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Picture of Super sturdy character pencil case
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Every year, pencils in my pencil case manage to poke holes in my pencil cases from the inside. But this year, I decided to put an end to this evildoing.

Pencils will never poke holes in this pencil case! It is lined with leftover fabric from patio chairs.

So now it's a strong pencil case. But I also wanted it to be unique. My thing is to make normal objects like hats and mittens into fun characters and animals. As a result, I made my pencil case look like Jake the dog from the kids' show Adventure Time (because that is the coolest thing for a high school freshman to have, of course.) You can make your pencil case into anything you want. Maybe even a lady rainicorn :3

But you can still always keep it simple and just have a super strong pencil case.
 
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Step 1: Gather your materials

Picture of Gather your materials
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1. Fabric.
What really makes this pencil case is a sturdy lining. I used leftover outdoor patio chair material (it is made to be weatherproof and support the weight of a person). Other materials that would work would be a strong canvas, duck cloth, etc. (see some utility fabrics here.) Look for the strongest, most resonably priced fabric you can find. I would recommend searching in the scrap or clearance section, because not much material is needed.

For the outer material, I used fabric from the sleeve of an old sweatshirt, and for the details such as Jake's face, I used felt.

2. Zipper.
I used a nine-inch non-separating zipper.

3. Basic Sewing supplies.
Needle, thread, pins, scissors, and a sewing machine if one is available to you. I hand sewed this because my machine was broken, and there was no problem.

4. Stuffing.
Depending on the character you are making (if any), you may or may not need stuffing. I stuffed the head of my character.

5. Glue Gun (optional)
If you are making a character, you may want to hot glue the facial features on. You may also sew them on, but I decided that the stitches would take away from the cartoon-like quality of Jake's eyes, nose, and jowls.

Step 2: Cut outer material

Picture of Cut outer material
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Because my outer material was made from a sweatshirt sleeve, cutting may be different for you.
If you are using store bought fabric, simply cut a nine inch by nine inch square.


If you are cutting from a sweatshirt sleeve, cut off the ribbed cuff of the sleeve, and measure nine inches down the sleeve. Cut the sleeve to have a nine inch piece of fabric. Cut off the seam and open it up, and create a nine inch by nine inch square of fabric.

My sleeves were stained with pencil graphite, so I used tons of stain remover and hand scrubbed the stains out.

Step 3: Cut the lining

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To cut the lining, simply place your outer fabric onto the lining fabric and cut around it.

Step 4: Sew first half of zipper

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Layer the outer and inner layers right sides in, with the zipper between them. make sure the zipper front is facing the outer fabric's right side. Pin the fabrics and the zipper together in the right order and sew parallel to the zipper.

Step 5: Cut and sew lining side

Because the width of the case is 9 inches, the circumference of the sides will be nine inches also.
I found a roll of tape that had a circumference of 9 inches, and traced it onto the lining fabric to cut out two circles.

Then I carefully pinned and sewed one circle onto the side of the case, making sure that the weave on the side matched the inside of the case.
(see the sixth and seventh pictures)





Step 6: Sew the rest of the zipper

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To sew the rest of the zipper, pin the zipper to the lining. Make sure the zipper is aligned with the side sewn on. The first picture was taken before I trimmed the excess material (trim it so the edge is even with the zipper).

Now, fold the outer layer so its right sides face each other. Pin the edge to make a sandwich with the lining, zipper, and outer layer as in the second  picture. Sew parallel to the zipper once more.

Once you sew the zipper on, flip the outer layer around the lining so it looks like the third picture.

Step 7: Sew on second lining side

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Pin and sew the second lining side on as you did the first. (see the first picture)

Sew the zipper seams flat down on both sides (See the left side of the zipper in the second picture)

The third picture is a view of the inside of the pencil case after this step.

Step 8: Cut and sew outer sides

Picture of Cut and sew outer sides
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Cut out two circles from the outer fabric the same way you cut out the circles for the lining.

Sew the sides on using the invisible stitch.



Step 9: Cut out and make the decorations

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If your goal was to make a simple, sturdy pencil case, congratulations-- you are finished! :D

But if you want to take this project further and turn your pencil case into a character, read on.

Cut out the pieces for decoration. For Jake, I cut out two oval shaped pieces for his head, and sewed them together and stuffed it like a pillow. Jake's ears were just 'J' shaped lines of stitches.

Then, I cut out Jake's eyes and jowls. Jake's eyes were just two black felt circles, then two smaller white felt circles. The jowls were an upside down bubble letter 'u'.

I then hot glued on Jake's eyes, jowls, and nose onto the head.

 I also cut out pieces for the legs and tail.

Step 10: Attatch the head

Picture of Attatch the head
After finishing the head, I sewed it onto the side of the pencil case.

Then I got excited that it was a 'Jakerpillar'.

Yes.

But I still wanted to add the legs and tail.

Step 11: Finish it!

Now, just sew on the legs an tail and you are done! :D

Enjoy your new super strong pencil case!
OMG!! Go adventure time!! i have a Finn based hat only it's got devil horns instead of polar bear ears
Finn is kind of tube shaped too, he'd make a good pencil case. Haha.

Cool 'ible. I had the same problem but then I picked up a semi-rigid plastic pencil case at Office Depot (I think). Sewing is so not my thing, unfortunately.
julialam (author)  Thrasym2 years ago
or a Finn 'burrito' like in the episode when he hugged flame princess! :)
What about the EVERYTHING BURRITO!!! IT HAS FEELINGS TO lol =)
ok
HMice2 years ago
Who doesn't love jake? I'm making an extended Jake scarf! Slamacow!
Gosh that is so adorable! And you did such an amazing job putting it all together! I always have such a hard time with those zippers :)
AnimaMage2 years ago
Ooooh. This is neat. I may make one of these for my friend's birthday, actually.
Awwww! Very good idea for a pencil case. :D