This post is brought to you as part of #dgdofficeweek, a five-day extravaganza of office-themed content in honor of back-to-school season. Check back all week for ideas on organization, office DIYs, and advice for how to make the most of your continued creative education!
From elementary school on through college, I have been a pencil fanatic. A little known fact about me is that I’m actually a trained portrait artist and focused my senior thesis in college on pencil drawing. I came up with an entire collection of large-scale sketches of friends and family (see an example here and another here), but have since let that part of my creative lifestyle fall by the wayside because of the monumental time it takes to draw these types of portraits. Instead, my current pencil-loving moments are relegated to DIY idea brainstorming and miles-long to-do lists, all for the benefit of this blog and my life as a freelance writer/editor.
Today, in honor of those of you heading back to school (or in case you’re using the season as an excuse to get your post-grad life back in order like I am), I put together a trio of ways to add simple embellishments to run-of-the-mill pencils. Read on to learn how to dip them, wrap them, and knot them in style!
- 3 plain wooden pencils
- Multi-surface paint
- Colored craft chording
- Patterned washi tape
- Duct tape (not pictured)
For my first DIY pencil embellishment I decided to tackle the idea of a simple paint dipped effect. Right before getting down to business, I spent 10 minutes or so riffling through our cabinets looking for a shot glass or tall, thin vessel into which I could pour my paint. The idea was to pour the paint into the cup and then dip the end of my pencil into it for a layered look. Eventually, I realized that I could simply dip the pencil right into the paint tube. It worked like a charm without wasting any paint and without dirtying up a glass.
To achieve the effect on your own pencil, unscrew the cap from your paint tube, and then flip your pencil over so that the back end is pointing down. Gently submerge the end of the pencil into the paint by about two inches, and then slowly lift it out of the paint. Allow the excess to drip for 30 seconds or so over the tube, and clip it to the edge of a shelf or table using binder clips. Put a piece of scrap paper underneath to catch the rest of the drips.
Allow the paint to cure for one hour, and then re-dip the pencil into a new color of paint, but only submerge it 2/3 of the way. Allow the excess to drip, clip it to dry for an hour, and then finish with a third and final color dipped just 1/3 of the way up the pencil. Allow the completed pencil to fully dry overnight.
Next, I tried my hand at a knotted effect using colorful chording from our local craft store. The idea behind this one was to recreate the friendship bracelets I used to love back in my grade school days. As I set out to tackle the project, I immediately had a flashback of sitting in a lounge chair at the pool, mini clipboard and colorful string at the ready. My fingers would fly over the string and within minutes I would have a rainbow colored bracelet ready to be gifted to a girlfriend. Happily, I was able to pick right back up where I left off 15 years ago with this DIY pencil embellishment and you can snag the how-to below.
Although it looks (and sounds) a bit complicated, it’s really easy to master after just a few knots. I finished my DIY wrapped pencil in about five minutes—and that even includes time to pause for photos! Before you begin, lay your pencil on a flat, solid surface and temporarily attach it to the tabletop with a piece of torn duct tape. This will keep the pencil in place while you work with the string.
STEP ONE: Cut your first piece of colored chord to about 15 inches in length, and tie it with a tight double knot at the top of the pencil. Trim the excess, and then loop the string underneath the pencil, leaving slack on the opposite end.
STEP TWO: Loop the chord over the pencil, and pull it into the center of the loop on the opposite end, pulling it under the string on the other side. Continue to leave slack so that you can clearly see the loops.
STEP THREE: Lift the chord up and loop it over the side of the loop and through the resulting circle of chord, this time pulling it over the pencil rather than under it.
STEP FOUR: Pull the knot super, duper tight and push it up to the top of the pencil with your fingertips. Repeat the steps over and over until you have a thick section of knotted chord at the top of the pencil. Trim the chord with scissors, and repeat the steps with a new color of chord, as shown below in yellow. Trim the end and push all of the knots together on one side of the pencil, and you’re done.
For my final DIY pencil embellishment, I wanted to go extra simple in case you don’t have time for paint or knots. For this project, I went with a classic standby in the #dgdstudio: patterned washi tape. To get the look on your own pencil, just trim a 2-inch section of tape with scissors, and wrap it in an even layer at the top of your pencil. I put three different pieces of coordinated tape at the top of my pencil for a multi-dimensional effect, but you could choose just one if you prefer. The options are practically limitless.
So, which of these DIY pencil embellishments is your favorite? I’m probably the most excited about the knotted chording since it brought back such happy memories, but I also love the layered effects achieved by the tape and paint—I’m officially calling this one a tie across the board. Check back tomorrow as #dgdofficeweek continues with my tips and tricks for organizing your digital desktop this back-to-school season!
(“Brilliant Ideas” notepad and typewriter card via Love. Luck. Kisses & Cake)