How can I reuse or recycle little pencil stubs?

Over on the Suggest an Item page, Kate asked:

What can I do with old pencil stubs, the used ones that are too small to write with any more?

Stubs of old crayons are super easy to reuse – just melt a load down into a new, easy-to-hold shape and off you go – but I suspect pencils will be harder.

I vaguely remember being a kid and taping two together, end to end, to make a slightly longer, double-ended pencil – and it seems you can buy gizmos to help you do that now (although I’m pretty sure I just used tape).

I also know that Jane Eldershaw of JunkJewelry uses the ends of pencils in her work.

Any other reusing or recycling ideas?

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19 Responses to “How can I reuse or recycle little pencil stubs?”

  1. I don’t normally like plugging my own stuff in comments (honest), but by sheer coincidence I posted a craft project 2 days ago that makes ‘bugs’ out of pencils and paper-clips. Anyway, I’m looking forward to checking out other suggestions, perhaps ones that aren’t so time intensive! :-) Scott

  2. The Japanese are great at reusing things, and if you can find a Japanese product shop, like those 100 Yen shops, you should be able to find pencil extenders — little steel or plastic tubes for you to fit your pencil stubs into so that you can continue to write comfortably, as you would when holding a full-length pencil.

  3. bookstorebabe says:

    Or you can use the cap from a dried up marker. Some of them make good pencil extenders.
    But eventually, there will be a nubbin left even an extender won’t help. I would say burn them in the fireplace, but a pencil is more than wood. Graphite, metal band at the top, eraser….probably not the best stuff to burn. So, no good ideas here on how to dispose of the last bit.

  4. Kacy says:

    I used a bunch of them in my classroom to make a collage. My students seem to be fascinated with them, so I glued a bunch to posterboard and have them perform tasks with it. I may ask them to find and measure the shortest one or count how many of them no longer have erasers. I also collected some to put in an estimation jar.

    • louisa says:

      That’s reminded me of another fun kids/classroom thing to do – glue them in a line to a narrow piece of wood, leaving the tip (and enough space for sharpening) free. It could then be used to draw lots of parallel lines quickly. Using coloured pencils in the correct order = instant rainbows!

  5. Do pencil stubs ever get too small to write with? I tend to wear them out completely (they seem to last forever) – but you do need to grip them tight when they get tiny. Problem then is storage – they do get lost very easily!

  6. Bertie says:

    The graphite in a pencil can be sanded into a powder which can be used to “dry” lubricate keys & locks

  7. I’ve been collecting and searching for unwanted pencils with the erasers still intact to turn them into mini rubber stamps for inking. Just grab an exacto knife and create simple designs and use rubber stamp ink to stamp on paper.

  8. Cipollina says:

    The handy could make fancy stub holders from wood. This Swedish blog has a pretty picture of one:

  9. Alena says:

    With the help of a pencil sharpener shred them as far as possible, and use shavings as compost.

  10. Alena says:

    Dip rubber parts into pain to create dotted painting.

  11. Alena says:

    Take two stubs. Accurately cut off metal part on one pencil and pointed part on another. Now glue them together length wise, and you have whole pencil again.

  12. Mel says:

    I don’t really know any ways to recycle those short pencils (I have tens of them!!) but I just try to reuse them until they’re short and then I just keep a collection of them in a box or something.. Who knows, maybe somebody will be in the World Records for having the most short pencils!

  13. alenka says:

    Brake off wooden part, grind the graphite and use to make colorful candles or crayons, colorful clay, lipstick, etc.

  14. Alenochka says:

    Donate them to lottery stand. :)

  15. Alenochka says:

    If you have old devidable pen, take upper part of it and wear it or attach it onto the short pencil. That allows you to use pencil until it ends.

  16. Alenochka says:

    In some of those short pencils it is possible to remove graphite, leaving wood with a hall. Then stick same size ( like a hall) metal crocheting hook inside the wood with a bit of glue in the area where your hands usually are. That way crocheting can be easier on your hands.

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