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$1 DIY (Silhouette) Sketch Pen and Holder

A few days ago I asked our Silhouette School Facebook fans if anyone would be interested in learning about sketch pens...the answer was an overwhelming 'YES!'   When I say 'overwhelming' I mean the post was liked and commented on more times than on our FB page.  Okay then...I must give the people what they want.

And so without further ado today, Silhouette School is launching a Silhouette Sketch Pen series.

Now because I know some of you probably couldn't care less about sketch pens - after all you bought this machine to cut, not draw gosh darn it - this series will be presented over the course of the next few weeks rather than during consecutive days.  No need to make foes by posting about one subject for a straight week, right!?

After looking at your questions about sketch pens I am breaking the series down like this (not necessarily in this order):

Look for one or two of these tutorials a week for the next few weeks. 

It would make sense, it would seem, to start with Sketch Pens 101, but I'm not going to do that.  I'm actually going to start this series with the tutorial on DIY $1 Sketch Pens so that way you can first make your own sketch pen and then the next tutorial will teach you the basics of actually using it (or the real Silhouette-branded sketch pens, of course) in your machine.  Make sense? Okay, let's get sketching...

I have to give credit where credit is due and credit is due to Ms. Kay over at Clever Someday you read Kay's blog? She's awesome...and hilarious, I might add!  She's very experienced on the Silhouette and she has lots of great tutorials for the moderate to experienced user so check her out when you feel comfortable.  I stumbled across a one-line tip on Clever Someday about how the character markers sold at Target's dollar spot and in the dollar pins at Michaels fit perfectly into the blade enclosure without any kind of converter or special casing.

I picked up two packs - one Superhero pack and one Princess pack - for a buck each. That's less than .13 a piece!  I got both because they each have a few different colors.  Side note: I currently have both packs under lockdown because if a certain 2 and 5 year old find out I have these under the same roof as them...I am certain I would be faced with the same reaction I was when I said, "No! More! Shows!'

But I digress...

As Kay points out, the markers fit perfectly in the Silhouette blade holder and can be used in place of sketch pens which is soooo unbelievably awesome - and thrifty!  

But because the markers are not fine point the text is pretty thick.  That may not be a problem if you're sketching a larger design, but if you're making a card and you want to write a small sentiment, you probably want the text to be a little thinner and more refined.  It's still legible, but just not ideal for small least for me.

Here's where having a few of the same colors in each pack of markers came in handy.  Since I wasn't sure my little experiment to turn a sketch marker into a sketch pen was going to work, I picked a color in which I had a duplicate in the other pack.  I took the marker apart and used the casing to turn it into a DIY sketch pen holder.

This is so simple! All I did was use a pair of pliers to first remove the little bottom piece of the marker so I could hollow it out.

Then I was able to dump out the ink thingy and I pulled out the tip.   That left the plastic casing just like this.

Guess what...a standard size pen (mine is a Bic Round Stic) fit in there perfectly...

...and it was snug enough that I could push the tip of the pen through the hole at the tip just the perfect amount.  You don't want the tip too far exposed or it will drag across leaving ink streaks on the paper in spots where it's not supposed to be sketching.

Of course, the marker casing still fit exactly into the blade holder as it did when it was still a marker.  I did a test run and look at the results...a-maz-ing!  

And here's a far more detailed design! How's that for a DIY Silhouette Pen holder?

You can buy standard size pens in blue, black, red, and green.  Bic also sells this multi-color pack of Round Stics! I found them on Amazon.  Whoo Hoo!

I know this is one Silhouette hack you're not gonna wanna forget, so be sure to pin our $1 DIY Sketch Pen tutorial now and spread the good word!

 Note: This post may contain affiliate links. By clicking on them and purchasing products through my links, I received a small commission. That's what helps fund Silhouette School so I can keep buying new Silhouette-related products to show you how to get the most out of your machine! 

Thanks for coming to class today at Silhouette School.  If you like what you see, I'd love for you to pin it!

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  1. Do the bic pens wiggle around? Or do they fit in snugly?

  2. they should fit snugly, otherwise you could always shim them to make them tighter ( like a toothpick alongside the bic). Or if needed wrap masking tape around the bic.

  3. When you put the pens in how do you get them to fit snuggly in the pen holder?

  4. When you put the pens in how do you get them to fit snuggly in the pen holder?

  5. I was told at my local Michael's that those pens are a "holiday item" (boo). Has anyone come across another pen the same size that would work instead?

    1. I just found some Frozen themed markers at Joann Fabric if you have that store near you. They were up by the registers and were only $1! Can't wait to try it out.

    2. I found some at Big Lots, they were Star Wars

    3. I just bought the same Star Wars ones from Big Lots today.....SO excited to find them! They worked like a charm....HOWEVER, you will need to trim off the plastic tip (after removing the marker felt tip) for them to work correctly. And tape the pen barrel to the marker barrel for a firm hold. Thanks for the AWESOME hack!

  6. I was so excited to try this tonight, and so disappointed by the results. I tried just the plain marker as well as the pen in an empty marker as a holder...what am I doing wrong?

  7. I received the full set of pens for my Birthday but have been to scared to use them yet. Need to use them before someone asks me if I have lol.

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  12. I bought those markers, but they aren't snug and move in my holder. thoughts?

  13. I found these pens at Big W here in Australia for $2.50 just the other day. They change what they sell a lot though, they weren't there last time I looked for them. They fit OK. I have also had some success with a Sharpie with masking tape around it. The pop-stick thing is great too. I used an emery board before I got some - that worked but I don't think it was very good for my Sharpie!

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