DIY frugal/functional needle tool
by Avery Larned
The needle tool is a favorite in my clay studio. Besides being exceptionally useful, it is a real intrigue for kids who don't often get offered a sharp object to jab and/or cut things with. I go through a lot in my community clay studio, and one day, bemoaning the fact that they cost $2.85 apiece, I made a few... easy, and they work great. I wouldn't quibble about spending the money, but with kids at the helm, they are often bent or broken more quickly than I would wish for, and in Maine, my closest clay supply store is 2 hours away.
Cut a 3/8 dowel into pieces that match the length that you want (I used a generous 5 inches)
Set your stationary pencil sharpener on its largest hole and sharpen one end of the dowel, leaving the tip blunt (about the width of a red lentil... 1/8 inch?)
This is the only tricky step... secure the drill in such a way that you can drill a 1/2 inch deep pilot hole in the end that you have sharpened. Clamp the drill or clamp the dowel. I held the drill between my knees upended, and it was fine (though you can see in my final image that the needles are not absolutely straight.
Put a dab of really good, strong epoxy on the end of the embroidery needle and sink it as far into the pilot hole as it will go. Voila. 10 needle tools in about 30 minutes for about $3.00