BL Workshop

Make a twig pencil




Twig pencils are fun, easy and cheap to make. And the expressions on your friends’ faces when you start scribbling with a stick will be writetious!

YOU’LL NEED

  • pruning clippers
  • drill and 3⁄32-inch bit
  • clamp
  • scratch awl or nail
  • white glue
  • 2mm-diameter drafting lead, 2B grade (at art or office supply stores)
  • utility knife or pocketknife
  • adult permission or supervision

STEP 1: Find a twig. Look for one with interesting color, texture or with a forked shape. (The length of the twig, though, must be straight.) Hold the twig as you would a pencil to find the right size. Use pruning clippers to trim away unwanted parts. Check the twig for bugs (you don’t want any).

 

STEP 2: Clamp the twig to the edge of a workbench or piece of plywood. Be careful! Too much pressure can crush the twig.

 

STEP 3: Use a scratch awl or the point of a nail to make a dent at the center of the twig’s end. The dent will become the starting point for the drill bit.

STEP 4: Drill to a depth of 1 to 1 1⁄4 inches. Make sure to keep both hands on the tool!

As you drill, you may need to back out the bit to clear wood chips from the drill’s flutes (its spiral grooves). To do this, stop the drill and scrub the bit with an old toothbrush.

 

STEP 5: Squirt a small puddle of glue on a scrap of wood or cardboard. Roll the end of the lead in the glue, then work it back and forth in the hole to spread the adhesive.

STEP 6: Trim the lead by breaking it sideways against the twig. Let the glue dry overnight.

STEP 7: Sharpen the pencil with a sharp utility knife or pocketknife. Whittle away from your body, removing thin shavings as you work around the pencil. Use your imagination to personalize your pencil, or simply enjoy the colors and textures that nature provides.

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