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How to Make Twig Pencils

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

Twig pencils are fun, easy and cheap to make. And the expressions on your friends’ faces when you start scribbling with a stick will be writetious!



  • Pocketknife or utility knife
  • Pruning clippers
  • Drill and 3/32-inch bit
  • Clamp
  • Scratch awl or nail
  • White glue
  • 2mm-diameter drafting lead, 2B grade (at art or office supply stores)
  • Adult permission or supervision


twig-1STEP 1: Find a twig. Look for one with interesting color, texture or with a forked shape. (The length of the twig, though, must be straight.) Hold the twig as you would a pencil to find the right size. Use pruning clippers to trim away unwanted parts. Check the twig for bugs (you don’t want any).

twig-2STEP 2: Clamp the twig to the edge of a workbench or piece of plywood. Be careful! Too much pressure can crush the twig.

twig-3STEP 3: Use a scratch awl or the point of a nail to make a dent at the center of the twig’s end. The dent will become the starting point for the drill bit.

STEP 4: Drill to a depth of 1 to 1-1/4 inches. Make sure to keep both hands on the tool!

As you drill, you may need to back out the bit to clear wood chips from the drill’s flutes (its spiral grooves). To do this, stop the drill and scrub the bit with an old toothbrush.

twig-5STEP 5: Squirt a small puddle of glue on a scrap of wood or cardboard. Roll the end of the lead in the glue, then work it back and forth in the hole to spread the adhesive.

STEP 6: Trim the lead by breaking it sideways against the twig. Let the glue dry overnight.

twig-7STEP 7: Sharpen the pencil with your pocketknife or a sharp utility knife. Whittle away from your body, removing thin shavings as you work around the pencil. Use your imagination to personalize your pencil, or simply enjoy the colors and textures that nature provides.

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39 Comments on How to Make Twig Pencils

  1. This is sick!!

  2. wolfy troop 363 // August 18, 2023 at 8:43 pm // Reply

    wow so cool very creative


  4. made 10 of them nice

  5. Where do you get the graphite

  6. nice instructions

  7. Anonymous // May 8, 2020 at 5:16 pm // Reply


  8. Wow,that is so simple! I definitely plan to make one or more of those!

  9. This was sooo cool

  10. SportyScout12 // August 13, 2019 at 9:30 am // Reply

    Soooo cooool.

  11. YoteMaster2000 // July 25, 2018 at 11:58 pm // Reply


  12. very cool

  13. I wonder if this will catch on in Pencilvania.

  14. Yeah I like pizza.

  15. Grumpy Old Man // August 11, 2017 at 12:14 pm // Reply

    One of my jokes for the kids, The most common pencil used in school is the Number 2 pencil, Right? They agree. Then why isn’t Number 1? I usually give them a No. 1 pencil and sometimes a stick pencil with 2B lead. Michaels has that lead in the drafting section.

  16. Made these at our last campout. They are very easy and the Bears loved them.

  17. cool. now lets see you do it

  18. Advisory Project: How to make pencils

  19. I did this for my Bear Den and they loved it!! Plan on doing it for the new Bears to go with the Bear Claws adventure, good way for them to learn basic whittling skills. I had to buy the lead on Amazon, none of the craft stores around here had lead.

  20. meh!

  21. awesome

  22. ijust learnd lashing i can probably combine two pencils

  23. That’s so neet. My dad “wood” love it.

  24. Wow!!!!!

  25. It’s hard to shave a lead.

  26. That’s cool

  27. Ready or knot // August 25, 2015 at 8:20 pm // Reply

    Now, where are the plans for the mechanical version?

  28. This is cool

  29. We shall get a patent. Mass produce them. Sell them commercially. We shall call them pencils.

  30. where do you get the led?

    • it tells you in the instructions-at art or office supply stores

      • Anonymous // August 25, 2015 at 5:57 pm //

        Lead pencil refills. Walmart, staples etc

      • The key is to look in the drafting or art supply sections of craft and office supply stores. The 2 mm led is thicker than what goes in mechanical pencils. It is designed for use in lead holders. Mechanical pencil led would most likely break while you tried to insert it,

    • No lights needed for this project friend!

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