Instructables

How to make charcoal pencils

Picture of how to make charcoal pencils
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Don't want to pay for expensive charcoal pencils?
Learn how to make your own with a cheap, easy way.
These pencils in my opinion are as good as the ones you buy.
 
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Step 1: Build a fire

Picture of Build a fire
Now you need to build a fire.
1. Take some tinder and light it,
2. Put small pieces of wood on the lit tinder.
3.Gradually add bigger pieces of wood.
4.Wait for the fire to build up.

Your fire is made =).

Step 2: Wrap and cook

Picture of Wrap and cook
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1. Find some sticks that aren't too thin, they have to be thick enough.

2. Wrap the sticks in aluminium foil.

3. Place wrapped sticks in fire.

4. Wait about 20 minutes then find your wrapped sticks and just observe them...LEAVE IN FIRE.

5. You will notice gasses coming outof the foil..tere will be a lot of smoke coming out of the foil and some flames.

6. Observe the sticks until no more fllames and nearly no smoke is coming out of the foil.

7. Gently and carefully remove the foil from the fire and place on any surface.

8. Wait a couple of minutes for it to cool then remove carefully the "cooked" sticks (charcoal) from the foil.

9. (Optional) wrap the charcoal sticks in paper but leave some of the charcoal sticking out then tape the paper (if you don't want to get your hands all black when using the charcoal)

10. Use and enjoy your virtually free charcoal pencils.

(My pencil just looks like a black block wrapped in kleenek...but it goes really well and sorry for crappy image quality.)

(Have Fun!)
TimmyMiller11 months ago
you could probally use an old grill that has a lid with a vent, right
Feaf2 years ago
Aluminium foil costs a lot nowadays and is not always reliable I would suggest a paint can with a few holes for venting as a better solution and the steps are a little different.
1.) clean out a paint can and poke 4-6 holes in the lid(More if you wish)
2.) place in preferred wood.
3.) place in a fire(The paint can is better for making more charcoal as the fire will need to be be bigger and hotter and might melt the aluminium).
4.) Take out of fire and cover the top securely and let it cool.
5.)Take out your charcoal and enjoy.
and great tutorial by the the way o3o
 do you have any suggestion on how to get darker or lighter charcoal.
GlueyMcGee (author)  jilllindseyw4 years ago
 if by lighter or darker in color when you stroke then give a different pressure to the pencil but if you mean in general, i think experimenting with different kinds of woods would be best. I have only tried maple and that works great but i haven't tried any other kinds of wood.
 lol I understand how to get a different tone from pressure but im talking about the actual color of the charcoal I'll try different types of wood as well. Thanks for the thorough answer its much appreciated keep up with the awesome Instructables good sir. 
GlueyMcGee (author)  jilllindseyw4 years ago
 And if you rreally wanted to change the color, then you could maybe grind up the charcoal and mix it up with some pigment and add wax as a binder...That would make conté crayons though :P

LiaVivas5 years ago
Hey! great to know about this, thanks! It reminded me of an article I read a litlle while ago about this pencils made out of old newspapers. So I was thinking that if you are into recycling that can be an alternative to the cloth under the resin. Although in those pencils they didn´t use resin just a adhesive solution resistant to water (of the sweat from the hands I suppousse). The thing would be to know if this homemade charcoals are strong enough to resist the process, they seem to be fragile. I´ll see if I can try this but if you do, let me know!
GlueyMcGee (author)  LiaVivas5 years ago
they are pretty brittle so if you do that you'll really have to be careful not to break it
pudicobar5 years ago
i was told that the best pencils come from grape vines... i guess if you wrap the charcoal with a pice of cloth and epoxy / polyester resin (fiberglass stuff) you can make a fairly hard and decent pencil, sharpenable too, with those big mouthed sharpeners.
GlueyMcGee (author)  pudicobar5 years ago
hmm...i didn't know that...it would probably works (i didnt know that the best pencils came frome grape vines)
I'm not very sure of this too, but my guess is that any decent hardwood will make good pencils, like the stuff you guys have in America, like oak, osage, redwood, mulberry, apple, cherry etc etc etc... :D Hey, try the epoxy/resin thing and tell us if that works!
GlueyMcGee (author)  pudicobar5 years ago
hardwood does make the best pencils (maybe apart from grape vines)...i probably wont try the epoxy/resin thing cus...well, 1: i don't know where to fand these and 2: thats pretty much it. 3: its winter (wel...officially its winter on december 21st but theres already a foot of snow here so i say its winter :)) now so i can't go biking long distances to get some.
Keep it as homework, once the snow melts ;-) However, the epoxy resin you can get even at wal mart (look at tool/paint department) you'll need araldite stuff, like those mix and apply. The polyester resin is sold at paint stores, specially car body work ones and also at marinas, cause many boats are actually made and repaired with it. Looks like you're a handy young man, so I strongly suggest you learn how to work these materials, even with no relation to your pencils, cause you can make lots of things out of epoxy and resin, ok? Take care however, and I don't know about the resin, where you live, but they won't sell it for minors here, cause sadly many smell the stuff as a drug... :-(
GlueyMcGee (author)  pudicobar5 years ago
smell it as a drug?! what people will do to get high....thats sad..anyways..i'll keep it in mind and i'll go check into it :)(I'll also check what i can do with epoxy and resin :D) thanks
You wouldnt believe what these guys do!!! :-( From time to time i see people like amy winehouse in the courts (like yesterday i was appointed attorney to a 15-yr boy who was into marijuana smoking, cocaine traffic plus armed robbery). Poverty is sometimes a cause of this, but what a way of losing his youth, behind the bars.... Damn it, sad but true... :-( What a world!
thythy5 years ago
is it possible to sharpen the finished product? and if so, what should be used for sharpening? [yeah, I'm 15 and I'm like curious ^^;;]
GlueyMcGee (author)  thythy5 years ago
yes it is possible, tou just use a normal pencil sharpener if its fots(be careful not to rbreak the charcoal pencil though) or use a knife or rub it on paper. Hope this helps :) (I'm aactually 15 too)
aki! thnx! (hehe! awesome! then you must be smart then! hehe)
GlueyMcGee (author)  thythy5 years ago
:p thanks