The summer is coming to an end and it’s back to school/work for some of us. What better way to show your appreciation for your loved ones – or yourself 👍 – than a handcrafted pen! These terracotta clay pens are the perfect gifts for the writers in your life. There’s something special about a unique pen, it just makes you smile!
All you need to get started is a few Bic pens or your garden variety ballpoint pen. The air-dry clay will create a shell around so you can replace the ink when it runs out – it’s a forever pen 💚
This post contains affiliate links to products I recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products and supplies I love and may earn a small commission if you choose to purchase through my links.
Click on the categories below to find more DIY projects
- Natural air-dry clay in terracotta and white
- Bendable gold wire
- Bic Crystal ball point pen or similar pen with a replacable nib
- Jewelry pliers
- Bamboo skewers
- Clear matte varnish
Find more materials here 👇
Step 1: Prepare the pens
Start by removing the ink nib from the pen plastic casing. Next, remove the end cap at the top of the pen with a pair of pliers, sticks, and anything that might help – including sheer willpower. You might have to fight the pen for this but it WILL happen. It’s a testimony to how safe Bic pens are, no choking hazard here!
Step 2: Wrap the pen casing in terracotta clay
Next, roll out a small ball of natural terracotta air-dry clay and place your empty pen casing on top. Cut out a rectangle around the pen and carefully push the clay to form a shell around the whole pen.
Roll the pen on a flat surface to even out the clay coating and smooth it out.
With your fingers, thin down the clay toward the hole where you insert the ink nib. Make sure the hole is clear so that clay doesn’t dry inside it.
Next, insert a bamboo skewer into the other hole at the top of the pen. Roll the clay to create a smooth rounded end around the skewer. Remove the bamboo skewer when you’re done. This will create a venting hole that will let air in and out of the pen. Without it, the ink wouldn’t flow toward the ballpoint!
Step 3: Create tracks for the gold details
While your clay is still soft, use a ruler to create tracks at several intervals near the top of the pen. This will help create space for the gold wire. There’s a lot of creative freedom that goes into deciding how many and where to place these tracks, so find what’s right for you!
Step 4: Add the gold rings
Once your clay has dried for about a day (or less if it’s hot outside), prepare the gold details for your pens.
First, wrap a length of bendable wire around a pen that is roughly the same diameter as your clay pens. Cut it short and open up the loop so you can fit the wire around your pen. Gently push the wire around the pen with your fingers or with a plier, making sure the bends are smooth.
Cut the wire short once you can gauge how much you’ll need to go around, and then, finish bending the wire fully around the pen.
And voila! Give your pens a coat of clear matte varnish to protect them against moisture and insert the ink back into the pens.
You can also try out different combinations of clay. Natural white clay and terracotta look great together. Mix them both together to create a faux-aged ceramic pen!