Funded! This project was successfully funded on September 19, 2012.

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Sprout is a pencil that wants to be a plant when it grows up. When it's too short to use, plant Sprout to grow herbs, flowers and more!

What if instead of throwing your pencil stubs away you could plant them and have them grow into something delicious, beautiful, and fun?  What if pencils could grow?

Sprout is a pencil with a seed inside.  When it's too short to use, it can be planted at home, at the office, or in the classroom.  (If you're really excited to plant Sprout, you can do so before it's too short.)  Sprout is Made in the USA.

UPDATE: International Shipping now available!  Please add $5 to your funding level to cover the cost of international shipping.

This Sprout is on its way to becoming a radish.
This Sprout is on its way to becoming a radish.

Flavors of Sprout

Sprout comes in a number of delicious flavors, including:

  • Basil
  • Calendula
  • Cilantro
  • Cherry Tomato
  • Dill
  • Eggplant
  • Forget Me Not
  • Green Pepper
  • Heirloom Basil
  • Heirloom Cherry Tomato
  • Heirloom Tomato
  • Jalapeño
  • Mint
  • Morning Glory
  • Marigold
  • Parsley
  • Radish
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Special Edition Bacon
  • Thyme
  • Tomato

We've got lots of ideas for new varieties and would love to hear what your favorites are. Imagine a Sprout colored pencil set where the color of the flower matches the color of the pencil... did I hear anyone say "stretch goal"?

Writing With Sprout

We really like writing with wooden pencils.  They have a tactile feel that even the best mechanical pencils can't match.  Getting up to sharpen them forces us to take a break and look around, a great way to reconnect during a long problem set.  We designed Sprout around a high quality Ticonderoga cedar pencil body.  It's a great writing experience.  And it smells really nice too.

Sprout is a joy to write with.  Your words and ideas literally blossom!
Sprout is a joy to write with. Your words and ideas literally blossom!

Sprout doesn't have an eraser because we don't believe in making mistakes.  We've never been happy with the stock erasers on pencils, they tend to be too small and low quality.  We want every part of using Sprout to be fun, so instead of sacrificing overall quality (and adding cost and complexity) by grafting on an eraser, we scrapped it entirely.  Putting an eraser in it would have been a mistake.  There's a lot of good "external" erasers out there, we're happy to make some recommendations.  And who knows, we may be putting seeds in them too soon enough. 

Planting Sprout

When Sprout is too short to use, it can be planted to grow into a wonderful flower, herb, or vegetable.  

Sprout is too short to use, time to plant it!
Sprout is too short to use, time to plant it!

The seed capsule is water activated, the first few times you water Sprout dissolves the protective capsule and starts the seed's germination. The pencil shaft can be kept in the soil as a helpful labeled planting marker or it can be removed.  We've planted dozens of Sprouts and have found that they usually sprout in around a week.

Plant Sprout capsule-side down up to the planting depth line.
Plant Sprout capsule-side down up to the planting depth line.
Water daily.  Sprout usually sprouts in about a week.
Water daily. Sprout usually sprouts in about a week.

We want every Sprout to succeed so we include at least 3 seeds in each capsule to maximize the chances of successful sprouting.

Each Sprout package comes with a helpful planting instruction card.

The History of Sprout

We met in a graduate product design course at MIT and were tasked with creating a product for the eco-friendly office of the future.  We came up with Sprout!  While Sprout is eco-equivalent to a standard pencil, we think that it's a nice way to reconnect with our environment.  We're particularly excited about getting Sprout into the hands of kids, getting them off the street and into the garden!

The original user interaction storyboard for Sprout.
The original user interaction storyboard for Sprout.

The Future of Sprout

We've hand assembled over 100 Sprouts and have designed the tools needed to make as many Sprouts as you desire.  We have an American manufacturer lined up who's as excited as we are to make this project happen, all we need is your help to get enough volume for a production run!

Questions and Answers

How does Sprout work?

Sprout is a high quality cedar pencil with a water-activated seed capsule at the tip.  When the seed capsule is exposed to moisture it begins to degrade, releasing the seed within Sprout and starting its germination.  You can leave the pencil in the soil as a helpful planting label, or pull it out.  You can plant Sprout wherever you like, though we recommend an area that gets plenty of sunlight.

What happens if I accidentally wet my Sprout?

If you spill something on your Sprout the tip will begin to dissolve, getting the seed ready for germination.  Unfortunately Sprout doesn't know the difference between accidental and intentional watering, so if you accidentally wet your Sprout it's time for planting.  We've worked hard to make a resilient seed capsule but it's a tradeoff between resistance to accidental spills and plantability.

What if I chew on my pencil?

If you are in the habit of chewing on the end of your pencil Sprout will probably activate and dissolve in your mouth.  We think this is a great tool to break yourself of that habit.  On a lighter note, Sprout is entirely non-toxic!  

Is international shipping available?

YES!  Please add $5 to your backing to cover the cost of international shipping.

FAQ

  • Yes! After lots of work figuring out international shipping restrictions for plant materials we can confidently say we can ship anywhere. Please add $5 for international shipping.

    Last updated:
  • No. Sprout contains absolutely no lead. The writing material is graphite and clay. These are natural and do not pose any risk to plants, groundwater, or people. Sprout is entirely non-toxic!

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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    366 backers

    Basil Sprout - be one of the first to get a Sprout! 1 Basil Sprout with free domestic shipping.

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    697 backers

    3 Sprout Combo Pack! Get 1 Basil, 1 Cherry Tomato, and 1 Marigold with free domestic shipping.

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    235 backers

    Rock out with the Simon & Garfunkel 4 Sprout Combo Pack. 1 Sprout each of Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme with free domestic shipping.

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    79 backers

    Impress your friends with our Heirloom Pack of 4 Sprouts! Including 1 Heirloom Tomato Sprout, 1 Heirloom Cherry Tomato Sprout, and 2 Heirloom Basil Sprouts. Free domestic shipping.

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    250 backers All gone!

    What's the Story Morning Glory? Find out with our Flower Power Pack of 8 Sprouts. 2 each of Morning Glory, Marigold, Callendula, and Forget Me Not Sprouts. Free domestic shipping.

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    333 backers

    Spice up your life with the Herb Garden 8 Sprout Combo Pack! 1 Sprout each of: Basil, Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary, and Thyme. Free domestic shipping.

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    66 backers

    Skip out on groceries next summer with our Garden Variety Pack of 10 Sprouts! Includes 1 each of, Eggplant, Green Pepper, Heirloom Basil, Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Heirloom Tomato, Jalapeño, Mint, Parsley, Radish, and Rosemary. Free domestic shipping.

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    10 backers

    Be creative with our mega combo pack of 10 custom laser engraved Sprouts. Featuring 2 each of Heirloom Cherry Tomato, Heirloom Tomato, Heirloom Basil, Marigold, and Callendula. We'll laser etch your logo or up to 50 characters of your choosing onto all the Sprouts in this pack. Free domestic shipping.

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    2 backers

    Bacon Bliss Pack. We wish we could grow Bacon at home, in our office, or in our classroom. Unfortunately we can't, but it doesn't mean we can't pretend! We'll send you 10 Heirloom Basil Sprouts printed as though they contained Bacon. And we'll laser etch your logo or up to 50 characters of your choosing onto all the Sprouts in this pack. Free domestic shipping.

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    15 backers

    Be even more creative! 10 custom laser engraved Sprouts, You pick which varieties make up your pack (from any of the varieties listed above)! We'll laser etch your logo or up to 50 characters of your choosing onto all the Sprouts in this pack. Free domestic shipping.

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  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (10 left of 10)

    Have you ever wished you had something with a seed inside it? Like a keyboard, stapler, or iPhone? We'll send you our herb variety pack and you'll send us any inanimate (and legal in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts) object that you would like us to put a seed inside. We'll put a seed (from any of the varieties listed above) inside the object, post a video of the event to YouTube, and send it back to you for its eventual and triumphant planting. Please contact us for more information about this funding level.

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Funding period

- (30 days)