Introduction: Stick-Pencil

Picture of Stick-Pencil

I saw this concept on a trip to Tate modern art gallery in London, These natural pencils were on sale for £7/$15, i really liked the idea but i thought the price was ridiculous for something so simple. After about 30 minutes of work i had made my own natural Stick-Pencil.

This project is very simple to do but it is incredibly rewarding, you get to make something that you can customize and actually use, it's better than a regular pencil because it looks great and it feels good in your hand.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
This project is very simple and it can be done in many ways, if you do not have the exact tools on this list, don't worry , just use something similar or improvise.

  • Secateurs (garden scissors)
  • Gardening gloves
  • Sandpaper
  • A Pencil (thicker the graphite the better)
  • Drill (can be any type)
  • Glue
  • A Stick

Step 2: Sourcing Your Wood

Picture of Sourcing Your Wood
First of all you need to get a stick of wood. So put on your gloves, pick up your cutting tool and head on out into the wild (aka back garden)

What to look for
  • First of all look for a bush...
  • Then find a straight section of a branch
  • It doesn't matter if the section has other branches coming off it, you can cut and sand these down.
  • You don't want it to feel like a log in your hand so pretend to hold the branch like its a pencil and see if it is the right thickness, The section i used was 14mm thick.

Now you need to cut the section off, the pencil should be around 17cm long so cut a 20cm section just in case you make a mistake and need to trim a bit off.

Now you have a big leafy section, trim off all the other branches and leaves until you have the plain straight section.

Step 3: Smoothing It Out

Picture of Smoothing It Out

Now we can use the sandpaper to smooth out any lumps and bumps.

Using the sandpaper first smooth any bumps then lightly run the sandpaper up and down the stick so it feels smooth to the touch, don't press to hard though or the bark will wear away.

Step 4: Drilling the Hole

Picture of Drilling the Hole

Now you have your stick we need to make a hole to put the graphite in.
To create the hole we need a drill, any type of drill will do, I used a Dremel to drill mine.

When you choose your drill bit hold the pencil next to it and make sure the drill bit is just a tiny bit thicker, Then drill your hole.
If you cant drill the entire length of the stick don't worry, just drill as far as you can

Step 5: Getting the Graphite

Picture of Getting the Graphite

Now we have the shell of the pencil we need to get the graphite out of the normal pencil.

Most pencils wooden casing will split if you apply pressure but we don't want the graphite to snap so we cant just jump on it.
Using Scissors or the Garden scissors you used earlier, clamp down on the flat end of the pencil, this should cause a split in the wood and you can snap it off, Keep on snapping the wood off until you have enough graphite exposed to fill the hole you drilled. Then simply snap the graphite off.

Alternatively you could break open a ball point and make a Stick-Biro..

Step 6: Gluing the Graphite

Picture of Gluing the Graphite

Now we have our stick and out graphite we can assemble the pencil.

Squirt some of the glue into the hole in the stick and then put a few drips on the graphite itself, now simply slide the graphite into the hole. Wait 10-15 minutes for the glue to dry before moving on to the next step.

Step 7: Shaping the Tip

Picture of Shaping the Tip

Now we have assembled our pencil we need to shape the end so we can write with it.
You could use a normal pencil sharpener for this bit but using a knife make it look better.

With a knife shape the end into a point and then do the same for the tip of the graphite

Step 8: Finished Pencil

Picture of Finished Pencil

Now you have finished making the pencil, if you want you can stop here and use it as it is.

But if you want to customize your pencil, read on !!

Step 9: Customization Time

Picture of Customization Time
You can customize your Stick-Pencil any way you want, here are some of my ideas ;

  • Paint it
  • Carve a pattern into bark
  • Add a rubber grip
  • Swap the graphite for the inside of a ball-point pen
  • Strip of all the bark
  • Burn words/symbols into it

For my Stick-Pencil i decided i would strip an area of bark and then burn something into it with my soldering iron, I decided i was going to write
If you want to do something similar, read on.

• First use a craft knife to cut a rectangular box in the bark, then with the tip of the knife pick at the edges and pull the bark square off.
• Next use a pencil to faintly mark where the words will go
• Now heat up your soldering iron
• Once heated use the iron to burn the wood and write your words.
• Depending on the power of your iron you may need to go over the words to make them stand out.
• Step back and admire your creation.

Step 10: The End - Thanks for Reading

Picture of The End - Thanks for Reading

If you made this, Thanks and i hope you enjoy your Stick-Pencil, Post pictures !!
If you just read it, Thanks for reading :D

This instructable is in the book contest and i'd really like to see it get in the book because anybody can make this, its fun, useful and easy to make,

So if you did like this please Vote, Rate and Comment !!!

Stay Creative =SMART=


ranwithjesus (author)2015-08-29

This is a really cool idea! I'm definitely going to try it out.

wemja made it! (author)2015-04-24

I made a few of these, its really easy
Some thigs that make it better:
Use a saw to cut the stick it does not cause split fibers.(only needed with dry wood)
Clamp the stick while you are drilling.
When cutting the w

wemja (author)wemja2015-04-24

When cutting the tip use the same techniques as if you were carving wood, it will make a better looking tip
Thanks for the tutorial its a great idea.
I will be making some colored pencils soon :)

PS: yes my pictures were taken after I had the pencils all glued, forgot that you needed pictures to claim a made it XD

pugglepaws (author)2014-01-10

This is really awesome :)

derpmaster2001 (author)2013-08-19

ima try it right now

KottonKandy (author)2010-09-09

Ok, so just to save space on the comment page, and to save my fingers, if you want to find out how i would describe your 'ible go to and search awsome. The 500 words that will come up, also meaning awsome, are not enough to describe JUST how awsome this is :)

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-09-30

That's pretty cool. It probably works for pens too.

Colonel88 (author)2009-09-22

Cool pencil.

bullet-head (author)2009-04-14
benz_z (author)2009-04-11

great -ible, tate modern eh how did ya like the urinal on display?

Whaleman (author)benz_z2009-04-12

I saw that, didn't like it much. Did you also see the all white canvas? Art used to be a skill; something that was admired because most people couldn't do what the artists could.

benz_z (author)Whaleman2009-04-13

ya there should be like a rule or something cause any 3 yr old can make modern art there even was a story of a sculptures base being sent separate and the people who put it together got the base first and only put the base on display

penciling (author)2009-04-10

The 2mm leads used by draftsmen and artists in lead holders are about the same diameter as the typical pencil lead. Staedtler, Faber-Castell, Sanford, Helix, KOH-I-NOOR and Alvin are among the best-known manufacturers whose leads are sold in most artist, hobby and drafting supply stores. The leads come in wax colors and several degrees of graphite hardness.

=SMART= (author)penciling2009-04-11

Cool, Thanks for the info

=SMART= (author)penciling2009-04-11

Cool, Thanks

amakerguy (author)2008-12-08


=SMART= (author)amakerguy2009-04-11

:P thx

Shrimp782 (author)2008-08-13

How can you get it out??? It always breaks for me! Anyone have an idea?

osgeld (author)Shrimp7822008-12-06

use the pencil as a welding rod, the wood will burn off pretty quick, way before the graphite starts to melt heh

GodsLove (author)2008-12-04

so when customising, if or when i want to swap the graphite inside with a pen, how will i do it? what happens to the glue inside?

=SMART= (author)GodsLove2008-12-05

It's pretty permanent so you can't really swap the graphite for a pen unless you make a new stick pencil

pudicobar (author)2008-11-23

I'd use a nice ´piece of wood to cover a cheap but great koh-i-noor 2.0mm leadholder. Koh-i-noor are inexpensive and great tools. And you can get all the lead you want from cheapo chinese pencils... ;)

the gizmoman (author)2008-10-29

in the boys life magazine (its for boy scouts) there was an article on how to do this<br/><a rel="nofollow" href=""></a> <br/>

=SMART= (author)the gizmoman2008-10-29

Cool ! Thanks for the link :D

the gizmoman (author)=SMART=2008-11-05

your welcome

Thelonelysandwitch (author)2008-10-12

Now you can carve it into cool shapes and sizes

Kaiven (author)2008-10-11

today is not September 30!

=SMART= (author)Kaiven2008-10-11

what do you mean ??

Kaiven (author)=SMART=2008-10-11

oh, sorry. I thought it was September 30, but it isn't, several things happened and I ended up posting this comment.

scottaaa (author)2008-10-02

Terrific little project! Great instructions (even showing me a picture of what "ourdoors looks like! ;-) ) and easy to make project. I listed it as a favorite. Is that what you meant as voting? If not, tell me how to vote to get you in the book as well! Scott

=SMART= (author)scottaaa2008-10-03

Awesome Thanks !!!

dsman195276 (author)2008-09-30

very cool! i do see one flaw though, what do you do when your tip is gone? i am guessing it is to big for a sharpener. seeing that ii might try this with a mechanical pencil glued into the stick (with the top covered with wood) so it can be reused when the tip is gone. will get pictures if it if it works, do you mind if i post i instructable? i will be sure to give you credit.

=SMART= (author)dsman1952762008-09-30

yea sure go ahead, credit would be nice :D about the tip, you just re-share it like in step 7, Using a knife you just cut the wood back and make the graphite pointy

dsman195276 (author)=SMART=2008-09-30

it just started raining hard so i can't get a stick from outside. i will just have to wait till tomorrow.

Jedi Ronin (author)2008-09-24

Great Instructable. I wish you wouldn't use live wood, but that's a personal choice. Either way, I think I'm going to make this.

=SMART= (author)Jedi Ronin2008-09-24

it was a big bush and i sealed the cut so it wont get infected :)

Sunny124613 (author)2008-09-11

very nice instructable! I am sooo going to favorite this!

=SMART= (author)Sunny1246132008-09-12

Thanks :D

Sunny124613 (author)=SMART=2008-09-12

Ur welcome

Zengineer1618 (author)2008-08-27

Here's a pen that I made from a hedge branch.

=SMART= (author)Zengineer16182008-08-30

Awesome !! Thats great !

=SMART= (author)2008-07-18

Dammit i thought this would get featured......

The Mollusk (author)=SMART=2008-07-20

It should of been. Its an interesting project, artful, clever, and cheap.

=SMART= (author)The Mollusk2008-07-20

Thanks :P, their haven't been many featured 'ibles latley

The Mollusk (author)=SMART=2008-07-20

Np. I haven't noticed... I'm kinda new...

lawizeg (author)The Mollusk2008-08-13

How'd you find the best site ever?

The Mollusk (author)lawizeg2008-08-17

What do you mean?

The Mollusk (author)The Mollusk2008-08-17

Do you mean "how did you find Instructables"? I was trying to make something on the cheap and a google search brought up this site. About a year later I decided to go to the home page and actually check it out.

lawizeg (author)The Mollusk2008-08-18

Yeah me too! I was trying to find out how to make paper shurikens.

fancypenguin845 (author)lawizeg2008-08-20

hey, i was looking to make metal stars! never got around to it tho...

About This Instructable




More by =SMART=:How to get Author Bio'sDenim Gadget CaseCardboard Component Storage
Add instructable to: