Pencil Carving by Cindy Chinn

pencil carving by cindy chinnI’ve been seeing sculpted pencils and pencil leads online for the past few years and REALLY wanted to try my hand at it.

My first pencil carving at this scale was of a train – and in December of 2015 it went viral across Facebook and the Internet!  I was featured on sites such as, (even Spanish TV!) and many others.  Since then, I’ve been busy taking orders, answering questions and doing interviews – this is FUN!  😀

Pencil Carving Gallery

Here is my viral post that made me ‘a world-wide sensation’ 😉


Train carved into the lead of a carpenters pencil… 3/16’th of an inch high. by Artist Cindy Chinn

Posted by Cindy Chinn on Thursday, May 7, 2015


August 25, 2016 – “The White Line Express”

Here is one of my latest train carvings – and the first in the “Press Plate” series.
These trains are based on images from some press plates we found at an auction.
Introducing the “White Line Express”.
Please share if you like it! Contact me if you would like to purchase it.

White Line Express Pencil Carving by Cindy Chinn

Since that time, I received some orders for more trains other pencil carving projects and have started off 2016 busily looking through a magnifying glass!  Here is a gallery of my pencil lead trains that I have carved so far. It’s been fun coming up with some different designs.

I hope that the photos are able to convey the small scale of these pencil carvings.  I use carpenter’s pencils as the lead is a little bigger and the shape of the pencil itself is more interesting.

The trains are constructed, rather than carved from a single piece of lead (graphite).  The trestle and cars under are carved in place, while I use mechanical pencil lead for the rails and carve the engine (and other cars if needed) from some graphite I have cut from the pencil.  I then glue the rails and the engine to the pencil.

You can order a train carving directly from my Etsy storefront I’ll be happy to customize it (as much as I can).  You can also select from a number of different stand designs and finishes.

Disney Rapunzel Pencil

In 2019 I was invited to Disney Studios in Los Angeles to film this short feature about carving pencils.  I had a great time and everyone loved the results!  The video was view over 2 million times on Instagram!

Other Pencil Carving Designs

I also carve other designs and like to see how much I can get away with.  Some designs are VERY tricky and I haven’t mastered them all yet.  Some break at critical places and cannot be fixed by gluing or re-carving.

I have been coming up with new designs with some destined for galleries and some for commissions.  Keep checking back as I plan to have more designs and more photos of pencil carvings in the future!

Check out the blog post which shows the progress of my Epiphany Elephant pencil!

Crayon Carving

Lately I’ve also been working with crayons.  I like the options I have with the colors and combinations of colors.    I never realized how much room for experiment there was in this art form.

Adopt-a-Pet Series

Here’s a series I hope to expand on – they were so much fun!  (and they all went to good homes) 😉

Thanks for following along- Feel free to share this blog post!

Buy a pencil from Etsy store – each one is Made to Order – just for you!  Or contact me to create a custom carving!

Buy a carved pencil - Train - Cindy Chinn Buy a carved pencil - Hammer - Cindy Chinn Buy on my Etsy Store - Hammer with wood handlepet-portraitsbuy-elephant-carved-pencil-by-cindy-chinn









For those of you that wonder how I how I carve these tiny sculptures, here’s a look at my view of things – through the magnifying glass:

Throught the Magnifying Glass

I would like to thank Art Whitton Photography for his great photos of these tiny works!

77 thoughts on “Pencil Carving by Cindy Chinn

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  8. Frank Witters

    Sorry we missed you. You were in California when we stopped by on our way back to Arkansas. A big thank you to Art for showing us a bench and a pencil carving. I am a wanabe woodcarver and find there is so much to learn. At 85 it takes longer to absorb new ideas. We also enjoyed the photo’s that Art taken. I find that to show your work you need a good photographer. My wife and I are going to try to carve something simple on a carpenter pencil lead. Wish us luck. Your talents are amazing.

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  15. Niloufar

    Hi😱 These are all awesome😱😱😱 & think you must be an amazing human being😱😱😱
    I want to appreciate you for doing such awesome thing ❤💕❤💕❤ I can’t stop gazing at their pictures😱

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  28. Richard Stone

    Cindy, I saw your train on FB and had to check out your web site! I am in awe of your talent and patience to do such microscopic work! Showed your picture to my wife and she was speechless. God given talent and you are blessed. Thanks for posting them on line for others to see!

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    1. John McPherson


  30. Will Cooke

    Your work is beautiful and amazing. I carve a little, but nothing like your work. It’s very inspiring as well as fun. Thank you.

  31. mark bruni

    Your work is simply amazing ….I am not sure but I think I was supposed to make a connection with you . I an 54 and have been a carpenter since I am sicteen . My hobby has been collecting carpenter pencils ….I have the from 30 years ago till about 8 years ago when I retired . They are from lumber yards all over the United Statest they are all differnt colors and markings. Some are also the old school large round ones . I dont know why I saved them ….till now . If you would like I can get them to you . It would be my gift. Im sure there are a couple of thousand . Contact me if you would like on face book ….Mark Bruni from new york thank you

  32. Joseph E. Donovan

    Thank you for sharing your gift. Even if the reaction is “would you look at that?”. Anytime your art instills a child like wonder I am sure it is good for the universe.

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  35. James Slate

    I build house’s I have my own business and your work is something else I can’t wait to show my buddy he makes all kinds of wood projects. He isn’t going to go nuts trying to figure out how you make them.

  36. Brendon Cresswell

    Hello Cindy,

    You carving of the train in the pencil looks amazing. Do you still make them & if so how much ?

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