Pencils, Pencils, Pencils!!!
Who knew a little piece of wood had so many possibilities?
A pencil ... a simple everyday pencil ... is something we take for granted. Everyone has one, ten, seventy, or hundreds probably! But what do we know about this common little item? Have you ever thought about how they makes our life easier? Have you wondered how they came about? Do you know all the possible uses for a pencil? I thought I did .. until out of simple curiosity (or boredom one afternoon) I used my beloved search box ... what I found surprised me!
I love to learn ... love to try new things ... love to share. So, have fun looking at some interesting ways to use pencils, create some art, play a game, write a story, try some tricks, come up with new ways to use a pencil, and yes, learn a little more today, too!!
Did you know ...
one pencil is capable of
drawing a line 35 miles long
or writing 45,000 words?
Pencil Clipart Thanks to WP Clipart!
Pencils & Education Go Together!
~ The Story of Pencils!: Sorry, but the teacher in me always wants to learn and share what I find out!! Pencils.com has an entire "Teach & Learn" section of their website (along with other interesting sections) that includes worksheets and activities!
Did you know that 'lead' pencils do not have lead? The inside material is actually made up of graphite! Apparently back in the 1500's in England, graphite minerals were found and used for the first time as a writing implement. Since they did not know graphite's exact composition, people thought it was a form of lead and therefore referred to it as plumbago (Latin for "lead ore") or lead pencil. As with many things, the name stuck even when it was discovered there was no lead content.
Being too soft and chalky to work with on its own, inventors experimented with different types of holders. String, sheepskin, and other "wraps" were experimented with until someone placed pieces of graphite into a rectangular wooden case creating the first pencils! Deposits of graphite were found in numerous places on the earth, but they were not all of the same quality. Some were pure graphite, whereas others had to be ground to separate the graphite from other minerals.
Just before the turn into the 19th century, Monsieur Nicholas Jacques Conta mixed graphite with clay and water, shaped them into sticks, and baked them in a kiln. The graphite was now made more available, the cost was reduced, and the softness / hardness of the stick could be adjusted for the type of writing one wanted to do. (The amount of 'hardness' is called the HB Scale. You can read more about it at the site, or read about The History of the Lead Pencil at the Early Office Museum.)
Colored pencils have pigment and wax added to the mix to create a rainbow of colors. Some special colored pencils called 'pastels' have a softer mix which give a more chalky appearance. Colored pencils are also popular in the use of lip and eye cosmetics.
~ View colorful pictures and read descriptions of the interesting pencil making process at the Sanford Pencil Factory Tour!
The Teach & Learn section of Pencils.com has many lesson plans for teachers to use with their students.
How are pencils made? - I'm always curious to know these things!
Teachers may want a box or two of these popular Ticonderoga pencils to keep in stock for their students this school year!
What types of pencils are there?
Graphite Pencils ~ These prevalent pencils composed of clay and graphite are used to write and draw in varying degrees from a light grey to a a dark black and are known for their smoothness.
Charcoal Pencils ~ Richer blacks shades made be reached using charcoal pencils. They tend to be harsher than graphite pencils and will smudge.
Carbon Pencils ~ These pencils are a combination of clay with charcoal or graphite and tend to be darker than graphite and more flowing than charcoal.
Colored Pencils ~ Mixtures of all sorts of pigments help to create the rainbow of colors!
Grease Pencils ~ They can be really fun to use since they are capable of writing on multiple surfaces such as glass, metal, plastic, and other unusual surfaces.
Watercolor Pencils ~ Whether you want to use these for drawing with bright solid lines, or adapt them with water and brushes, watercolors enlighten the imagination.
Carpenter's Pencils ~ Meant for on outside on the job type of work, these pencils contain harder graphite and are many times in an angular shape, as opposed to cylindrical, to prevent them from rolling away!
Copying Pencils ~ These do not seem to be used as often, but have been replaced by pens. The graphite pencils contains a dye which when becomes wet dissolves into ink.
Erasable Color Pencils ~ Pencils that erase may be created by having a lower wax content enabling the artist to sketch an outline of the object they want and adapt is easily.
Stenographer's Pencil ~ Supposedly the 'lead' in these pencils are said to be stronger and unable to break.
Golf Pencil ~ Meant to be small and short for temporary, inexpensive use, these may be found at mini golf locations and libraries, also.
Mechanical Pencils ~ These pencils never end with their use of replaceable leads that are mechanically pushed through always giving the writer a pointed end.
Did you know ...
a "lead pencil" actually
contains no lead in the center?
How can I draw with pencils?
~ Find drawing tips and projects online at the Derwent Drawing Academy. Explanations, videos, and downloadable PDF lessons are available for free!
Find inspiration and creative ideas to get you started in your drawings!
Non-traditional Pencil Art!
~ Pencil Sculptures!: Pencils are great for drawing artwork, but have you ever considered using pencils for other art styles? Well, these artists have!! Enjoy looking at some absolutely unbelievable sculptures created from all kinds of pencils!
~ Pencil: A Traditional Animation Software: "Pencil is an animation/drawing software for Mac OS X, Windows, and Linux. It lets you create traditional hand-drawn animation (cartoon) using both bitmap and vector graphics. Pencil is free and open source." ~ I haven't had time to play around with this one yet, but it looks like another fun way to create! The site allows you to download the software for free, learn and share on their forum, view screenshots and an art gallery, learn how to use the program with the "User Manual", and find related links .
~ Pencil Project Sketching & Prototyping with Firefox: This one looks a little above my computer knowledge, but I decided to list it here for those of you who would be awesome with it! ~ "The Pencil Project's unique mission is to build a free and opensource tool for making diagrams and GUI prototyping that everyone can use. Licensing and Versions: Pencil will always be free as it is released under the GPL version 2 and is available for virtually all platforms that Firefox 3 can run. The first version of Pencil is tested against GNU/Linux 2.6 (Fedora, Ubuntu and Arch) with GTK+, Windows XP and Windows Vista/7." The site also contains: downloads, screenshots, user guides, and develper guides. ~ Top features:
* Built-in stencils for diagraming and prototyping * Multi-page document with background page * Inter-page linkings! * On-screen text editing with rich-text supports * Exporting to HTML, PNG, Openoffice.org document, Word document and PDF.* Undo/redo supports * Installing user-defined stencils and templates * Standard drawing operations: aligning, z-ordering, scaling, rotating... * Cross-platforms * Adding external objects * Personal Collection * Clipart Browser * Object snapping * Sketchy Stencil * And much more...
Bored? ... Grab a Pencil! - Can you do this?
~ I wonder if I learn how to do this if it will strengthen my finger muscles for playing piano. Hmm ... ?? I may have just discovered a new secret piano technique.
Smencils! - Gourmet Scented Pencils!
Each pencil has its own "freshness tube" to help keep the scent for up to 2 years and may be stored in the provided zippered storage bag. All 10 fun, fragrant colored pencils made from recycled newspaper. Fragrants include: bubblegum, orange, cinnamon, grape, root beer, watermelon, black cherry, very berry, tropical blast, and cotton candy.
The World's Largest Pencil!!
Games for Pencils
Tic - Tac - Toe ~ Everyone knows this game!! Player 1 marks an O in a space, player 2 marks an X in another. Each player continues trying to make three in a row and also trying to stop the other player from doing the same. The winner is one who was able to get three in a row. If no one does, it is a tie.
The game that most people now know as "Battleship" was originally a game played with pencils and paper grids. Directions and a player's grid may be found at About.com, or you may create graph paper of your choice of size for free here.
Another pencil and paper game which was converted into the popular plastic game "Cooties" is called "Beetle". The game is played by rolling a die and drawing a part of a beetle on the board that cooresponds with the number on the die. Example numbers and parts: 6 = body, 5 = head, 4 = tail or wings, 3 = leg, 2 = antenna, and 1 = eye.
Dots & Boxes is a strategy game that may be played anywhere. Make a grid of dots on a piece of paper ~ for instance 14 rows across and 14 columns down. Player 1 connects two neighboring dots with a line. Other players do the same. The goal is to complete a box to earn that square. The person writes their initial in that box. Whoever has the most boxes at the end wins the game. You may create free dot graph paper at Incompetech Creative Industries.
Many more games, directions, and boards for paper and pencil play may be found at About.com!
Have a new or broken pencil? - No worries ~ make a pencil sharpener!
What type of pencil sharpener do you prefer?
Gotta have erasers! - Which do you like the best?
~ Emese Kocsis from Hungary has over 23,000 erasers in his Eraser Collection!! Why? I have absolutely no idea!! He has pictures of them all in very organized bins ~ both fun and serious erasers are found in his collection!
Did you hear the joke about the pencil?
No? Oh, nevermind! It's pointless!
What would you do if your word processing program stopped working? I know it's radical, but you may want to try a strange device called a P.E.N.C.I.L.! Check the link for directions how to use one.
If the #2 pencil is the most popular, why isn't it #1?
"Why was the pencil lumbering?" ~ "It's feet were full of lead."
A dad goes to school to talk to the teacher because the bigger kids keep stealing his son's pencil. "It's happened three times this week," he complains, "it has to stop!" ~ "Well, I'm sorry to hear it," said the teacher. ~ "Yeah, well, its not the pencils I mind, of course - I can get them easily enough from the office - its the *principle*!"
from Pencil Humor at the Pencil Pages
Pencil fall down if you don't have a belt.
from Basic Jokes
Why did the man take a pencil to bed?
To draw the curtains...I'd tell a joke about a pencil, but It wouldn't have a point.
from Jokes & Junk
What did the pencil sharpener say to the pencil?
"Stop going in circles and get to the point!"
from Joke Center
When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 C.
~ The Russians used a pencil.
from Jokes 4 All
Why shouldn't you write with a broken pencil?
Because it's pointless!
What is the biggest pencil in the world?
from Comedy Zone
"I need a pencil sharpener," Tom said bluntly.
from Boy's Life
What did the paper say to the pencil? ~ "Looking sharp!"
What did the pencil say to the paper? ~ "I dot my 'i' on you!"
What do a pencil and a joke have in common? ~ "Neither one is any good without a point."
Where do pencils go on vacation? ~ Pencil-vania!
from My Fun Teacher
Teacher: "Where is your pencil?"
Student: "I ain't got any pencils."
Teacher: "What? Was this the grammar that I taught? I don't have any pencils. He doesn't have any pencils. She doesn't have any pencils. They don't have any pencils."
Student: "Gee!! What happened to all the pencils?"
from Good Reads
Pencils in the 21st Century?
It was "pointed" out to me that pencils may not be used as regularly as they have been in the past due to our modern technology.
Many letters that would have been written via pencil are now done through emails. Little notes that we may have written down before can be IM'd, Tweeted, etcetera. Schedules and lists may be placed on an iPod, Blackberry, or PC. Drawing and art may be created with graphics programs. You get the idea. Do you think we will use pencils less and less?
In some ways I use them less, but on the other hand, there is something really special and unique about receiving a hand written letter from a loved one or a drawing from one of my children or students. That sweet personalization with the use of pencils cannot be replaced, can it?
Do pencils still have value in our modern world?
Positively! They can't be replaced.
Did you know ...
pencils which contained graphite from China in the 1890's were painted yellow to distinguish the
best quality graphite in the world?
Yellow represents respect
and royalty in China.
I hope you'll visit again sometime soon! I'll "pencil" you into my schedule!!