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Pencil cap hacks, continued January 22, 2007

Posted by caveblogem in how to, lifehack, Other.

I wrote, recently, here about how to make a cap for a pencil, so that it wouldn’t inadvertantly poke you if you kept it in your pocket, and I want to revise a couple of minor points in that article. 

First, I noted that Dick Blick had plastic caps available.  They do.  But after I wrote that post I ordered a pack, and these caps suck.  That’s pretty harsh, I know, but here is a picture of one of them in action:general2.jpg (click image to enlarge).  As you can see, the pencil pokes out the end of the cap, which would, I think, poke right through to your femoral artery, letting all of the blood from your body in approximately two minutes, unless you left it in as sort of a makeshift cork. 

If you sharpen your pencil like some of the pre-sharpened kinds that you might buy, or the free pencil stubs you get at the golf course or the bowling alley, the caps work, but I don’t know how one would go about doing that.  See here:general1.jpg Otherwise, they are a little too big.  And let’s face it, those things at the golf course are like that to keep people from doing anything with them other than writing numbers on a card.  They are dreadful to write or draw with.

General, the company that makes the caps (or distributes them, whatever) makes a pencil sharpener as damage control, some way to keep the people who order the caps from complaining that they don’t work. 


But sharpening pencils with this low-quality sharpener yields pencils that look like this:general3.jpg, and the points stick right out of the pathetic little caps.  There is at least one brand of pencil that is round and a little larger than the standard (by standard I mean the hexagonal pencils made by Dixon, General, Faber Castell, Eberhard Faber, Staedtler, Rexel Cumberland, Tombow, Universal, and the others.  I don’t have the package they came in but they appear to be made by a company called Focus, or perhaps Focus is the particular line of pencils.  I have a bunch of these in my desk, so the caps aren’t a total waste.  But speaking of waste, the hexagonal design was initiated to reduce waste in the manufacturing process, so I hate to buy round pencils.

I’ll also put another possibility here, just to give people another option.  This next pencil is capped with a piece of rubber tubing with an inside diameter of one-quarter of an inch.  tube.jpgApparently people use this for low-pressure water pumps of some sort (I really don’t know.  It was in the HVAC section of Home Depot, but the label only told me what I was supposed to not use it for.)  It was snipped from a roll of such tubing purchased for $2.99.  I used a pair of lineman’s pliers.  I think I could make several hundred caps with this roll and have some left over for spitball shooters and other strange projects.

It seems to work really, really well. 


1. louise - March 31, 2008


2. Anonymous - October 19, 2009

I really never though of the rubber tubing. Rather in depth as far as the bad sides of the others though (Although very helpful). Looks like I’ll be getting some of that tube when I go over to Home Depot for some sandpaper for my nails.

3. caveblogem - October 19, 2009

The only downside of the tubing is that it catches on things. It’s hard to smooth down, because you can’t sand it. Maybe I haven’t tried hard enough. Maybe there’s a way to carve the edge so it is a little smoother, or melt it or something. . . .

4. Anonymous - July 26, 2011

Thank you so much for posting this! I am a very young college student and I have been looking for pencil caps EVERYWHERE!My friends and anyone else I ask all think I am strange because of this. I am just anal and I do not like pencil markings on the inside of my pencil case. They always ask, ‘Why not just use mechanical pencils?’ I HATE mechanical pencils. They are all the same. A waste of money. They always break because I write too hard and the erasers SUCK! Right now I am only taking math courses so I use A LOT of pencils. Besides, I have always been afraid of the lead breaking off into my eyes during my late night home work sessions. OMG! Thanks a ton!

5. Victoria - January 24, 2015

Why not make a paper pencil cap?

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