DIY Pencil Holders to Dress up your Desk

Upcycle old jars into pretty DIY Pencil Holders for your Desk. Get the full tutorial here.


Since my daughter got a new desk and a ton of art supplies for Christmas, I’ve been meaning to find a way to organize it all. 

My kids plastic vitamin containers proved to be the perfect vessel to hold markers, pencils, and gel pens.  So for the last few months, I’ve been collecting and saving them. 

Of course, we had to jazz them up a bit.  Read on to see how we did it!

DIY Pencil Holders – Step by Step

step 1 – clean and dry jars

Upcycle old vitamin jars to make pencil holders

The first thing I did was clean and de-sticker the vitamin containers.  Of course, the stickers gave me trouble.  So I had to use goo gone.  I then gave it wash in hot soapy water and dried them thoroughly.

Step 2 – Spray Paint Jars

I thought I would give this Valspar Devine Color spray paint a try.  They have a lot of different colors and finishes.  You can use it on wood, metal, glass plastic, and more.  And the best part is – one coat dries in 5 minutes so it doesn’t take long to finish the actual spray painting part.   After one hour, you can “handle” it.  But wait a week until the paint fully cures.

Spray Paint Jars outside

We did this project outside on a breezy, sunny day.  It’s best to do this outside because of the fumes in my opinion.  I gave the containers a few coats of paint all over, including the bottom.  You should shake the paint can before as well as during your spray painting. 

The best way to do use this is to spray about 10 or 12 inches away in a sweeping motion.  I did a series of light coats for an even finish.  If you do heavier coats, then there is the potential to have drips and paint runs.

Spray Paint jars outside

After I finished spray painting, I left it dry (upside down) for a few days.  My daughter chose the color Devine Cupcake – which is a matte finish.  It’s a really cute, pastel pink color.  Perfect for her room since we have pink and purple everywhere!

The paint looked white initially, then dried to pink!

Overall, I really liked the spray paint.  The only negative is that it can be hard to hold the spray nozzle down (that could be a safety thing).  Not the end of the world though.  🙂 (UPDATE: I now almost exclusively use Rustoleum Spray Paint Products).

Step 3: Decorate Jar

After it was dry, we wanted to cover up the top plastic part where the lid would screw on.  I thought of hot gluing twine on it but we ultimately decided on washi tape

Washi Tape

The washi tape we used doesn’t stick incredibly well to the containers, so I’ll probably have to glue it on eventually.  But it does look cute on her desk!

We filled her pencil holders with gel pens, markers, and colored pencils.

DIY Pencil Holders to Dress up your Desk

It makes it easier to transport them too when she wants to color at the kitchen table.  She just grabs a jar!

Make your own pencil holders from old jars

I love how the pink color pops against her purple wall.  For the cost of some spray paint and washi tape – this ended up being a great solution to organizing the clutter of art supplies.  You could easily do this with any glass or plastic jar.  Even Mason Jars

Spray paint them to match your office decor or go bold with a vibrant hue.  I hope you guys enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial! 

xo Karen