I periodically like to check in with The Empty Easel site. I always find inspiring articles with practical advice, ideas, tips, and tutorials for creating and selling art.
Today, I found an article on How to Make a Tortillon (blending stick) written by Kim "Gordie" Carver. She includes template instructions. At first I thought, "Why make a Tortillon when I can just as easily purchase one?" But then I read how Kim uses her blending sticks.
Here is her explanation in her own words: "I use Prismacolor Pencils a lot. The colors are vibrant, and they are beautifully transparent when I use a Tortillon to blend them, allowing the colors below them to show through."
Now, to me, that was a new use for a Tortillon. I had always used these blending sticks for shading when I did pencil sketches. All of a sudden the Tortillon appeared to be a more versatile tool than I realized. Check out Kim's Tortillon Tutorial and then try making one for yourself.
Are there other artist tools that you use for alternate purposes?