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Back-to-School Fashion: Make a Pencil Cuff Bracelet

25 July 2011 4,363 views 10 Comments

by rhonda

Whether the kids want to admit it or not, it's getting to be time to shop for back-to-school supplies.  While parents will be concerned about making sure their brood has enough paper, pencils, and other necessities, for the kids there is one thing about the first day of school that is far more important than supplies:  the first-day-of-school outfit!  Whether you have a trendy teen or you know a teacher who enjoys quirky accessories, nothing screams back-to-school fashion quite like a pencil cuff bracelet.  And they're so easy to make!

Project estimate:

  • Pencils, $1
  • Wide bangle bracelet, on hand or $1
  • Saw or serrated knife, on hand
  • Ribbon, on hand
  • Glue, on hand
  • Sandpaper, on hand

Total:  $1 and up

Start by cutting your pencils into small segments.  If you don't have a saw, a sharp, serrated knife should do the trick.  The length of your pieces will make up the width of your finished bracelet, so cut accordingly.  You can measure and cut them all to an exact length if you want, but I just went with pieces close to the same length to give it a slightly random look.

Tie a length of ribbon around a wide bangle bracelet.  This will be the form to which you'll attach your pencil pieces.

Glue each piece of pencil to the ribbon.  (I used Amazing Goop because it bonds strongly and dries firmly enough to help the bracelet keep its shape.)  Make sure that each pieces is glued both to the ribbon and to the adjacent pieces of pencil, but be careful not to glue them to the bangle.  Use a cotton swab or toothpick if needed to clean up any excess glue before it dries.

Continue adding pencil pieces until you get almost all the way around the bangle.  It took me about 8 pencils each cut into 4 pieces to get around my bracelet.

When the glue has dried enough to keep the pieces firmly attached to each other, carefully slide out the bangle form.  Trim the ends of the ribbon to be flush with the last pieces of pencil on each end, then glue the two ends together to create a continuous ring of pencils.

After the glue dries completely, sand the rough pencil ends around the edges of the bracelet.  I sanded mine enough to smooth out the ends but left the pencil pieces slightly uneven.  If you prefer, you can keep sanding until all of the ends are even.  If you have problems with the graphite from the pencils getting on your clothing, you can seal it in with a couple of quick coats of spray polyurethane.  Now it's ready to wear!

If yellow isn't you color, you can also paint the bracelet to give it a different look.  If you feel the need to add extra strength and rigidity to your design, try coating it in a layer of polymer resin.


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  • Back to School? said:

    […] of Dollar Store Crafts developed this adorable pencil cuff!  Great for teachers and kids alike, it’s a way to show […]

  • Kevin - DIY Dork said:

    That’s really cool! …And eerily similar to a couple of super-secret projects I’m currently working on! :)

  • Classroom-Inspired Jewelry | FaveCraftsBlog said:

    […] is those classic No. 2 pencils used for most standardized tests. Put them to new use with this Pencil Cuff Bracelet. It’s super easy to put together, and it’s very budget friendly, as well. If you are a […]

  • Michelle L. said:

    Wait, how did I miss this? Love it!

  • maddy said:

    ITS A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D but i’m confused on how you glue the pencils over the knot in the ribbon…:I -PLEASE HELP!!!!!!!!

  • rhonda (author) said:

    @maddy – you actually glue them up to the knot but not all the way over. Then you cut it on either side of the knot and glue the ends of the bracelet together. Since you’re building it on the outside of another bangle, it will be bigger than the one you’re using as a form; taking out the knot makes it just the right size. :)

  • maddy said:

    thanks a bunch!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;D

  • Casey Blatt said:

    Cute and thrifty! I am always hunting for DIY projects and bargain alternative, if you are anything like me I am sure you will find use for cheapsally.com too