As we type more and write less, pencils are slowly losing their place of importance in our lives. I'm here to give you 10 good reasons, via some unusual uses, to keep these classic (and in my opinion, good looking) tools around and at the ready.

Step 1: Erase Crayon From Walls

The little pink eraser at the end of the common pencil is a champion at removing stray crayon 'art' that has found it way onto any satin or gloss painted wall.

NOTE: Do a tiny test area first to make sure the friction won't remove or dull your paint.

Step 2: Tame Those Cuticles

Use the eraser at the end of a pencil as a cuticle stick. Do this by gently pushing back the cuticle, following the natural shape of your nail bed.

Step 3: Offer Plant Support

Use any sharpened pencil (green of course is the least noticeable) as a stake to support any small plant that needs a friend to lean on.

(These are plants from my Terrarium Table instructable.)

Step 4: Make Rubbings

Place a piece of paper over interesting textures like leaves, city surfaces, or recently used note pads (read: criminal investigation).Then use the flat edge of a sharpened pencil and gently rub a layer of graphite over the object/texture.

Step 5: Have Emergency Drum Practice

Use the eraser ends of two unsharpened pencils to practice your fat beats and precise rhythms, on say, some strategically placed plastic food containers.

WARNING: May become a rockstar if used daily.

Step 6: Roll Your Toothpaste Tube

Use an old, shortened pencil to roll/squeeze your toothpaste tube and make sure that you don't waste a drop.

Step 7: Keep Sewing Supplies Handy

A pencil eraser is the perfect sized pin cushion for the casual tailor or occasional sewist.

Step 8: Remove Sticker Gunk

The classic pink pencil eraser is incredibly good at removing sticker gunk. Just rub it back and forth over the stubborn goo as if erasing pencil marks. You will be surprised at how effective it is!

Step 9: Make a 10 Second Hair Bun

Pencils are great make-shift hair sticks! For those with long hair, here's how to use one to create a really quick and attractive hair bun:

  1. Sharpen a pencil until it's about 1/2 - 1" shorter than it's original size.
  2. Draw enough squiggles on a scrap piece of paper to soften/dull the tip of the graphite so it won't hurt your scalp.
  3. Put the pencil in your mouth to keep it handy.
  4. Gather your hair at the back of your head as if you're going to put it in a pony tail and hold it in place with your non-dominant hand.
  5. Use your dominant hand to twist the rest of your hair all the way to the ends. (counter clockwise for right handers, and clockwise for South paws)
  6. Then start to twist your hair around into a bun shape following the same direction as above depending on which hand is dominant.
  7. Once you have it twisted into a bun, hold the shape in place with your non-dominat hand and with your dominant hand, take the pencil and do the following:
    • With the tip of the pencil, grab a bit of hair from halfway in the to the center of the bun on the side of your dominant hand.
    • Pull the pencil to the edge of the bun and push the tip gently towards your scalp and then run it under the bun along your scalp.
    • Poke it back up through the other side of the bun.
  8. That should hold it comfortably in place with very little pressure on your scalp.

NOTE: If it doesn't work the first time, don't get discouraged! It may take a couple of tries to get the hang of it. Once you do, and establish good muscle memory, this is the quickest way I've found of getting my hair up and looking great in a non-ponytail style.

Step 10: Make Wrapping Paper

Erasers make really great stamps! You can use single pencils to make dots or rubber band seven (or more) together to make a mod flower shape! Have fun trying different patterns and colors.

Step 11: BONUS USE: As Legs for a 3D Printed Robot!

My co-worker Randofo did a great and super fun instructable on how to make a simple 3D printed robot. And it just happens to use pencils as legs! If you have access to a 3D printer and want to get tricky, give it a try!

And as always, if you have other uses to share or try any of the above uses and want to show off your results, please add your thoughts and photos to the comment section!

Let's keep these great tools around working hard for us!


For more unusual uses of another common household item, check out my instructable on 10 Unusual Uses for Baking Soda.

<p>when my kids left home i found myself with dozens of pencils in various states of use, mostly dull. </p><p>i used them for spacers when gluing fake bricks to the concrete in my basement. just the right width for grout between the bricks. makes them look more &quot;real&quot;...</p>
<p>Yes,and pencils are great for drawing with too!</p>
<p>Coil your power cords tightly around a pencil &amp; secure with some tape. Hit it with a hot hair dryer for a minute or so, remove from pencil when cool. Your cords are now coiled and easier to manage!</p>
<p>Thanks. Think this will help organize areas with multiple long </p><p>cords.</p>
<p>Use it to lubricate door latches to make door closing easier. The lead in the pencil is made of graphite. Also use it to lubricate the base of light bulbs before screwing into the lamp socket, makes it easier to remove the bulb from the socket when it's burned out.</p>
<p>Thanks for the light bulb suggestion! Have had quite a few hard to remove lately.</p>
<p>If you've lost the metal/plastic backing on your pierced earring(s), use a small portion of a pencil eraser as a temporary backing. </p>
<p>I've done this before in school. It really does work!</p>
<p>i love this! so useful!</p>
Now thats an awesome tip
<p>Those pink erasers that you always had to have in school, they work great to clean each other off. Even if it is permanent marker. </p>
<p>Does number 8 work on table cloths.</p>
I did step #8! TYSM!!!
<p>Yeah so did I, I erased some sticker gunk off one of my excercise books, it SOOOOO really worked!!! I would normally scrape it off with a hot cloth and when I found this I was so happy </p><p></p>
<p>Thx for whoever thought of this idea </p>? ? ?
<p>this is really interesting</p>
<p>i do most of this and voila its up!!!! as &quot;an instructable!&quot;</p>
<p>Also the toothpick.</p>
<p>Ant killer, pop it to the ants!</p>
Wow it's funny how you haven't used them &amp; You Brought it up &amp; you Remember all those things you use to use it for. Except for your obvious writing with it. Lol Great Memories Thank you Awesome Instructable.
Excellent ideas !! ??
<p>I also keep around several of the good old Pink Pearl erasers which usually come in packs of three. Pretty effective at it but do create a fair amount of crumbs. At least they last longer than the tiny pencil tip type. I think we used those back when I started grade school in 1949. May have been a different brand name, but the same product. Some technology just seems to keep on working. </p>
<p>Excellent ideas, however, the best seems to be support legs for a 3D printer and squeezing tooth paste is the runner up. D.K.Ghosh.</p>
<p>This is a great Instructable! Thank you!</p>
<p>I love all these uses for such a &quot;retro&quot; item! My sister and I use the hair one for years! </p><p>How about one my father taught me... Make your own transfer paper, just like carbon paper. You will need a light weight peice of paper, and a number 2 or softer pencil. Using the pencil on an angle shade the paper commpletely. Then select the item on which you want to place your image. Make a sandwich with your item, transfer paper graphite side down, and your origional image on top. Use your pencil to trace your image. You may have to press down hard. This works wll on light colored fabric and wood, as well as paper.</p>
<p>I can't believe I forgot this one! I used to do this too. Thanks for sharing!</p>
<p>You can also make a bun by wrapping the hair around the pencil starting in the center of the gathered ponytail. Then loop the pencil up and over the top and inserting down into the bun. Looks more like a French roll.</p>
<p>I'm definitely going to try this! Thanks for the tip. :)</p>
<p>Eraser uses, Use an eraser to clean guitar frets......Use the writing end to apply carbon into the guitar nut slots, if you bend strings it makes then go back to pitch quickly, can also assist when using a whammy-bar..</p>
<p>Ooh, love this!</p>
<p>Use a short pencil with a couple of rubber bands for a CAPO.</p>
<p>Brialliant! Thanks...</p>
<p>Wow, Waaay Cool Idea Thannnx</p>
<p>Using the pencil eraser cleans dirt off of gold rings in most cases and use the graffiti side to find the high spots on doors and drawers to locate where they are sticking or rubbing. When you find the high spot you can sand it or shave the area with a small block plane. </p><p>I have done this many times and take a lot of guess work out.</p>
<p>Make pencil and Scott tape &quot;graphene&quot; one of the toughest material. </p><p></p>
<p>But we're here to keep you constructive! Let's build something. There is enough tearing down in this world. What ideas do you have to build UP? </p>
<p>Some people just find it hard to be positive.</p>
<p>The toothpaste squeezer got me. Why have I never thought of this?</p>
<p>And yet here you are... </p>
<p>there are a few ideas to be found here, different for everybody.. Maybe you are just too smart and all knowing for this site?</p>
<p>I was in Communications in the Army and we used the eraser to clean the electrical contacts for the handsets. It works great for battery contacts on household electronics, too. Just erase the oxidation.</p>
<p>Saw on AvE's YouTube channel where he made an emergency voltage divider with a pencil. Pulled 5 volts out to charge a cell phone. It was one of those &quot;why didn't I think of that?&quot; moments.</p>
<p>These pencil erasers dry up and become useless and make the smudges even worse. The hi polymer eraser (from Pentel) was a new one on me and I found that they work great.</p>
<p>you can also clean the remote control electric contacts scrubbing them with the graphite tip.</p><p>sorry for my english :)</p>
<p>Your English is very good! Better than some in the US, I'm sure.</p>
<p>thank you!</p>
<p>No body mentioned that pencils come in a whole range of black 3H 2H H HB 2B 3B etc. The H's are hard and grayish whilst the B's give a dense black as the number increases. The high B's are smooth to work with. In art quite a lot these are used for different effects.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a BFA in product design ... More »
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