Introduction: How to Make Your Own Custom Pencil Case

So you're headed back to school and you're keen to cart around your beloved stationary in style.

But most of the time you can't find a pencil case which is particularly 'you' and if you do, the pencil case has other plans than holding your pencils, "stuff this for a joke" it says as it falls apart and loses your pencils and spills your scissors onto your teachers' feet... shame.

Fear not for this instructable will give you the knowledge and tools to create a completely personal and nearly indestructible pencil case. Better yet the process of making the pencil case has been altered to be as teenager friendly as possible, avoiding your weaknesses and taking advantage of your strengths, such as angsty teen rage.

In short, enjoy and create!

Step 1: Materials

Base materials

- Paper bag (see step 2)
- Plastic press lock bag (could be a zip one but that'll require some ingenuity on your part)
- Lots and lots and lots of tape
- Glue
- Scissors

Optional (the creative bits)

- different types of tape
- Wrapping papers
- Materials (denim etc.)
- Pretty things and other adornments (even newspaper)
- and of course ribbon, lots of ribbon

The optional materials simply depend on how your want the case to look, want it flowery? get some flowery wrapping paper, want an adorable handle, etc.

If you are a boy you could get your hands on some pop art of half naked women, its not porn its art, remember that line, it works for everything. You could go for an industrial look, so find some material tape or aluminum foil and go nuts.

Step 2: Creating the Base - Bag Crushing Time

So, find your self a paper bag, preferably the size you'd like your pencil case and with an opening that's not too big (something long and somewhat thin would work) I rummaged around and found this adorable Calvin Klein thing.

Once you have your bag, cut off the handles, remove any reinforced bottom and proceed to crush the bajeebers out of the bag with all the might that your teen rage allows, making sure not to rip it (although don't be too carful, there's nothing tape can't fix). Once you're done the bag should be more flexible than before... and crushed, very crushed.

Step 3: Make the Shape

Now its time for you to make your first creative decision. What shape should it be?

I went for a generic diamondy kind of shape for the purpose of instruction, all the choices I make here are fairly generic, if you want to express your love for squares then you may make it a square, its up to you to be creative.

Firstly crush your crushed bag into the shape you want and secondly resize the opening so that it is the same size as a clear lock bag's opening (see picture). So fold the sides so that the opening is the right size then cut one part of the fold and glue it down. Presto change-o and you have your base and if you will, your pencil case "liner." At this point you can see I've gone for a fairly 'organic shape overall' which indicates my teenagerish laziness because it is a lot harder to make a geometric pencil case.

Step 4: Creativity Time

So! I bet you're raring to cover your base in all those lovely things that define your personality!

I for one decided that my personality is best represented by a brand name in small text so I decided to skip this step. But really I wouldn't want my ideas to get in the way of your creativity, this step is up to you. When you're putting the cover on your base keep the following things in mind

- if you want your base to look scrunchy and stylistic then just cover the base up with your chosen materials and crush them into the case hole and tape it up there

- If you're using any jewel like decorations i.e. things that stick out, leave them till later

- Keep in mind that the product of this step will be 'laminated' next

Step 5: Time for the 'indestructible' Part

Here's where you'll want to put away that tiny roll of scotch tape you used in step four and crack out a big roll of clear tape. If (like me) you did not do step 4, consider using an opaque tape in this step to make your pencil case unique.

In short, attach a small part of tape to your decorated base, and go around and around and around.

Depending on how neat you want your case to look this step can be easy or hard. if you've spent time creating a delicate design in step 4, consider cutting set lengths of clear tape and carefully covering your pencil case. As you can see I went for the crushed paper look and just went crazy.

Step 6: (optional) Test Time

At this stage your case is now indestructible. If you already have a case with a worn gritty look you might consider repeating step two as I did, in short, see pictures.

Step 7: Attaching the Zip Lock Seal.

Just a warning this is by far the hardest and fiddliest step of them all.

First off you must cut the seal off the bad about 2cm (half an inch for simplicity's sake) below the seal (see picture). Then put the seal inside the bag to see if its the right fit (it should be, see step 3). You may have to make small adjustments by pinching and taping the sides of the bag. If it does seem to fit then cut the sides of the seal from the bottom to under the actual seal (so it fits in most bag shapes).

The next part is the ordeal, first, tape down one side to the edge with small scotch tape (which will be removed) and either glue or tape the other side of the seal to the bag, making sure the plastic above the seal is aligned with the edge of the hole.

I had little luck with glue but found that taping the plastic (not the seal) next to the seal to the bag was effective and strong. If you are successful you should be able to seal the bag (its just as difficult as it was when it was part of the plastic bag).

Step 8: Extra Additions / Alternative Uses

I can't tell you enough that this is a base design and that you can throw in your own ideas and still come out with a strong, personalized case. Some extra additions you could throw in are

- straps and buttons to add to the security of the seal
- handles to carry it with
- separate compartments within the main bag and even individual pen holders
- exterior pockets (think like the original bag but with a wall already done)

Variations you can perform are

- different tapes
- a base bag made from calico
- more creative and complex shapes
- geometric shaped cases (using tape seams for posterity)
- ANYTHING be creative, the sky's the limit.

This design can be used for so many other things like...

- designer plant pot
- purses, handbags
- satchels

essentially anything vaguely baggy!
Converse Back to School in Style Contest

Participated in the
Converse Back to School in Style Contest