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Let’s talk about weighted pencils.  Abby has a nice post about making weighted pencils.  I have used weighted pencil kits to add weight onto a regular pencil, and I have seen the do it yourself pencil weights using hex nuts, but there are some things that have always bothered me about them.

  1. The metal on the pencil is uncomfortable to hold, and can be slippery.
  2. If you put the weight low, it is weird to hold onto.
  3. If you put the weight high, it is awkward having it in the web space.
  4. If you put the weight higher than the hand, it is weighing down the end of the pencil rather than the writing part of the pencil. This may be fine, but seems ergonomically not right for the writing process.

Why would you need a weighted pencil anyway?

  • Weight on the pencil can help stabilize uncontrolled movements due to ataxia.
  • The weight gives some more sensory feedback to the hand while writing.
  • Could be used for strengthening the fingers when writing or for writing on a vertical surface to strengthen the arm and shoulder.

I just started seeing a student who really really needs a weighted pencil due to ataxic movements. A co-worker recently went to Lowes and got some coupling nuts to make weighted pencils, so off I went to get my own supplies too. I got a 2 pack of coupling nuts size 3/8 – 16, and a 2 pack of rubber washers size 1/4 x ½ x 1/16. The metal of the coupling nuts was slippery, so to make it comfortable to hold, I put on some sticky back craft foam. The foam made it really comfortable to hold, and two coupling nuts on the pencil at the same time made it a great weight and extremely comfortable to hold.


In fact, the weight of this pencil is so comfortable that I am frequently choosing to use it myself when I write, and I made myself a bunch of these to see if they are beneficial to more of the kids that I work with.  The only downside is that the craft foam is easy to peel off.  This could be a problem if you have a student who likes to pick at things.  Maybe some extra glue at the seam would help.


For those who can’t run out to Lowes, I have my minions making some extra of these and will sell them in the shop as a two pack.



  • Pencil
  • Coupling nuts size 3/8 -16
  • Rubber washer (or rubber grommet, or O-ring) ¼ x 1/2 x 1/16
  • Sticky back craft foam
  • Buy the kit in the shop


  • Handwriting


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Tonya is a pediatric Occupational Therapist, and loves creating things to work on skills and solve problems.
12 replies
  1. Margaret@YTherapySource
    [email protected] says:

    Great idea. I too had seen the weighted pencils and thought they always looked uncomfortable. Regarding the picking off of the fun foam, how about wrap it in a layer of duct tape over the foam? Adds some more uniqueness to the pencil too if you let the student pick a fun patterned duct tape.

    • Tonya
      Tonya says:

      I actually tried duct tape, and it made it really slippery. The foam was the perfect texture. Now to figure out how to make it stick best.

        • Tonya
          Tonya says:

          I tried peeling off the first one I made, and it wouldn’t come off, so I think that it won’t be a problem. I also found an immediate solution. I got some UGlu Dashes, which are strong permanent glue in the form of little tape pieces. I put those on first, and it is well stuck.

  2. Shawna B.
    Shawna B. says:

    Hi! Thanks for this! My son has fine motor problems and will be seeing an OT at school pretty soon. I’ll pick him up a couple of packs of these soon!


  3. joyce
    joyce says:

    Could this be used with a pen for people with essential tremors? Or would you need a different size?

  4. Kate
    Kate says:

    Has anyone tried this with a pencil? If so, is it difficult to take on and off? or are the washers permanent?

  5. Heather
    Heather says:

    The OT put a weighted pencil for added sensory input into my daughters sensory diet yesterday. I googled make your own weighted pencils and your site popped up. :) I couldn’t find the o-rings/rubber washers in the size you mentioned but I was able to keep them on with rubber bands for the time being. :) I made 3 different weights for my daughter: 2 coupling nuts worth, 1 coupling nut plus 2 regular nuts, and 1 coupling nut. I wrapped in different colors of duct tape several layers and it’s not slippery at all. :) Thank you for this tutorial!


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