How To Make A Pencil Holder From Empty Tin Cans

Rather than throw away empty tin cans, why not recycle them? You can turn them into a stylish pen or pencil holder for your kids –  it’s the perfect craft idea for Back to School Week! 


Rather than throw away empty tin cans, why not recycle them? You can turn them into a stylish pen or pencil holder for your kids –  it’s the perfect craft idea for Back to School Week!

Stylish scandi style monochrome pencil holder from recycled tin cans/ Grillo Designs

I’d be lying if I said the thought of the six week summer holiday hadn’t initially filled me with fear…

The kind of fear you might experience during that awkwardly slow roller coaster climb up very steep tracks (you know, right before that gut wrenching drop that has you wishing you’d hit your head already and fall into a blissful un-consciousnes)

Or the moment when you accidentally mount the pavement during a driving test and realise that those grunts coming from the examiners direction are actually her way of telling you that you have failed – again.




Or being told by your Midwife that now is the time to push the baby out (it will hurt like hell mind you, but please try not to panic, it’ll all be over in a hour maybe two) 

Of course, in every one of those self-inflicted moments, all you want to do is scream like a crazy person and run for the nearest hills (or at least you think it would be towards the hills. Your sense of direction on a good day is pretty crap, but under pressure, you can’t even find your own ass. Thank god for Google Maps.

“Siri , where are the hills???”) 




But running is kinda out of the question when you’re meant to be a responsible adult (and parent). So yeah, you’ll panic -a little, perhaps even hyperventilate- a lot. In the end though, you’ll just have to put on your big girl panties and suck it up!

Which I did -and surprisingly, these past few weeks haven’t been as bad as I had imagined they would be (the phrase making a mountain out of mole hill might be apt here). In fact, they’ve been pretty good (for the most part). My five year old and I have had a great time and if anything, spending every single waking moment together has brought us closer together.

Very cliche I know, but true.


Pencil holder hung from palled wood / Grillo Designs


School starts back next week – and with it the resumption of this very neglected blog.

I know I’m cutting it really close, but I thought I’d squeeze in a last minute back to school craft idea on the blog today. This tin can pencil holder idea is perfect for all sorts of stationary your kids might need for their desks or homework stations!






Materials needed to make a pencil holder from tin cans / Grillo Designs



If you haven’t already, you first need to remove the paper wrapping from the tin cans. I soaked my cans in the sink for half an hour to remove the sticky residue.


Remove the residue from the tin cans / Grillo Designs


Next measure and cut your fabric. I used a pen and ruler to draw a straight line across the back of the fabric before cutting.


Cut out the fabric to make this tin can pencil holder/ Grillo Designs


The height of the can was measured against the fabric to figure out how thick I needed to cut my strips.


Choose fabric samples for you pencil holder / Grillo Designs



Once you’re satisfied with your fabric sizing, apply glue to one side of the can using your foam brush.


Apply glue to tin can to make this diy pencil holder / Grillo Designs


Then start wrapping the fabric around the can, pressing down hard to ensure it sticks well. Apply the glue to the other side of the can and wrap the remaining fabric. If your fabric overlaps that’s fine!


Wrap fabric around tin can to make a stylish pencil holder / Grillo Designs


Leave to dry for about 30 min (I used my radiator to speed things up) and then apply more glue to the outside of the fabric to harden (and protect it)


Allow the pencil holder to dry on radiator / Grillo Designs


As you can see from the picture below, the fabric at the top of the cans looked a  little messy. 


Seal pencil holder can with modpodge glue / Grillo Designs


To neaten it up, you can either fold the edges over whilst the fabric is drying or cut around the edges (once the fabric has dried and is stiff) using an X-acto knife.

I went with second option.


Fabric covered diy pencil holder / grillo designs

Black and white cute pencil holder from tin can/ Grillo Designs</>


The second part of this pencil holder tutorial is optional

If you want your new pencil holders to hang, here’s what you can do.

Grab some pallet wood (or any wood material) and add on velcro squares! Use the gorilla super glue to make sure the velcro is firmly stuck the wood.

This is the Velcro brand I used


Velcro used to attach pencil holder to pallet wood / Grillo Designs


Dont forget to add velcro to the backs of your tins too!


Velcro applied to diy pencil holder / Grillo Designs


And voila – you should end up with something like this!


Wall pencil holder rack for kids / Grillo Designs


I attached two picture hooks to the back of the pallet wood, and hung on the wall with nails! Alternatively you could use command brand hooks


monochrome style pencil holder that hangs /Grillo Designs


My son loves his new pencil holders – although I’m not sure how long that will last when he realises that this whole space I designed for him will mostly be for homework!


How to upcycle empty tin cans and make a pencil holder /Grillo Designs


I really hope I’m not the only parent to have ‘feared’ the upcoming school holiday (if you say yes, I’ll feel like crap). Are you prepared for back to school week? What has been your most favourite experience of this summer holiday? Leave me a comment below- I always love hearing from you all!




UPCYCLED TIN CAN PENCIL HOLDER - Rather than throw away your empty tins cans, why not recycle them? You can turn tin cans into a stylish pen or pencil holder for your kids - the perfect craft idea for Back to School Week!  Grillo Designs




diy pencil holder from a brick / Grillo Designs









  1. Love this idea so much! I am doing it. I homeschool all my kids and i think that this is such a great idea not just for practical use after it is done, but also as an art project. Thank you!

  2. I love reusing vegetable cans for creating organizers!
    You have a lot of crafts and I appreciate that you stopped by to share your blog on Oh My Heartsie Girls WW this week. #OMHGWW

    I am now following you on Twitter, FB Instagram and Pinterest and hope that you will follow back.

    Come again soon and also watch for my Friday linky party to join in. #OMHGFF
    Have a great week!:)

  3. The pencil holder is so cute! It seems like a very fun, frugal, and personalizable craft. I think I will try to make a few of these in pink for my 1st grader.

    I had a ton of fun with my daughter over summer break. We had fun potty training her little sister and crafting.

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