Introduction: 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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=

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11 years ago on Step 10

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 :)


13 years ago on Introduction

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


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

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.


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

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


13 years ago on Introduction

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.


13 years ago on Step 5

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


Reply 13 years ago on Step 5

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


13 years ago on Introduction

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?


Reply 13 years ago on Introduction

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


13 years ago on Introduction

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... ;)