Autumn Pencil Box

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             New pencils have always been my favorite back-to-school item.  There’s something special about sharpening a new pencil and watching the outer layer of paint and wood curl away in a long spiral that eventually reveals a sharp point.  And that sharp point can then be used to convey ideas.  And if you don’t like what you’ve written or if you make a mistake, there’s an eraser on the other end so you can remove the unwanted part.  A pencil is the greatest communication tool ever!

The idea of the pencil was invented over 400 years ago.  In the early 1500s, a huge graphite deposit was discovered in England. Graphite is a mineral.  It is light and soft, but under extreme pressure and temperature it converts into a diamond; the hardest mineral.  The first pencils were blocks of graphite carved into sticks.  They were wrapped in wool.  The tips were sharpened with knives.

Eventually, graphite sticks were placed into wooden sleeves to create the pencil we know and love.  In 1858, erasers were added to the top of pencils.  The most popular school pencil is the #2 pencil, which has fairly soft lead.  A stronger pencil lead can be made by adding clay to the graphite.   

The word pencil comes from a French word that means “small paintbrush.”   

Pencils can write in zero gravity and under water. 

14 billion pencils are produced in factories each year.  About 170,000 pencils can be made from one average size tree.  That means 82,000 trees are cut to make all of these pencils.

This pencil holder craft is made of paper, another product that comes from trees.  You might want to print the pattern on a heavier cardstock paper to make a sturdier pencil holder.