DIY Personalized Pencil Sharpener (for teacher appreciation)


Ever since high school, I have always carried a blank notebook with me almost everywhere I go, for recording bits of inspiration as they strike. I also like carrying a black pen and a pencil. And only recently did it occur to me to have a pencil sharpener to carry around too. It’s the simplest but greatest thing. To have a sharpened pencil anytime I need it is such a joy. So we recently started giving pencil sharpeners to other people too (you may have noticed it in this post). We found it to be the perfect teacher gift, and with teacher appreciation day fast approaching (it’s May 4), I thought you might like the how-to.

I simply decided to buy wooden pencil sharpeners and follow the directions for making a scrabble tile pendant. Here’s what you’ll need:
—A wooden pencil sharpener
(I was turned on to KUM pencil sharpeners after reading this hearty endorsement)
—Modge podge
Diamond glaze
(can be hard to find, so shop around in advance, you can also use epoxy resin, which is more permanent and is water resistant, but you won’t want to use it around kids)
—A piece of artwork to add to the pencil sharpener

It’s true, KUM sharpeners are the best.

We’ve used a couple different kinds of artwork to apply to the pencil sharpener. I printed an initial for one, and my son drew a picture for his teacher for another sharpener. I took a photo of it and reduced its size.

I sanded off the paint from the sharpener.

I painted the surface of the sharpener with Modge Podge, then added my artwork and painted again with Modge Podge. I decided to give the sharpener a little extra time to dry.

I flipped over the sharpener and used a craft knife to trim the overhanging edges of the artwork.

Then I added the diamond glaze. This part can be a little tricky. I added a bead of glaze the size of a dime to the center, then tilted the sharpener until the glaze covered most of the surface. I used a straight pin to guide the glaze to the corners of the surface. And finally, I set up the sharpener on a bottle cap so the sharpener was perfectly level as the diamond glaze dried (which takes a few days, so be prepared to wait).

Once the glaze was dry, we had a personalized pencil sharpener ready to go.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Sherry Cartwright April 20, 2010 at 11:46 am

And, I looooooooooooove my pencil sharpener! It makes me smile each time I use it. I keep it close at hand, in my new art-on-the-go bag that you made. Love them. Thank you again and always!


Bladerunner April 20, 2010 at 9:22 pm

When I’ve done the diamond glaze on glass tiles, I used a cheap-o watercolor brush (the kind the art stores sell 10 for a $ at the counter or in the kids section). I rinsed it off thoroughly when I was finished, and the brush is still good to go. I also used the brush to paint the glaze around the edges to make a seal. I’ve seen a number of scrabble tiles where the glaze (of whatever sort) is all over the top, but the edges peel a bit from the side.


Rachel April 24, 2010 at 5:49 pm

Aww, I love this idea! Thanks so much, I’ll be linking.


kat May 9, 2010 at 3:01 pm

i’ve been searching for packs of wooden sharpeners for ages. where did you get your 12-pack?

very sweet gift, by the way.


AmberLee May 14, 2010 at 6:40 am

Hi Kat!
I got my sharpeners from here:

I was surprised at how affordable they are. There was no 12 pack though, I just ordered a quantity of 12.
Hope this works out!


Rebecca August 10, 2010 at 5:36 am

I love this idea! I write a column for about crafting on budget. I’m gathering ideas for fun and inexpensive crafts you can do with kids. I would love to feature your project. Please let me know of this is okay. I’ll like back to your blog and credit any photos used. Thanks!


Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17 August 10, 2010 at 5:20 pm

What a wonderful project! It’s so refreshing to find a project using something practical made of wood, since nearly everything seems to have gone plastic these days. What a wonderful blog. I’m so happy to have found you. I look forward to subscribing to your RSS and to checking out your caramel and macaron recipes! Best, Jenn/Rook No. 17


Silly Acorn September 7, 2010 at 12:27 pm

That multi-color-in-one pencil rocks. Where can I get some?


AmberLee September 7, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Hi Acorn!
I found the multi-color pencils just at Michael’s. I wish I had the brand name to pass on to you, but I can’t remember. I know I’ve come across them in a few other art and novelty stores too.


Love and Lollipops March 13, 2012 at 4:34 am

I love this idea! Georgia :)


Kimberly December 31, 2012 at 4:57 am

I randomly came across this, and though I would let you know my mother works for the post office in a small town in Illinois near St. Louis and she had a coconut. lol We could not figure out why it was being mailed…. now it makes sense!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: