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Muddy Faces

Elder Charcoal Pencil

Make your own pencil from a piece of elder.

Art & Creating


Make your own charcoal to put inside your pencil.

Look at our charcoal making activity to see how to do it.

What you'll need

  • whittling knife
  • charcoal sticks
  • straight pieces of elder
  • tent peg or similar

This activity has been provided by

Useful items from our shop

Item available from our shop

Environmental Considerations

Consider the environmental impact of preparing, carrying out & completing this activity. Could this impact be reduced? Specific considerations for this activity could include:

  • leave no trace
  • source of elder

Health & Safety Considerations

Follow your usual operating procedures and carry out appropriate risk benefit assessments.
Some considerations particular to this activity include:

  • tool use

Elder is the perfect wood to use as it has a soft pith in the centre that can be removed.

Art & Creating

Step #1

Cut elder branches with secateurs & remove the pith with a tent peg or palm drill.

See our elder whistle activity for more details on how to do this.

Tip: cut a selection of widths to match up with different widths of charcoal that you have made.

Art & Creating

Step #2

Using a knife whittle the end of the piece of elder to make a pencil ‘point’.

Art & Creating

Step #3

Insert the charcoal pieces, leaving a little sticking out of the end. (The charcoal is fragile – some of the pieces may bend and are better used out of the pencil).

You have made your charcoal pencil! Time to get drawing so don’t forget your sketch pad.

Take it further:

Decorated elder whistle
  • for a more technical activity using elder have a go at our elder whistle activity.

Disclaimer: Muddy Faces cannot take any responsibility for accidents or damage that occurs as a result of following this activity.You are responsible for making sure the activity is conducted safely.

Key Features


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