Polymer Clay Pens Soccer Team ($1000) Fundraiser

Polymer Pen FundraiserVideo #486: Congratulations to Chrissy White and her amazing polymer clay pen story!

Topics Covered In This Video:

  • A special email from Chrissy White.
  • Chrissy made a faux Burl Wood pen for her husband for his birthday. He loved it!
  • Husband had her make more pens for gifting to his friends, using the team colors of their favorite sports teams. They loved them!
  • Daughter’s soccer team qualified for overseas tournament in England, of which they needed to raise money for.
  • Soccer team’s fund raiser projects were not working well.
  • Chrissy’s husband, suggested she make custom pens to raise money for the trip.
  • Chrissy has made more than $1000 so far with her fundraising efforts, with hopes to make more by Spring.
  • Please help me in congratulating Chrissy for a job well done.
  • Wonderful to see PcT students taking what they are learning and making something good in their lives!

Good afternoon Cindy

This will be a rather lengthy email/story, but I wanted to thank you particularly for the Burlwood Pen tutorial. That single tutorial has helped me raise over a thousand dollars for a fundraiser.

Back story: I fell in love with the look of the Burlwood cane and loved the idea of the pen using that cane. I decided to make one for my husband for his birthday. He LOVED it. As it was my first one, it wasn’t really the best, but he seriously LOVED it. It took him a while to convince me that it wasn’t just husbandly-duty speaking, but that he actually really loved that pen. He carries it everywhere and uses it constantly. He even left it in his car one day when he went to work and after trying to make due with a regular pen during a meeting, threw it across the room (literally apparently) and went out right then to get his pen.

Shortly after, he wanted me to make one for his best friend in the colors of his favorite sports team (the Sounders). I tried to work out how to do it in a way that would look nice and after several failed attempts, decided to use the same cane method as the Burlwood, but in the team colors. It turned out fantastic! (of course, I didn’t get a picture of that one, or the one I made my husband). His friend called me directly and thanked me profusely, telling me how much he loved that pen and so on.

When we found out that our daughter’s soccer team would be attending an international soccer tournament in England this upcoming summer, we brainstormed on how to help raise money for the trip since it is going to cost a TON! The team tried to several different plans, but very little was raised. My husband suggested that I make and sell these pens, offering a choice of clay colors and a variety of hardware finishes. I was a little leery since it would mean that there was a high potential for me spending the next several months calling in sick so I could spend all day making pens. But we went ahead and did it.

I made a handful as samples, produced a brochure, and my husband took it from there. He immediately sold a handful to some guys at his work and I sold some at my work, and my mom at hers. In an effort to cut this story a little shorter, let’s just say that since it started, we have sold quite a few pens and made over $1000 for this fundraiser!

We are still going at it and plan to continue until April/May. Hopefully we can get closer to the total amount due, but I am happy with what we have done so far even if nothing more comes of it.

I wanted to share some pictures with you (attached, and apologies for the quality of some of the photos) of some of the pens I have made. As I mentioned, we let the customers select the clay colors (though I might add a highlight color here and there, if something else was needed), so please don’t judge me by some of the color combinations! :)

Most people wanted colors to match their favorite sports teams (Spurs: Black/Silver, Cowboys: Blue/Silver, Lakers: Yellow/Purple) or their child’s University or High School (Texas A&M: Maroon/White, University of Texas-Austin: Burnt Orange/White, San Marcos High School: Purple/White). And the most popular pattern was the swirl (which is what I simplified the burlwood pattern name to on the order forms), though I have sold a ton of light and dark burlwood as well as some of my own patterns (the flowers, we needed more “girly” pens). Besides the burlwood pattern, I also used your leopard pattern (that was a very big hit with my daughter). The scrap clay pen was my mother’s idea. She saw my trash bowl and asked what I was going to do with it. I told her that I usually use that for the base layer of the pens (under the patterned pieces). She thought that I had much more than I needed for that (which I do, I work by the trial and error methodology, with obviously more errors than one would like!) and asked me to make a pen out of it. She actually sold that one… I personally thought it was hideous (the picture makes it look better than it really did, in my mind at least)… we called it Kaleidoscope.

Anyway, as I said, I just wanted to share what I have done with your tutorial with you. Thanks again for the tutorials that allowed this to happen.

~Chrissy White (those are a few of her pens in the picture below)

Chrissy White Polymer Clay Pens

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Please make sure to congratulate Chrissy in the comments section below… on a job well done!!! Looking forward to hearing from you!

Cindy Lietz SignaturePolymer Clay Tutor

Comments

  1. What a great story. Does anyone have a good resource for pen blanks? At one time I cover the white Bic stick pens but they stopped making them and many other brands melt in the oven. So, I am looking for resources for the both the type of pens Cindy and Chrissy made, as well as an alternative for the stick type pens.

    Anna – Des Moines and Omaha.

    • I get my blanks at pennstateind as well as woodcraft. Woodcraft is a little more expensive, but they have a local brick and mortar location near me and so they are handy when I need something asap and I am partial to their Metro Fountain Pens. Otherwise, I get everything from PennState.

  2. Hi Chrissy! They’re beautiful! Hope mine turn out as good as yours.

    Anna: The website is PennStateInd They sell the pens individually in different finishes and prices and also have a special going–30 pens in different finishes for $44.50.

    Mari

      • Hi Feree!

        My pens are supposed to delivered next week, so I’m not really sure about the tools. I don’t think anything extra is needed, but maybe Chrissy or someone else who has purchased these pens can advise. I probably won’t get to them for awhile.

        Right now I am work on the flower petal beads. My Mother just passed away January 18th two days before my 50th birthday. I’ve always lived with her and took care of her for the last three years after she suffered two strokes. She was pretty independent, but needed someone to watch over her because she had balance issues. I will have to pack up the house and move to a condo, because I need to split her estate with my younger sister. I have not worked for the last four years because of my fibromyalgia and other health issues. Right now I am going through an emotional rollercoaster. In fact the tears just started flowing again as I type this. Please pardon any misspellings or improper grammar.

        I may not post anything, but I still check the site everyday.

        Good luck with your pens. My clay projects are works-in-progress, so I will post pics when finished.

        Good luck Chrissy–way to go!!!!!

        Mari

      • You don’t necessarily need a special tool to assemble them, as Cindy showed in her tutorial, a nylon hammer/block does the job fine. However, I did go ahead and purchase the special pen press (~$60) since I was making so many. It reduced my time of assembly from about 5-10 minutes down to less than a minute.

        As for disassembling the pens, they sell a “kit” for this (~$15 at Woodcraft). The kit comes with three pieces, two rods (1 fat, 1 skinny) and a transmission removal piece. If you have a very sturdy (steel) rod that is a slightly smaller diameter as the tube used for the pen, you can use that instead to push out the parts. The trick will be if you already have installed your transmission and want to remove the pointed tip. That requires the skinny rod (if you have one that fits…..go with it) to go down through the transmission to push out the tip. Once that is out, you use the transmission cover, the fat rod, and a vise to remove the transmission. I am not sure what could be used in place of the cover for this task……but I am sure there is something out there.

        Here are the details about the removal kit in case I didn’t make any sense, which would not be surprising. :)

        • Chrissy;

          Thanks for the info. My pens actually arrived today. I did not order the tools, so I hope it will not be too difficult without.

          You are doing an awesome job!!!!

          Mari

  3. Chrissy your story was so uplifting and wonderful. Your pens are beautiful and you should be so proud of the work you have done to get your daughter to England for her Soccer meet. The impact Cindy’s tutorials has had on her students and clayers around the world is profound and your story just proves how far her influence has reached. Thank you so much for sharing and best of luck to you and your family. I hope more members will share their stories as well.

  4. Mari –
    I was so sorry to read about the loss of your dear mother. I understand completely what you are going through as I too lived as a caregiver for my mother and have fibromyalgia. As soon as she passed away I had to pack up everything and move out of her house as the other siblings came in and ransacked her belongings.

    Life is very hard and it is in times like this that we need to find solace in our passion for creation although that too suffers as our sorrow clouds our mind and stifles our creativity.

    As time goes by you will find that you can still hear your mother’s dear voice and see her wonderful smile in your mind and know she is near and watching you create your wonderful pieces of art.

    Please know that I am thinking of you and wishing you moments of peace in these trying times.

    Aims

    • Thank you Aims for your kind words. I am sorry to hear about your mother passing. I hope you are also healing during your time of grieving.

      Good luck with your fibro and your claying. Hope to see some of your projects soon.

      Mari

    • Mari and Aims

      Please excuse this off topic discussion but there are so many folks here that suffer from fibromyalgia/Central Sensitization Disorder that I thought some links/info might be useful.

      This first article/pdf is great.

      Here is an article on the latest research findings.

      Yale University School of Med is doing landmark brain studies/DNA of the condition now, unfortunately due to my co-diagnosis of MS, I cannot participate. Dr. S.G. Waxman at Yale University School of Medicine is the contact person, if you are interested in participating.

  5. Hi everyone, I just thought I’d pop by and thank you all for your comments. I am super busy this weekend and I am supposed to be heading out with Willow to do some errands and for her to get some driving practice in (she is learning how to drive), otherwise I would respond to each of you individually.

    It was wonderful to hear from some old members like Elizabeth S and Aims who we haven’t heard from in a while (by old, I mean long time members… not old as in old ladies ;)

    As well there has been some touching stories about pain and loss.

    I care about you all, and appreciate your commends. This really is a sweet little claying family.

    Take care everyone and have a great weekend!

  6. Hi and Good Morning!
    I am new to the blog and to Cindy’s “class room”. I really don’t know what took me so long to find you all, it seems nearly every online search turns up a Cindy Leitz you tube tutoral! But I am so thankful my path has finally crossed yours.. it has made such a difference in the quality of my work. More often than not..now, I like what I make and make what I like!
    I wanted to do some pens, and was delighted to see this.. the pc covered bic pens are not even in the same galaxy as these beautiful pens Cindy shows us how to do.
    I wanted to branch out and try the click pens in addition to the twist ones, and saw that Chrissy had some click ones.. even though it’s now March, and this blog is dated February.. I hope someone sees it and can let me know if it’s possible to assemble the click pens by hand? Right now, I can’t invest in the machine to assemble or disassmeble (what a great tool, though!)
    I also wanted to say how I love this family of clayers.. so kind and thoughtful. I am genuinely thankful to find you all.

    • Hello!

      Actually, I haven’t done any click pens yet, those were probably pencils that you saw, but similar style/setup as the click pens like this one.

      If the ones you are looking at are like that, then yes you can still use the same method that Cindy shows in her video (nylon hammer, etc…) and not worry about the pen press.
      Hope that helps.

      Chrissy

    • Hi Terrie, I am so glad that Chrissy came in here to answer you, You are right about this being a sweet community! I haven’t tried any click pen styles yet myself, though the principal seems to be the same for all the different, barrel style accessories that come from PennStateIndustries. I have made some key chains and I have one of the Perfume dispensers, which were made the same way as the pen I showed in the tutorial. I look forward to seeing some of your work!

  7. thanks so very much for your responses! what a treat to hear from both Chrissy and Cindy!
    I thought you would be interested to hear about a really nice conversation I had with one of the employees at Penn State. Just the nicest lady.
    Before I had heard from you both, I thought I would try calling the company and see if they had any insight into my question. I thought she would transfer me to someone, but she took the time to ask me more questions and was very curious about polymer clay too! Turned out she and her husband both work on the pens, but use wood. She said someone had called in before in connection with the pens and pc and it had caused some curiosity at the work place.. what fun. So they were all talking about pc and Cindy! Loving it! I was happy to answer any questions I could about the how to part and also gave her the web site for Cindy’s tutorials. She was a crafter from the heart, involved in all kinds of things, so it was great fun.
    Anyway, her input was, the end piece that holds the clicker is more fragile than the twist type pen and that using the hammer might damage it. But she did say they carry the machine that assembles the pens (although they are out of stock presently), for about $50. Not in my budget right now, but I’m sure it would be a great tool.
    I had another question too.. I was unable to find the nylon block and had to use a hard rubber dapping block I found a Michaels.. it works ok, but the pen tip does penetrate the rubber, so I have to clean it off periodically or put a piece of felt down.. where did you find it?
    thanks so very much for taking the time to respond.. I don’t feel like a newbee anymore :0)
    and as soon as I can figure out how, I’ll send a picture of my pens so far.. they are pretty nice, thanks to a great teacher!

    • Hi Terri, Love your comment! Thanks for giving us an update. As far as where did I find that little piece of nylon, I actually found it on the ground outside a plastics shop. Since the chances of that happening for you are pretty much nil, you can either use a piece of soft wood, or a nylon bench block. I also have a two sided nylon/steel bench block that would be prefect for this, if you didn’t mind getting divots in it. Hope that helps. And when you do gets some pics of your pens… do post them on the Members Facebook Gallery Page.

  8. thanks so much Cindy, for your response. I love the story behind the nylon block.. I may have to go on a search locally and see what I can turn up too!

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