I’ve always had use for a decent blending tool and back in college, I used a trusty old typewriter eraser pencil that worked wonders. But sadly I haven’t seen those around lately, so I thought my blending days were over. For years I blended my drawings by blunt pencil only. It’s tedious, but can be done. Sure, the effect isn’t quite as soft and smooth as desired. I needed a blending stub, but they can be a bit on the pricey side, especially if you’re trying to keep costs low or if you’re in the formative years of your art career.

Out of desperation, I used tissues and cotton tips. They work if your drawings are vast, but trying to blend fine detail is very tricky. I scoured the internet for DIY solutions and found that I can make my paper-based blending stub. It changed my life! Well, maybe that’s a bit of an over-dramatization, but it works. As a bonus, it’s eco-friendly, recyclable, and all you need is a few items. It’s easy to make and seems to last quite a while, depending on how you use it.

Here’s what you’ll need:

– A piece of blank, white scrap paper: A5 is big enough

– Scissors

– A ruler

– Pencil

– Glue stick/masking tape or sticky tape

– A skewer or long knitting needle (whatever you have at your disposal)

So let’s get cracking:

  1. Measure out a strip of paper about 80mm thick on the one side
  2. Measure out about 50mm thick on the opposite side (they need to be slightly tapered for the best results)
  3. Cut. Looking at the three pieces of paper in front of you: we will be using the middle one (it’s tapered on both sides which is what we want)
  4. Now for the part that requires a little patience: Start with the thickest part of the paper (the 80cm side) and roll it up as tightly as you can, using the skewer or needle. If it’s not rolled tight enough, unroll it and try again until you feel satisfied with the result, but not too tight, you still need to remove the needle/skewer. The trick is to roll it tight enough to get a fine point for blending.
  5. Once you get to the end, secure it with some glue or sticky tape and remove the needle/skewer
  6. Now test it by drawing something and blending.

This is a very uncomplicated method, which is by no means the best and only way to do it, but it works for me, and hopefully, it will work for you too. I made this little blender in under a minute.