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Inside Out Pencil

When I was in school, girls would put teethmarks all over their pencils, while boys would chip off the paint with fingernails. Those of us who carried pocket knives for sharpening pencils (most of us) might also carve out rings and spirals when we were bored. We had nothing on these guys though.

Ball joint pencil:

Ball Joint Pencil

Ball Joint Pencil Close-up

Just one hiccup could destroy a carving in progress. The photos are from a 1990’s Japanese exhibition by Kato Jado and Mizuta Tasogare, titled “The JAD Project”. Unfortunately, the website is limited in English descriptions, but the photos speak loudly…

My favorite – all from the same Ticonderoga H pencil:

Fold-up Pencil

Fold-up Pencil Collapsed

Fold-up Pencil Close Up

A Six-fold spiral pencil:

Six-fold spiral

Six-fold spiral close up

Honeycomb pencil:

Honeycomb pencil


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112 Responses to “Amazing Pencil Carvings”

  1. on 21 Mar 2007 at 1:14 pm Richie


    Makes me wish I’d spent less time at school studying and more time carving!

  2. on 21 Mar 2007 at 2:57 pm Howard

    Wow. Great hobby. And I’m not even being sarcastic.

  3. on 21 Mar 2007 at 3:25 pm OrioleMagic

    The most amazing part is that this was all done on the same pencil!

    (Okay maybe not…)

  4. on 21 Mar 2007 at 5:50 pm Freelance Cynic

    How the hell do people discover they have talent for these things?
    Now we’re both the trees and solid sheets of lead against us when the revoluton comes.

  5. on 21 Mar 2007 at 6:13 pm Anthony

    Wow, I can’t even imagine how some of those are done… Very very impressive.

    Journey Through Divorce

  6. on 21 Mar 2007 at 6:23 pm Janice in GA

    holy mother of pearl…

  7. on 21 Mar 2007 at 8:35 pm Nessa

    I say WOW too.

  8. on 21 Mar 2007 at 9:00 pm BOSSY

    Bossy wonders if these pencils are #2 and approved by Standardized Tests.

  9. on 22 Mar 2007 at 1:59 am Bunk

    Just wait’ll you see what they can do with pens.

  10. on 22 Mar 2007 at 4:50 am Tisha

    brilliant! so intricate, wish I had one of those.

  11. on 22 Mar 2007 at 5:05 am Tanya

    Hello and thank you for stopping by my blog! This pencil thing is fascinating. Very unusual and each pencil just looks beautiful. I’ll definitely be stopping by again!

  12. on 22 Mar 2007 at 4:53 pm Mubin

    Nice interesting site, came here from DP, and must say you deserve traffic.

  13. on 23 Mar 2007 at 7:46 pm Antik

    Ornate style. Hand-made? :) These people have some concern with pencils in every day routine :)

  14. on 25 Mar 2007 at 5:25 pm Aerosmith

    Wow amazing im 13 years old so I still have a chance to spend class time carving…

  15. on 26 Mar 2007 at 10:24 am SkoopDog

    How much is a variety box of twenty?

  16. on 28 Mar 2007 at 4:49 pm markwelles

    There is another whack out there who has a different approach to pencils- but up the same creek- recently in NYTimes 2/11/07. He sculpts graphite tips (w/o magnification) into high craft and beyond into ART. His name is Dalton Ghetti. He has my vote for Pencilman #1.

  17. on 28 Mar 2007 at 5:10 pm paddy

    only one f***ing word: “Howdotheymakethis” ?

  18. on 28 Mar 2007 at 9:58 pm The Dude

    You make those with very small files, blades and planers. Also very, very carefully. I’ve seen this sorta thing before, but done with 1/4 inch dowel instead of a pencil. I like how the lead was incorporated. Nice find.

  19. on 28 Mar 2007 at 11:25 pm crybaby

    Wow! You know, it’s strange how certain talents can be had by some people. And then others can be so baffled by the same thing.

  20. on 28 Mar 2007 at 11:43 pm Howard

    I think it’s trained termites that did this …..

    Conspiacy theorists at large…..

  21. on 29 Mar 2007 at 2:11 am the baldchemist

    I guess it gives a whole new meaning to having lead in your pencil. I have been using mine for other things.Sharp and to the point. Leave a message in ink please. Mines blunt.

  22. on 29 Mar 2007 at 4:23 am Dave

    The technique is reminiscent of the work done by Chinese artisans – they take a huge block of wood and carve it so that there are hollow and ornate globes within globes within globes carved out right down to the center, each independent of the others. Some of them generations to make, and one screwup in the process is all it takes to futz the entire thing up.

    It’s amazing what humans can do if they set their minds to it…

  23. on 29 Mar 2007 at 10:38 am irevolutionary

    that makes me happy to be alive.

  24. on 29 Mar 2007 at 10:59 am Colin

    2B or not 2B, that is the question.
    Somebody was obviously lead astray at an early age.

    Seriously! This level of skill and application blows my mind!

    Would they be interested in doing some brain surgery on me?

  25. on 29 Mar 2007 at 3:13 pm blondie

    My daughter collects pencils and loves unique ones can she have one? LOL

  26. on 29 Mar 2007 at 7:16 pm antelopemigration

    wowie kabbodles this is AMAZING…wow that was lame

  27. on 29 Mar 2007 at 7:41 pm mark

    It’s easy…these pencils are actually 3ft long

  28. on 30 Mar 2007 at 1:01 am Bunk

    Dave– “It’s amazing what humans can do if they set their minds to it…” But what about possums? Snails do some amazing things, too. But mostly possums do it around my house.

    irevolutionary– You now have meaning to your life, and you’re very welcome to it. Rock on.

    Colin– Get the lead out and look at them. They are not 2B.

    Blondie– Yes, of course she can have one. Tell her to get started.

    Paddy– Patience. That and a lot of annoying personality traits. Mostly patience, though.

  29. on 30 Mar 2007 at 2:23 am Kai

    Wow! That’s amazing! I too only make teeth marks with my pencils! The spiral and honeycomb ones are fab!


  30. on 30 Mar 2007 at 6:17 am BinaryBrother

    Absolutely amazing… I have a friend that can carve the balls inside cubes…

  31. on 30 Mar 2007 at 2:00 pm Atomic645

    You can bring knives into school?

  32. on 30 Mar 2007 at 6:40 pm lol

    too bad american schools are all like omg knives.

    we can never hope to have anything so awesome in this country

  33. on 30 Mar 2007 at 10:08 pm Bunk

    BinaryBro– I don’t believe you. All cubes are asexual. They don’t have balls.

    Atomic– Most of my friends carried pocket knives to school. I only remember one kid getting stabbed in a fight, but it was with a plastic shard from a ballpoint pen.

    lol– I’m guessing that these were probably carved with a Dremel tool, if not a laser cutter.

  34. on 04 Apr 2007 at 5:26 pm Neveron

    Hmmm…. I wonder if my chewed pencils would count as art… nah. This is some very intricate work… I can only hope the “artists” will apply their skills to cultural ambitions.

  35. on 05 Apr 2007 at 2:08 am Apoorva

    Just amazing. Too good. One needs a lot of patience and talent to do something like this. Just have to say WOW!

  36. on 05 Apr 2007 at 3:08 pm Sixthhole

    I just wish my surgeon had been that skilled!

  37. on 05 Apr 2007 at 5:17 pm Ali

    Sixthole- creepy. What did you’re surgeon do? Did you get all messed up? lol. Those pics are fab. I liked the comments almost better than the pics, though. People sure are funny.

  38. on 06 Apr 2007 at 6:29 am You

    I hate the internet, I am wasting time that I could be spending interacting with real people!

  39. on 08 Apr 2007 at 9:55 am dumpsterdiver

    YOU are interacting with real people. OK, maybe we are not all real.

  40. on 08 Apr 2007 at 10:32 pm Audrie bethk

    The art and the patience to do that thrills me. inspires too. There is hope for the future

  41. on 09 Apr 2007 at 2:11 am Angela

    Amazing. I’m (almost) speechless!

  42. on 09 Apr 2007 at 9:49 pm kelsey

    where can i buy one of these?!?!

  43. on 11 Apr 2007 at 9:37 pm realhon5

    extremely cool

  44. on 12 Apr 2007 at 11:42 pm Benson

    The things people do to get out of double French eh?

  45. on 13 Apr 2007 at 12:24 am grizzy

    I would love to see the tools used for these and I bet they are not just pocket knives. Also if ,you, don’t like the Internet, then what the h… are you doing here?

  46. on 13 Apr 2007 at 3:55 am jaapz

    its cool but dont you got anything better to do 😛

  47. on 13 Apr 2007 at 7:19 am shilpa

    It’s just awesome work, Weldone.

  48. on 14 Apr 2007 at 7:22 pm Steveo

    Do that with a crayola and i’ll be really impressed!

  49. on 16 Apr 2007 at 1:48 am JitterBob

    That is insane!

  50. on 16 Apr 2007 at 12:28 pm avi

    Too Good……almost unbelievable

  51. on 16 Apr 2007 at 12:28 pm Mircea

    omg..that is some unique work

  52. on 17 Apr 2007 at 1:13 am Maveryck

    I wonder what WOOD have LEAD them to create such works of art?? could it have been BOARDem.

  53. on 19 Apr 2007 at 11:33 am fawaz

    too good… just too good….

  54. on 21 Apr 2007 at 9:13 am Fun Distraction

    Totally amazing. Is this for real?

  55. on 21 Apr 2007 at 7:08 pm mallorygirl

    WOW…now thats cool…

  56. on 22 Apr 2007 at 3:18 pm Eugene Steve

    This is what pencils were Really made for!

  57. on 22 Apr 2007 at 4:02 pm Les

    Not to be a buzz buster, but I have to ask WHY?

  58. on 22 Apr 2007 at 10:08 pm Roscoe P. Coletrane

    shake hands with beef

  59. on 24 Apr 2007 at 2:08 am Bohemian

    Holy Carvings, Batman!! That was awesome.

  60. on 25 May 2007 at 12:38 am Deadly Computer Blog » Amazing Pencils

    […] These pencils are really one of a kind.  I can’t even begin to think of the skill, time, and patience required to make them. […]

  61. on 28 May 2007 at 12:31 am Dollybaby

    The use of our imaginations can really set us free.Awesome job on full-filling yours. Great work.

  62. on 03 Jun 2007 at 11:38 pm Sean

    Nice stuff. I’ve seen ivory carvers in Hong Kong who do similar things; there is a long tradition of that sort of stuff in India, China etc.

    However, if you think that is hard, have you ever wondered how difficult it is to actually make a pencil in the first place?

  63. on 05 Jun 2007 at 5:50 am Yogesh


  64. on 05 Jun 2007 at 1:14 pm Ned

    amazing accomplishment – these should be in some amazing-but-true museum…

  65. on 07 Jun 2007 at 2:38 am Grant

    Its actually hard to beleive, you think it must be trick photography really. How many hours did it take I wonder?

  66. on 08 Jun 2007 at 12:46 pm Akhil

    Wow! Its amazing. I think the creator has a lot of patience, which is lacking in many of us.
    Good work.

  67. on 12 Jun 2007 at 7:12 am redlock1

    Dude, i hoppe no-one stil uses those to write with.

    You could take it further and give them stands.

    imagine a pencil becoming an ornament.

    corprate gifts? i know if i had access to those, that’s what i would do.

    Accesories? “chains on belts”?

  68. on 13 Jun 2007 at 3:01 am » Potlood slijpen

    […] tijd. Zo ook deze personen die proberen om leuke figuurtjes te maken met potloden. Ik had deze slijp technieken eerder onder de knie moeten krijgen. Dan gingen de lessen een stuk sneller! Je kan commentaar […]

  69. on 18 Jun 2007 at 12:15 am Pencil Carving–Kamen Lee Dot Com

    […] Extreme Whittling! – Check It Out […]

  70. on 28 Jun 2007 at 8:49 pm sarah

    It is so amazing how poeple can do this stuff. I want one!!!

  71. on 28 Jun 2007 at 8:50 pm sarah

    I want one soooooo bad!!!!!!!

  72. on 30 Jun 2007 at 1:59 am Chuck Justice

    That’s incredible, My mom works in an art museum,
    I bet they’d be interested in this stuff, any contact info on the artists?

  73. on 01 Jul 2007 at 9:16 pm Maverickatlarge


    You’re a cynical toe rag.


    keep stumbling and you will come across a JPG of Crayola’s treated in the same way, bit its a soft material with no lead running down the middle, so half the skill needed.


    They use case hardened steel tools, hand made from the thicker gauges of piano wire. They look like miniature dentists tools.


    It’s a relatively easy industrial process, where pre-formed lead is run into the two halves of wood, all three are then bonded/glued under pressure as they run on through rollers

  74. on 07 Jul 2007 at 10:13 pm Bunk

    Maverickatlarge– Thank you. I don’t know what it means, but thank you anyway. 3Mta3.

  75. on 22 Jul 2007 at 11:23 am Gypsymama

    WOW. These are amazing. I wish I had the patience and talent to do things like this.

  76. on 01 Aug 2007 at 7:37 pm ma-duck

    Well I’ll be … who would have thought.
    Some very clever people about in this world of ours.

  77. on 05 Aug 2007 at 11:48 am Jack

    no, it wasnt the same pencil, you dumbass.

  78. on 24 Aug 2007 at 7:55 am Online Anime

    I can’t even imagine how some of these even possible… u need a very steady hand to accomplished this art. Nice pic.

  79. on 24 Aug 2007 at 4:33 pm Théo de Belgeonne

    I can understand prisoners serving life turning out these pencil wonders, but free people with free time??? …. excellent job by the way

  80. on 31 Aug 2007 at 5:02 pm Solanum Tuberosum

    Holy Potato, These are great! I think I saw someone do a bunch of these, but on crayola crayons, not prencils

  81. on 11 Sep 2007 at 1:59 pm Tony C.

    Amazing what the human mind can do with a lot of time on its hands.

  82. […] Amazing pencil carvings! Click here to have a look […]

  83. on 02 Oct 2007 at 12:30 pm She who likes to shop

    Off to find myself a pencil and a knife lol… those carvings are amazing!

  84. […] isn’t about World of Warcraft….This is about pencils…. Found this on […]

  85. on 16 Oct 2007 at 7:50 pm manman

    Amazing. More pictures of pencil carvings at

  86. on 27 Nov 2007 at 10:49 am Tigerlily

    What the hell is a toe rag?
    Those pencils are magnificent! I am happy to see that the publiser has not been accused of photoshopping the pics, as with anything else that looks amazing or unreal on the internet. Kudos to the artist.

  87. on 11 Dec 2007 at 2:07 pm Hyrum

    That is cool. How can I get one.

  88. on 12 Dec 2007 at 6:35 pm

    Those carvings are awesome. When I was a kid, I saw some similar (but much simpler) carvings of wooden chains, balls in cages and the like.

    I am almost inspired to attempt some carving myself, but instead I will probably watch 4-5 hours of television.

  89. on 03 Mar 2008 at 4:41 pm gosox5555

    wow, i thought i was the only one who did that! (of cource, not on that scale). Amazing.

  90. on 03 Mar 2008 at 5:41 pm Peter

    Photoshopped. I saw these on a photoshop How-To video.

  91. on 07 Mar 2008 at 7:37 pm sir jorge

    i wish i could have done that when I was younger, in class i would mess up my pencil’s all the time.

  92. on 29 Mar 2008 at 4:49 pm Joe Begnaud

    Here are the Crayola carvings.

  93. on 11 May 2008 at 5:42 pm knukles

    Like you should see what some people carve with their hard booger balls.

  94. on 20 May 2008 at 11:26 pm Hyrum

    I’ve seen these on other sites but I still marvel at the time some one must have put into these.

  95. on 22 May 2008 at 3:21 pm mj cider

    i reckon it would be no problem

  96. on 22 May 2008 at 9:05 pm Free_d

    There is no lead in pencils, not even graphite; gypsum mainly, as I understand it.

  97. on 24 May 2008 at 8:55 am An Truong

    Amazing pictures man. Ya, it takes a lot of patience and will to commit to these things. Pencils break so easily.. especially the lead. He must have broken a few and restarted the carvings, zzzz.

  98. on 25 May 2008 at 5:49 am jitendra


    This is very interesting and i love the site.
    The pics are great.


  99. on 27 May 2008 at 5:34 pm Emily

    DUDE! those are so cool! I mean kind of random, but still cool! I so wish i could do that during like, math class or something!

  100. on 02 Jun 2008 at 11:48 pm genieyclo

    amazing! totally amazing!

  101. on 30 Jun 2008 at 11:15 am Mika

    a-mazing ……… i just went .wow !!! …scrolled………….scrolled …………. and then the comments ….wow …… lol

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  103. on 07 Aug 2008 at 9:23 pm Trini

    simply incredible, and we think children have attention deficit disorder. no way

  104. on 01 Sep 2008 at 5:33 pm Lalo Marquez

    Oh my Dog! People who chew their fingernails should learn to do it in these type of creative ways.

  105. on 21 Sep 2008 at 12:16 pm Jim R.

    Great work! I would NEVER have the patience (or the ability)!

  106. on 09 Dec 2008 at 1:32 am tips

    You are doing a wonderful thing here on the Internet. I wish you the very best. Kindest regards.

  107. on 27 Jan 2009 at 4:57 pm Crim.ion

    holy crap these are the greatest things i have ever seen done with a pencil. I so want one.

  108. on 13 Feb 2009 at 4:06 am Sam S

    Wow, those are some crazy pencils. We ordered some of these personalized color changing pencils last year and they were a hit:

  109. on 22 Feb 2009 at 8:49 am Russ from Peacehaven

    It just goes to show, you can’t be too careful.

  110. on 27 Aug 2009 at 7:18 pm jener

    so intricately carved. must have taken a lot of effort to do this. nice work

  111. on 15 Oct 2009 at 10:12 am Lex dePraxis

    This is amazing!

  112. on 24 Mar 2010 at 3:14 pm Tom


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