Use them, of course!
drawing copyright 2010, Judith Nijholt-Strong
Stubbies and the Sharpener
colored pencil with pen& ink
Japanese Folded Moleskine
Over the many years of working with colored pencils, I have amassed quite a collection of "stubbies" - the short ends of used colored pencils (or any pencil, for that matter). I use them up, as far as I can.
When they get too short to sharpen in my electric sharpener, I'll either glue two ends together from the same color pencil so that they can still be run through an electric sharpener, or I'll use a pencil extender. When the short ends of the now joined *new* pencil get really too short, and no longer can go through my electric sharpener, I use my hand held sharpener (the one in the drawing above) which works just fine on the "stubbies".
photo copyright 2010, Judith Nijholt-Strong
My collection of Stubbies ( just some of them ... lol )
In the above photo, you can see where I've glued the ends together on some of the stubbies. You have to use the quick setting glue (2 minute kind, whatever brand, doesn't matter) and the ends do have to be flat for a good "fit". It works. I've never had any problems doing this and then you'll have a "fixed" pencil with enough length with which to comfortably draw and you can still use an electric sharpener (until it gets way too short).
My pencil extender (actually, I have two), which works well with colored pencils that do not have flat tops, is pictured in the glass jar on the upper right of the photo above.
Another good use of the short ends of colored pencils, and also graphite drawing pencils, is that they tuck neatly into a pocket or pouch for sketching/drawing outside (en plein air). Pop them into a bag, your pocket or a travelling pouch, along with a good hand held sharpener and you're good to go for a day out sketching/drawing.
Yes, I know there's someone who makes sculptures and earrings out of these things, but not me and not something I'd ever do (or wear...hahaha). I grew up with the old addage "waste not, want not" and so I use my cp's up to the last speck of color left in the wood! ;o)