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How to Make Twig Pencils

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

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!



  • Pocketknife or utility knife
  • 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)
  • Adult permission or supervision


twig-1STEP 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).

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

twig-3STEP 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.

twig-5STEP 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.

twig-7STEP 7: Sharpen the pencil with your pocketknife or a sharp utility knife. 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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11 Comments on How to Make Twig Pencils

  1. Awesome!

  2. Ooh, I need more pencils for school” these are cool pencils. I think I’ll give ’em a try.

  3. this may sound weird but im 11 yrs old and I made this my self and it was AWESOME

  4. Wow
    That sound like so much fun I’m totally going to try it

  5. I would have to check the Guide to Safe Scouting to see IF a scout can use a drill, before I got started.

  6. wow fantastic

  7. Not trying to be a Debbie Downer but lead that is only 1 1/4″ long basically means the pencil is worthless after one or two uses.

  8. Acarverofwood // August 23, 2014 at 10:41 am // Reply

    After you’ve made the pencil, practice your Woodcarving Merit Badge skills and carve a face in your new pencil. Always remember to use a sharp knife and wear safety gear.

  9. Find the right size twig and the right size drill bit and you could also do this with a ballpoint pen refill for added fun.

  10. If you scrape some of the paint off a number 2 pencil and soak it over night, you can seperate it length wise and the lead will come out easily.

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