Branch Pencils: Making Of
Up-cycled learning and the pursuit of sustainable development is a policy that SiamMandalay maintains for all its products. We strive for educational, fun products that are fair to the environment and our workers.
Our small farm in rural Thailand is designed to be 100% eco-friendly in everything it produces – our handcrafted branch pencils are up-cycled from the surpluses of tamarind tree branches. These rustic designs are a contemporary nod to a medieval, somewhat primitive, pencil style.
To maintain our integrity SiamMandalay keeps all manufacturing local, avoiding mass produced factory regalia, we prefer the honesty of skilled hands brought up on a culture of accomplished handiwork.
Every branch pencil is 100% unique – this is something we are extremely proud of.
The first stage of manufacture is the dividing and fashioning of tamarind branches into small linear parts, these straight twigs will make the body of the pencil. A small hole is meticulously hollowed and graphite coated with a thin adhesive which is carefully funneled through. The graphite filled branch is then diligently whittled down and sharpened to an apex ready for use.
The novelty animals are made from a blend of sawdust, adhesive syrup and paint base forming a thick gummy, putty. This recipe is kneaded rigorously before it can be molded. The doughy nature of the putty means it can be molded into any shape and a host of accents can be worked in or added.
The only boundaries are in the craftsman's imagination. Our animal collection has everything from ladybirds to dragons and everything in between. If you can think it up, we can make it.
Depending on the design, hues and textures are added using rubber prints and cloth. You can see a turtle being accented below. The exhaustive detail doesn't stop at shelled reptiles, there are techniques for feathers on birds, spikes on hedgehogs, fins on fish or scales on snakes.
SiamMandalay keep the whole process holistic, there are no heaters or compressors right through to completion. When the molds have been textured and accented they are simply left to bake in the sun. The novelties only take a few hours to set and then they are good to be painted.
All our novelty pencils are 100% hand painted using a “layering” technique – the first stage is the complete coating of the novelty, then colors are added for shading, patterns and textures. Our woody wood pecker novelty has 5 colors, all of which are layered and textured differently down to a speckled breast.
Once the paint has set the pencils are packed up, wrapped and stored into a whole manner of boxes and fabrics for delivery all over the world.