We, at ODM always make sure that we provide the best and quality products to our clients.  Recently, we visited one of our suppliers in Zhejiang Province in East China. Our mission was to make sure that the production was running smoothly. We also made this visit to visualize the process and for us to show our clients a quick guide to pencil manufacture in China.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

Materials in Pencil Manufacturing


Wood is the primary material in manufacturing quality pencils. It serves as the body of the pencil, thus the material needs to be sturdy. Therefore, cedar is the ideal wood for pencil since it has a pleasant odor, does not easily lose its shape, and is always accessible.


Graphite is also one of the most important raw ingredients for pencils. It is the black material in the center that produces black ink. Some people still call this material as lead.


Clay is mixed with clay in the pencil manufacturing process. It is the reason clay is also very important in manufacturing pencils. They are mixed according to the type of pencil. The less graphite used, the harder the pencil, and the lighter its line.  Moreover, pigments are added to the clay to produce colored pencils.

Process of Pencil Manufacture

1. Wood Preparation

The cedar usually arrives at the factory already dried, stained, and waxed.  The person in charge will saw the log into narrow strips.  These strips are the slats. Slats will place onto a machine that takes them through a cutter which will leave parallel semi-circular grooves, one half as deep as the graphite is thick, along the length of one side of each slat.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

2. Bonding of Slats

Half of these slats will have the cut graphite glued into the grooves. Meanwhile, the other half of the slats will be flipped over to make a ‘graphite sandwich’. The slats will be glued together with the graphite within the grooves. After this, the next process is shaping the pencil.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

 Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

3. Shaping of the Pencils

Most pencils are hexagonal,  thus the ‘sandwiches’ need to be cut twice. These two cutters work on the top and bottom half respectively. Each ‘sandwich’ yields between six to nine pencils.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

4. Smoothening

Persons tasked in this process use sanders to smoothen the surface of the pencil. The pencils need to be varnished and dried. The pencils are repeatedly dipped in the varnishing vat until the desired colour is achieved.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

5. Final Checking

The pencils need to go through the shaping machines once again. The process is the final step in pencil manufacturing. This process removes the excess varnish that has accumulated on the end of the pencils. It also ensures that the final products have the same length. Also, erasers are attached to the pencil using a metal case. Persons working on this final process use to press the company logo in the product.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

The Finished Products

The final products will undergo quality control and product designing. Checkers will examine again the product using a conveyor belt. There are also trained workers assigned to discard pencils that appear dysfunctional. Afterwards, a select number will sharpen and test when the process is complete.

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

Factory Guide to Pencil Manufacture in China

We send our Quality Controllers to do a Final Random Inspection (FRI) to our clients right after the products are finalized.  This is to ensure that the goods are made according to their specifications. The manufacturer will package up the product and send it to the required destination once passes the QC.

Contact ODM

ODM has over 17 years of experience in branded packaging design creation and promotional product customization. We always make sure that our clients get the final product that they need and desire. For your promotional needs, you may send us an email and contact us to learn more about our quality services offered.

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