When Archer and Olive brought out these black-paged journals, I was itching to get my hands on one. The spreads I saw in the advertising images were super striking, and it was just something I never thought of – a journal with black pages! However, there was a small part of me worried about how high maintenance it would be, or if it would be difficult to use as a regular bullet journal. Therefore, I decided to create some blackout pages in my regular journal to test it out! It actually turned into my theme for the month this July. I first started out sticking in plain black paper or blacking pages out in pen, but once I got the blackout book I used those pages and stuck them in my regular journal. This ended up much easier as it allowed me to still have a dot grid on the black sections!
So if you’re on the fence about buying a blackout book, you have the blackout book and you don’t know where to start, or you’re itching to start your blackout book but you have pages left in your current journal: here are some spread ideas to have a blackout theme in your regular journal!
- Archer and Olive Journal – If you’re blacking out the pages with pen/paint, you’re definitely going to need this journal, as the pages are lovely and thick and have no bleeding or ghosting.
- Archer and Olive Black Dot Grid Notebook – If you’re unsure about using the blackout journal as a regular bujo, I recommend getting the black notepad pages into your regular journal. This way you still have a dot grid!
- White Gel Pen – My favourite white gel pen is the Sakura Gelly Roll. Specifically the size 10 pen, as it’s the most opaque!
- Black Fineliners - My favourites are the Unipin fineliners as they’re waterproof, affordable, come in a large variety of sizes and have a strong nib.
- Decorative Touch - There are actually so many things you can use in a black journal! See [this blog] for more ideas if you want to branch out.
Do you create cover pages for each month? I know some people think they’re not worth making, but I love to have a spacer between each month. It creates a mental and physical fresh start for me in my journal, so for me it’s worth making one!
For this blackout theme, I wanted to show the contrast between the black and the white by having the ripped paper go through the ‘July” lettering. This way I could have the lettering on white paper black, and the lettering on black paper white. I wanted to keep this page nice and simple, so I just added some boxes in different sized pens to finish it off!
Here’s a quick video of how I made it. Sadly I forgot to start the camera for the first bit, but you can see me adding the ripped paper on later pages!
Finances and Instagram Tracker
The ripped effect became a constant theme of this month, as I really loved the effect it made on the cover page.
For this spread I added the ripped pages in each corner, meaning most of the page was white to be able to use my regular black fineliners for the spread. When I first started this theme, I was worried about blacking out too much of the pages and relying on my white pen too much. I don’t know why, because after using it for a while I realised the white pen was just as easy to use as a black one, and it was only one more pen to carry around which really wasn’t much of a hassle for me!
Here’s how I created this spread:
This monthly spread is SO simple! And it was actually inspired by my lovely friend, Dan (@pacificnotation on Instagram).
For this spread, I simply used a craft knife to cut diagonal box for the days of the month, and kept the box for the days of the week black so I could have a nice contrast between the two.
See here just how easy this is to make:
I think habit trackers look really cool when they’re all filled in, and I thought it would be even cooler if it alternated between black and white ripped pages.
For this spread, I actually used pages from the Blackout Journal, as for habit trackers you need to be able to see the squares to fill in each day. It could be done with plain black paper, but it would take a lot of work to mark in the dots/boxes.
Here’s exactly how I made this:
Weekly Spread Ideas
One idea for a weekly spread is to take two pages out of the blackout journal and cut out boxes. That way when you stick it into your regular journal, you get the effect of a black background and white boxes.
Again, you can do this with regular black paper, it would just be more work to mark out the boxes and line them out with the dot grid on your journal pages as you stick it in.
Here’s how I created this spread:
Another idea is to do the opposite of the previous idea, and create black boxes for the days.
I actually used the cut outs from the previous spread to create this spread!
A simple way to incorporate black paper is to add a ripped piece across the page, and create daily boxes as you usually would, but alternate between black and white pen depending on the background paper.
This is really simple to make, but it really changes the look of the spread. Here’s how I made this spread:
Blackout Theme Flip-Through
I’ve shown you some ideas, but here’s the full flip through of my blackout theme this July. It really was such a fun theme, and it made me see how easy it would be to use a blackout journal. Even if I don’t end up using the blackout book exclusively, I will definitely continue to create fun blackout spreads by sticking it into my regular journal.
Hopefully I’ve given you some help and inspiration to create a blackout theme in your journal. The black pages can be daunting at first, but after you make the FIRST spread you will see how low maintenance it is (even more than white paged journals!). Furthermore, even if you can’t see yourself using it for your bullet journal full time, it is an amazing supply to have for creating fun lettering and gluing in to you regular journal for some standout pages. If I have inspired you, I would love to see your spreads, so tag me on Instagram (@hayleyremdeart) and use #hayleyremdeinspired to get the chance to get your creations featured in my stories!