Five DIY Pencil Pouches

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For this month’s DIY, I had the challenge of designing five canvas pencil pouches, each with a different technique, and inspired by different personalities. The DIY processes I chose are ones you can complete in an afternoon with supplies most crafty folks will already have on hand (or can be easily sourced from your local craft store).

For the Minimalist


Block Print Monogram with Leather Tassel



EZ Cut Printing Block, Pink Eraser, or even a Potato (Seriously – you just cut it in half and carve out your shape)

Scissors (for a very simple geometric design like a rectangle) or Printmaking Tools (for more elaborate designs)

Block Printing Fabric Ink

Flat, Washable/Non-porous Surface (a glass or metal tray works well)

Brayer, or, if you don’t have one of those, a Paintbrush

Cardboard Piece just smaller than your pouch


For leather tassel:

One Keychain Ring

Strips of Leather: (3) 1/8 inch wide and 6 inch long, (1) 1/4 inch wide and 1 inch long

Hot Glue Gun and Sticks


Cut out your design. I used scissors to cut a scrap of EZ cut I had laying around into a rectangle.

Place the cardboard piece inside your pouch so that the ink doesn’t bleed through to the other side.

Squeeze a glob of ink onto your tray and use your brayer to roll out a thin layer of ink. This is a very elementary block printing technique, so you could also totally use a paintbrush to spread a thin layer of ink out on the tray.

Press the block into the ink and then, using even pressure, press it down onto the canvas. Repeat to create a pattern or monogram!


For the leather tassel:

Thread the three long skinny strips of leather halfway through the ring.

Gather together, wrap small piece of leather around and hot glue.


For the Star Gazer

Embroidered Astrological Sign



Small Embroidery Hoop

Embroidery Floss

Embroidery Needle




Fasten the embroidery hoop onto the top layer of your pouch, the inside part of the hoop should be inside the pouch.

Find a reference picture of your (or a pal’s!) astrological sign and use a pencil to lightly sketch it onto your pouch.

For the stars, use a French Knot. For the connecting lines and lettering, use a Back Stitch.

*I find the linked tutorials helpful, and reference them often.. I’m a visual learner so the clear illustrations are helpful!


For the Artist

Matisse Inspired Felt Collage


Felt – in lots of different colors!


Hot Glue Gun and Sticks


First, you might want to look up a bunch of Henri Matisse’s paper cuts for reference.

Use the organic shapes as inspiration and try cutting some shapes out of the felt

Keep all the scraps… you will probably like the scrap shapes you inadvertently make more than the ones you cut carefully and intentionally.

Arrange the shapes and scraps into an interesting pattern.

Rearrange them a million times.

Hot glue them down to your pouch.

Wait a bit, then check all the edges of your shapes and hot glue any ones you might have missed.


For the Bohemian


Indigo Tie Dye



Rit Dye in Navy Blue

Rubber Bands, Clips, Clothespins, any other binding materials you’d like to experiment with!

Glass Bowl

Warm Water

Paper Towels


Stirring Implement


For a shibori inspired design like mine, accordion fold your pouch and then fold it into thirds. Place rubber bands around the middle horizontally and vertically (like a present).

*Make sure your bands are tight. Mine weren’t as tight as they probably should have been and my design ended up without much left un-dyed. 

Lay paper towels or newspaper over your workspace.

Pour four cups of warm tap water into a glass bowl.

Wearing your gloves, pour three capfuls of Rit Dye into the water and stir.

Stick your bound pouch and let sit for 20 min.

Remove from bowl and squeeze out excess dye.

Rinse in cool water till it runs clear and then unbind and admire your design!


For the Optimist

Acrylic Rainbow Print



Acrylic Paint

Brushes – one for each color

Palette – or somewhere to mix colors


A piece of Cardboard to place between layers of the pouch


Choose the colors for your rainbow. I suggest keeping with either cool (blues and purples and greens) or warm (reds and yellows and oranges) tones, but do whatcha like.

Experiment by mixing a little bit of each of the colors together, and then try adding some white to your palate and mixing a dab of one of the colors into it. I mixed some pink into my ochre and mixed a bit of that dusty orange color into some white and got a nice peachy shade. Your colors will always turn out better if you manipulate them a little, than if you use them right out of the tube (IMO).

Mix a little water with the paint and it will glide onto and soak into the canvas more easily. (If you’re stressed that you’re going to ruin your pouch the second you start painting, do a practice run on some scrap paper!)

Place the cardboard piece inside your pouch so paint doesn’t soak through, and start painting your rainbows!

Once I was finished with the design, I thought it needed a little something else, so I used a pencil eraser, dipped it into some white paint and did a little impromptu block printing to make the polka-dots

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