Be Inspired – Bible Journaling

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We had such an amazing time hanging out with Tai Bender on Saturday, October 30.  It was great to be able to spend time swapping ideas, supplies and diving into God’s word in a creative and colorful way!  We wanted to put together a list of resources and helpful tips for anyone new to Bible Journaling. And we encourage you to email us if you have any questions or send us photos of how you are creatively spending time in the Bible.
*Please note that we are not affiliated with any of the links or items listed on this page. This list is only to help you get started Bible Journaling and answer some of your frequently asked questions.

What is a
Journaling Bible ?

Journaling Bibles typically have wide margins on the side or bottom of the page (or even a blank page between every page of text) to give you space to write notes, prayers, or illustrate your faith.  They come in many shapes, sizes and translations.  Here are few of the more popular choices.
*For convenience, we included links to Amazon with each Bible, but Journaling Bibles are available at most Christian bookstores or at a number of online resources.

ESV 2-column journaling Bible

2inch margins on either side of the page. The margins are lightly lined but you don’t notice them too much when you add your illustrations. This Bible is the closest to my original journaling Bible (mine was an NIV). The ESV also makes a single column Bible with wide margins.

ESV Interleaved Bible
Also a two column, but instead of having wide margins, there is a full blank page (front and back) in between every page of text. This is great if you worry about covering up your Bible text at all or if you worry about your artwork bleeding through to the other side. It’s also a great option if you want to glue in keepsakes (like cards, letters, journaling cards) without worrying about covering up the text.I included a link for one of the Interleaved Bibles, but there are a few different styles of covers.
The Inspire Bible (NLT)
If you would like to have simple drawings and text already in your Bible that you can color in (picture a coloring book page in the margins). There are still plenty of blank margins to create you own work too. It also comes in Large Print and hardcover. This link is for the paperback version.
Inspire Bible – Large Print
The inside illustrations are the same as the regular Inspire Bible. They are just larger and the text is larger. The Inspire Bible only comes in the New Living Translation (there is a similar KJV called the Beautiful Word Bible)
NIV single column journaling Bible –
2 inch margins on either side, but the text is aligned in a single column so you actually get a little extra journaling space depending on the amount of text (it’s especially noticable in Psalms and Proverbs).

How can I get started Bible Journaling?

Bible journaling really took off in a big way in the last few years.  Check out some of these great sites for ideas and inspiration.  Periscope, Instagram and Pinterest are also fantastic resources.  Just search for #biblejournaling to get started.

What supplies do I need to get started?

You don’t need anything special to start journaling in your Bible.  You can easily use a pen, colored pencils or highlighters (all things you have lying around in your house).  However, here are a few links of some of the supplies that work well for Bible journaling.
Illustrated Faith has a fantastic line of Bible Journaling supplies available through Dayspring that includes stamps, stickers, paints and monthly journaling kits.  They are available online or at some Christian book stores.
GrowingMeadows Etsy shop has Bible journaling stamps, journaling cards and other supplies designed by Tai Bender. Many of her stamps are limited edition, so check back often to see what’s in store.
Acrylic paint is a great way to add color in your Bible.  It does not bleed through to the back of the page and can be applied with a brush or scraped on with an old gift card. Keep in mind that if you apply the paint too thick, it can cover the words on the page. While you can use any type of acrylic paint in your Bible, try to avoid the least expensive “craft paints” because they will appear chalky and be more likely to cover up your text.
Watercolors are another great medium in your Bible.  Some watercolors will bleed through and you have to be careful not to damage or tear the thin pages when applying water to them.  You can find many types of watercolors (including Crayola ones in the kids craft aisle — they all work well) but the Neocolor ii watersoluble crayons are some of my favorites.  Check out Tai’s YouTube video on how to use Neocolor ii crayons.  You can use a regular paintbrush or a water brush to apply the paint.
Faber-Castell Big Brush Pitt Pens generally do not bleed through the pages of your journaling Bible.  They’re great for highlighting text, hand lettering, or adding color to stamps. Like their name suggests, the tip of the pen is a large brush that creates a wide, smooth line. They can be purchased individually, in a large kit (shown) or in packs of 3 coordinating colors. They are typically found in the stamping section of most craft stores, or they can be purchased online.
Like most Bibles, the pages in a journaling Bible are thin.  When you start adding color to your pages, especially with ink and pens, the colors can bleed through.  To prevent this, you can purchase a CLEAR gesso (do not use white gesso) and brush a thin layer of it on the page before you begin adding any other color to your page.  The gesso acts as a barrier and also makes your page a little stronger. Rebekah R Jones has a great Page Prep Online Course that shows you exactly how you can prepare your Bible pages best based on the supplies you plan to use.  
Faber-Castell also has a line of PITT Artist Pens that are great for journaling, note-taking and hand lettering in your Bible.  There is little to no bleed through, even if you do not prep your page with clear gesso, and the ink is permanent.  They write over paint easily, but make sure the paint is COMPLETELY DRY before using your pens. They are sold individually or in multi-packs and come in a variety of thicknesses.
Washi Tape is a paper tape that works very well in your journaling Bible.  It can be used to decorate your pages or attach pieces of scrap paper or journaling cards that you want to keep in your Bible.  Adding a “Tip-In” element to your Bible with washi tape is a great way to have extra space to journal or add color without covering your text.  You can see more about creating a Tip-In with this process video from Bible Stories From The Heart. You can purchase washi tape wherever craft and office supplies are sold.  The tapes made out of paper tend to work best in your Bible.  Fabric tapes, duct tapes and plastic tapes are sometimes too heavy for the delicate pages and can rip them.
You can use clear alphabet stamps to easily stamp out words and phrases in your Bible.  Alphabet stamps come in many different shapes, fonts and sizes and can be found in any craft store or online. These stamps are typically acrylic or polymer and attach to a clear acrylic block so you can stamp them in ink.  Keep in mind that almost all inks will bleed through the pages of your Bible.  If you worry about bleed through, definitely prep your pages with clear gesso before stamping.