(Sarah Read is an author, editor, yarn artist, and pen/paper/ink addict. You can find more about her at her website and on Twitter. And check out her first novel, The Bone Weaver’s Orchard, now available where books are sold!)
One of the things I love about stationery is that it never stops surprising me. I don't know why I didn't know that pencil caps, like the Iconic Pencil Cap, are a thing, but I went from not knowing about them to needing them with alarming speed. They're such simple, obvious things, but I'd never tried one before.
I work in a library, where pencils rule the desk drawers. We use pens, too, of course, but you can't walk ten feet without encountering one of those wee yellow golf pencils. And we have handfuls of regular pencils that get handed out to students or used behind the desk. If you're reading this, I know you won't judge me when I admit I bring my own pencils from home. Don't get me wrong--I love those golf pencils. They're a symbol for "looking for books" which is sacred. But they're awful to write with. So wee! No eraser! Never sharp! If you try to sharpen them, you end up with something unusable! I know you understand me.
Transporting pencils is fraught with peril. You can snap the point, or even damage the core so you get random breakages for the rest of that pencil's life. You can get graphite all over the inside of your case or bag and anything else in said case or bag. You can jab yourself and get one of those accidental graphite tattoos. Peril!
Yeah, it turns out there's a simple solution--one that we already use for pens: caps!
As surprised as I was to learn of the existence of pencil caps, I was even more surprised to find that there are actually a variety of offerings available. I selected these Iconic pencil caps to try first because they're cute. Knowing nothing, I went for the looks.
And these are pretty great! They fit a variety of pencils that I tried them on--standard hex and round pencils, colored pencils, and even Blackwing pencils. They fit securely, but didn't damage the finish on any of them. They kept points protected and nearby items clean.
One downside is that they add significant length to a pencil. So if it's a fresh pencil, it will be way too long to fit in a case with this cap on. But if it's one that has been sharpened a few times, it works just fine.
I did struggle a bit with what to do with the cap while writing. It makes the most sense to stick it on the back of the pencil, which works, until you need the eraser. Then it gets in the way. When set on the desk, these round caps tend to roll. In the end, I just held onto it while I wrote.
The caps also did make it more difficult to store my pencils in my hair. That's probably not a use case that applies to everyone, but as a librarian, it's practically part of my uniform. I can see, though, how the caps might help prevent graphite-scalp injuries.
Overall, these are small, clever, inexpensive pencil accessories. I like them and I'll definitely continue to use them. I'm now eager to try other varieties of pencil caps as well. Hooray for new stationery frontiers!
(JetPens provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)