Upcycled pencil artwork
I’ve sort of always had a thing for pencils. Not necessarily using them (I prefer to write with a ball-point pen), but I’ve always casually just collected and admired them, with their wildly different designs and colors. It’s not often that something so useful in everyday life can also be such a universal medium for everyone from children to construction workers to marketing teams and beyond. So I’ve tossed cool pencils into a drawer for years. And finally a couple months ago, I decided to do something with them.
But even my casual collection over the years wasn’t enough for what I had in mind, which was a piece of art that really drew attention to the pencils, showcasing both their similarities and differences at the same time. I asked friends and family members to start saving them for me, and it didn’t take long to get a huge box full of wonderful, colorful, writing sticks!
I found just the right base for the piece while browsing a flea market — a vintage wooden silkscreen frame, with its perfectly imperfect dents, scratches, and splashes of paint.
I used a staple gun to add some black foam core to the back, and it was good to go.
Then I got out the pencils and started working! I sorted through them, tossing out any duplicates or those that were odd sizes or missing erasers.
Then I started creating rows of pencils. I alternated which direction the pencils pointed (odd rows pointed to the left, even to the right), and made sure each pencil had a nice sharp point on it. After dry-fitting each row, I glued them in place with a hot glue gun.
Sometimes I had to sharpen a pencil until it was several inches shorter, in order to perfectly fill a space in a row. Fortunately, I found that much pencil sharpening to be a pretty satisfying task, at least after I switched to an electric sharpener!
I also did my best to evenly distribute colors across the whole piece, so that there weren’t big concentrations of one color in one area.
It was actually pretty quick work, especially compared to the time it took to collect them all. Before I knew it, the frame was filled. And I was completely in love with the result.
My favorite pencils were the ones with writing on them, advertising various schools or businesses. All the colors and designs are mesmerizing, and those who see it can’t help but get lost it it, wanting to look at each one. It’s definitely my favorite piece of art in the house!