DIY: Colored Pencil Jewelry

August 23, 2011

Note from Design Mom: I asked Kate of Mini Eco to create a Back to School themed project for us to try. I think making beads out of colored pencils is brilliant! Wouldn’t these beads be fun for your elementary school-ers to string for a class project? It would also be a fun activity at an art-themed birthday party. Here’s Kate:

Lately I have become a little addicted to making (and wearing) colored pencil jewelry. The items pictured are really easy to make and only require a few basic tools. You don’t even need to buy any materials, simply chop a few centimeters from the end of your kids crayons…if you do this neatly then they will be none the wiser!!

I think the results look great and you, or your child, will definitely stand out from the crowd wearing them!

You will need

  • Colored Pencils
  • Junior hacksaw
  • Fine sandpaper
  • Drill and small drill bit
  • Thread (for the necklace)
  • Superglue (for the brooch and earrings)
  • Brooch back (for the brooch)

 

How to: Basic Bead Necklace

1. For the basic necklace you will need to begin by making your beads. You can use either hexagonal or round crayons. The beads I cut were 7mm long. To cut your beads use a small, sharp, hacksaw blade. (In the UK you can pick up a junior hacksaw for a pound or two in most hardware shops). Take your time when cutting the crayons and try not to apply too much pressure…that way you are less likely to chip the paint off the outside.

2 & 3. Don’t worry if the cut surface of your beads look a bit scruffy…all they need is a quick rub with some sandpaper. I found it easier to lay the sandpaper on a flat surface and rub the bead along it.

4. Now drill a hole in the side of each bead using a small drill bit. Make sure you place a scrap piece of wood underneath. It’s not a good idea to get holes in the kitchen table!

Once you have cut a number of beads simply string them onto a length of thread…job done!

Tip: These little beads are also make lovely bracelets. If bright colours aren’t your thing then try some more subdued shades. White colored pencil beads look especially nice.

 

How to: Pointy Necklace

1. Begin by sharpening your colored pencil, then cut the end off as before. My beads measured about 3.5cm in length.

2. Drill a small hole through the end of your beads

3. String the beads onto some thread. You can add some co-ordinating beads if you wish.

 

How to: Brooch

If you fancy a bit more of a challenge then why not have a go at making the colored pencil brooch?

1. You will need to use hexagonal pencils for the brooch. Cut your beads as before. Mine were 6mm in length. You need 19 beads to make the brooch pictured.

2. Put some sandpaper on a flat surface and sand the beads so they are nice and smooth.

3. Work out how you want the beads to be arranged before you being gluing. Once you have decided simply start sticking the beads together using superglue.

4. Once your beads are all stuck together sand the underside of the brooch until it is flat and smooth.

5. Superglue a ‘brooch-back’ to the back of the brooch.

Tip: The best way to avoid making a wonky brooch is to assemble it on a flat surface. The underside of the brooch will be the most even so make sure this becomes the front of the brooch.

Make sure you only use the tiniest dab of superglue on each bead….and don’t stick your fingers together! I have done this before and was reminded how powerful superglue is!

Finally, remember these necklaces are not recommended for under three’s. I would also avoid making the pointy bead necklace for any child…for obvious reasons.

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{ 100 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Andrea@Fancy That! August 23, 2011 at 9:53 am

Too cute! What fun project. If only I had a drill…

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2 Terri July 20, 2012 at 7:08 pm

I love this….I hope to work on it this Summer and make A LANYARD for my school id…I think a tiny bit of clear nail polish on the ends would keep the colors from smearing on my clothes….I’ll try to send you a picture when I get it made…wish me luck!

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3 Hanna May 31, 2013 at 8:55 am

Wow its so cute! :*

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4 The BabbyMama August 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

That’s so cool! I may have to give this one a try.

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5 Ren Lady Of The Arts August 23, 2011 at 10:22 am

this is so cool and pretty- My ten year old wants to try this!

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6 jan August 23, 2011 at 10:37 am

how fun!

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7 kristina@beancakes ★ August 23, 2011 at 10:40 am

oh my this is adorable!! my niece is obsessed with crayons and colors at the moment ~ so i may just have to make her one! thank you ;)
xx ~ ks

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8 Loni H August 23, 2011 at 10:44 am

This is really unique and cool! And think of the different color combos and options… it would be so stylish in an all neutral pallet.

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9 Loni H August 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

er… palette ;)

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10 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:33 am

Oh! That would be gorgeous.

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11 LH August 23, 2011 at 10:59 am

What a great way to recycle the ends of colored pencils once they get down to nibs to small to sharpen! I would’ve been pumped to wear that as a kid (or if I were a teacher!)

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12 Angie August 23, 2011 at 1:33 pm

I LOVE this! Will definetely be trying this one.

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13 Helen August 23, 2011 at 2:30 pm

So pretty – I love everything Kate makes! I can imagine a really cool red pencil heart-shaped brooch for Valentines.

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14 Krystle @ ColorTransformedFamily August 23, 2011 at 4:07 pm

How cute! What a great way to recycle old colored pencils. Most of us probably have a bag of these in our house just waiting for a new life.

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15 Diane @ kitchen-dreams August 23, 2011 at 4:36 pm

love this idea, but i think i’d skip the pointed one…they seem a little unsafe to me.

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16 Zina August 23, 2011 at 5:27 pm

Fun. I didn’t even think of the pointed ones being unsafe (as Diane suggested) but I did picture the leads breaking and the pieces being too short to sharpen. But they’d be pretty while they lasted. (I also wondered about the necklace getting colors on clothes, but decided it probably wouldn’t be a problem. Or you could seal the beads before using them.)

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17 rpdegree February 8, 2012 at 9:46 pm

I would really be concerned about color transfer to clothes without sealing w/lacquer or shellac or something. Looks great, tho.

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18 Stephanie August 23, 2011 at 6:25 pm

I absolutely adore this project and can’t wait to try it with my kiddos! My creative wheels are going haywire with all the possibilities! Thanks for sharing!

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19 Stephanie Smirnov August 23, 2011 at 6:38 pm

What an adorable idea. Wouldn’t it be fun to adapt it to make holiday ornaments? What a nice present for a teacher that would make.

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20 vanessa @ silly eagle books August 23, 2011 at 6:39 pm

Wow. This is so beautiful. I love this–thank you for sharing!

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21 KSC August 23, 2011 at 8:30 pm

I think the colored pencil beads would look even better and more like real jewelry if suspended from a fine necklace chain (maybe in a copper or silver color).

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22 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:34 am

I really love that idea. Sort of a high + low combo. Very cool.

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23 Dee August 23, 2011 at 9:35 pm

These are adorable!

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24 Amanda August 23, 2011 at 9:54 pm

What a neat idea! I’m starting my Bachelor of Education program soon and will be specializing in Elementary education. I think this necklace would look so cute on an Elementary teacher! The kids would love it!

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25 Rebecca - A Daily Something August 24, 2011 at 5:44 am

What a cute idea…for adults, too!

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26 Kate August 28, 2011 at 2:08 pm

Hi Rebecca….yep, I wear mine more than the kids do!!

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27 Victoria August 24, 2011 at 7:06 am

Such a sweet little idea! If only I trusted myself not to drill a finger off :P

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28 Joanna August 24, 2011 at 3:19 pm

How neat! I want one of them. Definitely will add this to one of my projects. Thanks for sharing

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29 Diane August 24, 2011 at 10:27 pm

I love this and was thinking how fun it would be… and then I was at the Dollar Tree today picking up some craft supplies for a project my kids and I are doing and they had the hexagonal colored pencils in bold colors!!! $1.00! Perhaps the least expensive FUN jewelry of all time if I can figure out how to use that drill!!! YAY! THANKS!

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30 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:35 am

Go for it, Diane! Once you master the drill, a whole new world of projects will open up. : )

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31 Laura October 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Do you remember which dollar store you found hexagon shaped pencils at? I’m in northern Virginia and haven’t been successful yet. Thanks!

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32 suzanne @ pretty swell August 25, 2011 at 8:34 am

Just posted this to Pinterest — love!

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33 Jennifer Jones August 25, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Too Cute!

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34 Attiser August 25, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Wow, those are fun! …. fantabulous!!

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35 Lou August 26, 2011 at 10:38 am

I would love to make one of these for my grandma…do you know if the pencil color rubs off on clothes?

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36 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

Good question, Lou. I don’t know the answer. But if you’re worried, I’ll bet coating the ends with clear acrylic paint (or nail polish) would do the trick.

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37 Kate August 28, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Hi Lou…I’ve not had any problems with color staining but if you are wearing your best white blouse then maybe a layer of clear nail varnish or mod podge wouldn’t go amiss

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38 Sarah December 28, 2011 at 12:13 am

Mod Podge would work on the pieces to set them and make sure the colors don’t get on clothes or skin. :)

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39 Melissa Hahn August 26, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Well, I just found my “teacher Christmas gift”. Thank you!!

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40 Lilli August 26, 2011 at 3:02 pm

Wow! A lovely idea, so simple and so unique! I am a teacher and plan to do this with the kids!
I am going to start with marking the beads, drilling and then cutting off the beads. I’m not a great driller, so it seems safer for me this way.

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41 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:38 am

That seems so smart, Lilli! Great idea.

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42 Ildi August 26, 2011 at 10:54 pm

Incredible and fantastic! Thanks for this idea.

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43 Susan Uyemura August 27, 2011 at 10:19 am

Does anyone sell the cut pencils already? So cute.

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44 Design Mom August 28, 2011 at 3:39 am

Hey etsy-ers? You up for it? : )

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45 Kate August 28, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Hi Susan,

Do check out etsy…I’ve seen a few people that sell crayon jewelry…you might be able to buy the ready cut beads from them.

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46 lori August 27, 2011 at 2:12 pm

I see using lots of them and making a trivet.
thanks

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47 lori August 27, 2011 at 2:15 pm

I would think you could use clear nail polish to help keep the “color” of clothes

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48 Samantha: Fluffyland Craft & Sewing Blog August 27, 2011 at 5:33 pm

This is awesome! I can’t wait to try it!

One thing I thought of: it would probably be considerably easier (and safer!) to drill the hole BEFORE chopping the piece off the end of the pencil :) just a thought!

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49 Kate August 28, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Hi Samatha…that sounds like a good idea…I never thought of it!! Do allow for an extra millimeter or two when marking out because you do lose a little when sanding.

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50 Tam @ Sew Dang Cute August 28, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Love this idea! Just featured on Sew Dang Cute:

http://www.sewdangcutecrafts.com/2011/08/fab-five-7.html

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51 BabyMoos August 29, 2011 at 10:12 am

I love these, I’ve sent the link to a friend to have a go!

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52 zhing August 30, 2011 at 2:18 am

this is so adorable! :) i love the necklace idea!

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53 Joyce September 4, 2011 at 10:43 am

How cool is that? I have some pastel Pencils I’m going to try with this method.I love repurposing. You have a great imagination and a good eye for colors. Thanks

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54 CREATIVE MIND September 8, 2011 at 6:54 am

Love the cool colorful idea..you have done it smartly!
Thanks for sharing with us!!

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55 Lisa September 8, 2011 at 11:35 am

Love these! The brooch especially. So fun!

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56 Vanessa September 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

awesome idea! so pretty!

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57 Jeanette September 9, 2011 at 8:10 am

Very cute – and clever!

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58 mel mccarthy September 12, 2011 at 11:45 am

Wonderful tutorial, Kate! Love your blog, Gabrielle.

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59 Valerie September 14, 2011 at 5:26 am

Alas, our dollar tree didn’t have hex colored pencils. After an exhaustive online search, I found a lot of $$ artist-grade hex pencils, and one more affordable brand: Pentel. A 24 pack can be included with your next book purchase on Amazon for $4.99.

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60 Lisa September 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

Hi! Love the project and attempted this weekend. However, I got stuck at the drilling stage. I couldn’t figure out a way to keep the bead still while I drilled (the pencils were round). Does anyone have any tips to keeping round beads still while you drill? Is it easier with hexagon pencils? I tried setting the bead in play dough but had not luck.

Thanks!

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61 Estella November 15, 2011 at 8:52 pm

hello~!
i have a suggestion for your for the round beads… i haven’t tried this myself, but i have an idea as to what you could try doing. firstly, don’t cut the pencils into beads yet, it’s much safer to drill while the pencil is long (so you have more to hold onto). then, mark out where you want the hole to be, and take a nail and carefully press it into the pencil to make an indent. (that’s what i usually do in tech class to make sure the drill bit drills on point) then hold tight and drill carefully into the pencil..
hope that helps!

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62 JoLyn October 11, 2011 at 9:47 pm

We made colored pencil “value necklaces” for Young Women’s tonight thanks to your great idea. They turned out so cute and the girls loved them!

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63 Katie October 17, 2011 at 6:33 am

I featured this tutorial on my blog here-
http://punkprojects.blogspot.com/2011/10/return-of-make-it-monday.html

-Katie

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64 Estella November 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm

this is such a cute and inexpensive idea! it’s awesome. but i just have a suggestion, i think it would be safer and also more accurate if you drills the holes before cutting the pencils into bead size. that way, you have more of the pencil to hold onto, reducing the risk of slipping and injuring yourself/others, and also, reducing the chance of mis-drilling :)

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65 Pamela November 23, 2011 at 4:07 am

What a great idea for gifts/stocking stuffers at Christmas or even in a gift bag at Birthday parties. I am a homeschool momma and I do believe I am going to try it on my own first (hide out in my room and try to keep the noise of the drill down-shouldn’t be hard over the noise of the TV or video games) then figure out how to present it to my son and get him to try it out. I feel a crafty kind of day coming on and gonna have some stocking stuffers to boot when we’re done. I can find some colored pencils at the $ store or at one of the discount stores nearby and have a lot of fun. Come to think of it, we may already have enough extra one at home that are kind of wore down to try out first before buying any. OOOHHH! I can’t hardly wait to get started.

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66 Kathy November 30, 2011 at 9:46 am

This is such a cute gift idea and to be able to use those old colored pencils without buying new ones makes this project a hit in my house! I can’t see the sharpened ends being unsafe for an older girl. If the ends got broken, well, that’s par for the course with those pencils. It’d just have a new look. lol I might actually drill the holes, put the beads in gift sacks for the girls to make their own necklace. Keep up the good work!

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67 Val Woodhouse December 16, 2011 at 2:58 pm

I’m another one who hoards pencil stubs in the hope of finding something useful to make out of them. I love the idea of turning them into beads, even though I’m rubbish with a saw and drill! They’d also look good decorating a box or arranged into a mosaic picture.

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68 Ara December 16, 2011 at 6:54 pm

This is so adorable!! Thanks a lot for posting the tutorial :)

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69 Kim December 21, 2011 at 1:25 pm

This is so cute and I want to make a couple for two little girls. But I haven’t been able to find the right type of colored pencils — the ones with the hexagon shape and has exterior color not just plain yellow on the outside. Could you recommend me a place or brand?

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70 Rain December 25, 2011 at 1:25 am

You will find drilling the holes much easier if done before cutting the pencil to length. More to hold on to.

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71 Deebi27 December 28, 2011 at 12:17 am

Thanks so much…now I know how to make these great looking neckalces/bracelets. I am sooo excited…it’s worth buying a new set of colored pencils just to make these goodies!

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72 vera January 26, 2012 at 4:39 pm

My hubby and daughter are making this right now.

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73 kristen February 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

do the colored pencil necklaces rub off onto clothing at all?

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74 Ramya February 15, 2012 at 12:05 am

Oh my..how cute!! nice work…

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75 Teresa Fieltrovitz February 23, 2012 at 8:08 am

uauuu!!! That´s nice! I really love the jewlery made out of color pencils!. I´m going to try myself. Thank you! wonderful blog!!!
lahermanafieltrovitz.blogspot.com

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76 tifleur March 3, 2012 at 9:47 am

awesome! cute idea!
I have made an article on my blog with your idea. It will publishe tuesday. Tell me if you like.

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77 Tami March 17, 2012 at 8:53 pm

Just stopping by to let you know that I’ve featured your craft on Family Fun Crafts! You can see it here:
http://funfamilycrafts.com/colored-pencil-jewelry/

If you have other kid friendly crafts, I’d love it if you would submit them. :) If you would like to display a
featured button on your site, you can grab one from the right side bar of your post above.

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78 nadja March 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm

How did you “clean” the cut pieces? When I was sanding the colors of lead was all around the wood. I tried the eraser but was not to successful. Any hint? Thx

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79 'me' May 26, 2012 at 12:17 pm

I would like to know that too. I tried it today and I had the same problem… Along with some other porblems doing it ;)

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80 Lyn March 21, 2012 at 9:14 pm

Love this idea but we are having such a hard time getting a clean drill—without splitting the pencil or some if the paint chipping off. Any other tips??? Please help. It can’t be this difficult! Yours look so nice!

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81 'me' May 26, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I already had this problem sawing them : they splited or the paint came of at the outside … Maybe it depends on the kind of wood they used for the pencils ?
I tried a lot, very gentil and carefully, but didn’t succeed.
After more than 2 hours trying to get nice pieces, i quited frustrated …
I think I have 3 pieces who could be used , but I need couples to make earrings and I didn’t succeed in making 2 of them in the same color…

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82 Lisa Marie Mary April 2, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I absolutely love this project! I hope I can try it soon!

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83 noornaz April 15, 2012 at 3:54 am

exelent….

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84 lola April 28, 2012 at 12:30 pm

I dont’ know…these are very “cute” but a lot of work to cut and then drill these itty bitty things. If you are used to doing jewelry it might work. Then again, I’m an art teacher and I would have liked to have the pencils to actually DRAW with for my kids. When they are no longer usable, maybe then I would consider drilling holes.
Cute though.

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85 Janet M. Quilty May 25, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I especially like the colored pencil necklace. This makes a perfect teacher gift.

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86 Angela Christensen June 5, 2012 at 1:09 pm

Just shared this fun tutorial on our blog and hopefully alot of people will pop over your way to see it! Thanks so much for sharing your fabulous ideas! So cute and creative!! You can see the post at http://www.nevernola.com!

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87 Katrine August 3, 2012 at 2:52 am

Hi! :)
I love this so much, I featured it in a blog post! :D Keep up the great work :)

Here’s the link:
http://thegentleflower.blogspot.no/2012/08/up-cycled-crafts-clothing-home-decor.html

Katrine :)
thegentleflower.blogspot.com

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88 Cindy Eason August 8, 2012 at 12:34 pm

I think these will make great coasters!

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89 Merel September 2, 2012 at 3:41 am

Hey
I made a necklace DIY roundup a while ago.
I featured your DIY in it.
And I forgot to tell you (so sorry)
Better late than never.
If you aren’t okay with it, please tell me.

http://birdsandkittens.blogspot.nl/2012/06/diy-roundup-necklaces.html

Please check it out!

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90 Véronique January 4, 2013 at 3:30 am

Quand la créativité se joint au recyclage, le résultat est étonnant…Bravo.
J ‘aimerais partager votre idée sur mon blog , avec votre accord bien sûr .
http://www.enmodebijoux.com/

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91 Vidhi Panchal January 8, 2013 at 12:43 am

Wow…it’s really very beautiful made by pencil color…Awesome idea….!

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92 Robin February 12, 2013 at 7:11 am

Fun ideas with colored pencils! Take a look at zincwhite.co.uk for some fun things they are doing with colored pencils too!

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93 Fresh Trash March 21, 2013 at 8:24 am

Hi! This little project is great, so I linked it on my blog (http://freshtrash.blog.com/), hope u don’t mind! Feel free to stop by!

Have a nice day! :)

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94 Lorene March 29, 2013 at 11:48 am

What a unique idea-gotta love those bright colors

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95 RobyGiup April 16, 2013 at 6:01 am

Wonderful! I love the first necklace! But drilling in such small pieces really scares me…

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96 vanessa May 5, 2013 at 3:13 pm

what a good idea!!! my husband suggest me to drill the holes before making the beads…easier to do ….thank you !

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97 Sonja August 4, 2013 at 10:25 am

Such a great idea! My daughter love it.

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98 ArtMom September 8, 2013 at 11:53 am

Love this project – turn those used pencils from making art to being art!

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99 Christina Martin October 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

This is gonna stain your shirt, unless you spray it with a clear protectant coat of some sort.

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100 Rixt April 17, 2014 at 1:37 am

Hi, love your ideas and I saw that someone else experienced the same problem as i did and that is of the smearing of the colour inside when you saw the pencil. How is it possible that your cuts are so clean. Will you share your secret?
Nevertheless lovely idea.
Rixt

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