Found Wood Pencil Holder

Length of Project:
Project theme:
Suitable for grades:
Tools & Materials
Material List
  • Chunk of scrap or seasoned found wood (teachers – you could turn this into a multi-year project by taking your students on a beach or forest foraging walk to find wood, and then seasoning it for future classes)
  • Masking tape to mark drill depths
  • Non-toxic finish
Tool list
  • Pencil
  • Drill press with 3/8” or 7/16” bit
  • Sandpaper
  • Paint brush (optional – depending on your chosen finish)
  1. Decide what size you want your pencil holder to be. The only requirement is that the piece of wood you use should be about 2” high so your holes will have enough depth to keep your pencils upright.
  2. Sand the edges of your block until smooth (unless you’re using a live-edge piece, then leave the sides you choose to keep natural).
  3. Choose which surface will be “up”, and mark the centre of each of your pencil holes with an “x”. Make sure that all of your “x”s are at least ½" apart from the next closest “x”.
  4. Place a piece of masking tape on the drill bit 1” up from the tip. This will be a guide so you don’t drill too far down, and so that your holes will be uniform depth.
  5. Drill a hole at every “x”.
  6. Apply your chosen finish and allow to dry. Now, load it up with pencils and find a spot to display your hard work!
Extension Challenges
  1. Glue some felt to the bottom of your pencil holder to protect the desk or table you place it on.
  2. Paint or wood burn or carve a design in the side or top of your pencil holder to customize it.
  3. Design a multi-purpose holder by drilling different sized holes for scissors, larger pens, etc.
  4. Make your pencil holder fancy by incorporating a bandsaw box style drawer below or to the side of the pencil holes.
  5. Drill an extra wide hole and place a test-tube in it to use as a vase.
  6. Using pieces of wood about 2” tall x 6” x 6”, make a set of six pencil or pencil-crayon holders for the tables of a local Kindergarten classroom. Make sure to choose a non-toxic type of wood (some types of wood can be irritating, such as walnut or cedar: always assume young children will put things in their mouth, even at Kindergarten age!).
  7. Keeping that in mind, if you use a finish, make sure it’s food grade, such as salad bowl conditioner or bees wax. You could make them rectangular, square, circular, or even cut out animal shapes for the kids.
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