Simple physics: pencils sticking to the wall

People across all platforms are sharing videos of themselves sliding objects across surfaces in what seems to be magic. The trend has had skepticism causing many to try out the trick for themselves. (Photo Courtesy of Maddie Bimonte)


Recently across social media there is a trend where students take random items they find at school or home and stick them to the wall without using any adhesive. The trend began with people taking their charging bricks and sticking them to the wall, as if it was magic.

However, this is no magic trick but rather simple physics. The science behind the trend stems from a procedure called micro-welding. Gabriel Argao, the physics teacher at Leesville, explains the process behind the adherence.“[Micro-Welding] means all the little grooves stick together and become one,” said Argao.

Micro-Welding is a common technique used when bonding together items that are relatively small in size.

When used correctly, this creates the phenomenon going around on Snapchat and Twitter. Yet, there are a few requirements when it comes to successfully doing this project. “It only works on painted surfaces…if you were to do it on wood, it would not work,” said Argao. The reason behind this is because when you move the object at a fast enough rate, the paint will melt and that is the reason it creates an adhesive solution.

For a longer explanation, Gabriel Argao explains the process of micro-welding and the adhesion phenomenon.

Another factor in making sure the project will work is if your surface is flat. Surfaces that are not flat are unable to create a vacuum which also helps maintain the adhesiveness of the wall. Bumps also interrupt the action of pushing down on the object in making it stick. When taking a pencil for example, you will have a harder time making it stick if it continuously moves over bumps because the paint is not heating up. Instead, it is chipping away at those bumps and not actually sticking.

This trend is remarkably universal, with people using whatever they find in their classrooms, or their electronics, to random items like brooms. Just remember behind every fun trend is some form of science.


  1. Something that would also stick to the wall would be a card. something that could make a card stickier would be a bit of glue on the bottom and i stuck a card to a wall and it stayed on the wall for two seconds. (without glue)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.