SC Johnson Family Economics Blog
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Back-to-School: Message Pencils & Napkins | Family Economics

By Cathe

Back to school time can be both exciting and a bit nerve-wracking for children and parents. It’s great for children to see old friends, and fun for them to make new ones. But as the school year begins, the focus on academics returns, which is something that may take a little time to get used to again.

Ease the mood with a little hidden fun by sneaking special messages into their pencil pouch, letting them know you’re thinking of them during their school day. Instead of just tucking in a note, I recommend you get clever with customized message pencils!

customized messages

How to Make Customized Message Pencils:

1. On the computer, type out several special messages onto a color block close to the color of the pencils you plan to embellish.

glue to pencils2. Use a narrow enough font size to fit on the side of a pencil.

3. Write words of encouragement tell a joke or create a coupon redeemable only when the pencil has been used up.

4. Print the messages and trim out into thin strips with a craft knife and straight edge.

5. Glue messages to each pencil with white glue. Brush a thin finish coat over each to prevent scuffing.

keep them on hand6. Once the pencils are dry, keep on hand to sneak one into your child’s backpack or pencil pouch every week or so. Before you know it, they will be looking forward to what each new pencil message brings!

Customized pencils also make fun gift sets for children and adults and are also unique birthday party favors.

Teachers will appreciate custom sets of pencils as gifts for the holidays tucked into handmade pencil cups.

How to Use an Eraser Stamp:

pencil stamps

1. Take the pencil design a step further and cut a shape into the eraser of a pencil with a craft knife.

2. Use as a rubber stamp to accent a hand-written message hidden in your kid’s notebook.

3. Kids can easily re-ink their eraser stamps with a ball-point pen at school.

ink with a ballpoint pen

You can create more fun for your elementary-age children while they’re away at school. Check out the story I shared a few years ago when my own children were younger about creating special lunch napkin notes here.

napkin notes

23 Comments so far

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On Thursday, December 13, 2012, mom 2 six wrote

In the picture it looks like mod podge. Can that be used as well?

On Monday, October 4, 2010, Tammy: Mama Bear Stamps wrote

This is fabulous! I love the pencil idea and how you can create dozens of different sayings (unlike embossed pencils with only one saying in masse). Can't wait to try this!

On Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Trisha Novotny wrote

Fun idea....will need to try this

On Monday, September 20, 2010, GMR wrote

Awesome as usual !!!!!!!!

On Thursday, September 16, 2010, Miss Tiff wrote

so clever! simple and clever, luv it.

On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, Cathe Holden wrote

Grateful for Grace (from wrote: Just wonderful!! Seriously. About the white glue and layer over... is that just plain white school glue under the paper AND over? or just over? TIA! Thanks for the question- I glued over and under. It doesn't take much glue at all for this project and you certainly don't want any plugging up the teacher's pencil sharpener. So, keep it thin to win! -Cathe

On Tuesday, September 7, 2010, gail wrote

great idea! super cute. I don't have any kiddos, I know some parents I'll pass this along to them. thanks for sharing!

On Tuesday, September 7, 2010, somedaycrafts wrote

Such a fun idea! I would love to write some fun messages to my kids for them to read at school. I am featuring this at and linking back to you. Thanks for the inspiration

On Saturday, September 4, 2010, Grateful for Grace (from wrote

Just wonderful!! Seriously. About the white glue and layer over... is that just plain white school glue under the paper AND over? or just over? TIA!

On Saturday, August 28, 2010, la la lemon wrote

genius. seriously!

On Saturday, August 28, 2010, Annemarie from Texas wrote

LOVE this.I just made some and I am off to glue them on.TFS!

On Friday, August 27, 2010, Diane@InMyOwnStyle wrote

Hi Cathe- I wish my girls were still at home, I loved putting little surprises like this in their lunchbags and back packs. Now I send them thru the mail. I love the personalized pencil.

On Thursday, August 26, 2010, Melissa from Florida wrote

Boy I wish I had seen this last weekend - I literally wrote my son's name on 40 pencils! Will be making these ASAP! What a wonderful site you have.

On Thursday, August 26, 2010, Christie wrote

What a great idea!!!

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, christine wrote

I loved the idea of making the eraser end a stamper... you are one clever, creative chick....

On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, katie wrote

I love this idea! i am going to do this today...we start school today!

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Cheryl aka TidyMom wrote

LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea!!!.........Cathe I don't know how you do it, but your ideas never cease to amaze me!

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Tracy wrote

What a great and simple idea! Thanks so much

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Sophia wrote

Wow, what a clever idea! So fun to sneak in messages like that. I would certainly love to receive one my self.

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Colleen in Utah wrote

What a thoughtful thing to do! Thank you !

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, RandomCreativity wrote

What a cute idea! Personalized pencils would also be cute with a stationary set...

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Leta Joy wrote

Excellent ideas, as always. Thanks for sharing, Cathe!

On Tuesday, August 24, 2010, Kristi @ Creative Kristi wrote

I LOVE this idea!! -Kristi


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