Sunday, June 26, 2011

Fancy pens

I did this little project with the kids.  We have done it in the past (Christmas gifts), and we thought it would be fun to do for Grandpa's birthday too.  It is a fun, easy to do with the kids.  An added bonus is the clay is not as messy as you might think.    

Check out these beauties.

Here are the supplies
-bake clay (like Sculpty, Filmo or generic brand)
-Pens in ROUND plastic tube (I read the "crystal" bic pens do not work, the simpler the better.  No plastic finger grippers or anything.)
-An oven to bake the clay

Pull the ink part of the pen out.  I know the pictures are lousy, but can you see that I pulled the black tip out of the pen? Set the ink part aside and toss the lid.

You need to work the clay when you get it out of the plastic.  I usually cut off a small section of clay and then pinch, smoosh, kneed and roll it until it is very soft and pliable.  Next, I roll my clay into a long skinny snake (kids love making long skinny snakes)

Again, sorry for the poor photo quality, but take the clay snake and wrap it around your pen.  The way you wrap it will affect the look of the finished pen.  This pen had a tiger look, so I went with a very random pattern.  I twisted the clay around one direction, attached it to the clay in the round above then switched directions.  Go all the way down the pen.  

Now add more colors.  Just follow the windy lines you already made.  

Done wrapping.  Can you see that it is not completely covered, and it is still very lumpy.  Now grab the pen and squeeze it in our hand up and down the entire pen.  It will still be very lumpy, but the clay should be stuck to the pen better (don't skip this step, your clay could roll right off in the next step).

Now roll your pen until it is smooth and all the gaps are filled in.  Apply a little pressure if the gaps are not filling in (if the gaps are too big, you can add a bit of clay).  I like to taper the very end of the pen (just like the body of the pen does).  I just hold the pen at an angle with one hand and roll it a bit with the other.   

Make sure the tube is clear of any clay.  I like to cut the end of the pen clean so the ink tube will fit in nicely.  If there is clay in it, use a toothpick to clean it out.  Make sure the back end of the pen is covered too.  

Ta-dah.  (Don't worry I noticed the little hole and fixed it).  

Next I take a pan, put on a small strip of aluminum foil and bake the pen for 15 min at 275.  

 Want to jazz it up a bit?  The kids REALLY love this.  When the pen is done being formed (BEFORE you bake it) shake a small amount of fine glitter out on your surface.  Then roll the pen in it.  I usually roll the pen until all the glitter is cleaned up and stuck to the pen.  

Be sure you don't use too much glitter.  It can overwhelm your design very easily.  A very small amount does a lot.  

Not interested in glitter, how about a marbleized look? This is probably the easiest to do.  

Take two lumps of clay and squish them together a bit. You want it to be striped but not mixed in.  Roll that into a long snake and wrap it around the pen.  Squeeze the clay on and roll just like the other pens.   

Hours later, the kids had fun and we had 10 new fancy pens.  Some for grandpa's birthday (the University my dad works for has a tiger mascot hence the tiger pens) and a few for them (because they need one too).  

These fancy pens are so fun for the kids to make and give to people as small gifts.  We paired the pens with fun notebooks for a quick teacher gift.  We have also customized notebooks and pens to give as gifts to other kids (who love to have things of their very own).  The clay also makes the pen a bit thicker making it easier for little hands to hold. 

Hope you have fun making fancy pens of your own.  

Happy Crafting.  


Rachel said...

Love it! What a fun summer project!

Orange said...

My kids LOVE their pens (and the notebooks) Thanks for the how-to!