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Monday, March 12, 2012

How to make Truffula Pencils

My girls do not like going to the movie theaters. In fact, they don't like to watch movies at all. The only movie they would watch is Cinderella and which they have enjoyed many times at home. So when they asked if they could go watch Dr Seuss' The Lorax at the theater, Hubby and I couldn't get them into the car fast enough.

The movie was wonderful! We all enjoyed it tremendously and I love the ending quote so much I wanted to make a wall hanging that features the truffula trees.  I ended up making these truffula pencils for my kids instead.

To make these truffula pencils, I used:
- pencils
- white acrylic paint
- paint brush
- marabou feather trim
- hot glue gun (not pictured above)

I started off by painting the pencils with some white paint.

I let them dry by standing them on some super sticky foam tape.

I only put on one coat of paint on each pencil and so it dried pretty fast. Next I used another (used) pencil to add the stripes to the "tree trunk". If you like you could use a black Sharpie. Personally I prefer the look of the pencil.

So that the color of the pencil lead does not come off when the pencil is being used, I rubbed the color in with a paper towel. If you like, you can probably use a fixative. I didn't use my spray can of fixative on these because a.) it's late and I just wanted to finish this quickly, and b.) rubbing with the paper towel worked well enough for me.

When I first tried to attach the feather trim to the pencil, I put a drop of hot glue onto the pencil and attached the trim by slowly coiling it and adding more hot glue as I go.

Later on, I found it was easier when I coiled the trim first and attached the pencil to the coil with a strip of hot glue.

Once the trim has been attached to the pencil, just fluff it and it's done!

That's it! This project was so easy I think I'll make some more with the kids and let them give some away to their classmates. I can't wait to show these truffula pencils to the girls when they wake in the morning and see what they think.

One more note before I end this post: using the marabou feather trim can get pretty messy. Little feathers fly everywhere whenever I cut the trim. Consider yourself warned and I'm off to sweep the floor!

Update: (additional info, mar 15): I have since made a whole bunch of these pencils. The kids brought some to school and now all their friends want one! Anyway, if you are making these, do not cut off the trim before affixing the pencil on it. After you have hot-glued the pencil on to the trim (see 2nd last picture above), put another line of hot glue on to the part of the pencil that is showing. Now just bring the trim over the glue and cover that part of the pencil so that it no longer shows through the trim. Cut off the excess trim and you're done!


  1. these have got to be the cutest EVER!!! What a super fun project!!
    TFS (I might just make these for my youngest son's class...they would LOVE these!!)

  2. Ingenious! My kids would love these. Thanks for sharing.

  3. So fun Jin! Who would love to have a truffula pencil!?! :)

  4. Thanks, Jessica, Julieta, and Ruthie! I stuck them onto the dining table so that the girls could see them as they get their breakfast. They loved them and even asked to bring the pencils to school. Yay!

  5. Hi, Jin. LOVE these pencils. I can't wait to make them for the students in my class. Years and years and years ago, when I was teaching science, I read The Lorax to my students and gave them all "Truffula" tree seeds. They all went home and planted them. I often wonder how those trees are doing today. Thanks again for the very fun idea. Off to find some feathers!
    Sally in California

  6. This is so cute! I'm going to have to make it for my students =)

    lots of love,
    Shorty Creations

  7. Absolutely love them! Your technique with the pencils is perfect!

  8. Super cute idea!!! I'm making for my son's first grade class for Dr.Seuss Read Across America week!! Thanks for sharing this great project!

  9. Too cute! Inexpensive. Easy to do. I want to make them to use as accents to table-top centerpieces. With or without sharpening the pencils, they will be easy to push into floral blocks. Thank you for the idea.

  10. These are great! Can I ask where you bought the feather trim, or what brand you used? And how much trim do you need for each pencil? I'm planning on making these with a few classes of second graders.

    1. You can get the feather boa from the craft stores. I believe that Michaels or Joanns sell them. It's been a while since I did this project but if I recall correctly, I used about 6"-10" for each pencil depending on how "poofy" I wanted the pencil to be.