Sunday, August 26, 2007

Frustration Flashback

I had a relaxing weekend before the start of school and the mass chaos that that brings. Saturday, I got up early to embark on my very favorite Saturday morning activity that being yard sales. There's something about the often curious, always eccentric mix of items that people have pulled together to display on their front yards or garages. Garage/yard sales offer things for sale that sellers have tired of, outgrown, or in many cases items that were never used. It's a constantly changing treasure hunt. This weekend brought me back to my childhood when I stumbled upon yards of red and yellow fur (for 20 cents). Does anybody remember frustration pencils? You know those googly-eyed, silly looking pencils with the hair? You would smooth the fur all up and then when you needed to vent you'd rub the pencil between your hands and all the fur/hair would shoot out? (kind of like troll dolls--I'm not sure which came first.)
I was excited to teach my 8 year old how to make some frustration pencils with all of those boring #2's we had purchased for school. I'm sure fur can still be bought at a craft or fabric store, but finding it the way I did is what sparked the idea. That's the the thing about yard sales--when things are out of their element you notice more and often look at things differently. There's no list like going to a department store for a taupe pillow that will match the taupe sofa. Yard sale-ing has more possibilities and when little money is on the line it allows you freedom to be more creative and uninhibited with purchases. I'm sure I wouldn't be looking for fur or even remembering those funky pencils if it wasn't for this particular Saturday morning. So however you get it, find some fur and flashback to the 70's!

Supplies: pencil, approx. 10" long x 1" wide piece of fur fabric, googly eyes, pom pom for nose, felt for clothing, pipe cleaners for arms, hot glue gun.

1) Take a piece of fur and hot glue the short end to the eraser end of the pencil. Allow the eraser to show so that it can still be used. Continue to wrap the fur around gluing while you wrap. Feel free to split the fur and use two different colors.
2) Add eyes, nose, mouth, ears, etc with hot glue.
3) Use a pipe cleaner for arms by twisting at the base of the fur. Secure with more hot glue.
4) Cut two matching pieces of felt in the shape of a shirt or dress.
5) Glue one to the front of the pencil and the other to the back matching up the sides. The pipe cleaner arms should fall accordingly.
6) Further embellish.

1) Smooth the pencils hair.
2) Now scream "Summer's Over!" while rubbing the pencil between your hands

note: these instructions are just to get you started. My frustration pencils back in the 70's never had clothes...My daughter Cara and her friend came up with that!

update: due to an overwhelming amount of mail I received about the frustration of finding craft fur I've gone and put together my very own Frustration Pencil Craft Kits. Visit my etsy store at for more details.


Anonymous said...

OMG, what a total flashback to my childhood. I loved frustration pencils. To this day I think they are way cooler than those troll dolls from a few years back. Thanks for the directions. I'm going to have my kids making them this weekend!

June said...

Have fun and Happy Labor day!

noelle Buscher said...

I have a little dog who looks like a troll frustration pencil....that I remember from my childhood (I'm 42)

He is a longhair we dont know what the heck is going on on top of his head. I keep teasing him that "we got a bad one....we're going to send him back."

The blog is for my paralyzed little blue bald dachshund, Telly. You can see the picture of my troll pencil dog, Jeau, on this page if you scroll down a bit