About: When I was a kid I had the good fortune to have parents that let me build a fort under the stairs & paint murals on my bedroom walls. I get a kick out of making stuff with other stuff. And it usually ends…

Before you read the tutorial, let me just tell you that I got a little bit wordy here for a tutorial that is essentially 5 steps:

  1. Find a suitable piece of honeycomb packaging material
  2. Remove top layer of paper
  3. Add a layer of reinforcement on the bottom
  4. Insert your pens, pencils, and tools into the pen holder
  5. Celebrate this win!

And so I apologize to you crafters, but my fingers were bored when I wrote this, and they have a mind of their own sometimes, and this tutorial ended up waaaay longer than it should have, but I had fun making this Pen Holder and I hope you enjoy it, too. So here goes...

If you've ever picked up a piece of honeycomb packaging material and marveled at its lightness-of-weight to resistance-to-pressure strength and then became transfixed by the natural beauty of the honeycomb pattern, you might have pondered, "hmm? I wonder if I could repurpose this cool structure into something cool and useful?"

Well, I was thinking the same thing when I was removing the top paper layer to see the honeycomb pattern inside and noticed that the honeycomb slots looked like they would be the perfect size for pens and pencils to fit into.

This tutorial is the result of that marveling and pondering that you and I tend to do.

This project can be quite tedious and time-consuming or calming and relaxing depending on your personality. ;) But like many projects, once you finish and look at your masterpiece (yes I said "masterpiece") you will feel a sense of pride and you will have something to show off to all your friends and family who will marvel at your creativity, industriousness, and ability to see a project through to the (bitter) end no matter how mind-numbingly tedious (or mind-expandingly meditative) the project is.

Ok, let's get tedious.



  • Book board or Greyboard the length and width of packaging material
    • I used the boards that are found on the bottom of most sketch pads! They are quite solid.
  • Card Stock or Poster Board the length and width of packaging material
    • I used a large piece of Kraft Card Stock, but a poster board from a dollar store should work, too.
    • If the Honeycomb packaging you find is short, then you might only need to use a piece of card stock or poster board. But if you have a long piece, you'll want to use a greyboard to give the bottom support from bending, especially if you move it from one place to another filled with heavy pens and tools.
    • I used both the Kraft Card Stock and the Greyboard because the packaging material I found was torn and it needed patching before applying the Greyboard.
  • Honeycomb Packing Material
    • The piece I found is 42" x 8" X 3 1/2"(height). Any length and width are fine, but the height should be somewhere in the range of 2 1/2" to 4".
  • White Glue
    • I used white glue for this project because it is water-based and takes time to dry, allowing me time to cover a large area before placing the pieces.


  • Box Cutter
  • Chopstick or a Retractable Pen or an Awl
  • Cutting Mat or Cutting Board
  • Glue brush (I used a Paint Brush!)
  • Measuring Tape
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Tweezers

Step 1: Find a Large Piece of Honeycomb Packaging

Honeycomb packaging is used to protect large and/or heavy items, such as refrigerators or dishwashers. I found this piece sticking out of the cardboard recycling bin in my apartment complex.

Keep your eye out for this useful material or let your friends know you're looking for a large piece. You can easily cut it down to the size you want if it's too big. Where you might find Honeycomb Packaging Material for free (my favorite price!):

  • Cardboard recycling bins
  • Sellers of large appliances and furniture
  • Auto shops. They receive large items shipped protected by these materials

Any length and width are fine, but the height should be somewhere in the range of 2 1/2" to 4" to best hold your tools.

Step 2: Remove Top Layer of Kraft Paper

This step is extremely tedious (meditative), but if it wasn't you'd probably be removing the top paper layer of this packaging material all the time, for no other reason than you find it surprisingly enjoyable. In fact, you might develop a compulsion that could lead to excessive-kraft-paper-layer-removal addiction and you might wind up down on Corrugated street buying full pallets of Honeycomb packaging off the back of a truck from a shady character that goes by the name, Carl-the honeycomb king. But I digress...

How to remove the top layer of kraft paper:

  1. Begin by pulling off the paper around the outer edges of honeycomb packaging. No need for a tool because you can easily get a grip on a wider swath of paper that isn't fully adhered to the honeycomb edges and tear it off with the greatest of all tools, your hands!
  2. Once you have removed the outer edges, turn your attention to the paper that remains adhered to the honeycomb and with your thumb smooth out the layer with enough pressure to reveal where the honeycomb holes are underneath. This will help with the next step.
  3. Where the paper is indented, poke holes through the paper layer with something pointy. Avoid using large blunt instruments, such as a drumstick or an umbrella. Do your best not to damage the honeycomb sides. Here are some suggested tools.
    1. Awl
    2. Chopstick
    3. Wood-End of a Thin Paintbrush
    4. Pen with the point retracted
  4. Alternate between poking holes and removing the paper. Aside from this technique making this task slightly less repetitive, it also takes into account that some areas of the paper might pull away easily and not need as many holes poked.
  5. To remove the paper use your fingers and/or tweezers.
  6. Take a break. Grab a drink. Stay hydrated.
  7. Keep going until you've removed the entire top layer of paper.

Step 3: Reinforce the Bottom Layer

Keep in mind the bottom layer is paper, so it is best to reinforce both for puncture strength as well as lifting strength. I first added a layer of kraft card stock but found that the structure would bend if I were to lift it to move it with all the pens and tools in it. So I then added a thick layer of greyboard.

Where to find book board/greyboard

  • The back layer of sketchbooks and note pads
  • Inside 3-ring binders. When someone has thrown out a broken 3-ring binder, I'll take it apart for the materials, greyboard, plastic covering.


  1. If your Honeycomb packaging is undamaged, you can skip step 2.
  2. Glue Cardstock to the base of the packaging
    1. Cut cardstock to the length and width of the packaging.
    2. Apply white glue (PVA) to the base of the packaging
    3. Place cardstock piece(s) onto the glued area
    4. Wipe away any glue that spills out the edges to prevent anything sticking to it that gets placed on top
    5. Press overnight with something heavy. I use heavy boxes.
  3. Glue Greyboard to the base of the packaging.
    1. Cut greyboard to the length and width of the packaging. This can be done in pieces and still be effective. Just place the longest pieces closest to the middle.
    2. Apply white glue (PVA) to the base of the packaging
    3. Place your piece(s) of greyboard onto the glued area
    4. Wipe away any glue that is visible to prevent gluing onto something that touches it while it is drying.
    5. Press overnight with something heavy. I use heavy boxes.

Step 4: Add Pens, Pencils, Tools That Fit Into the Holes

Hey, I had a lot of pens and pencils to put in this holder, but I also found I could put a lot of my tools here, too. For the extra-wide items, I cut out the wall between 2 honeycombs so it would fit.

An unexpected positive: I am now using more of the special pens and tools that used to get lost in my desk drawers.

I organized my pen holder by grouping together similar types, like pencil crayons together, gel pens together, sharpies... well, you get the point. Also, I put short tools and favorite pens at the front so they don't get lost in the forest of pens.

Step 5: Pat Yourself on the Back!

Congrats if you made it this far, you read the entire tutorial!!!

Also, if you give this a go and do something cool and creative, pat yourself on the back and show someone your creation. It's fun to make stuff with other stuff!

Let me know if you make a pen holder (or anything for that matter) with honeycomb packaging. It's such a cool looking material, I can imagine it being used creatively in many ways.

Thanks for checking out my tutorial. Cheers, Wade (Waydabbles)

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