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Setting Up a Book Journal (with a free printable)

Updated: Oct 22, 2021


If you’ve been following up book journaling journey on Instagram, then you probably know that I recently filled up my journal and had to start a new one.

I thought a whole lot about the next notebook I wanted to use for this. I use a lot of elements and ephemera in my journal spreads and more often that note they have a white base/background. I came across Archer and Olive’s Kraft journal and decided to try it out to see how the kraft color will work with my spreads.

There are a few things/pages that are a must for me whenever I start a new journal regardless of whether it is a daily writing journal, a book journal, a bullet journal, or whatever subject matter. Read on to see what pages these are and hopefully, they’ll inspire/help you with setting up your own!



Usually situated at the very back of the journal, I very rarely have a notebook that does not have these pages. Grid Theory helps me keep track of spacing and dimensions so I won’t have to do so in every single spread I create and it becomes easier for me to divide common/similar sections. I prefer working with a dotted or grid journals for this very purpose too.

The pen test page, as the name implies, is where I test out every single pen that I typically use or would want to use in that journal. It helps me figure out which pens may potentially bleed or ghost and which pens may take longer to dry. The same is true with paint. Depending on the weight of the paper, some notebooks may warp with too much water. This is a good page to test out different mediums such as watercolor, gouache, and ink pads.



If you’re familiar with bullet journaling then you know the Index Page is a helpful tool to have. You can number your pages as you go, if they are not already numbered. These pages help you quickly find what you are looking for and easily keep track of your spreads, trackers, collections, and sections. Hot tip: You can add tabs to your monthly trackers or different sections to help you find things faster!

Now we’re getting to the Book Journalling specifics! The Reading Log helps me keep track of the books I’ve read and the order I’ve read them in. It also serves as an overview of your book journal and helps you find your spreads quicker.


The Fave Shelf is one of the spreads I absolutely love doing. This spread houses the books that are stands outs for me during that year and books that I loved and enjoyed.

Monthly Reading Trackers. I’m the type of person who likes to keep track of habits and scratch things off my list. The monthly reading tracker not only keeps track of my reading habit but it also inspires me to read everyday if only so I can check that day off. Ha.


Use my code: danicainpages to get 10% off your entire order

from Archer & Olive. Happy Shopping!



For my new reading journal, I decided to separate my book log which houses my TBR (To Be Read) lists and my themes list. I went through my old journal fairly quickly and had to keep re-writing and migrating my TBR list, not to mention adding more to it, because I was reading more than I anticipated. I’m not sure if I’m a mood reader, but I am definitely a theme reader. I haven’t finished importing my themes list on to this new log but as you can see, I have a lot of themes and categories and I shall be adding more as I go along.




This week’s freebie is my reading tracker printable that you can include in your monthly spreads. Download it from the library.

Friendly reminder that this is for personal use only and not for commercial purposes.

Happy Journaling! And please tag me in your creations so I can give them some love.



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