I was actually taught how to make my own kitting needles when I was in high school. It began my love of knitting and was the cause of early on-set arthritis at the tender age of 18. It was a very memorable lesson and one I have always wanted to do with students.
Start with dowel rods that are 12 inches long. Sand the dowels and then sharpen them in a pencil sharpener and dull the tip of each needle. Dowel is usually very inexpensive especially when you buy in bulk. The entire cost of making one set of knitting needles is roughly less than $12 HKD which is about $1.50 USD per set.
We then used a marbling kit to dye each needle creating swirling colourful patterns on their surfaces. Painting them with acrylic or water colour paint would work as well, or an even easier alternative would be using sharpie markers to draw designs and patterns.
Once dry students used wax paper and polished the needles to make them smooth and to make it easy to slide yarn across them while knitting.
Finally, students made clay buttons to attach to the end of each needle to prevent yarn from sliding off.
Knitting is a great skill to have regardless of age or gender. From the vikings knitting fishing nets in Scandinavian coastal villages centuries ago to knitting pink pussycat hats to champion universal suffrage and rights for women, knitting will continue to have a place in history as long as we continue to teach it. So, get started, make your own – it will have you in stitches!