Let’s talk guides!

If you’re a fan of blank notebooks, or beautiful unlined stationery, then you may be familiar with guide sheets or mats. These are sheets, typically printed with bold lines, grids or dots that you can place under the sheet upon which you’re writing, to allow you to write in straight lines or draw figures without needing a ruler.

Guide sheets or mats come in many forms and sizes. They can be as simple as a piece of graph paper (with darker lines) or can be printed on cardstock or plastic to be more durable. What led me to write this post today is that I purchased a Kyoei Orions Kiwami Shitajiki Writing Mat in A5 size from JetPens ($9.50).

I was intrigued by this particular mat because it was in black with white gridlines in both 10mm and 5mm measurements. The mat itself is decently thick and it weighs a bit (2.8oz/79g) and I thought it might be a sturdy companion to the few blank books I own (I confess I’m a sucker for dot grid and almost never order blank).

Over the years I’ve accumulated quite a few guide sheets. I got one when I bought my Musubi notebook, I’ve got one that is unbranded (don’t know where that came from) and I’ve got several from Ana who even makes a few of them free for you to print!

So how did this mat compare? I have to say that I liked the solid surface of the mat far better than the paper or cardstock models I already have. It gave me a firm, smooth writing surface so that I felt like my writing was even over the paper. On the vintage typewriter stock the grid showed through like a charm!

However I had a bit more trouble when I moved to a slightly denser notebook. I LOVE the Haiku notebook I reviewed years ago for it’s gorgeous gradient paper. However that dark pink just doesn’t want to play nicely with the black mat. You can see the lines faintly through the white section, but not otherwise. Whereas that plain no-name lined sheet actually showed up fairly well.

As it is so often in the stationery world, I think it comes down to preference. I like the feel of the mat and will likely use it when it works out, but I’m not tossing those cardstock ones yet. And you can’t beat Ana’s free ones either!

DISCLAIMER: Some of the items included in this review were provided to us free of charge for the purposes of review. Please see the About page for more details.

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4 comments / Add your comment below

  1. I printed Ana’s bold line guides on white card stock. They work beautifully, and I like the price. -lol- The black and white grid would be a good option if I didn’t have Ana’s guides available.

  2. I have many shitajiki pencil mats. Some are pink with guidelines, some are dark green with guidelines. Neither of those show the guidelines through my thin paper blank notebooks (Stalogy and Tomoe River 52gsm). I still use them because the hard surface is better to write on and in case I use ink that bleeds (looking at YOU Pilot parallel pens!), it won’t go through to the facing page. I use Ana’s downloadable guide sheets under one of the clear, blank pencil mats from JetPens. Perfect! I get a hard surface and the lines or graph shows through my Tomoe River paper. Thank you Ana!

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