Need a tiny pen for your glove box/purse/notebook/travel bag? You can make one in less than a minute and a half with common household tools. You’ll need:

  • A standard Bic (or similar) stick pen
  • A sharp utility knife
  • A small pair of pliers
  • A round toothpick (or alternatively, some transparent tape)
  • Wire cutter or a pair of dykes
  • Eye protection

Over this past weekend I took a series of step by step pictures of how to do this and then thought, “You are such a complete idiot.”  (I try to have these little motivational talks with myself at least once a week.)  In a rare moment of lucidity,  I realized that this process is much more suited to video, rather than a series of still images.

So I got out my Flip Mino, grabbed a lightweight tripod, and shot this (your tolerance is requested:  this was unscripted and done in one take):

If you don’t have any round toothpicks handy, wipe off any ink that leaks out after you cut the resevoir and tape the end with transparent or electrical tape.  I really prefer the toothpick approach, though – it’s simpler, easier, and more secure.

An option: you can drill a small hole in the end of the pen so it can be secured on a key ring or cable key ring as shown here:

Mini Bic on a cable key ring

If any of you has a source for mini pens like this, let us all know.  Much pricier than a DIY mini Bic but definitely cool is the Pilot Dr. Grip.  More elegant but also a bit pricier is the Fisher “Stowaway” Space pen. Have any other suggestions?  If yes, please comment!

The Fine Print:  I have no connection with any of the companies mentioned in this post

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6 Comments on DIY: Make a mini Bic pen in less than 90 seconds

  1. Cary Grant says:

    I’ll tell you my little secret… I just by pen refills, and use them by themselves. They are small, and I can put them behind my ear without looking like an idiot. It’s barely noticeable, and if I need to write something, it’s always at my fingertips.

    The other benefit is that they are cheaper, so I either save money, or I can by a higher quality pen! I can’t (or wouldn’t) afford a Waterman, but I can sometimes afford the Waterman rollerball refills!

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  2. Will says:

    Thanks, I’m going to make one. So what else is on your key chain there? You get some of that from County Comm?

    Can’t figure out what the yellow thing is or the long metal piece.

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    Kevin Reply:

    The yellow thing is a Cord Lock Light – search the site and you’ll find a quick review. The long metallic item is a key for a quick detach luggage rack on my motorcycle. Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Jeremiah says:

    If you are looking for an alternative to making your own, check out the Zebra F301 Compact pen. It is sturdy, and smaller than the average pen, and also has a built in hole for threading a key ring etc.

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  4. Barry says:

    I made one and I don’t get the part about the toothpick. I stuck a toothpick in the end and cut the toothpick off like in the video. The toothpick acted like a cork in a bottle to keep the ink from leaking out of the tube. The pen stopped writing after a few words. I think it was because the “cork” was creating a vacuum in the ink tube. I removed the “cork” and it seems to write fine now. I wiped off excess ink and no more has come out (yet). Maybe if you start with a pen that is already low on ink and only cut off the empty part, the leaking will not be an issue.

    Anyway, other than my confusion over that detail, this is a good hack. I have tried the Fisher Space bullet pens and the Zebra compact F-301, but I somehow like this best. The Zebra one cannot be criticized and is inexpensive, but this one is as light as a feather (4 grams or so). I used a “Bic Round Stic Grip” pen, which has a rubbery grip area and is a nice upgrade.

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  5. […] Hudson during a shakedown at Bearded Woods. I found a similar tutorial for a DIY mini-pen online (Practical Hacks). All you need is a regular cheapo pen and some scissors or a sharp […]

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