Introduction: Pocket Multi-Tool for Women

Picture of Pocket Multi-Tool for Women
This idea came to me after reading a forum discussion here at Instructables regarding whether or not women carry pocket knives or scissors.  I was wondering if perhaps it was because pocket knives and multi-tools tend to look too manly.  They are often  too bulky to carry in one's pocket and not something you'd want in your purse.

When coming up with an idea for a multi-tool that women might want, I came up with the following criteria.

It needed to be:
  • Small -can fit into pocket or purse
  • Discrete, not obtrusive,
  • Looked nice
  • Functional
  • Had an assortment of tools
  • Can be made with my skill level
  • Can be created with the tools that I had available.
Here is what I came up with: a multi-tool disguised as a tube of lipstick.  In this instructable I will show you how I made it.

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need
  • Lipstick
  • Magnetic Bit Holder Set (I picked mine up at a dollar store, it looked something like this)
  • Utility blade
  • Sugru or a thermo plastic like Plastimake
  • Nail
  • Magnifying sheet
  • Plastic wrap
  • Ruler and protractor
  • Saw
  • Epoxy glue
  • Hot Glue

Step 2: Clean and Dismantle Lipstick Tube

Picture of Clean and Dismantle Lipstick Tube
The lipstick tube that I used was Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick.  As I am sure you are aware lipstick tubes can vary in size and shape so you may need to try some out to see if it would work. 

Mine came apart quite easily. 
  • I first removed the top lid, then the ring labelled with the Revlon logo. 
  • Then I could pull out the silver tube from the base. 
  • Within the silver tube there was a little platform holding the lipstick that moved up and down as you twisted the base, this needs to be removed along with any residue of the lipstick. 
  • I cut off part of the bottom of the silver tube to (the white plastic bit) to provide some clearance for the tools that will be stored in the base.
  • Wipe clean the inside of the tube to get rid of any lipstick smudges as we are going to put some epoxy glue in there.

Step 3: Add Bit Holder

Picture of Add Bit Holder
I used a magnetic bit holder affixed to the inside of the lipstick tube as the main tool holder for this multi-tool. The lipstick tube measures 4cm and the bit holder (after part of it was sawed off- see below) is 2.5cm, so when the holder is placed into the tube there will be some clearance at the bottom for tool storage in the base.

  • I sawed off the end of the bit holder, leaving the 'female' end.  This fits inside on the lipstick tube.
  • I needed a strong glue to affix the bit holder to the inside of the lipstick tube as well as fill in the space in between (the bit holder has a smaller diameter).  I decided to use epoxy glue since it does well gluing metal to plastic.
  • I set the lipstick tube, top side down onto a piece of plastic wrap.  I then placed the bit holder (with the holder end down) into the centre of the lipstick tube.
  • I then mixed the epoxy glue and poured it into the tube,  The glue should fill into the spaces between the holder and tube, it should just cover the bottom of the holder (don't fill up the whole tube).
  • I only had a small amount of glue squeeze out at the bottom.  After several hours the epoxy no longer flowed but hadn't completely hardened so I was able to peel of the plastic wrap and scraped off the glue that oozed out at the bottom.  Then I left it to cure completely.

Step 4: Utility Knife

Picture of Utility Knife
To add a small blade to my multi-tool I used a utility blade from an X-acto knife and made a blade holder from Sugru that fits into the bit holder. 
  • To make the blade holder, first placed some plastic wrap into the bit holder (to prevent the Sugru from sticking). 
  • I stuffed some Sugru into the bit holder so that a small amount sticks out.
  • I then pulled the Sugru out (by pulling on the plastic wrap)
  • I added a small knob of Sugru to the side so that if will give a tighter fit.
  • Once the Sugru had cured I pushed the end of the blade into the Sugru blade holder (you might want to make the sheath first -see step 5) and placed it into the bit holder (it should make a snug fit).

Step 5: Sheath

Picture of Sheath

The utility blade is really sharp!  To protect my fingers when I place/pull it out of the bit holder I made a small sheath with duct tape.  I just cut a piece of duct tape and folded several times to form a sheath.

Step 6: Ruler

Picture of Ruler

I noticed that several multi-tools include a ruler.  That could come in handy and would be fairly easy to incorporate into my multi-tool.  I would use the side of the lipstick tube, it measures 1.5 inches or 3.9cm.  On one side of the tube I marked 1 inch with 1/18 inch increments.  On the other side, I marked out the centimeters with 1 mm increments. 

To do this, just place a ruler on the side of the tube and marked the increments with pen onto the tube.  I then etched these marks into the tube with a sharp edge.  To make the marks stand out more I coloured in the marks with a black felt pen.

Step 7: Protractor

Picture of Protractor

Since we have a ruler, why not a protractor.  I used the top of the tube to mark the angles.  First, I traced the top of the tube onto a piece of paper then measured some angles around the circle.  I included 0,30,45,60,90 around the circle to 360.  You could also do 15
increments if you want.  I then set the tube down on the paper and marked with a pen each of the increments.  Next I etched those marks with a sharp blade.  To make the marks stand out I filled in the marks with a black felt pen.

Step 8: Magnifier

Picture of Magnifier

The top of my lipstick tube has a clear window, this seemed like a good opportunity to add a magnifying glass.  I used  a plastic magnifier sheet which provides about a 3X magnification.  I cut a small circle from the sheet to fit inside the lid.  It was a fairly snug fit so I just pushed it into the top of the lid and it was wedged in placed (I didn't need to glue it).

Step 9: Awl

Picture of Awl

To make an awl I used a 1 1/4 inch long nail.  When set into the bit holder the magnet holds it in place, but it needed some stability.  I used hot glue around the nail so that it doesn't wobble.  To do this I placed some plastic wrap in the bit holder then set the nail in.  Then I place some hot glue around the nail.  Once the glue had cooled, I pulled out the plastic wrap and pealed it off of the hardened glue.

Step 10: Other Tool Ideas

Picture of Other Tool Ideas
When starting on the project I did a bit of research as to what tools are commonly found on multi-tool sets.  The choice of tools I included in mine was based on what I though I might need.  I was also limited in that you can only fit about 4 tools into the base of the lipstick holder.

Here is a list of some other tools that you might consider:
  • Scissors                                            
  • Pliers
  • Tweezers
  • Serrated knife
  • nail file
  • Wire cutters
  • Can/Bottle Opener
  • Safety whistle
  • Mirror
  • Light
  • Flint
  • Pen/pencil
Some of these may not be easily incorporated into my multi-tool design such as the scissors, pliers and tweezers.  And some things like the mirror, tweezers and nail file you may already carry in your purse.  The bottle opener seems like an obvious choice to include, but for me personally I tend not to drink any beverages requiring a bottle opener.  Another item, the safety whistle, was something that I really wanted to include in multi-tool (since it is an important item for women to carry with them) but unfortunately I couldn't think of a way how to do it.  If you have any ideas or suggestions or criticisms please leave a comment below, I would love to hear from you.


CathyJo86 (author)2013-12-19

I think this is an amazing idea. I can't believe the people on here attacking sexism and things of that nature. The comment section is for comments on the ible, not to debate over sexism. You should be proud of yourself, this is really fabulous.

Althea MaeH (author)CathyJo862015-12-29

I completly agree!!!

ChrysN (author)CathyJo862013-12-19

Thank you for the kind comment!

Althea MaeH (author)2015-12-29

I ABSOULTLY LOVE THIS!!!!!!! I'm not sure why this is causing so much controversy... if a woman doesn't want to carry a swiss army knife or a hammer in her hand bag, I agree with her!!! (I actually did carry my hammer in my purse with me for 8 months when ever I left my house, but then, I was a 7-year-old girl who had just gotten her first tool.... but those things are HEAVY!!!) This is a great idea, and one I will be trying right away....

p.s. I dont see this a statement on gender or whatever... all this is is a very cool and creative idea...

buck2217 (author)2014-12-15

Just saying!!

ChrysN (author)buck22172014-12-15

That's funny!

TheCommander (author)2014-12-07

this is pretty cool I'm tempted to make it for my wife I bought her a multitool with scissors and she loves that so probably this too

crank_girl (author)2014-06-05

I've never really considered tools as having a gender. The lipstick is a handy vessel for a multi-tool but it's not something I would want. Perhaps some women would like it but I can see how it might be perceived as sexist by others. You say tomato... :-)

kirnex (author)2013-02-21


I tend to remix my own lip color pallets, so I have a bunch of these lipstick containers left over all the time. I also can never remember where I put my exacto knife or my interchangeable screw driver. This solves it all--it's in my pocket!


kaol48 (author)2013-02-12

I think this is a clever idea. The main reason I would want it would be so my husband wouldn't end up "acquiring" it, as he has some of my other tools. BTW, he gave me my own power screwdriver for Christmas.

ChrysN (author)kaol482013-02-13

That is the great thing about it, guys probably wouldn't want to carry around lipstick even if it is a tool.

shazni (author)2013-02-06

Forget all the negative comments! i like it! you have my vote!

ChrysN (author)shazni2013-02-06


annahowardshaw (author)2013-01-26

I wonder if there would have been so much discussion if this were just called 'Make Your Own Multi-Tool'. You call it a 'multi-tool disguised as a tube of lipstick' but it could just as easily be a multi-tool encased in a lipstick tube...which could be decorated with sparkly unicorns or spray painted matte black - depending on one's taste.
Regardless of gender, making your own multi-tool is a great idea, and a lipstick tube is a great choice for a casing (lightweight, inexpensive and comes with a cover). Awesome project!

ChrysN (author)annahowardshaw2013-01-27

Thanks! 'Make Your Own Multi-Tool" probably would have been a less controversial name.

reinzig (author)2013-01-13

Clever, but at the same time, I can't get past the idea that women might not carry tools because they "look too manly." Have we really not made any progress????

MW0GKX (author)reinzig2013-01-13

TBH "my woman" doesn't carry tools because she doesn't know how to use them! Not being nasty but she just doesn't.

That said it's a great idea for those women that would like to carry tools in a "lady-like" way.

gthorsnes (author)MW0GKX2013-01-13

Sounds like somebody needs to give his girlfriend some lessons. ;)

MW0GKX (author)gthorsnes2013-01-13

Have tried, taught her to solder and change a mains plug, even got her through he ham radio ticket (Intermediate) but she is, by her own admission, "not good at this sort of thing".

Get her in the bedroom and it's a different matter!!

finton (author)MW0GKX2013-01-24

"'s a different matter!!" . So she's great at making beds, vacuuming, arranging pillows, and such like, huh MW0GKX?

MW0GKX (author)finton2013-01-25

erm, yes, as well!!

Xyver (author)MW0GKX2013-01-13

Why does carrying tools in a lady-like way need to be addressed...? My thinking is as such:
-If a girl wants to carry tools, she may be afraid to carry a multitool because she would get judged for being "manly" or "not delicate".
-Then, she makes this instead! Now she has a pretty lipstick tube to carry tools in, and she won't get judged!
-But one day, something comes up and she has to fix something! So, she pulls out her "lady like" multi tool, and fixes it. Yay for carrying tools! But wait! Everyone saw that she was carrying around tools! That's manly and not delicate!

I don't see the difference in carrying this around, vs carrying a regular multi tool around...

That being said, this is a very nice instructable. It's a very creative idea, and you executed it well.

ChrysN (author)Xyver2013-01-13

Oh dear, I didn't realize this would be so controversial, I meant this to be fun. I just wanted a multi-tool to look pretty,  just like you could but tool set in pink or floral prints.

dummy1977 (author)ChrysN2013-01-14

Maybe they're just confused because they can't figure out where the fold-out rolling pin and emergency apron would hide. :D

I kid, of course. I think this is awesome. I'm a huge fans of things like this, as well as hidden compartments to stash useful things.

Xyver (author)ChrysN2013-01-13

It is fun! It is a cool project, I just feel the same way as doctressjulia "This is a neat idea, for sure. But, ugh, gender policing sux... :/"

But don't worry about what everyone else things, haters gunna hate! Be proud of your featured Instructable!

bsorrell98 (author)ChrysN2013-01-13

Some people spend a lot of energy on being offended that would be more productively used by being creative.

fredellarby (author)ChrysN2013-01-13

Zellers used to carry a line of pink tools including a tool belt and hard hat. I think it was for Breast Cancer. The tool belt might not go with every outfit though.

MW0GKX (author)ChrysN2013-01-13

It is a good idea and I like it. I know several ladies that would like something like this and I will be pointing them this way, good on yer ChrysN.

ChrysN (author)MW0GKX2013-01-13


doctressjulia (author)reinzig2013-01-13

SECONDED. Oh, noes, what if I look "too manly" with my Leatherman multi-tool on my belt? o_0

This is a neat idea, for sure. But, ugh, gender policing sux... :/

dummy1977 (author)doctressjulia2013-01-14

But but but... gender policing policing kinda does, too? As a guy, I like "things that look like other things", including mini toolkits or survival kits. Though I think I'd be a sucker for a Leatherman on a toolbelt, if I ever saw one being worn. : x

shadowyblade (author)dummy19772013-01-14

Yeah, guys have horrible gender policing. Look at clothes, for instance. Nobody questions it when women cross-dress (technically, them wearing pants is cross-dressing) but if men cross-dress, we're ostracized, and defamed. Not that I'd want to cross-dress myself, mind you. It just seems to be an unfairly applied concept, doesn't it? If men use or like something "girly," the same effect reverberates into their life, ruining any and all chances of their friends respecting them.

londobali (author)reinzig2013-01-13

I think it's fair to give them a choice to be seen manly or cute.. and if they want to carry around a cute multi tool, I dont think that it's a sign of "the society not making progress"..

and i don't think it's a gender thing, some prefers to look cute (both woman and man), some prefers to look manly.. lets not make a big deal out of it, shall we?

maybe "a multi tool for lady spies" would pass the gender police screening easier.. :)

doctressjulia (author)reinzig2013-01-13

SECONDED. Oh, noes, what if I look "too manly" with my Leatherman multi-tool on my belt? o_0

This is a neat idea, for sure. But, ugh, gender policing sux... :/

Why did this post twice...? The comments on here are messed up.

gthorsnes (author)doctressjulia2013-01-13

The comments are messing up for me, too. It wouldn't send through on my phone, so I had to go on a computer and do it.

DesignerUserName (author)2013-01-17

I agree with the fact that this gives woman the choice between "manly" and "feminine". I'd carry it for poops and hahas. (That's s***s and giggles in a friendly way...) I have lipstick with a retractable razor blade too. This would be a nice addition to my 'lipstick' collection. That being said, it still comes off as a bit sexist. I like my manly tools.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2013-01-17

Very cool! I would love to carry one of these around :) You should enter this into the Holiday Gifts Contest!

ChrysN (author)Penolopy Bulnick2013-01-17

Thanks, I didn't realize that contest is still open.

masynmachien (author)2013-01-15

I love it!

Reminds me of a "Totally Spies" laser (pointer) lipstick I made for my daughter once.

But yours is actually practical!

You got my votes.

ChrysN (author)masynmachien2013-01-15


danzo321 (author)2013-01-14

Help! This instructable displays with photos over the text. Using an old G4 with Firefox, but this hasn't happened to me before. And I do want to see the whole thing.

AmyCat59 (author)2013-01-13

I normally carry a Swiss Army Knife with about 20 tools (including six different screwdriver-tips for a hex-holder, pliers, scissors, etc.), a mini-Leatherman, a keychain Swiss Army Knife with five tools, a full-size Leatherman-knock-off, and a keychain Exacto-knife in my purse... and wear lipstick maybe twice a year (if I remember to put some on for family Christmas dinner, etc.). Even the "girly-girls" I know tend to carry at least one pocket-knife with tools (if only one like my keychain S.A.K., which has nail-clippers, tweezers, toothpick, and nail-file along with the knife-blade, so maybe it counts as "personal grooming" rather than "tools"). No woman with an ounce of sense would refrain from carrying something useful like a S.A.K. or Leatherman because it "doesn't look 'feminine'..." After all, if it's in your purse who'd see it unless you need to use it? which case you're like a Girl Scout, being Prepared.
That said, this it cool enough that I'd carry a "lipstick" if it had this inside!

shadowyblade (author)AmyCat592013-01-14

You have such an awesome attitude! Yep, tools like swiss army knives are definitely not just for guys! I should know, being a guy!

fuzzynurse (author)2013-01-13

My wife carries a pocketknife on her car keys and she's about as "girly" as you can get (though in a slightly hippie way). I have quite a few friends at work who might like this, however.

newbeatle (author)2013-01-13

well , first let me congratulate for this great instructable, that works not only 4 girls but also for some boys!! :P jaja seriously, this little thing you make can be upgraded a lot , and i think that a "mens" version can be easily adapted from , by example, a tube with a flat black paint coat or something like that. i love to make this kind of "kits" sinse i was a kid , but the time to improve and innovate sopmething has gone for me. so nice instructable, maybe you can add a laser-light in some part of the lipstick (i think you have seen that pens that have that in the cap, a laser and a little white LED light....thats the idea ).

grettings from mexico !!

MiniMoonSama (author)2013-01-13

Don't really see how this is "sexist". It's pretty clear multi-tool is for a woman. Men CAN use it, but I think it would look pretty strange for a guy to have a tube of lipstick. Plus, it would fit well in a women's bag or purse discreetly (which WAS the initial idea). Love this idea. You're not any less of a woman for using a traditional Swiss army knife either, but I personally like the combination of fashion and function.

londobali (author)2013-01-13

Great idea! I'm a follower! :)
What do you think: if i use some sort of oil spray inside the bit holder (then dusted?), and let the sugru cure inside (or partially cured), will i be able to pull it out? will it be a tighter fit?

ChrysN (author)londobali2013-01-13

I think the best release agent for Sugru is soapy water (dish soap). You could try slathering the inside with soap and let it cure.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like sewing and crafts,and trying new things. I'm vegetarian and always looking for new recipes. My cat's name is Mirko and ... More »
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