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DIY Pencil Holder From An Old T-Shirt

I bet you didn’t expect to hear ‘DIY pencil holder’ and ‘old t-shirt’ in the same sentence?! ‘How can you use a T-shirt to make a pencil holder?!’ I hear you asking!

If you’re looking for ways to declutter your desk or workstation, this is a really cute way to do just that.

There are loads of simple tutorials out there on how to turn a tin or a cardboard tube into a pencil holder, so I thought I’d come up with something a bit prettier.

Not only is this pencil holder practical, it also looks really sweet and can be used for a whole host of things – not just a DIY pencil holder!

You could use it to store makeup brushes, paintbrushes, bathroom products, and more – skip to the end of this post for more ideas about what you could use this holder for!

You’ll need very basic crochet skills to make this holder, and even if you have never crocheted before, you’ll be able to make this craft after learning a few basic stitches, which I’ve covered in ‘The Stitches You’ll Need to Know,’ below.

Turning Your T-Shirt Into T-Shirt Yarn

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

The first step in making an upcycled T-shirt pencil holder is to turn your shirt into yarn.

This is super simple to do and takes less than ten minutes.

I have a detailed tutorial on how to do that here if you still need help after reading the brief instructions below. How to Make T-Shirt Yarn – Full Tutorial.

Basically, you want to cut your t-shirt from armpit to armpit and remove any hems.

Next, fold the t-shirt not quite in half and cut it as shown in the picture above.

You’ll then open the t-shirt, stretch it across a table or ironing board, and make diagonal cuts to give you one long piece of yarn! (See the picture below for a better visual of those diagonal cuts!)

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

When you’ve cut your yarn, simply stretch the fabric as you wrap it up into a ball.

You can make all sorts of things with t-shirt yarn, from rag rugs to dish cloths!

The Stitches You’ll Need to Know

I purposefully kept this pattern simple so that anyone could follow it – even children. There are only a few stitches you’ll need to know to make this project (don’t worry there are instructions for each of these further down in the post!):

  • Magic ring – also known as a magic circle or magic loop. This is basically a small adjustable loop of yarn. There are plenty of YouTube videos showing you how to make this ring if you’re not sure.
  • Single crochet – I’ll be using the abbreviation SC for this stitch, which is one of the most basic crochet stitches.
  • Back loop single crochet – the same as above, but done into the back loop rather than both loops. The abbreviation for this stitch is BLSC, (in other patterns, this is sometimes abbreviated to BLOSO)
  • Slip Stitch – the abbreviation for this one is SLST. You will only need to use this once to finish.

And that’s it! Even if you’re brand new to crocheting, it’ll only take you a few minutes to learn how to do each of these.

The Pattern

If you already know how to crochet and can read patterns, feel free to follow along with this one below – it’ll save you reading the step-by-step instructions below which go into much more detail for beginners.

  • Round one: 8 SC into magic ring (8)
  • Round two: 2 SC into each stitch from round one (16)
  • Round three: (1 SC, 2 SC into the next stitch) x 8 (24)
  • Round four: BLSC x 24 (24)
  • Round five: SC x 24
  • Round six: SC x 24
  • Change color at this point if you want a two-tone pencil holder
  • Round seven: SC x 24
  • Round eight: SC x 24
  • Round nine: SC x 24

Depending on how tall you want your pencil holder to be, you can stop here or do a couple of extra rounds.

If you want a printable version of this pattern, skip ahead to find your free printable.

If you’re new to crocheting and would like this pattern broken down into simpler terms and steps, follow the detailed steps below, which all have pictures if you’re more of a visual learner.

How to Make a DIY Pencil Holder From a T-Shirt


Step One: Make The Magic Ring

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

There are loads of great videos available that will teach you to make a magic ring, so I won’t try to describe how to do that here!

Here is a great one:

It might take you a few minutes to figure out how to do it, but once you do, making a magic ring takes seconds.

A magic ring is great for making circles in crochet. It’s basically an adjustable loop that you can close up once you’ve added your first round of crochet stitches.

You can use chain stitches, which is slightly simpler. However, you’ll always be left with a little hole in the middle of your circle if you use this method.

While it can feel confusing or tedious to figure out how to make the magic circle in the first place – it is definitely worth it, so persevere!

Step Two: Round One

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Next up, you need to make eight single crochets (8 SC) in the magic ring.

To make a single crochet, insert your hook into the center of the magic ring, yarn over and pull back through the center of the ring. Then yarn over and pull through two loops, leaving one loop left on the circle.

If you prefer having a visual tutorial to follow, watch the rest of the YouTube tutorial from step one that shows you how to make a magic ring and then single crochet into it.

This will start to make the base of your pencil holder.

When you’ve finished your eight stitches, pull on the loose end of the yarn to tighten your circle so you’re not left with a hole in the center.

Most circular crochet patterns that start with a magic ring only call for 6 single crochets in the first round. When I tried this with the t-shirt yarn, it didn’t work well.

I couldn’t get the circle to lie flat, which is what I really wanted for the base of this project.

Step Three: Round Two

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

When you make a circle in crochet, you need to increase each round by the same number of stitches you made in round one.

In this pattern, we started with 8 single crochets, so we’ll have 16 in this round.

Make two single crochets into the top of each stitch from the first round.

This is exactly the same as the stitch you made into the magic ring, only instead of single crocheting into a magic ring, you’re now going to make two single crochets into the top of each stitch.

By the end of this round, you will have a total of 16 single crochet stitches, and your circle will be slightly larger.

Step Four: Round Three

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

You’ve nearly finished the base now; just one more round to go!

Again, we need to add another 8 stitches to round three. In round two, we had 16 stitches, so this round will have 24.

This time, make one single crochet in the first stitch of the previous round and then two single crochets in the second stitch of the previous round. Repeat this eight times.

(One single crochet, two single crochets into the same stitch, one single crochet, two single crochets into the next stitch, etc.)

When you’re finished with this round, you should have 24 single crochet stitches, and your circle will be the perfect size for the base of your pencil holder.

Step Five: Round Four

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

For round four, you’re going to start making the sides of the DIY pencil holder. For this round, we’re only going to use the back loop of the stitch.

Make a single crochet in the back loop in each stitch and do this in every stitch around the circle (24 times).

This creates a nice rim around the bottom of the pencil holder which will help it to stand up properly.

Step Six: Rounds Five and Six

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

This is the easy part now, you’re just going to do two more rounds of 24 single crochets to start building the walls of the holder.

You can use a stitchmarker, or count as you go to make sure you don’t over do the number of stitches you need.

Step Seven: Change The Color

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

This step is optional, you might just want to make your DIY pencil holder all in one color, in which case you can ignore this step.

There are plenty of quick tutorials on YouTube which will show you how to change the yarn color.

Depending on the color scheme of your office or craft room, you could choose colors that match your room.

Step Eight: Rounds Seven, Eight and Nine

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

We’re down to the final few rounds now.

Make three rounds of 24 stitches each, and finish your pencil holder with a slip stitch, then fasten off.

If you want your pencil storage to be slightly taller, you can always add an extra row or two here before you fasten off.

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Step Nine: Personalize Your Pencil Holder

There are loads of ways you can personalize your new pencil holder.

If you’re making it for children, why not use felt shape and fabric to turn it into their favorite animal? Start off with fabric in the right color for your animal to get the basic crocheted holder.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Rabbit: Add a pompom tail, some felt ears, button eyes and stitch on a nose and mouth.
  • Monster: Add two felt horns, a big felt smile with wonky teeth and some button eyes.
  • Unicorn: Add one colorful horn (if you’re feeling creative, you could crochet this), use some colored yarn to add a braided tail and use buttons for the eyes.
  • Owl: Add felt or fabric wings, large button eyes

Finished DIY Pencil Holder

I absolutely love the finished pencil holder, it looks so cute even when it’s plain! It’ll fit right into my little home office desk space in my sewing room.

I love how versatile this design is too, you can switch up the colors, add different accessories to turn it into something completely different.

I’d love to make a few as kids stocking fillers or small birthday gifts. They’re really quick to make and pretty much free too – my favorite type of gifts to make!

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

This also works really well for makeup storage too!

Photo: Upcycle My Stuff

Printable Instructions for How To Make a DIY Pencil Holder

DIY Pencil Holder

Make a DIY Pencil Holder from an Old T-Shirt

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Active Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Difficulty: Easy

Upcycle an old t-shirt into a cute or fun pencil holder to declutter your desk space!


  • Old T-Shirt
  • Scissors
  • Crochet Hook


  1. Round one: 8 SC into magic ring (8)
  2. Round two: 2 SC into each stitch from round one (16)
  3. Round three: (1 SC, 2 SC into the next stitch) x 8 (24)
  4. Round four: BLSC x 24 (24)
  5. Round five: SC x 24 (24)
  6. Round six: SC x 24 (24)
  7. Change color at this point if you want a two-tone pencil holder
  8. Round seven-nine: SC x 24 (24)
  9. Add a couple more rows depending on how tall you want to make your pencil holder.
  10. Personalize your pencil holder.

What do you think of these sweet pencil holders? I’d love to hear from you if you’re thinking of making something similar! Feel free to drop me a comment or email.

Have you ever used T-Shirt yarn?

I’ve got a few more projects up my sleeve, and I spent a while looking for some great project ideas that I rounded up in 20+ T-Shirt Yarn Projects, if you’re looking for ideas yourself!

You’ll find everything from hair accessories to household items, toys to rugs.

Enjoy whatever project you’re about to start up!

Other Small Storage Projects You Might Like:

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