The Naked Pen Line
As you may or may not know, we launched our Naked Pen Line this week! *Cue confetti* I was hoping to launch it earlier but business got crazy, and I also kept going back and forth about it. I was struggling with fears that if we offered naked pens then no one would ever want me to paint any for them, they'd do it all themselves and we'd just end up cranking out blanks all day and lose all our creativity! Which could totally happen, but I just had to wrestle through those fears and conquer them with what I know is the right thing to do.
I don't ever want to be a business known for hoarding 'trade secrets' and viewing others as competition, or operating out of fear. I think there's enough fish in the sea for us all and I truly believe that when you live open-handedly business returns ten-fold. I don't know how or why it works that way, maybe it shows good character and builds trust? Plus with the internet and wealth of talent out there it's foolish to think I have totally unique ideas - therefore any knowledge, how-to, product, idea can be found with any amount of digging and determination - why not be the one giving them that information? They're gonna get it one way or another!
I do want to be a business intent on educating, encouraging and sparking creativity! I believe in collaboration, sharing knowledge, and equipping you with tools you need to make your ideas a reality!
So with that in mind, I moved forward with the Naked Pen Line. I'm full of excitement over the potential for these, I can't wait to see what you all create!
How to Fully Dress your Naked Pen
- Start with the fun part
Painting! The possibilities here are endless! Watercolor, acrylic, dye, food coloring, stain, glitter, Pearl Ex powder, spray paint, anything! We use a light-weight pine because we've found it to work the best with paints and with it's light color maintains the true colors.
Here's some custom pens I've painted for inspiration:
- Finish just in time
Once your masterpiece has dried (shouldn't take too long) you'll want to put a protective coat of polyurethane overtop. I use a fast-drying clear gloss, but honestly you can use whatever you want! You could even experiment with this step and try different finishes. We've used wood wax and different poly's. I've found the clear gloss to be my favorite because it darkens up the colors a bit and gives a rich, shiny finish.
- Putting it out to dry
After you've applied your finish you'll want to let the pen dry somewhere. We have a handy-dandy pen drying device my brother came up with. It's just a piece of wood with the spiky end of the nails sticking out of it.
- You can apply as many coats as you'd like, but just make sure the poly dries in between coats. I use a fast-drying poly so I only wait an hour or two between coats. Sometimes I dip the pens in the poly to coat, and other times I use a poly soaked rag to apply the finish. Just find whatever works for you!
- Dealing with the rough patches
Sometimes after you paint or apply poly you'll notice the grain of the wood stands up, gets rough or makes bubbles. Simple fix! Once the coat of finish is dry, lightly sand those spots out and apply another coat of poly! Don't start sanding a spot if you haven't yet applied finish because you might sand off your painted masterpiece!
- I think it's done
So you've applied a gorgeous paint job, meticulously finished it, now what? If you're a methodical, perfectionist (like Zach) who carefully painted and finished your pen without a wayward drop of poly anywhere then you're ready to pop in your flange and give it a whirl! But if you're more like me you may have noticed some finish or paint built up in the slit where your flange goes. Not to fret! Take an Xacto knife or thin blade and carefully scrape it out!
- You've got it, flaunt it!
Last step, share your masterpiece with the world! You better believe that I want to see these bad boys all over my Instagram feed! Use our hashtag: #ashbushnakedpen to show us what you've done and we'll repost our favorites to spread the inspiration!
Oops! I messed up!
Ain't no thang! I mess up all the time, the beauty of working with wood is that you can sand it down and remove whatever paint or stain is on top! Now be careful because too much sanding can alter the shape of the pen, and if you've used watercolor or a stain that soaks into the wood it may be hard to sand it all the way out. But for the most part your pen can be pretty forgiving!
You're all creative geniuses and I can't wait to see what you come up with! Follow me on Instagram to stay up-to-date on latest pens and happenings, and tag me and hashtag all your holders so I can see how you use them! Want to purchase a Naked Pen? Just hit up our shop!