DIY Pencil Holders for School, Office or Home

Back to school project ideas: How to make a pencil holder or crayon holder via #backtoschool #teachergifts #organization

Michael’s asked me to take part in their First Day of School Blogger Challenge….you know I love a good challenge.  I wanted to make something that would get Boo excited for school but also be made as a teacher’s gift or a gift for a writer friend, housewarming present, or even just to organize an office space.  I like projects that might appeal to everyone…..and that can be made by anyone with just a few household tools.

So I made a rustic-inspired pencil/chalk/supply holder for Boo with her name on it….to sit on her desk:

Make a rustic wood pencil holder via

It can be used for almost anything so it will grow with her:

DIY rustic wood pencil holder via


And a matching little crayon holder with space for “odds and ends”:

diy art supply storage via


And a gift idea for a teacher (or for your home to display a favorite quote but also keep your pens, makeup brushes, etc handy!):

DIY gift idea for a writer via #writing #quote #gifts



I started out with some selections from the wood craft section. You need one basswood carving black for each piece:

wood carving diy via


For the project with the tray you’ll have to visit the painting section of the store and pick up a wood cradled canvas:

easy wood project ideas via

First I marked my holes at the top of the basswood block:

wood project dremel ideas diy via

Then you need a boring bit for your household drill. These are very common so ask your neighbor first if you don’t have one!  Or buy a complete set for about $15.00….you can use them for any project that requires a hole drilled I used 9/16″ bit for the larger holes and a 7/16″ for the smaller crayon holes.

Tip: After you drill one hole mark your bit with tape or Sharpie so you can drill the rest of them exactly the same depth.

how to bore a hole into wood block via

The finished holes took a total of 5 minutes to drill. Use a sanding block to smooth all your edges:

How to drill wide holes in wood via


Tip: to keep your wood from chipping add a piece of masking tape to the top before you measure.  Drill straight through the tape. Or just don’t worry about it and go for “rustic” like I do!

how to keep wood from splintering when drilling via


I think the easiest way to draw letters is to make a template. I use Powerpoint because I think it’s the fastest way I think because you just add a box the same width as your block and then add text so you can see how it’s going to look.  Then hit print!

how to paint letters on wood via


Put transfer paper (from the drawing section at Michael’s) underneath the template:

How to paint perfect letters on wood via

Carefully trace your letters….

How to paint near perfect letters via

….transferring the design to your block:

How to paint fancy letters on wood via

Use black acrylic craft paint to carefully fill in the letters and allow them to dry:

how to paint letters without stencils via

To finish the wood pick a wood stain color…..something light that won’t darken the wood too much:

how to make a wood rustic sign via


Allow the wood to dry and spray with a satin varnish if you prefer:

DIY rustic wood crayon holder via

So many things a holder like this can be used for:

How to make a wood pencil holder via


Another fun variation: spray the block with chalkboard paint:

how to use chalkboard paint via


You can add a special message if it’s a gift for a teacher:

chalkboard paint project ideas via

…or maybe it’s a gift for a child:

back to school crayon idea via

The message can be changed easily with the swipe of a damp cloth:

creative ways to use chalkboard paint via


To make the holder with the tray I had to cut down the wood piece to fit inside (I used my jigsaw….but a hand saw will work just a well):

cutting wood at home with dremel motosaw via

The cut piece fits snugly inside the upside down wood canvas. Sand down all the pieces.

how to make a rustic tray via

Before the wood is attached add your lettering and paint….it’s easier at this point:

how to make a personalized rustic tray via

Drill the holes for the crayons or other supplies:

how to make art supply storage via


I can make a big mess in a short amount of time!


The piece ready to stain or paint:

repurposing items for office and school supply storage via

Tip: To add stain in small areas try Q-tips!

diy painting tips and staining tips via


The finished tray:


Odds and ends:

diy rustic home decor and rustic wedding decor ideas via


Now filled with Boo’s odds and ends:

how to organize kids supplies via

Grab a crayon….any crayon!

organizing kid school supplies art supplies via

Brand new crayons….best thing ever:


Okay….one LAST variation to show you.  How about adding an inspiration quote to a holder for a gift or to decorate your desk? You can hand draw the letters onto vinyl adhesive shelf paper and cut them out….or use an electronic cutting machine like the Cricut or Silhouette to cut them out quickly:

using a silhouette or cricut to make stencils via

I painted the holder black:

diy subway art project ideas via


Then attached my stencil on top and masked the edges to protect them:

making quotes into art via

A few light coats of white spray paint:

And voila….instant lettering:

subway sign inspired art for home or classroom via


Tailor the quote to your recipient:

diy quote art inspiration subway art via


Tip: to touch up any areas of spray paint that might have seeped under the stencil: spray your can of paint into a small cup so that it pools.  Then use a small detail brush to touch up the areas and your paint will match perfectly.

how to touch up spray paint via spray painting tips


A few touch ups is all this one needed:

How to touch up spray paint mistakes via

I got the most amazing gift the other day from a new friend….that vintage red Underwood typewriter.  So cool right?  Thanks again Michelle! This pen holder looks great next to it on my desk:

DIY Organization Hacks office desk organization ideas via

Remember when there was no spell check? I can’t believe how reliant I am on it now!

vintage underwood typewriter via office decor decorating ideas


Oh a few more things….thanks to Michael’s for the challenge!  Take a look at the Back to School lookbook when you get a chance.

1. Michaels offers a 15 percent discount for teachers every day. Make sure to talk to a store associate during your next trip to learn more.
2. Need a large quantity of one back to school item but don’t see enough on the shelves? Michaels offers a bulk ordering program where you can order as many supplies as you need and save up to 20 percent.
3. Don’t forget to download the Michaels app so that you will always have the latest deals and coupons at your fingertips in case you need last minute school supplies.


I’d love to see your version of my pencil and office supply holders! If you make one make sure to show it off by tagging @lilblueboo and @michaelsstores and use the hashtag #michaelsbts so we can share your creation!





  1. melissa says

    I did these with a larger boring bit and glued the magic marker caps into the holes. Now my kids ALWAYS put the caps back on the markers because that’s how they get put away.


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