Make a Pencil Roll in just Ten Minutes!

How to make an easy pencil roll

This pencil roll is a quick little project that makes a great gift for a child or creative adult. As long as you have a pack of coloured pencils lying about, it can be whipped up at short notice with just materials from your stash.

I can’t promise it will take you only 10 minutes, that depends on your skill level with the sewing machine, but regardless, it’s a very easy sewing project that is ideal for beginner sewists.

I actually made up a big batch of these as party favors a while ago, and they were a big hit. These pencil rolls are compact when rolled up, and an ideal size to throw in a handbag – fabulous for entertaining the kids with a bit of drawing or colouring when out and about.

If you want to make this sewing project even easier, use a fabric that doesn’t fray, which saves needing to finish the off the edges. Felt, faux leather or waxed canvas are all great options for non-fraying fabrics that are robust enough for every day use.

This pencil roll pattern is very versatile and can be adapted to store all sorts of other craft supplies. Why not make a crochet hook roll, or one to store knitting needles? It’s simple to adjust the basic measurements to suit differently sized items with the instructions I’ve included below.

Let’s make a Pencil Roll!

DIY Pencil Roll -

You will need:

  • 12 coloured pencils (7 inches tall)
  • Calico fabric (or cotton fabric of choice) piece about 12″x12.5″ or custom size (see below)
  • Cotton tape or ribbon about 50cm (19.5″)
  • Sewing thread in desired colours
  • Tailors chalk (optional)
  • Scissors
  • Pins
  • Sewing machine with quilting guide
  • Overlocker/Serger (ideal but not essential)

How to:

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

1. Gather your materials – you can choose any mid to heavy weight fabric for this project. The pencils pictured are 7 inches long, if yours are longer or shorter I will show you how to adjust your measurements in step 2.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

2. Cut your fabric into a rectangular shape. My measurements are 12 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide. You may need to change this measurement if you have more pencils or they are longer or shorter than those pictures.

How much to cut?

Fabric Width = 1 inch per pencil + an extra ½ inch

Fabric Height = finished height (pencil height + 1 inch) + half finished height

Cutting guide - pencil roll -

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

How to make a fabric pencil roll - serged edges -

3. Overlock (serge) top and bottom edges. If you don’t have an overlocker (serger) you can zig zag around the edges or use pinking shears so the fabric doesn’t fray. I’ve used red and blue thread to add a bit of colour.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

4. Fold the bottom half way up and pin into place. You can use the pencils as a guide.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

5. Now mark with pins where you will stitch your lines to make the compartments for each pencil. I have allowed 1 inch between each seam. You can reduce this if you want a snugger fit for each pencil. Start you measurements about ¼ inch from the left side. If you like you can mark your lines with tailors chalk as a guide.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

6. Sew a nice straight line ¼ inch from the left side to use as a reference for your quilting guide (if using one). Set your quilt guide to 1 inch and sew a line from the bottom to the top of the pencil roll. Remember to do a couple of back stitches at the start and end of each row so the stitches don’t unravel.

Sewing How to make a fabric pencil roll -

7. Continue sewing rows all the way to the end of the roll. The straighter your guide line is the straighter the stitched lines that follow will be.

Don’t have a quilting guide? Mark your lines with tailors chalk or an erasable fabric marker.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

8. Trim threads then overlock or finish sides as desired. Neaten threads on corners.

zig zag stitch How to make a fabric pencil roll -

9. Optional, zig zag stitch down the length of tape. If you have decorative stitch settings on your sewing machine why not get creative and try out some fancy stitches.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

10. Find the centre of the length of the tape/ribbon. Stitch centre of the tape securely to the outside edge of the pencil roll halfway up the roll.

How to make a fabric pencil roll -

11. Insert your pencils and you’re done!

Just roll up your pencil roll, tie a bow around with the ribbon and bask in the loveliness of your creation.

sew a pencil roll


In the mood for colouring? Print off these colouring pages!



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