Make Your Own Magic Drawing Pen

A magic drawing pen ... one that draws on its own ... sounds like something out of a fairy tale, right? But don’t despair for you CAN make your own magic drawing pen that really does work! That's right, your magic drawing pen will draw all on it's own (once you set it in motion, that is!).

Make Your Own Magic Drawing Pen

Why Should You Make a Magic Drawing Pen?

There are many reasons some of which include the facts that a magic drawing pen:

  • allows children to experiment and play with physics ... momentum and inertia. The drawing pen appears to defy gravity and stand upright on its own
  • is mesmerizing to watch
  • is inexpensive to make
  • can be made out of materials you more than likely already have around your home
  • is easy to create
  • is fun to use
  • creates the most beautiful ‘doodles’.

Materials Required to Make Your Own Magic Drawing Pen

  • thick pens (i.e., large felt-pens)
  • cardboard disks (cut out of cardboard sheets)
  • an old CD (I'm sure the original creators of the humble CD didn't envision their creation being used for this purpose but it does the job well!)
  • sticky tape
  • large sheets of blank paper

How to Make a Magic Drawing Pen

We tried making magic drawing pens using different materials such as cardboard circles and old CDs. Both worked well.

We found that magic drawing pens made with cardboard circles were less balanced than those made with CDs. This meant the cardboard-based magic drawing pens were inclined to create more varied doodles than the magic drawing pens created with CDs.

The CDs balanced the magic drawing pens better and as a result they tended to spin straighter and for longer but the down-side was the resulting doodles weren’t as interesting or as ‘wobbly’.

We enjoyed experimenting with both.

Cut slits in cardboard circles so pen can be slipped through

To make a magic drawing pen with cardboard, simple cut a several cardboard circles. (It takes a number taped together to add sufficient weight to the pen. The extra weight helps the pen spin better). Cut slits in the centre of the circles so that the pen can be slid through the circle and taped in place. Tape the edges of the circle together to form one thick circular disk.

Tape edges of the circles together

To make a magic drawing pen with an old CD, simply slip the pen through the hole in the centre of the CD and hold place with sticky tape.

Make a magic drawing pen with a CD

Create a drawing surface for your Magic Drawing Pen to draw on. We covered the table with some blank paper.

How to Work Your Magic Drawing Pen

Twist the top of the pen to start it spinning

Hold the pen vertically above the drawing paper. Twist the top of the pen to start it spinning. Let go and watch it draw.

This was the end result of our session with our magic drawing pens:

Doodles made by Magic Drawing Pens

Once you've finished enjoying your marvelous work of art, don't forget to save the drawing. It makes terrific wrapping paper!

Keep an eye out for the twisting turn the magic drawing pens give at the end of each drawing 'performance'. This was one of my favourite parts of the 'show'. I'd love to explain how and why the magic drawing pen does what it does but I don't have a PD in physics. What I do know, however, is magic drawing pens are heaps of fun to play with!

Experiment with Variations of Your Magic Drawing Pen

Magic drawing pens provide plenty of opportunity for experimentation making them a fun science activity.

Try using different sized cardboard discs. Does the size make a difference to the performance of the pen? How does the different size of the circle affect the pen’s ability to remain upright and drawing?

Try adding a little weight to the discs by placing small lumps of plasticine to them. Does the extra weight make a difference?

We'd love to hear about your experiences with your magic drawing pen. Feel free to leave a comment on this post or on our Facebook page. Have fun!

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Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.

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