Making a pencil wrap

I’ve wanted a pencil wrap for a while now.  I’ve seen lovely leather wraps for all the pencils you could ever need, but they always seem expensive for what they are.  After thinking about it for a while, I decided to make my own, in green gingham.  I chose quite a tough fabric – this one is a heavy cotton and not very flexible – it might suffer from wear and tear as it goes through life and I want it to last.

To make one, you will need:

  • Some fabric (heavy duty!)
  • Ribbon (this is optional – see step 7)
  • Thread
  • Scissors
  • Some pencils

1.  First, you will need to decide how many pencils you want to store in your roll.  This will help you decide how big your roll is going to be.  I wanted my roll to store 37 pencils.  You then need to check the thickness of your pencils.  I’m assuming your pencils are going to be standard pencils, as mine are, so you’re going to need 15mm per pencil for your roll (if your pencils are larger, you need to measure the width of them).  Multiply the number of pencils you want to store by 15.  This will give you the minimum length of fabric you need for your roll.  So for mine:

a) 42 x 15 = 630mm

DON’T CUT YOUR FABRIC JUST YET!  You need to include margins.  I added 20mm either side for a margin, which means a total of 40mm.  Add this your answer from part (a).  So for mine:

b) 630 + 40 = 670mm

So, this is the length of my wrap.

2.  Next, you need to work out the width of the fabric you need.  Assuming your pencils are a normal height at their maximum length, you will need 400mm.  This give you 135mm for a flap, and slots of 60mm depth.  Please read step 3 before cutting your fabric though!

3.  The first bit of sewing you should do is hem the end which will become the slots for your pencils.  I used the edge of the fabric (which had already been finished by the manufacturer) when I cut my fabric so that I only needed to fold the fabric once for hemming.  This is deliberate – you don’t want your hem to be too thick or it might make it hard to slot your pencils into their sections.  I hand-stitched this hem, but this is a personal choice – there’s no reason why you can’t machine it.

4.  Next, you need to sew the other edges (there should be 3).  I did what will be the edge of the flap first, then the two sides.  I machine-sewed these.  You will need to fold these edges over twice to prevent fraying.

5.  If you’ve done it right, you now have a rectangle of material with all your edges hemmed.  Next, you need to fold over the bottom of your fabric, to create the slots your pencils will fit in.  Please pin at this stage!    You want it to be straight.  You will sew both ends of the fabric first.  Then comes the difficult bit!  To make sure you get each slot the right width for your pencils, get a ruler out and draw lines every 15mm along the fabric which you can sew along.  Once you’ve sewn the first two or three slots, stop and check that your pencils fit in the holes!  If they do then you’ve done it right and you can carry on sewing down each of your lines.

6.  When you’ve finished step 5 you will have a rectangle of fabric with slots for pencils along the bottom of the fabric.  You’re nearly finished now!  This step is optional, but I then folded over the flap at the top of the rectangle (135mm) and sewed along the fold.  This means that the “default” option for the wrap is to keep the flap folded, protecting my pencils.  I can then lift the flap when I want to get a pencil out.

7.  You could use an elastic band to keep your wrap closed, but if you’d like to finish your wrap nicely, you can use a ribbon to close the wrap.  I used a double-length of ribbon and machine sewed it on both sides of my wrap.  You need both ends of the ribbon to end at the same edge of the wrap, so that you can close your wrap.

And there you have it, a new wrap for your pencils!  If you want, you can modify this pattern and make a pen wrap – just remember to measure the width of your pens first because they will be thicker than pencils!