Sunday, April 06, 2008

Make your own pencil charms

These are for charm bracelets or charm necklaces. They wear well either way. I had a pencil necklace but traded that with someone. They are not hard to make. Did you know that the metal band that holds the eraser in place on a pencil is called a ferrule? In case you are interested, here is how pencils are made:

1. Take a pencil and use a pair of flush cutters to cut into it in a circle. You want to do it about 1.5'-2" from the metal end of the pencil. Basically, you want to cut off the rest of the pencil. Take the flush cutters or the cutting part of a pair of pliers and cut into the pencil where you want to break. Just go around the pencil in a circle using the pliers. You don't have to go all the way through. The pencil is soft enough that it will break in two, if you give it a start. If it is too long then, you might want to break off more or you can always just sharpen it more later. I just eyeball how long it should be. Measure-schmeasure. Don't let my 6th graders know I said that though!

2. Once the pencil is broken off where you want it to, you will need to sharpen it a bit. You don't want it too sharp or you will stab yourself. I sharpen it just a bit until a see a little bit of graphite poke through. If you get it too sharp, you can break off the tip with the flush cutters or scribble a bit on a piece of scrap paper. I have found that electric sharpeners don't usually work here. The sharpener is too far away from the opening and I can't get it to sharpen. The ferrule gets in the way or the pencil goes in too far. The manual sharpeners work much better. I use the kiddie sharpeners that they sell in my school store and they work great. Makes my thumb kinda sore after awhile though.

3. Once you get the pencil sharpened and short, you can do the following two steps in any order you want. It does not matter if you drill the hole first or coat the graphite. How I do it depends on my mood and which one is easier for me at the time. I coated today first. You can use any liquid glue. I use Diamond Glaze. I just dip the graphite end into the glaze, tap off the excess, and let it dry on some wax paper. This is so you don't write on your clothes when wearing it. I have used both Sobo and Diamond Glaze.

4. Take your Dremel or similar drill. I use a 1/16th drill bit. Hold the pencil steady. Have you ever noticed the little indentations in the ferrule where it is pressed in to keep the eraser where it is? That is where you drill through. The Dremel work station is great for this. Just put a piece of cardboard or matboard over the opening so the pencil does not fall through. Put a hardcover book or piece of wood underneath the pencil so you don't drill into your table, if you don't have a drill press.

5. I use 20 gauge wire. I do some wire wrapping on both ends. You will have to Google how to do that or a lot of the jewelry books tell you how to do that now. This page might help:

Then you are done. Add a jump ring and you have a charm.

Comments welcome


Jan Scholl said...

all those little stubbies I throw away! I thought I was the only person who still used pencils instead of calculators. Cool idea!

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I love this idea. I may have to "borrow" it.


sabine said...

these are cool ! another item to recycle instead of throwing away...

rosebudinnh said...

another great idea, thanks Rose

Hovawart said...

My library will not thank you! I have always taken my stubbies to the library to cut down on their golf pencil expenses. Oh, well, they can wait!