Handicrafts: Wooden Pencil Holder

By Holly Giles | handicrafts

how to make a wooden pencil holder

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Handicrafts are an abundant portion of our learning at home. The wooden pencil holder provides skills with measurement, drills, and a saw. Boys and girls alike will feel accomplished when the tools of carpentry can be learned. It can open up a whole new world of imagination for them.

Smaller-sized drills are available that work wonders for many projects around the house.  Truth be told, my fourteen-year-old son taught me how to use this drill and I am becoming quite proficient at it!

Finding a limb for the wooden pencil holder

This is the first step in making the wooden pencil holder. We had a hurricane that downed a few trees. I looked the branches over carefully before I let the boys have at it with the chainsaw and haul them off. The wood can be used for a number of projects in mind for the future.  A few that we found made several of the pencil holders we gave as gifts.

Remember that your wood needs time to dry out a bit before you drill into the middle. Drilling before the wood is dry will cause more cracks around your holes when it finally does try out. In our case, it was about a week before we let the pieces dry out.

designing a wooden pencil holder pattern


Drawing out your design on the cut branch

My original thought was a spiral. The pencils would have an artistic flair as they rested in their holder.  It might have worked with fewer drilled holes. My spiral just looked like willy-nilly pencils sticking out of the branch.

If you are going to use colored pencils, which we did, I suggest picking out the choice colors you want in your holder. That way you know precisely the number of holes to drill and can eliminate some if necessary before drilling.

Grayson set the head of the pencil down and traced around it for a rough idea of hole size.


grayson drilling holes for a pencil holder


Drilling holes in your wooden pencil holder

My boys are 11 and 14. They are proficient at the drill all by themselves. I am the one who needs supervision. We chose a drill bit about the size of the holes we traced.  Grayson drilled all the holes necessary from the tracings he made earlier. This needs to be done on a smooth surface. We drilled on the floor of our deck. Putting pressure on the drill is necessary to get down into the wood.

wooden pencil holder drilling holes


Fine adjustments

After Grayson drilled the holes, we stuck the pencils in and it was like a wild color show. Each pencil stuck out in a different direction and some were preventing others from going in a hole.

My observation was that Grayson was having so much fun drilling holes in the wooden pencil holder that none of them actually went straight down.

Some went to the left and right.  I remedied this problem by drilling back into each hole and testing with a pencil. This worked for most of the holes. You will note in our heading photo there are still a few than lean.


pencil holder display


This was our experimental piece. We worked out the kinks before we made others for gifts. I use this one for our own colored pencils. I added a flair of ribbon and a paper flower for a feminine touch. In a house full of boys you take what fluff you can get!

I loved this handicraft because it used parts of something that was broken and going to the dump, our poor tree.  It is a natural element that I love to incorporate throughout our home. It also was a great gift idea for most of the kids and grandparents in our family.

The boys took part in all the steps and we’re proud to accomplish a cool project. All ages can take part in this handicraft. What other projects could you make the same idea using a branch and a drill?  I think I see a hanging picture frame holder in my future!


homemade pencil holder


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.