Some pens can be almost perfect – except for that not quite comfortable grip. For me, the Pentel EnerGel is like that; it’s a great-writing, dependable pen but it doesn’t really feel as good in the hand as it could.
Fortunately, making a DIY pen/pencil grip is a pretty simple matter. All you need is a good pen, a few inexpensive materials and a little time, and you can improve the cushioning on your pen considerably with minimal effort.
You can take one of several different approaches.
One of the simplest methods comes from the Spoonie Living blog, which suggests using plain old hair curlers to make pen/pencil grips.
Spoonie recommends Conair extra large foam curlers. Remove the plastic frames from the curlers, and you’re left with a foam cyclinder with a pen-sized hole in the middle.
Just slide the foam over the pen or pencil, and you’re done.
Now, as with everything, you get as much out of this as you put into it. Which means don’t expect much. The foam curler DIY pen grip has its drawbacks.
From Spoonie Living:
The grips last pretty well, though they do tend to become squishier over time as the foam breaks down. They also have the unfortunate habit of changing color as they absorb it little bits of ink and graphite as well as whatever other dirt they happen to come in contact with.
The rollers will cost you a couple pounds each.
Another simple method recommended by Instructables for making a DIY pencil grip is to use duct tape.
Specifically, printed duct tape for a better-looking grip.
Wrap a strip of tape tightly around the pen or pencil, sticky side out. This creates a base that will allow you to adjust the grip up and down the length of the pen as needed. Then, turn the tape over, sticky side down, and wrap it around the base piece.
You can determine the thickness of the grip by the amount of tape that you use.
The downside of using duct tape for a grip is that it can be sticky.
My personal preference for a quick and easy DIY pen/pencil grip is to use black electrician’s tape.
The reason I recommend it is that the tape is narrow enough that you can vary the width of the grip all along its length. All you have to do is wrap some spots more than others.
For example, by wrapping the tape around only a few times at the top and bottom, and increasing the number of wraps as you move to the middle, you can taper the grip to be thick in the middle and thin at both ends, or vice versa.
Electrician’s tape also tends to be softer, with more give, and will feel more cushioned.
The drawback is that the tape becomes stiff as it ages and will lose its elasticity.
Finally, if you want to get into something that is slightly more complicated, you can try using the kid’s toy called the Rainbow Loom.
The loom allows you to weave colored rubber bands into bracelets. But, the Parenting Channel on YouTube explains how to use the loom to weave soft, bright DIY grips for pens and pencils.
The downside to this grip is that it seems a little complicated and takes much longer than the other methods. The upside, of course, is that you end up with a nicer grip that you can switch from pen to pen.
(Check out this simpler method using Rainbow Loom bands and two forks.)
So there are a few ideas.
Obviously, you don’t want to use most of these DIY pen grips on fountain pens or other higher-end writing instruments. And you probably wouldn’t want to spend the time and effort on some cheap disposable, either.
We recommend only adding customized grips to refillable pens in the £3 to £7 range.
Good luck and let us know if you have any suggestions of your own.