Rustic Pencil Holder and Homemade Pencils

Rustic Pencil Holder

I saw this about a year ago, and I remember thinking at the time that it was such a simple yet elegantly nifty project I would have to make it sometime.  What better time than the present?

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I wrangled a log out of the mildewed pile in our dilapidated excuse for a shed and got to work.  You can of course use any form of windfall or anything you find lying around.  I’d love to try this with driftwood, if I still had my beach handy.  As it was a pretty long chunk of wood, I figured I’d make three pencil holders, just to spread the love amongst my Christmas gift recipients.

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I also thought I might make them slightly angled, so that all the pencils or pens could be viewed from one side, instead of them all being on the same level. So I sawed them accordingly, in varying thicknesses.  Actually, the Pie did most of this because I took too long.  But we didn’t really try too hard to get things level or straight — the crooked adds to the charm, and I swear we did this on purpose.

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And then the bark, which had been sitting and drying out over our kitchen heater for two months, just peeled right off so easily.

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I used a butter knife to get the thinner inner bark off.

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Now you drill your holes.  I used 3/8″ and 1/2″ drill bits, to accommodate skinny and fat pens and pencils. You know, like the fat ones you pick up from the bank or that you get in swag bags at conferences and stuff.

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You can space them out evenly or put them in randomly, whichever floats your boat.

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To make sure that all your holes are uniform in depth, use a bit of tape around your drill bit to mark how deep you want it to go.  When the line of the tape touches the wood, you’ve gone far enough.

Rustic Pencil Holder

In addition, if you are pursuing an angled approach, make sure that your drill is going in perpendicular to the surface upon which the wood is sitting, not perpendicular to the surface of the top of the disk.  Although I suppose you could do that, too, if you wanted your pencils to stick out at an angle.

Rustic Pencil Holder

Then I sanded, to smooth out the edges and to make the top nice and even.  You don’t want splinters in something you’re going to be touching all the time.

Rustic Pencil Holder

I stained one of them as well, again for kicks.

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To go with the pencil holders, I thought I would include some pencils I made myself.

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I got the idea from here, but modified it so it was easier for me (because I found this actually quite difficult).  You need some 2mm pencil leads, the kind that go into architectural drafting pencils (also known as clutch pencils).  They tend to come in small plastic boxes of 10, and you can find them at art supply stores or on the internet.

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Then you need some thin paper.  I used a combination of newspaper flyers and origami paper for this, with the cheap newspaper on the inside and the nice origami pattern on the outside.  Cut the paper into squares that are the same length as the leads, which is usually about 5″.

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Take a paint brush and some glue and paint some onto the edge of one of the pieces of paper.

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Lay your lead onto the glued surface, just a little bit from the edge.  Fold that extra part over the lead and tuck it in.

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Now start rolling, carefully, putting even pressure on both ends of the lead.  You want the paper to be tight around the lead but you don’t want to put too much pressure on it that the lead breaks.  I definitely broke a few.  And go slowly, so you can make sure that the lead rolls straight in the paper.  Many of my pencils came out crooked and had to be trimmed later.

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When you reach the end of the paper, add some more glue and fasten the edge securely on your roll.  Repeat with more paper until you get to the thickness you like, with some nice patterned stuff on the outside.

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Put some glue on the outside, just to seal it all in.

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Allow your pencil to dry, then trim the pointy end of the pencil with a knife or a pencil sharpener, and you’re all set.

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Rustic Pencil Holder

Rustic Pencil Holder

Rack’ Em Up!

Rack 'Em Up!

This idea comes from Man-Made DIY, who, in turn, took inspiration from another designer. I love how the internet works.  I made a further spin-off of this when I made the jewelry stand for my niece.

This is a hat rack/coat rack/anything kind of rack made from fallen tree branches.  The wooden frame is made from old boards we scrounged out of our tipsy garage.  Don’t tell my landlord.

The branches came from fallen trees on that construction lot near our house.  You might remember that we cut down a bunch of saplings there in order to build our wattle fence (which I still haven’t finished, sorry).  These branches were ones that had already fallen due to hurricane-strength winds, or ones that were part of trees uprooted in the construction process.  So no trees were harmed in the making of this project.  Well, no trees were harmed by US, at least.

Rack 'Em Up!

We made two large racks, one for my dad and the other for Mrs. Nice.

First we cut up the planks we found in the garage, into 2 20″ lengths and 2 8″ lengths for each rack.

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With difficulty, we screwed them together.  The wood was pretty warped, so one one of the racks it came out a little crooked.

Rack 'Em Up!

Then we sprayed them black, because the wood wasn’t particularly interesting, visually.

Rack 'Em Up!

Then we cut lengths of branch to fit inside the rack frame.

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After sorting out what looked good where, we screwed those in as well.

Rack 'Em Up!

I later sprayed the top and bottom of the racks again to hide the screw marks.

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A finishing touch was a rusty bolt glued onto my dad’s.

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And some shells for Mrs. Nice.

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We left off hanging hardware because we weren’t sure where they were going to hang them.

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They look pretty good, all things considered.

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Functional, too.

Rack 'Em Up!

Packing Crate Jewelry Stand

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

This project was a spin-off of a spin-off of a spin-off (which I will be posting about later).  I figure at this point it counts as my own idea.  Especially since it turned out so well!

This is a Christmas present for my elder niece.  A little while ago, I gave her all my earrings, because I can’t wear them anymore.  So I figured I would build her something to store/display them, along with any other jewelry she has.

So for this project, I had everything I needed on hand, though I did purchase my very own hot glue gun for the event.  It was definitely much smaller, easier to hold, and less burn-y than the one my dad has.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

You will need several straight-ish sticks, with protruding smaller branches.  It being windy season here in St. John’s, these were easy to find.  I also had a swatch of vintage-style lace that my mother gave me when I was studying at home last year.

And I found these segments of wood in the dilapidated shed in my backyard.  I’m pretty sure, due to their thickness and the fact that one of the pieces has part of “St. John’s” written on it, that it’s from some packing crate from some time ago.  I scrubbed off the cobwebs and left them to dry overnight.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Then I sanded off all the rough bits.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

You will also need some nails or screws to keep your wood together.  I have this jar of copper clouting nails that belonged to my great-grandfather (you can tell, because he labelled it).  I like the colour of the bright nail heads, plus the thinness and the tapering of these particular nails means they won’t split the wood grain as much as a regular nail.  But they’re pretty much just large carpet tacks, so I have to keep in mind that they’re not that strong.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

So first I hammered together the basic frame of the crate.  Now, I don’t have a vise, or any clamps.  So I’m using my knee.  Clever, I know.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

I like the studded effect of many nails.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Cut the lace to the size of the frame.  The lace is how my niece will hang up her earrings, and will provide a nice background for the rest of the stuff.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Using hot glue, fasten the fabric to the frame on all sides.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Trim off the excess.

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Add another line of glue and fold down the raw edge.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

So here’s the front.

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And the back.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Now I’m going to add a few more pieces of packing crate to the back, you know, to make it look a bit more like a packing crate.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Now to add the sticks.  Trim them to fit the inside of the frame and fix them in place with hot glue.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

Keep going until you’re satisfied with how it looks. Here it is, in the setting sun.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

And the back.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

And with some of my jewelry on it.

Packing Case Jewelry Stand

A brooch stuck in the lace.

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Even a wee branch for rings.

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I hope she likes it!

Packing Case Jewelry Stand