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If you have ever sat in a class or been bored at work and started turning a pen (or pencil) between your fingers, then you have been pen spinning! There are many tricks that can be learned. This is a form of contact juggling, as the object stays in contact with your body at all times.

Props – I recommend a long unsharpened pencil (rather than a pen)! No ink to spill out, no cap needing placed on top, no horrible pen marks over your hands and no clip to get in the way! A long pen/pencil is best for beginners, as long objects are easier to manipulate.

“Handy” Things to Know!

Each finger has a different name. If you look at this picture, you will see that from left-right, we have

Lending you a hand (my hand!)
  1. THUMB
  2. INDEX FINGER (also known as a pointing finger)
  5. PINKY

Before starting any of the tricks mentioned below, it is important to exercise your hand a little. Just try flexing your hands from a fist to as far a spread as you can manage a few times.

Pen Spinning Tricks

Thumb Around The pen will do a complete spin around the thumb.
1) The pen is held between your middle finger and thumb (your index finger needs to stay out of the way at the moment).
2) Push forward with your middle finger and the pen should spin around your thumb.
3) Catch the pen in the position you started with.
Don’t try moving your hand to try and get the spin working properly, as it will take far longer to break out of this bad habit! A common problem that beginners have is that they instinctively bend their thumb as soon as the pen leaves the middle finger. Keep the thumb still! (tip from Tyson)
23-Charge This trick is so called because it uses your second and third fingers (the middle and ring finger). The pen spins around the middle finger and ends up between the middle and the index finger.
1) Begin with the pen between your ring and middle fingers. Hold the end of the pen with your thumb.
2) Push your middle finger forward and your middle finger backwards at the same time. This applies some pressure.
3) Release your thumb and try to get the pen to do a full 360 degree spin. (tip from Tyson)
23-12 Sonic A sonic starts the same way as the 23-charge trick above, but as it gets half way around, you pinch the index finger and ring finger together while pushing the middle finger forward. This causes the pen to remain in the same alignment, but it jumps from in between the ring and middle fingers to in between the index and middle fingers. (tip from Tyson)

What Next?

If you have learned/mastered all these first two tricks, then there are still countless other moves and combos to try out! balancing the pen on your hands and other parts of your body,

  • try throwing the pen in the air and then performing a trick as you catch it.
  • try spinning pens in both hands!

Pen Spinning is a form of Contact Juggling (when you keep it in contact with your body). If you enjoy Pen Spinning, then you may find my Contact Juggling page fun also!


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