Sharpening a pencil correctly can be important, especially if you are an artist or just want your handwriting to look smooth. In fact, it can be an artisanal skill. There are several different ways you can sharpen a pencil. Use a portable, manual sharpener. These usually come with two holes in a small plastic square. One hole is for a smaller pencil, and one is for a larger one. The benefit of using a manual sharpener is that they are cheap and portable. Again, if you're not careful, you can create an irregular pencil point. Simply put the pencil into the sharpener’s hole, and turn it several times to create a point. Sharpen over a garbage can, unless the sharpener has a plastic bubble designed to capture the shaving remnants. Try using an electric pencil sharpener. Try using an electric pencil sharpener. An electrical pencil sharpener will create a pencil that makes a very neat line. Push the pencil into the hole in the sharpener. The sharpener will make a whirring sound as it sharpens the pencil. A downside of electric pencil sharpeners can be irregular sharpening. However, they are the easiest to use. Choose a pencil that is worth sharpening. The pencil’s lead (the graphite core) should not be off-center or it will be hard to shape into the normal conical point shape. Make sure the pencil is not bowed. Use an old rag in order to wipe the residue off the pencil after you sharpen it. Hold the pencil right. You want to grab the pencil near its point if you are sharpening it with a knife, about 1 ½ inches from the end of the pencil. This will stabilize the pencil. Hold the pencil in your non-dominant hand, and the knife in your dominant hand. You want to make sure the utility knife is sharp. You can sharpen your knives (carefully) with a knife sharpening stone or steel. Position the knife about ¾ of an inch up the shaft of the pencil. Start to remove the wood. Expose the graphite that is within the pencil itself. Push the blade of the knife through the pencil’s wood with your thumb holding the pencil. Push the knife toward the unsharpened end of the pencil as your non-dominant hand rotates the pencil. A thumb knuckle’s length away from the end of the pencil is how deep you want to go. Once you’ve exposed the graphite, you can shape it into a point. How Does an Electric Pencil Sharpener Work? An electric pencil sharpener is a small motorized appliance for sharpening or refreshing the points on lead pencils. Inside the hole, a small electric motor turns a blade assembly at high speed. The blades shave wood and lead from the pencil’s end, bringing it to a point. Most electric pencil sharpeners are powered through a 120V electrical cord, though some are battery operated. What Can Go Wrong with an Electric Pencil Sharpener? The most common problem with electric pencil sharpeners is clogs from wood and lead shavings. In addition, the electric cord can fail, the blade can become dull, and the motor can malfunction. Preventive maintenance (cleaning and lubricating) can dramatically extend the life of an electric pencil sharpener. How Can I Identify an Electric Pencil Sharpener Problem? If the unit does not operate when a pencil is inserted into the hole, make sure power is on at the outlet, then test the electrical cord and replace if faulty. If the unit still does not operate, the problem could be in the motor. Test the motor and replace it or the device if necessary. If the unit operates but does not cut a sharp point or seems very sluggish, the shavings tray may be overfilled and the unit plugged up in other areas. Disassemble the unit (see below) and use canned air to clean it out. If the unit still operates sluggishly or does not sharpen well, the blade may be dull. You can try disassembling the unit and using a small file to sharpen the blades–or you can replace the unit. 7 Uses for Electric Eraser We can hear the protests already. “Why would I use an electric eraser when my regular eraser is working just fine? What could an electrical eraser possibly do that my putty eraser can't?!”. The electric eraser is the tool that you think you don't need until you start using one, and then you can't imagine your life without it. Think of it less as a mistake-reverser and more like a tool of its own. Why waste time on your mistakes? When your hand slips outside the lines you can eliminate the error WITHOUT accidentally doing more damage because the eraser is so tiny so you're less dependent on the steadiness of your hand. Highlights! You can use the edges to create a tiny highlight in the eye of your subject or intentionally color a large area and come back to create reflections along it with your electric eraser. The electric eraser is to pencil what the white gel pen is to marker work. Did you know electric erasers can be used on more media than a regular eraser can? You can cleanly remove colored pencil, graphite, charcoal in addition to regular pencil! Speaking of colored pencil, if your paper is too full of pigment it can be difficult to add details. Remove some pigment with a light stroke of the electric eraser. The teeniest, tiniest nooks and crannies in your drawings can be accessed with an electric eraser. You can use the sides of the eraser but another great way to do tiny details is the file the eraser into a point by holding it at an angle while running it. Create crisp edges with the touch of a button on any medium. It can be difficult to create a sharp edge with a traditional eraser. What's worse than going in to correct a tiny mistake and accidentally removing a large area of your hard work? A clunky eraser can be your worst enemy when you're trying to limit how much you remove. If you've never used an electric eraser before, you may need to practice a little bit to find the pressure that works for you. Start by pressing less firmly than you think you need to and you will get the hang of it in no time! The Game Changing Sharpener for Colored Pencils – Blade vs. Helical Sharpeners fall into 2 categories: Blade and Helical. Blade sharpeners are what we all used in school, and probably what you're using now. They can be as simple as the one pictured, or they can come with a reservoir attached to catch the shavings. Depending on the angle of the blade, you can get a sharpen with a very small amount of core exposed, or a little longer. For a very long time, this is the only kind of sharpener I used, In particular the General's one. I couldn't really complain, it gave a decent core length and point and didn't cause breakage. But all that time I did feel like I was missing something. The pencils just wouldn't get sharp enough. And that brings us to helical sharpeners. Helical sharpeners are a bit more complicated that a simple blade. Unlike with a blade, the pencil remains stationary while the crank moves the rotating spiral sharpener. The spiral grinds against the pencil and shaves the wood casing away resulting in a much longer and finer point. The result is pencil dust, not shavings. Because like most people I wasn't entirely aware of the helical model, my pencils would never sharpen as much as I wanted them to. I couldn't get the kind of detail I wanted because with the blade model would sharpen to a much shorter and fat exposed core, which meant the point wouldn't last very long. I was left with a blunt core no more than a few strokes in. But the game changed when I finally bought myself a Derwent Super Point Helical Mini. I bought the mini to test out, and once this one starts to give in I plan on getting the larger one. The point and core length with this one is no joke. I was incredibly surprised that with this amount of thin core exposed, there was little to no breakage, even with pencils as soft as Prismacolors. Now, this may be because I'm naturally quite light-handed. But with a core this thin, common sense is if your press too hard especially right after you sharpen, the tip will break.If this helical design works with Prismacolor Soft Cores, then you know for harder leads its a dream. I tested it out on Arteza pencils (which in my opinion are too hard for very blendy work) and they worked great for detailing. I had a problem with Arteza pencils breaking a lot and I was not a fan of them at first, but this sharpener finally put them to some good use. Uses For An Airbrush Most people don't realize how versatile an airbrush can be. They learn how to airbrush for one or two purposes but never realize the many ways they can use this tool. A good airbrush can be applied to a range of artistic applications and it can also be good for DIY projects. Working with the battery-powered hub, this crafting tool model does not need an airbrush compressor and it can travel for use anywhere you need it. Embellishing Beads Airbrush paint can take your artistic craft projects to the next level. If you are looking to decorate beads with intricate details and realistic features, an airbrush offers the best solution for adding the finishing touches. Art and Illustration Due to its precision and versatility, the airbrush has become the tool of choice for many artists. Airbrushing paint on a canvas is a great way to experiment with your medium. Airbrushes are commonly used to create murals and canvas art, and some artists have used airbrushes for things like illustrations for children’s books and comic books. Airbrush Fashionable Tote Bags Artists and fashion-savvy individuals are using airbrush kits to create custom clothing and fashion accessories. Airbrushing tote bags is one common application for these tools, and they can paint a range of other fashion items as well.