20 Ways To Sharpen a Pencil

You know about the electric sharpener, the hand crank sharpener, and the manual sharpener—but in a small city in northern Italy, a group of designers is rethinking the age-old task, creating designs you won't believe.

The standard pencil sharpener is old news. How about using jewelry or a fire ritual to get the perfect tip? Or a device that sharpens two pencils at once? The students at the Free University of Bozen-Bolzano in Northern Italy were tasked with rethinking the simple gesture of sharpening a pencil and generating creative, new design objects. Led by professors Claudio Larcher, Eugenia Morpurgo, and Alvise Mattozzi, the project, La Matita Rossa (or The Red Pencil), alludes to the playful ways in which we can experience everyday life.

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Albert Jovanì Guiral: The Hamster

If the pencil was a carrot, a hamster could sharpen it. And this one is.

Susan Joy Guidi: Snake Sharpener

One sharpener produces two tips.

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Lucrezia Faraci: Paper Airplane

The metal blade folds like origami into a playful airplane that sharpens your pencils.

Caterina Nebl: O

Using the inherent rotational ability of a pencil—an axis that creates a perfect circle—Nebl designed a sharpener that mimics this range of motion.

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Barbara Rossaro: Set Fire to the Pencil!

This set of tools transforms the action of sharpening a pencil into a tiny little fire ceremony.

Albert Jovanì Guiral: Il Libro Vetrato

A sandpaper book sharpens your pencil page by page.

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Alessandro Bussi: Porygon

This pencil sharpener, which you assemble yourself, compacts down into a flat shape, making for an easy travel solution.

Maria Girofletti: Plane Pencils

Sharpen a carpenter's pencil using one of the tools of the craft: the wood plane.

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Anna Vettori: 1x2

One pencil sharpener uses rotational force to sharpen two pencils simultaneously.

Beatrice Macor: Mouthpiece

Bite your pencil sharpener instead of the end of your pencil! Your teeth keep it secure while you sharpen.

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