Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way

Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way

Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks – My way. A cheap skate, funny, easy way.
The story above all is like that.

I bought several bamboo pens, so I can use them with my India Inks and colored designer inks (a bit less). I like Sennelier India Ink and Winsor and Newton Ink overall.
I like them a lot, and I like also to roll up my sleeves and to do by my self as soon as possible. And making art material DYI is something so dams sexy! Add that I (and my wife) love japanese, chinese, vietnamese, thailandese… We love each asian food and we have plenty of bamboo chopsticks obviously. Some of them are also very precious.
I also like sharp knives (and I use them daily for many reasons, first of all I like to cook) like very grown child male.

Ok, so let’s start with the ingredients for this Bamboo Pen Tutorial. (my waaaaay).
Only two in my case. 🙂

  1. A sharp knife, I mean razor-sharp. I used my Victorinox Spartan, my EDC. This is mandatory. Sharp. Sharp means safe, as opposite many people thinks. I use the smaller blade. You don’t need anything bigger. Just sharp. It’s on how you use it, and size don’t matter.
  2. Bamboo Chopsticks. I have in square section and in round section. Find just what you have close. I love squares but everything is fine. I will use mostly the thicker side. Nothing stops you to use the thinner section.

Optional a good sharpener . And if you want to be seriously cool you must have a leather strop, that I have obviously hand-made by me.

OK, let’s start with this bamboo pen tutorial from chopsticks. These are the tools. Easy substitutes: sharp knife with a scalpel or anything is scary sharp. Bamboo is tough.

Bamboo Pen Tutorial 01

Start to make some indentations on the top of the bamboo pen.
Start from around 4cm (1,5″) from the top of the chopstick. Make the bigger indentation as you like. I do like that: I drive the point of the knife at about 45 degrees, then I cut the wood chip with another perpendicular cut. Voila. I made the other two dents from two cuts of 45 degrees. Feel free to experiment and to have fun, please!

Purpose of these dents, I suppose they will help a little in bending when writing but overall they can also serve as reservoirs. I suppose. I just like them. In some japanese bamboo sticks there is no indentation just a small hole.
You can make one or three maximum. Try what’s the best for you. I love odd numbers. The fourth indentation is just my start of further flattening the point.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 02

Now it’s time to shape the point from the side. Shave not cut. Go slowly and take your time. Shave until you have a regular cut. It’s not mandatory but if you make a slope I think it’s better than a straight angle. Shave this shape accurately.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 03


Now make a shape of the point. Larger point, larger writing or sketching. Smaller point, small writing. If you want, also bore a hole in the biggest dent. I made it with the awl of the multitool.Bamboo Pen Tutorial 04

Now it’s time to go slower. Make a flat shaving for at least 1cm (0.3″) from the point. This gives some springiness if you like it. The longer the flat,  the softer is the point. I like to stay in the middle. Experiment. Is cheap and funny. About the thickness of the end point I’d say min 1,5mm (1/16″).

In this bamboo pen tutorial you should again experiment and find your way. I’m giving only some suggestion okay? Nothing written in stone and absolutely not following anything else that my imagination.
Now also bore a hole in the same direction of the other small hole on the top. I used the awl of the Victorinox. What a great invention this tool…

Bamboo Pen Tutorial 05

Shave and refine this bamboo point. Do it slowly. Don’t over do it. Well it’s cheap but it also take some time. Now it time to check the sharpness. The knife must be sharp. Strop you blade. Set the chopstick over a wooden base or a poly cutter. Something that help you to not cut your table or to ruin the sharpness of the blade.
It’s time now to drive the point of the knife from the hole previously bored to the end point in a straight line. Like a fountain pen. You will have a nice line that will help the ink to flow.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 06

It’s time now to enjoy your production. I made three bamboo pens in less than 15 minutes. They have different points. Large, small and one is cheap calligraphy point, with a 45 degrees cut on the end. I had a lot of fun my friends! And I started to draw and to sketch with ink over my Stillman and Birn Beta. It accepts everything, even my ugly sketches!
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 07

Then later I even colored this page with my faithful Winsor and Newton watercolors. I washed this sketch easily and quickly during my lunch break.
Bamboo Pen Tutorial 10

Do you liked my Bamboo Pen Tutorial from Chopsticks?
And please, don’t worry about mistakes… Have fun!!

Let me know!