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Before:

After:

This is a simple trick, but if you’re looking for a fast, easy, nil-cost handmade gift project (or just a friendly gag) it’s pretty good. Get your hands on one of those promotional “message” pens with the rotating text window. Disassemble the pen, dissolve away, abrade off, or paint over the factory messages on the interior barrel, and write, draw, and/or paint your own personalized messages in their place. You might also be able to just wrap the barrel in a blank white adhesive label, or even with one you’ve designed and printed yourself, so long as the thickness of the paper doesn’t interfere with the operation of the pen.

I did this, myself, for a buddy back when I was an undergrad at UT. And a pal from my grad school days just e-mailed me these pictures of a similar pen that he was given at about the same time, in about the same place, by a completely different person. Weird coincidence! [Thanks, Jason!]

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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