Pen Making Contest Entries Are Closed, But We Need Your VOTES!

Midnight was our deadline for entries to our first Pen Contest.
Many beautiful pens that have been entered! All of our penmakers, expert and beginner alike, have done a wonderful job with their creativity and craftsmanship.

Now we need you to VOTE!
The best pens in the beginner and advanced categories will be determined by our judges, BUT the most POPULAR pen will be determined by the public. Please share this link with your family, friends and on social media. A last minute push in votes can move someone up and give us a surprise winner in the popular category! Let’s have some fun!

Voting closes November 5, and the winners will be announced November 6th.

Good Luck to all the entrants.

Happy Turning,


Last Few Days for Pen Making Contest!

The entries for the Pen Making Contest are still coming in, and looking good!

Only a few days remain to enter our first Pen Contest!
Pen Contest Entry Info
There is still time to get your friends to vote for your pen in the “Most Popular” category by posting it to all your favorite social media channels.  If you have a lot of family & friends, the more votes you get the better your chances are to win the “Most Popular” prize!
Choosing the prize winners for the Beginner and Advanced categories will be a difficult decision for our judges, but they will do their best. The entries so far are terrific!

Good Luck and Happy Turning!

– Barry

Announcing Our FIRST Arizona Silhouette Pen Contest!

Arizona Silhouette is proud to announce our FIRST Pen Contest!

Let’s have some fun going into the Fall season preparing for craft shows or making gifts for the holidays.
Arizona Silhouette is sponsoring our first pen contest. It’s easy to enter, lots of GOOD prizes, and hopefully, a lot of fun for everyone.

Below you will see the FULL details, but the short version is:
Pay your entry $10 feeclick here     You will receive $20 in gift certificates in the form of 2 – $10 gift certificates by email – we pay you to enter! Save the order number from your entry purchase, you will need it for the next step. Only ONE entry per person.
Fill out the entry formclick here     Fill out all the information on the form, and include your order number from your entry fee purchase. Upload the best photo that you can of your pen.
Upload your photo
Share with everyone!
 send the link to your pen photo to all your family, friends, penturning groups & forums and fans on social media. The Beginner & Advanced categories will be decided by our panel of judges, but the “Most Popular” category will be decided by how well you share, schmooze, brag, promote, etc. Honestly, you could have a horrible pen, but if you get the most votes on it, you would win. LOL!

Quick Links to the FULL details:



10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe – Grand Prize

Grand Prize:
10” Turncrafter Variable Speed Lathe ($399.95 value US Only, No FPO, APO)
Best pen from both beginner & advanced categories combined, decided by the judges
1 grand prize will be awarded

1st runners up:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 First runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

2nd runners up in both beginner & advanced categories:
$50 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
1 Second runner up prize will be awarded in both beginner & advanced categories
Best pen in both beginner or advanced category, decided by the judges

Popular Vote category most votes in either Beginner or Advanced Category:
$75 gift certificate to Arizona Silhouette’s Store
Only 1 pen can be the most popular! Decided by your penturning friends, family & fans. Post the link to your pen on all your social media accounts and ask people to vote for your entry!

Judging & Rules


Beginner – a pen maker who has successfully made less than 500 pens
Advanced – a pen maker who has successfully made more than 500 pens
Popular Vote – This can be an entry from either category – this is a fan favorite pen. Use social media to get out the vote for your pen!

Panel of Judges:

Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts
Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks
Don Ward – Author of “Turning Modified Slimline Pens”
The Staff of Arizona Silhouette   

The Rules:

  • Contest starts August 31 and runs thru November 1. All entries must be submitted by November 1, 2018. Winners will be announced on November 6, 2018 on Barry’s Blog, Arizona Silhouette email list, our Facebook Page and any other places that we can think of. Winners will also be notified by email.
  • Entrance fee for either category $10 – Once entered you will receive two (2) $10 coupons to AZ store. (we are paying you to enter the contest!) These special double your money discount coupons will expire in six months.  Only one (1) entry per person and only one coupon can be used per order. Buy your $10 entry fee here: Click Here
  • Put your sales order number from purchasing your $10 entry on the photo upload form.
  • The pen you are entering must be made from a pen kit purchased from Arizona Silhouette.
  • Only 1 entry per person. Yes, you can vote for your own pen. Only ONE set of 2 – $10 gift certificates will be issued per person.
  • Only 1 vote per person, per entry. A voter can only vote once for an entry, but they can vote for as many entries as they like, in all categories.
  • Pens can be made from wood, stabilized wood, cactus, antler, acrylic, acrylic you made, casted items, polymer clay, stabilized squirrel poop, get the picture?
  • Please no CNC made pens – pens are to be turned on a lathe.
  • Fill out the official Arizona Silhouette entry form on the blog Click here for entry form and send a good quality photo of your completed pen by November 1, 2018 for it to be considered. (max photo size 10MB, must be JPG or PNG)
    If your image is larger, you can use an online photo resizer website like
    For some tips about “how to photograph your pen” click here
  • Judging of the pens will be based on quality of workmanship (fit & finish), originality in design and choice of materials and overall eye appeal – “Eye Candy.”
    The judging of the pens will be done by a panel of judges who are penturning experts including: Tom Barron – owner of Maneater Crafts, Curtis Seebeck – owner of TurnTex Woodworks, Don Ward – Author of Turning Modified Slimline Pens and The Staff of Arizona Silhouette. The decision of the judges is FINAL, and once announced, the winners will receive their prizes by mail or email.
  • After judges narrow down to the finalists in the categories, the finalists may be asked for further detail photos of their pen.
  • By submitting your photo entry, you are granting Arizona Silhouette the right to use that photo for marketing and promotional purposes on all our social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and others. You retain the copyright to your photo.

Photographing Your Work

Distracting Background

I’ve served as a juror for high end craft shows for many years. One issue that always stands out is how people photograph their work.  Some people have elaborate sets, props and backgrounds, and the piece that they are trying to photograph gets lost in the background.  They feel that the “artsier” the image the better, when a plain image is sometimes better.  I am no expert by any means, however, when you can see the work clearly then you are ahead of the game.  Below you will find some general guidelines to help you obtain the image you want so your acceptance into a “Pen Contest” or a juried craft show gets easier for you.

Clean Background & In Focus

Out of Focus

First and foremost, make sure your piece is in focus!  If you are using a digital SLR camera do not use the auto setting.  Use the aperture setting (lens opening) on your camera and set it as high as you can (f16 or f22) to get the most depth of field (focus) as you can.  This will assure your photo will be in focus from the front to the back.  A tripod is helpful to hold your camera to steady the image. Please consult your camera’s manual for exactly how to use it manually.

Lighting is very important.  A dark picture cannot show the detail in the work.  Natural sunlight is best

Dark Image

but it can give you very harsh shadows.  Use a light tent and light the image from three sides, (top, and left & right sides).  By lighting from three sides, you soften any shadows you may get. The light cancels out the shadows.  Using one source of light will usually produce harsh shadows.

Use a plain background.  You want your pen to be the main focus not what you are using as a background. I personally like using a clear pen stand to photograph my pens. If you do not use a stand for your photograph, and you just lay it on your background, your pen will tend to roll and not lay the way you want it to.  Use some tacky putty, museum wax or a tiny piece of scotch tape rolled up and stuck to the back of the pen.  This will allow you to position the pen in the way you want.

Although a digital SLR will probably give the best results, you can still get very good results using a phone or tablet that have a good camera. There are many photography apps available that can help with aperture & focus. Do not use any built-in filters, they won’t make your photo any better. There are attachments for phones & tablets that will allow you to use a tripod to keep it steady for a sharp photo.

So, lighting, focus and a plain background will work most of the time especially, if you are trying to win a “Pen Contest” – get the hint!  Good luck and happy picture taking!

Alaskan Spalted Birch Has Arrived!

Alaskan Spalted Birch

Just arrived back form the stabilizer is one of my favorite woods, Alaskan Spalted Birch.  Birch is a light wood and these pieces are from Alaska that have started spalting.  These pieces have been stabilized to make it easier to turn and once a finish has been applied to the blank,  the true chatoyance of the wood can be seen.  These are “Eye Candy” to be seen!

Happy Turning – Barry

Short Vacation

Arizona Silhouette is going into our 7th year so it is finally time to actually take some time off.  Well I am only going to take a few days while Lenora will stay at the beach all week.  Arizona Silhouette will be closed for Monday and Tuesday but will open back up on Wednesday.  On Thursday, I will be off to the Washington DC Pen Show and be there for the weekend.  So if you are in the DC area come see me at the DC Pen Show.  Michael will be in the warehouse filling orders and answering the phones on Wednesday. thru Friday.Talk with you later – Happy Turning – Barry

Faux Cigar Kits Have Arrived!

Faux Cigar Pen kits

I want to thank Dale DeHoff for working with Arizona Silhouette on this great Faux Cigar project.  These simple to make pens offer the cigar aficionado a great gift.  The pen blanks are made from highly figured exotic woods and burls.  The kit comes pre-tubed and turned.  All you have to do is some turning, finishing and assembling to have one of these one-of-a-kind pens!

Happy Turning – Barry