You've seen it, everyone has seen it: people spinning pens and pencils with their fingers. You might know how to do a trick or two yourself! But there are actually THOUSANDS of tricks out there in the penspinning world.
Like many hobbies, spinning a pen or pencil can be used for anything from occupying your hands during class to practicing diligently for years. Take it from me – I started learning penspinning as an idle fidget, and now I've competed in 3 world tournaments.
Here's a crash course in pen & pencil spinning, using just 5 GIFs – they're easy to save to your device, watch over and over, and share with others on social media. PLUS, I've added an extra challenge to each trick tutorial. See which ones you can learn!
You've probably seen this one before. In class, at work, even on TV. That's because it's extremely simple. Hold your pen or pencil at one end with your thumb, index, and middle fingers – if one side is lighter, hold that end. Then, lower your middle, release your index, and let the pen or pencil rotate around your thumb. Once, you've gotten that part down, focus on bringing your index back down to catch the pen or pencil.
This is one of the most common penspinning tricks that people know and recognize, but it' can be a little hard to tell what's going on. If you start by holding the pen or pencil with your middle & ring fingers slightly bent, and the end of the pen or pencil resting on top of your thumb, you can simply move your thumb out of the way and straighten your fingers out – the pen will start spinning, and you can catch it again with your thumb. It requires a bit of practice, but most people can pick it up in a day or two.
Here's where things start to get a bit more complex. Once you've learned how to do a Charge, lower your middle finger during your Charge and bring your index finger closer to your ring. The pen will complete its rotation and come to rest in between your middle and index fingers – you've completely switched finger slots!
Some people recognize this as a trick drummer do with their drumsticks, but with a bit of practice, you can learn to do it with a pen or pencil, too. Just pass the pen or pencil from one finger slot to the next. You'll want to focus on the motion of your middle finger as you move the pen from your ring & pinky to your middle & ring – that's the quickest part of the trick.
This is one you probably haven't seen before, but it might actually be the easiest of the bunch. Hold the lighter side of the pen between your index & middle fingers, then twist your hand inward, bringing your index down, and pull your middle finger out of the way. The pen or pencil will rotate around the index finger and come to rest between your index and thumb.