In my previous post , I wrote about how I learnt the art of making a folded pen. (See “My First Experience with the Urban Sketchers Singapore“) It was a lot of fun and I told myself that I’d try to make a few more of such pens when I have the time.
I’ll go through each step, so that you too can make your own folded pen!
The first thing you need is a aluminium, which is quite easy to get. You can easily recycle a soft drink can for this project. That’s what I did. (Alternatively, you can buy a sheet of aluminium from Art Friend)
Here’s the can I used:
The first thing I did was to cut up the can. What you want is the cylinder portion.
Next – and this is optional – it’ll be useful if you have a piece of sandpaper.
With the sandpaper, I sanded the inside of the fold. Of course, before you fold the aluminium, you need to decide for yourself which should be the inside, and which should be the outside.
I prefer to have the grey/silver metal part showing on the outside. So I proceeded to sand the label-side of the aluminium.
When you do this, you increase the pen’s capacity to hold more ink. It’s optional because even if you don’t do it, nothing bad will happen. It just means that you’ll need to dip the pen more often into a bottle of ink.
What I did next was to fold the aluminium into half, and cut it.
It should be cut like this:
Feel free to experiment with the shape of the curve. This is part of the fun. Different curve shapes will produce different results in drawing/writing. You can google “folded pen” for ideas and inspirations on how best to cut the curve.
Once you’re done, it would be a good idea to sand the curve edge so as to smoothen it (see diagram below):
Next, you can tape it to a stick. Any stick will do: ice cream stick, chopstick, etc. I think satay sticks are too thin to work. You may refer to instructions on this website on how to attach a stick: http://www.popcanpen.com/how_to/howto_make%20_pen.html
Or, you can try to fit it into a calligraphy nib holder or whatever old/broken pen that you have lying around.
Here’s my first prototype:
Looks pretty amazing, right?
Unfortunately, it turns out that the Coca-cola can is too thin for such a nib size. I’ll need a thicker piece of aluminium. I’ll probably try to get my hands on the Jia Jia Cooling Tea can soon. It has a very thick aluminium can. I think it’ll be perfect for this.
Realising that I need a smaller sized pen, I made a second one, but this time, I’ve fitted it into my calligraphy nib holder.
Remember what I said about sanding the inside? Here’s what you can achieve in a single dip because of it:
Alright! Now that we’ve got a folded pen, what’s so fun about it?
Well, you can hold it two ways.
Here’s the first way of holding the pen:
(1) You can hold it with the curve facing up.
With this, you get a more-or-less consistent nib size when writing.
If functions a little bit like a stub nib, so you can do some really cool gothic lettering.
Here are some writing samples:
The second way of holding the pen – and the most fun of all – is to hold it with the curve facing down.
This makes use of the curve side of the pen. Depending on how you tilt the pen, different parts of the curve will touch the paper, thus giving you a variety of line widths when drawing/writing.
Here’s a sample:
As you gain more experience with this pen, you’ll want to create your own curves to fit your own drawing/writing needs.
Here’s my third attempt, replacing the pen nib in the old Muji pen prototype:
Having learnt from the mistakes of the first prototype, I have since shortened the nib so that tip would remain firm when writing. I have also improved the shape of the curve to suit my writing needs.
Here’s a writing sample for this pen:
Not bad! I’m pretty pleased with this.
These pens take some getting used to, and I’m still learning how to get a hold of it.
But hey, it’s been a lot of fun!