Designer pens may be expensive, but you don't have to pay designer prices. If you have some polyester resin and some crafting experience, you can make your own designer pen blanks. These pens make thoughtful gifts for writers and teachers. They also look more professional on your desk than plastic pens.
Cut your empty cereal boxes into cardboard rectangles about 7 inches long and 6 inches wide. Curl the rectangles into tubes about ½ inch wide and 7 inches long. Secure them with masking tape, forming the tubes into perfect cylinders with your fingers.
Push about an inch of each brass tube into the hole in each rubber cork. Spray the cork lightly with cooking spray. Wipe away excess with a paper towel. The spray is to keep the resin from sticking to the cork.
Wrap your brass tube in stripes of ribbon or coloured cord. This adds the design to your pens, making them colourful and eye-catching. You may use one colour or combine several colours to make swirling stripes. Glue the cord or ribbon to the brass tube. Allow the glue to dry for two hours.
Slip a brass tube into each cardboard tube. Push the corks tightly into the cardboard tubes, sealing them off. Wrap masking tape around the corks to seal their connections to the tubes. Set the tubes upright in a row.
Mix your polyester resin according to the package directions. Each resin brand has a different ratio of resin to activator. Make sure you measure the exact amounts of resin and activator into separate medicine cups. Inexact measuring could keep your resin from setting up properly.
Pour the activator into the resin, stirring it gently with a wooden craft stick. Pour the mixed resin into the cardboard tubes. Keep the resin out of the brass tube.
Allow the resin to cure for 48 hours. Peel away the cardboard as you would peel a banana. Pull the cork off of the pen blank, revealing the extra brass tubing.
Form your pen with a high-speed rotary tool with a sharp-edged wheel. Touch the wheel to the resin blank, shaving away a little resin at a time until you achieve the desired pen shape. Sand the resin with fine sandpaper and a little water to finish.
Add pigment to your resin after adding the activator. You may use pigment in place of ribbon and cord or in addition to these decorations. Slip a regular pen refill into your pen to use it. Cover the end of your pen with a circular cabochon made of plastic, metal, mother-of-pearl or gemstone. You can get these cabochons at craft stores. Simply glue it in place.
Tips and warnings
- Add pigment to your resin after adding the activator. You may use pigment in place of ribbon and cord or in addition to these decorations.
- Slip a regular pen refill into your pen to use it.
- Cover the end of your pen with a circular cabochon made of plastic, metal, mother-of-pearl or gemstone. You can get these cabochons at craft stores. Simply glue it in place.