Recent Comments

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.

Submit a Photo of Your Project

Important Note: Please only upload photos of your project. Because of privacy rules, we can't post any photos that show people's faces. Always ask for your parent's permission before uploading anything to a website.

58 Comments on How to Make Twig Pencils

  1. adventurebeck // July 13, 2015 at 6:55 pm // Reply

    Have you tried making pencils out of Elder twigs? You can push a tent peg through the soft core of the Elder and then put a piece of willow charcoal into the hole it leaves.

  2. Copper leaf // July 12, 2015 at 12:54 pm // Reply

    Invisibly cool!

  3. Packysaurus // July 8, 2015 at 1:42 pm // Reply

    I’ll make some, and then bring them to school next year. 🙂

  4. I will try this sounds fun

  5. cool…gota try this.

  6. Anonymous // May 1, 2015 at 12:40 pm // Reply



  8. laval, king supreme // March 30, 2015 at 6:04 am // Reply

    I will have to make these!

  9. cool idea

  10. i am totally going to try this out.

  11. Awesome!

  12. Ooh, I need more pencils for school” these are cool pencils. I think I’ll give ’em a try.

  13. this may sound weird but im 11 yrs old and I made this my self and it was AWESOME

  14. Wow
    That sound like so much fun I’m totally going to try it

  15. I would have to check the Guide to Safe Scouting to see IF a scout can use a drill, before I got started.

  16. wow fantastic

  17. Not trying to be a Debbie Downer but lead that is only 1 1/4″ long basically means the pencil is worthless after one or two uses.

  18. Acarverofwood // August 23, 2014 at 10:41 am // Reply

    After you’ve made the pencil, practice your Woodcarving Merit Badge skills and carve a face in your new pencil. Always remember to use a sharp knife and wear safety gear.

  19. Find the right size twig and the right size drill bit and you could also do this with a ballpoint pen refill for added fun.

  20. If you scrape some of the paint off a number 2 pencil and soak it over night, you can seperate it length wise and the lead will come out easily.

  21. why, comatose, why??? // June 20, 2014 at 1:07 pm // Reply

    Where would I get the lead???

  22. Ooooh nyc my friend didnt believe her eyes and she was lyk ‘andrea why you writin’ with a twig’ but i showed her the website

  23. Cutie😜

  24. Wow awesome

  25. Absolutely love this project. Great for people of all ages.

  26. cool

  27. pie terimater // December 8, 2013 at 8:57 am // Reply

    so epic

  28. iyisjellyfishgirl // October 16, 2013 at 3:39 pm // Reply

    These look like the greatest projects to do in the holidays! Trying that out ASAP!

  29. Looks good

  30. AWESOME!!! i’m making one right now!

  31. that is so cool!!!!

  32. Very very cool I like it

  33. Tenderfoot // May 25, 2013 at 7:52 pm // Reply

    Great for cubscots that just got their Whittling Chip.

  34. awesome dude its really creative 🙂

  35. Captain Awesome // March 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm // Reply

    I know this might sound crazy but I’m 15 yrs. old and I am making a pencil company.

  36. i might want to try that!

  37. Does this really work? I hope it does, because this is a cute idea I like it.

  38. GoHomeKidd23 // October 6, 2012 at 6:45 pm // Reply


  39. Art supply stores carry large charcoal and graphite drawing sticks. You can even find white charcoal.

  40. cool that rocks

  41. coooool

  42. im gonna try it

  43. the hornet // April 17, 2012 at 7:18 pm // Reply

    tried it didn’t work

  44. S & G & T & H // March 29, 2012 at 5:05 pm // Reply

    That is pretty creative.

  45. cool, i just might try this. before lead was used in pencils, ( today graphite ) they burnt the tip of the sharpened twig to make charcoal then they wrote with that. 🙂

  46. COOKIE-MONSTER4747 // March 19, 2012 at 5:15 pm // Reply

    Thats pretty cool 🙂

  47. What else can you use to make a pencil?

  48. 4433434334434343 // February 21, 2012 at 7:50 pm // Reply


  49. I think that you could go to a writing supply store and buy the fattest “lead” (graphite) that you use to put into mechanical pencils for refills, that would work for these, wouldn’t it? These are very neat! Thanks for a lot of neat ideas for a variety of boys (and dads, and moms….)

Leave a Comment

Please don't use your real name.