Gluphite: Make a Key Chain Pencil




About: I believe that the purpose of life is to learn how to do our best and not give in to the weaker way.

Gluphite is a fairly strong plastic made from glue. It can be used to make a small thin pencil that can be carried on a ring chain or in a wallet. It is cheap and easy to make and give as a gift.

The intro pic shows the pencil on a key chain.

Step 1: How It Works

Gluphite is a simple mixture of Gorilla Glue and carbon graphite. It hardens into a fairly stout plastic that has some interesting qualities including working well as a pencil body and lead.

Step 2: Materials and Mixing

Gorilla Glue or Elmers white glue
Carbon Graphite available as lubricating graphite from a hardware store.
Corn starch
100% silicone caulk
Plastic mixing cup and mixing stick
Measuring spoon

Mixing Gluphite
Mix 3 measures of Carbon Graphite by volume with enough water to form a thick paste. Add 2 measures of white glue and mix well. Spoon the mix onto some polyethylene plastic on a flat surface. Spread it out 3/16" to 1/4" thick at a diameter large enough for the pencil.

Unfortunately I have not found a way to get it to set up faster, so it usually takes 3 or 4 days to totally harden up. While drying, it will shrink and warp a bit.

Because it has so much carbon which strengthens the plastic, it also works quite well as a pencil lead. It is hard enough to not rub off on your hands but soft enough to make smear less lines on paper that are light but very readable.

Step 3: Carving

It is easily drilled, cut, and carved using a Dremel tool. I used a sanding drum to smooth the sides and get the final shape.

While you can just drill a hole and hang it on the key chain, the pressure in a pocket could possibly crack the plastic. So, I made a flexible Oogoo loop to hold it on the keychain. I mixed 1 corn starch to 1 silicone caulk by volume and a dab of oil paint to give it color. I then rolled it thin between two layers of clear polyethylene plastic. I made it about 1/16" thick.

After an hour, I pealed off the plastic and cut the silicone to the desired size. See thumbnail pic.

I then mixed up a small batch of Oogoo just enough to fill the hole in the pencil to slightly overflowing. I used this to glue the loop on both sides of the hole by clamping it in place. The cured Oogoo glues incredibly strong to fresh Oogoo. For more details on using Oogoo see here:

Step 4: Other Possibilities

While not super strong, the gluphite has unusual qualities.

It is very smooth and slippery because of the lubrication graphite and could be used for small light duty mechanical bearings or sliding surfaces.

It could be used for making small cast parts.

It is conductive and the mix works well as a conductive glue.

The white glue can also be mixed with corn starch or fine sawdust instead of graphite to create a hard carvable plastic that can be colored with oil or acrylic paints.



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    15 Discussions

    I think Madrobot meant using the crushed graphite as a substitute for the store-bought extra-fine graphite, not as a substitute for the keychain.

    unless you're wiling to sacrifice a coffee grinder for the project I would say no. You'd end up with way too manny lumps in your mix.

    Actually, I think that would just coat your mortar & pestle in a smear of graphite, giving you far less actual powder than you would get for your dollar than just buying the stuff.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Cool instructable!

    I am also interested in this sentence: "The white glue can also be mixed with corn starch or fine sawdust instead of graphite to create a hard carvable plastic that can be colored with oil or acrylic paints." 

    Does it mean that i can make low-cost customized casing or prototype with the above composition? Won't the corn starch decay? Will the product be waterproof?

    Once again, thanks for sharing this nice instructable!

    1 reply

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    The starch does not decay, but the gluphite is only water resistant. It also deforms and shrinks as it dries.

    For low cost prototypes and casings, I would suggest Oogoo which is waterproof and much easier to work with.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    i say make a new design, cover it in some clear nail polish, and you got your self a cool surfing necklace

    2 replies

    8 years ago on Introduction

    What the heck your writing with the wrong hand... *tisk tisk tisk* *leftys*