Why are pencils yellow? – Charcoal Medium History

August 8, 2020

The reason pencils are yellow is a combination of two factors: the first is the yellow content on the rubber nib and the second is the dye added by the pencil manufacturer

It’s important to know exactly what ingredients in the pencil are causing the problem, but fortunately it is easy to find out.

How you can get rid of them

You can take the risk of losing your shiny new pencil and the risk with the other products is almost zero. I recommend you buy a cheap, used pencil and replace it after a year with a new one.

However, if you’re concerned about colour, there are other alternatives. There is a formula available that helps you colour in a pencil to a specified colour. If you are wondering how to do it, here it is:

Red + red pigment = green. Red + yellow = blue. There are colourless equivalents for yellow.

You can buy a colourless version to apply to the pencil instead, but a colourless pencil will not give you a consistent result, so if you prefer a consistent colour you’ll be better off buying a pencil that says “blue” in the back.

How to change color

There are few ways to change colours and there can often be a combination of two colours you want to get in different places.

The simplest is to use another pencil to highlight some of the text, but then you need to switch to an even lighter or darker blue pencil.

Alternatively, you can mix blue and red colours to give a yellow contrast.

Another variation is to make the colours darker and use reds to give the rest of the text some contrast.

All in all, the best way to achieve colour changes is to buy a black pencil.

How to keep colour from bleeding

This problem is generally caused by the rubber nib.

I recommend you invest in a quality old-style, round rubber nib, because you will never get dull. Some pencils don’t look this good under UV light, making them unsuitable for certain applications.

In fact, I have yet to encounter a pencil that looks as good in the presence of sunlight as regular, round nibs.

You might want to look at a pencil from this series or from our selection of premium fountain pens.


If you have a great pencil but it doesn’t shine like the ones pictured above, keep on look for reasons to improve it. Check the colours on

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