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. ๐Ÿ™‚

  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,ย  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!

Tina Leather Travel Sketchbook Cover

Tina Leather Travel Sketchbook Cover
This is where all started: the Tina Model Leather Travel Sketchbook.

I love to see that there is collaboration between people sharing the same burning passion like sketching or writing. And this time, from a mutual passion is born a new model of my Leather Travel Sketchbook: The Tina Model.

We had several email, her needs, sharing our experiences, my needs. I love that kind of correspondence.

This is the blog post where I’m pulling all the positive feedbacks from Tina (thank you!) and from where I’m pulling the images also…

Here you can read more from Tina’s blog:

The unpacking and the field test
The issue resolved

Now Tina is going for the Urban Sketching 2013 Symposium in Barcelona (lucky her) and the Tina model is with her.

Thank you again Tina!






New Travel Leather Notebook and Sketchbook Covers are shipping!

New Travel Leather Notebook and Sketchbook Covers are shipping!

I’m happy that my leather travel covers, all my models are appreciated around the globe.
For my leather travel notebook and sketchbook covers I admit that there is a color that I like it a lot.
The natural color of vegetal tanned leather. I think it’s unbelievable nice and time gives a mellow, dark and rich patina.
Well… My travel sketch kit is blue. My second favorite color! ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve to say that a lot of my project estimators are in USA but today I’m also shipping to Germany and UK.

Here the last batch going.


I’m probably all the models I’m currently making. They are also custom orders…
I’m also shipping some new stuff:
Pen cases, leather travel card holder, leather travel glass case and something more.
Soon on Etsy on my listings!

A preview of some pen cases


And this one is for my wife. She is also a huge Lamy Safari fan. ๐Ÿ™‚


A special thanks to Tina, the leather cover with her name is going good! After her, other two people appreciated this model and its utility.

Have a nice trip to Barcelona Tina!!


My Leather Travel Notebook Sketchbook Cover on Etsy

My Leather Travel Notebook Sketchbook Cover on Etsy

Since some days I have Leather Travel Notebook Sketchbook Covers on Etsy. They are like the ones we use at home, like these ones, and so I also decided to move my hand further and to make some for who likes these kind of covers.
These covers are like a most famous brand, probably better. Entirely hand made, hand cutted, hand dyed, hand finished from 6/7oz (!) thick vegetable tanned leather. I built them to last and to be used and abused.

These leather travel notebook sketchbook covers are in size to fit Moleskine Notebooks, Moleskine sketchbooks, Moleskine Watercolor, Moleskine Weekly Diary, Moleskine Cahiers, Rhodia Webbies and so forth similar items (I can make for almost any size…).
But I prefer to fill them with my handmade handbound recycled notebooks or sketchbooks. It’s just more fun, relaxing and I can recycle.

Some are here in my cardbox at ready.Leather-Travel-Notebook-sketchbook-cover

If you want to take a look please pass by my Etsy Shop, where you can find from now also some gorgeous, I say gorgeous because they are the same ones I use and I loved to make, leather key holders.

I’m also making some more vegetal tanned leather thingies, I decide from now to make something that I will need for art purposes and not only and to make them in vegetal tanned leather and in chrome tanned leather.

Please pass by myEtsy Shop and any feedback of yours is a lot appreciated.


PS: I’m shipping worldwide for free and the prices are promotionally ridiculous! Plus I’m including one of my recycled notebook… what else? ๐Ÿ™‚

Leather Sketchbook and notebook covers

Leather Sketch book cover

Yesterday in my craziness I made some Leather Sketchbook covers, inspired by a famous Japanese product ( I love japanese stuff) as Midori Travel Notebook.
I really love that Midori, how it’s made, the leather, and the way it works: simple and effective. Plus I love to have something that get better with age (like a good wine) and gets fashion and scuff of time (like me).
But the price of a Midori is quite high, and even it still has a lot of fashion I decided to be inspired and to do myself something similar.
In another life I had some experience in leather working, so until now I have some good quality tooling leather and a lot of other stuff to make (almost) everything with leather.

I felt suddenly the need to spend a couple of hours with my leather equipment, and I think for the same price of an original Midori I made at least two or three just for fun.

So I decided to smell again the fabulous aroma of the leather to cover my home made recycled notebooks and sketchbook. What a chance to recycle again, to get some fashion and to protect some more without adding not that much in weight?

This is at the end of the session last night.

notebook lsketchbook leather cover

This session was very rewarding because I made six leather covers, three in about A5 size and three in A6 about size, so to accommodate most common sizes of notebooks and sketchbooks. I’m in the mood to make some more and to make also cover for the Moleskine Watercolor Notebook or for the Moleskine Reporter Notebook style, something you can open like that.

I made one of each type in these colors: Canyon tan, a kind of brown orange that stains the leather but leaves the grain of the leather beautifully. One in mahogany and one in coal-black. Than I finished the leather with Resolene. Oh my goodness the smell of leather again.These are te pictures taken this morning. A wonderful surprise, they look even better.
notebook sketchbook leather cover 02
But I’m also in the mood to make more covers as well and something a bit more complicated. But not that much probably only using a brass button or something like that. Undecided.
I didn’t give a super finished product, not a high-end lustre or super finished. I left something slightly rustic: I want the time to make the job and time works better on these covers better if left like that.
Time scuff, time softens, time gives beauty. I want time.

leather cover 02

In the meantime I made wonderful houses for my recycled sketchbooks, notebooks and so forth. I can even accommodate one Moleskine pocket or Large or Rhodia Notebook with ease. And my fountain pens are more than happy.
And I can make more. And I have some more ideas coming…
I’m too more than happy to touch the skin of the leather…

What do you think about?