Mrs. Parks’ Rout: How Mrs. Parks hand-makes the Dance Cards!

regencey dancers

Gentle Reader,

I Love working with the Lady Strong and the Merry Miss Parish to pull together our Regency themed rout. One of the aspects I enjoy the most is the crafty elements I get to add to help the “Olden Timey” feeling come alive. With this in mind, all guests who purchase their vouchers (tickets) ahead of time will receive a Dance Card. Dance cards did not come into wide use until later in the 19th century starting in Vienna and then making their way towards England and the USA Eventually they fell out of favor early in the 20th century. A dance card was usually issued only to the lady – the gentleman was supposed to be so honoured to have been granted a dance he could never forget or get confused. We’ll issue them to both parties and encourage ladies to ask gentlemen to dance if they see one that takes their fancy. You can find more information on dance cards HERE

Along with the dance card a little pencil was tied to it so the lady could jot down her partners name. Dance cards were almost always of some sort of fine paperstock, and therefore are reproducible with a printer, Microsoft publisher, and a little patience. Those little ball pencils though are a real trial.

One of the pioneers in dance card pencils was a German company named Staedtler. It says on their website they were the first to create a pencil lead fine enough…Huh. They no longer make them (according to their US representative no one manufactures them anymore) so I went in search of them elsewhere. Seriously, I can’t believe how nearly IMPOSSIBLE these things were to find. Finally, I found a single website that offers them in a single colour: Silver. Also they are around $0.61 EACH…Which felt like a lot of money for a pencil with a ribbon. Especially as I have tons of crafting supplies and golf pencils at my disposal.

“I Shall Craft These!” I thought. And I did. Here is how I did it.

First I gathered My Supplies

Screenshot 2014-07-21 at 2.58.31 PM - Edited

Here you shall see narrow ribbon, golf pencils, and jewelry findings all from stash

The Pencil

I had Golf Pencils left over from last years Rout. They were $8 for over a hundred of them at Smart and Final. They were that awful No.2 pencil colour so I ganked some spray paint from my friend Michael @ Chase Flower Shop. I decided that I’d just spray ‘em. This was the most difficult part of the process because they would stick together and then I’d flip them before the paint would dry, because I am impatient, it was a whole thing.

Here you can see how they stuck together and were kinda a pain to paint.

Here you can see how they stuck together and were kinda a pain to paint.

I was thinking after all the trial in painting them that it would have been easier to just buy them in a better colour. However finding them in a better colour also proved harder than it seemed like it should, and when I did find them they were like double the price. So maybe all the pain in painting them wasn’t a waste after all!

The Caps and Ribbon

 I had this narrow mint green ribbon in my stash, It had been gifted to me. And these little golden “pearl cap” jewelry findings were bought YEARS ago in LA for cheap!!

Screenshot 2014-07-21 at 3.00.52 PM

Screenshot 2014-07-21 at 3.02.00 PM

Knotted the ribbon through the filigree holes and them hot glued the pencils into the caps.

Screenshot 2014-07-21 at 3.03.09 PM

When the glue was mostly dry I squished the cap closed around the pencil.

Ta Da!

The First 20 People to purchase a voucher for the rout on the second of August will receive one of these fancy homemade dance card pencils AND a commemorative dance card. So won’t you please accept our invitation? We hope to see you on the 2nd for Mrs. Parks’ Regency Rout!

A dance card from last year's Rout!

A dance card from last year’s Rout!


4 comments on “Mrs. Parks’ Rout: How Mrs. Parks hand-makes the Dance Cards!

  1. joAnne Emery says:

    I need a dance card for a Valentines Ball in 1865 for a prop in a play.. can you help me out?

    • Hello-
      As you can see, our cards were specifically made for our dance and we had none to spare.

      However, a prop dance card can be made by printing a dance card on card stock (four cards per 8.5×11 sheet), cutting and folding it, and attaching a stringed pencil.

      You can purchase pencils here, if you aren’t up for making them yourselves like Mrs Parks did in the blog post:

  2. Hayley says:

    I have the same dilemma with finding the dance card pencils… I was curious about what size the pearl caps are, in mm, because I really like the project and want to give it a shot for our ball.

    • I believe that Mrs. Parks used a 6mm bead cap with long flanges to get a good purchase on the pencil. The diameter of the pencil looks to be just about 5-6mm itself, so it sits nicely in the base with the flanges wrapping down securely over the pencil top. I hope that makes sense!

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