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

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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.