internet and searched for it, and I couldn’t find one! I mean Amazon has a few options, but they are either too thin or the dots are not printed the right size. Some people resorted to buying a dot grid journal and cut and punch the papers. I think you are better off buying some loose leaf papers and printing dot grid pdf file on them. Cheaper and less time wasting!




This one is simple. I got an industrial 6 hole punch from Amazon about two years ago and never regretted. This one punch will handle all your insert punching no matter what ring-bound planner sizes you use, due to its adjustable punch positions. I have no complaints whatsoever. My punch has stayed strong for years of heavy punching. Beautiful product!


I assume this is a regular household item, but if you don’t have any printer, please do read on.

First of all, you want a printer that can take A5 papers, luckily most printers do this, check check! Another neat feature to have is AirPrint, so you can print right from your laptop or wireless devices. You will appreciate this feature when you are busy journaling at one corner of the house and feel too lazy to walk to the printer to print your inserts. Also, you want to consider printers with good cost per page. Be aware that some printers are super cheap, but cost blood and tears when you try to get extra ink. This industry is notorious for ripping people off in this way. So avoid printers that are too cheap (especially the $20 printers calling for your wallet at Walmart).

I have made those mistakes, so to save you, I did an extensive research on various places to find printers that meet all the mentioned criteria. I found great two printers for less then $100 to recommend.


HP Envy 4500 Series ($80) – This one was named “the best inkjet printer” in many tech blogs and also number one best seller on Amazon. One strength of this printer is HP’s Instant Ink program, which asked you to pay small monthly fee (minimum $3) to have ink cartridges delivered to your home whenever it runs out. If you trust tech guys, go for this one.


Canon MG3620 ($80) – I’ve heard many good things about this printer. It’s been raved about by many Etsy shop owners. The quality of the color is just the best in the market. Another neat feature of this printer is auto-deplex. What is auto-duplex? It refers to those genius printers that can flip your paper and print both sides automatically. If you are lazy (like me), you will love this feature! However, ink cost might not be as good as HP. If you plan to print some stickers as well and you love the vivid colors of Etsy planner stickers, you will pick this one!


If you prefer to draw all of your layouts, you really do not need to buy any printable designs other than a one-dollar dot grid PDF to print on hundreds and hundreds of your journal pages (you can get that from my shop here). Also, you can subscribe to my blog and get some free printables to get started (subscription form is in the sidebar).

If you feel like a little bit of printable goodies would make your setup come together much faster, please do visit my shop for some great printables. I designed these products very carefully in order to create a delightful planning experience. I enjoy using them myself and hope it’s joyful for you to use as well!



6. Accessories

The rest is up to you! In the world of ring-bound planners, there are plenty of neat accessories out there, such as ziplock pouchsticker tabs, or cute dividers.

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