Pre-Sharpened Pencils!?

I was browsing through one of my art supply catalogs and noticed you can now buy pre-sharpened pencils for only about 20 cents more compared to non-sharpened pencils per pack. Do you think this is worth it?  To not have to deal with the hassle and quick grabbing of little hands when you set out new pencils and to avoid those long lines at the pencil sharpener is appealing. I am just such a DIY person, it doesn’t seem like a huge deal to sharpen, however it’s worth considering.

Has anyone tried them?

Would that be worth it to you or not?

Jessica Balsley

Jessica Balsley is the Founder and President at AOE. She is passionate about helping art teachers enhance their lives and careers through relevant professional development.


  • Suann

    I just want to find pencils that don’t need constant sharpening. They seem to just continually break like the lead is broken clear thru them. Every time a pencil drops to the floor I think there goes another to feed the sharpener. I will love to see what others post about pencils!

    • Anonymous

      I am a teacher of third graders and I would love to know why pencils are of such horrible quality. I thought it was the pencil sharpener, but after many types and too much money (I don’t even want to think about how much I’ve spent on this) I am convinced it is the pencil.,

      • Holley Campbell

         After 10 years of teaching art I only buy Ticonderoga brand pencils, the lead doesn’t break as often and the wood is good.

  • Kellie

    I love the idea, but have such a tight budget that the extra .20 has to be spent elsewhere. We have 5th grade Service Squad and I have them do the sharpening about every other day. They are the only ones who get to use my electric sharpener and the sharpening by others is at a bare minimum. I keep extra sharpened pencils in a container on my desk at all times. Most kids just come and get a different one instead of taking up time in line.
    :^) Kellie

    • Oh and I also saw they have anti bacterial pencils that are supposed to keep the germs off! Not sure if anything can really keep those germs at bay- but another interesting pencil factoid.
      Sueann- I usually buy a middle grade pencil (not the worst, not the best). I had tried the natural pencils (outside is not as shiny) because they sharpen beautiful but they got very dirty. Hopefully others will have ideas, too!

  • I’ve ordered both sharpened and unsharpened pencils and haven’t noticed a huge difference, but agree that the 20 cents saved can be used elsewhere. If I’m feeling particulary ambitious, I just go through the box and sharpen them each myself when I have some free time.

  • Mostly, I am thinking… why did I not think of that! Drat. Convenience is sometimes a good thing. Then again, sharpening a dozen pencils a few times a day does have a certain zen therapuetic value too. Whatever you do, enjoy.

    • Alissa

      Just found your blog and love it. I have ordered the pre sharpened and did not like them. The point is very small so I would end up sharpening the anyway.

  • Alissa- Thanks for stopping by! helpful tip on the pencils. I decided to go with regular because my secretary got me a super duper good deal in her office supply catalog! But, it’s neat to know things are out there…

  • Amanda

    I tend to buy both. I like to keep that extra 20 cents for something else – but I also know that sometimes last minute things pop up that need pre-sharpened pencils. So, when I do buy pencils I do both!

  • S. Brooks

    The bain of art teachers….keeping pencils sharpened.

    Oddly this year several students said something off-handed about sharing pencils with many other students and it got me to thinking. So I gave each class one of those inexpensive large plastic pencil boxes and one pencil each with their name on masking tape on the pencil along with 2 erasers per table. The students love it, they find their pencil and each students takes the time and care to make sure their pencil and the table erasers are returned. I think the hygenic, hand washing fanatics have spread to art!

  •  Well as far as quality and not needing sharpening so often… I adore the Ticonderoga big fat yellow Beginners Pencils. They are almost as good as Ebony pencils! The lead is so thick that they never break and the point lasts so long they rarely need sharpening during the day. They are wonderful for shading. I have a few of my students from the last day of the previous nine weeks sharpen a new class set for the next nine weeks. They also write my name and Art on the pencils near the top using a super fine Sharpie.

  • lisa

    Hi.  I too buy the larger tricanda pencils, not the big fat one, but a step smaller.  I found they last longer for usage and they also seemd to stay in the art room because the older kids did not really want the “baby pencils”.  I kept the thinner ones on hand for special projects like the use with a protractor.
    Question since we are talking about pencils…does anyone else find that colored pencil sharpen awful? I like colored pencils but despise that the kids always need t sharpen them and that they sharpen unevenly. anyone else? suggestions?

  • Sandra

    I, too would like to know if anyone has ideas on how to better sharpen those colored pencils.  Many of ours sharpen so uneven that the whole pencil is sharpened away. I like the idea of the larger pencils not walking away. I’m going to try that one next supply order.

    • An electric am sharpener that stops when it’s done sharpening has worked well for me.
      Jessica Balsley