Kickstarter Rainbow Pencils: What does it MEAN?!

Kickstarter is such an interesting place. From documentaries about Juggalos to more 3D printers than you can shake an extruded plastic stick at, anyone with an idea, cursory video production skills and an internet connection can sign up for a project.

And I love it.

Luckily, there’s no shortage of scribomechanica fans out there who have Kickstarter projects. I won’t go into all of the pens you can find being made there (Brad at Pen Addict has a really great list already assembled — I am partial to the gorgeous Render K by Karas Kustoms), but our inky brethren can pledge to their hearts’ delight.

While pickings are admittedly slimmer, pencil lovers can still find some gems. I’ve written about a few of them before, like a pencil ruler or the Sprout pencil. Why, just yesterday, Pencil Revolution shared this gorgeous notebook with a funny name that just reached its funding goal.

So I’m excited to share this one. This pencil’s only purpose seems to lie in its novel aesthetics, though it’s utterly charming.

It seems simple enough — it’s a rainbow pencil:

Lisa Frank pencils

Oh god, not these. Lisa Frank has nothing on this project. It’s much more understated. Like a kiwi.

Yeah, a kiwi.

When you buy your Kiwi at the supermarket, it’s just a simple, brown hairy thing, right? But you slice it open, and there’s an unexpected shock of color.

Rainbow pencils by Duncan Shotton Design.

These pencils are similar. They have a plain, matte white (or black) barrel. Very tasteful. Then when you start sharpening with your handheld blade sharpener…


Rainbow pencils by Duncan Shotton Design.

I love me some GIFs, so I was extra excited to see that the Kickstarter page had one of this pencil!

Made with layers of recycled paper, this pencil creates a rainbow as your sharpen it. According to the designer:

Rainbow Pencils function like regular wooden pencils, and are the same size and weight, but they’re not made from wood, they’re made from layers of recycled waste paper. In the United States alone, over 7 million cubic feet of wood are used every year to manufacture wooden pencils. With rainbow pencils, not only do all those trees not need to be cut down, but the huge amount of paper that might otherwise be thrown into landfill, can be recycled and put to good use. Each pencil has a 6-layer rainbow core and comes finished in either black or white.

What a fun way to be environmentally friendly! Most of the recycled paper pencils I’ve used before involved newsprint, so aesthetically, it either looked like newspaper, or mottled gray paper. It definitely lacks the aesthetics of a cedar pencil — no fragrance and no tight woodgrain look.

This rainbow pencil helps with that. I certainly can’t speak to the performance of the pencil, but if delight is in the details, then sharpening this would be a joy.

Head on over to their Kickstarter page to check out the pledge levels and to watch the video!

Rainbow Pencils by Duncan Shotton |

3 thoughts on “Kickstarter Rainbow Pencils: What does it MEAN?!

  1. Kickstarter has an interesting connection to pencils in that their new corporate headquarters are now being built in the old Eberhard Faber Pencil company factory in Brooklyn.

    Unfortunately I must take issue with the “environmental” benefit claims made by this Rainbow pencil product. First 7 million cubic feet of wood produced into pencils would support more than two times the total annual US consumption of wood cased pencils. In terms of pencils produced in the USA (now less than 10% of annual US consumption) and imported pencils consumed in the USA, unfortunately the vast majority of that wood is no long wood from trees grown in the United States. Thus the theoretical US grown wood savings (as per claim) are minimal and total wood savings from any source (most generally China) are vastly overstated even if you assume 100% substitution which will never occur.

    Next, substituting one material for another really doesn’t save anything in this situation. The wood not used for pencils would simply be consumed in another product as the pencil wood portion of the tree is a joint product with other products being produced from each tree harvested. The lumber product mix just gets reallocated at the sawmill. Similarly the waste paper used in such recycled pencils is generally already being used in other recycled paper products. Ultimately the supply of recycled paper will find its way to highest value uses which may or may not be pencils.

    Finally, and most important trees are a renewable resource. When managed responsibly on a sustained yield basis with proper attention to other environmental impacts there is nothing wrong with wood pencils or other wooden products from an environmental standpoint. Further, the quality of wood cased pencils is simply superior to recycled paper pencils even with continuing improvements in technology of producing such products the industry is now experiencing.

    I am not knocking the product here. I think its an interesting and fun product and it should be bought and supported on that basis alone not some mistaken belief that doing so saves trees in the US or anywhere else.

  2. Pingback: Link Love: Pencil-centric | The Well-Appointed Desk

  3. Double Rainbow. I wish I could afford these.

    I agree with Charles. In addition, outsourcing pencils (if they did) creates more pollution from transportation vehicles. Since these are being internationally shipped to different countries…

    One day, I’d like to find a box of these on the shelves, made in the U.S.A (where I live).

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