I was looking for something to do with the scrap wood pieces around my shop and I found a few ideas I thought I’d try. The first is a fairly simple one: a pencil holder shaped like a pencil. I’m a teacher for my day job so this seemed like a great project to try out.

The only wood needed for this project is a scrap piece of 2×4. The length of it doesn’t even really matter, as long as there is enough room on top to drill some holes for the pencils to sit in.

The first step to making the pencil shape is coming up with the point at the front. I tried at first measuring a specific angle from the center of the board but I discovered that an easier way is to mark the center of the end, then draw a straight line to the edge a certain distance from the end. As you can see in the first picture above, I decided to make my angle start at 3″ back from the edge. I marked the 3″ line as far on the edge of the board as I could because the angle I would be cutting would go all the way to the edge.

Next I cut the angles from the center of the end to the marks I had made 3″ back along the edges. This created a very sharp point. However, since this would be going in a classroom where there were presumably children, I decided to cut the end flat to avoid injuries. I also sanded down all the sharp edges with a scrap piece of sand paper.

At this time, I did not have any way to clamp things vertically on my bench (although I do now, thanks to a jig I made, which you can see here) so I created a sort of temporary vice using clamps and more scrap wood. Or, as I told my brothers, I “impro-viced”. They didn’t laugh either.

Anyway after this I used a piece of scrap pegboard I had from a previous project to mark the spots for my holes. These holes would eventually hold the pencils so I used a drill bit just a hair bigger than the pencils to drill the holes. When you do this step, it’s a good idea to mark on the bit how far down to drill each hole so that your pencils will sit at the same height. I used a piece of tape around the bit to do this.

After all of my holes were drilled I used blue painters tape cut into triangles to form the “sharpened” end of the pencil. The taped areas would be the ones that were NOT painted later. I realized after I painted the pencils that I should have moved this line up to where the pointed ends of the tape in the picture above were where the flat ends of the tape were.  You’ll see what I mean in the next few pictures.  I also painted the tip black to look like pencil lead. A tip for this, don’t use a lot of black paint all at once as it will run and mess up the look of your lead.

I painted with yellow paint all the way across the tape triangles and straight over the holes. I didn’t cover the holes before I painted it. I did end up clearing them out with a small round file at the end, but that was as much to make them smooth as it was to fix the paint spillover into them. When I removed the tape I got the look in the second picture above. You can see that if I had moved the tape line a little further toward the tip of the pencil, it would be a little more realistic.

Lastly, I painted some names on the sides of the pencils and when that was dry sealed the whole thing with clear spray laquer. (Both my mom and my sister-in-law are also teachers and both Adams’ so it worked out nicely to make identical pencils).

And that’s it! It’s a really easy project to do and you can easily use the same idea with different shapes and colors.

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PS: In the very last picture you can see a table top clamped up and being glued. That is for a very special project I’m finishing now. I’ll post it soon!

Author: Sam Adams

I am a musician, educator, and composer based out of Kentucky. I also dabble in wood working.

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