- 3/8-inch-diameter dowels or straight twigs
- Pruning snips
- 1/16-inch-diameter drill bit
- Electric hand drill
- 3mm diameter graphite cylinders
- White glue
- Pencil sharpener
If you love designer school supplies, but don’t have the cash to buy them, try creating your own pencils. Homemade pencils may be any size, shape, color or style. If you purchase pencil-making supplies in bulk, you can make a dozen pencils for the price of five or six fancy commercial ones. Creating homemade pencils can also be an earth-saving exercise. If you choose to use twigs instead of purchased wood dowels, you save money, avoid waste and have some really cool-looking writing utensils.
Measure off how long you want your pencil to be. Six- to 8-inch pencils are long enough to last for a while, but still comfortable to use. Snip the dowel or twig to the desired length with pruning snips.
Place the clipped dowel or twig on a sturdy table with about 1 inch of the end sticking off of the table. Tighten a C-clamp around the stick and the table, pressing the stick tightly against the surface.
Press a 1/16-inch-diameter drill bit against one end of the stick. Pushing slowly, drill the first 3/4 of the center of the stick. Work slowly to avoid snapping the bit; it’s very thin and therefore brittle.
Grip the end of a 3mm diameter graphite cylinder (available at office supply and art stores) with your thumb and index finger.
Dip your other thumb and index finger into some white glue. Rub your fingers over the graphite cylinder to coat it in glue.
Push the cylinder slowly into the hole in the center of your stick. If you need more, coat another cylinder and push it as far into the pencil as possible. If you have too much graphite, simply break off the extra.
Allow the pencil to dry overnight and sharpen it with a pencil sharpener. It should write just like a commercial pencil.
Paint your pencil shaft to personalize it. You may also cover it in colorful stickers, stationery paper, wrapping paper or wood stain. Cover any paper or paint jobs with a little varnish to keep them from rubbing away.