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

His & Hers Key Hooks

His & Hers Key Hooks

I love making useful things out of other things.  Especially when you can personalize it so you know that no one else has anything quite like it. This monogrammed key hook is a gift for a friend of mine.

The wood I found in the garage.  I needed to saw off the crooked end to make it straighter.  Little did I know that I am incapable of sawing things in a straight line.  So it’s just as crooked, but in the other direction.  But now it’s QUAINTLY crooked.  On PURPOSE.

His & Hers Key Hooks

The vintage-style brass initials, as well as the little crow with verdigris, I got from Dime Store Emporium’s Etsy shop.  What a neat place!

His & Hers Key Hooks

This aluminum plate I found on the street.  Conveniently it had been pre-weathered and pre-antiqued by the tires of passing cars.

His & Hers Key Hooks

These hooks I got at Wal-Mart.  Not everything can have such glorious beginnings.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Now you want to lay everything out beforehand, just to prove that you have a plan.  Having a plan is good when you don’t have any spare parts leftover if you should happen to mess it up.

His & Hers Key Hooks

After I’d cut the wood and sanded it baby-bottom smooth, I added hanging hardware, right off the bat.  I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t damage or disturb any of the front stuff, which was why I did it first.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I wanted to stain it.  I had the option of three colours of Distress Stain, and one of India ink.

His & Hers Key Hooks

I thought I’d try the stains out first on another piece of wood, to see how they looked.  This was a good idea.  See?  I’m planning ahead again, not just winging it, which seems to lead to trouble sometimes.

His & Hers Key Hooks

I ended up going with the blue stain, and just doing the face of the wood.  Let that dry.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I used black acrylic paint around the edges.  Let that dry.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then I screwed on the hooks. I had to use my world’s oldest drill to get the holes started for me, though.

His & Hers Key Hooks

But the screws went on and looked really good.

His & Hers Key Hooks

Then it was a simple matter to whip out the glue gun and hot glue the metal pieces into place.

His & Hers Key Hooks

And it turned out better than I thought it would, which is always a bonus.

His & Hers Key Hooks