Introduction: 10 Unusual Uses for Pencils

About: Made in Canada, I grew up crafting, making, and baking. Out of this love for designing and creating, I pursued a degree in product design from Parsons School of Design in NYC. Since then I've done work for Mar…

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.

Unusual Uses Challenge

Participated in the
Unusual Uses Challenge

Reuse Contest

Participated in the
Reuse Contest