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Cute DIY Pencil Holder from a Jar (Free to Make!)

Transform an empty jar into a stylish DIY pencil holder with paint, paper, and Mod Podge. This pencil cup is perfect for desks, craft rooms, or gifts and you probably have all the supplies on hand.

Skills Required: Beginner. You’ll be using paint on glass and then Mod Podging scrapbook paper onto it. Anyone can do this project, including children.

pencil holder diy

Ever glanced at an empty glass jar and thought, “Surely, this can be more than just recycling bin fodder”? If so, you’re in luck . . . because today’s project turns a basic jar into a nifty DIY pencil holder, proving once again that one person’s trash can indeed become their treasure.

This project is a gem for anyone looking to spruce up their desk with a bit of personality or searching for that perfect, thoughtful back-to-school or teacher gift that won’t break the bank.

Here’s the scoop: we’re about to take an ordinary salsa jar (yes, the inspiration hit post-chips and dip session) and give it a new lease on life with some paint, scrapbook paper, and our trusty friend, Mod Podge.

diy pen holder

It’s a fun, simple way to create something both functional and stylish, not to mention it’s a great excuse to finally use those paper scraps and other stuff from your stash you’ve been collecting.

And let’s not box ourselves in with this idea – it’s not just for pencils. Pens, paintbrushes, or any other desk clutter can find a home in this upcycled jar.

Before we dive into the crafting process, a few quick tips to get you started on the right foot: removing labels, choosing the best paint for glass, and achieving a smooth finish are all key steps to success.

Ready to tackle this project? Whether it’s for decking out your workspace, adding a touch of handmade charm to your home, or crafting a personalized gift, this pencil holder DIY is a straightforward, enjoyable way to transform a simple jar into something special.

diy pencil holder

Pencil Jar DIY Tips

Let’s get those supplies ready and I’ll show you how to create your very own pencil holder, step by step.

Removing Labels and Cleaning the Jar

Before you get started, you’ll need to remove the labels from your jar. I recommend some of the non-toxic methods in my DIY sticker remover post. Several readers shared their favorite methods and they work well!

Since you’ll be painting the inside of the jar, you should make sure that it’s completely clean so that the paint sticks well. You can do this by washing the inside of the jar with a mild soap and letting dry. Another option that I use here is to clean the glass with alcohol.

Paint to Use

Painting glass is really easy to do, though you’ll probably need several coats. I recommend using FolkArt Enamel or FolkArt Multisurface paints. They work really well on glass.

You’re going to paint the inside of your DIY pencil holder. You can paint the outside if you like, but I find painting the inside of a jar looks more clean! Two important things to remember about painting glass:

  1. Use a soft bristled brush to reduce brushstrokes. I like taklon brushes/
  2. Let the paint dry completely between coats; if you paint over glass paint and it’s not dry, you’ll take up what you just painted.

Are you ready to get started? Here’s what you’re going to need:

  • Glass jar to fit your pencils
  • Mod Podge Gloss or Matte
  • Enamel/glass paint
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Brushes
  • Scrapbook paper, 2 patterns
  • Sealant spray
  • Craft knife and mat

If you want to make these Dishwasher Safe – you’ll need to use a dishwasher safe decoupage medium. Otherwise you can lightly clean them with a damp cloth.

how to make a pencil holder

Get the printable how to card for this project below:

Yield: 1 cup

DIY Pencil Holder

pencil holder diy

Learn how to make a pencil holder with a glass jar and Mod Podge - it's the easiest craft ever!

Prep Time 15 minutes
Active Time 30 minutes
Dry Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty Easy
Estimated Cost $1


  • Glass jar(s) to fit your pencils
  • Mod Podge Gloss or Matte
  • Enamel/glass paint
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Scrapbook paper, 2 patterns
  • Sealant spray (optional)


  • Paint brushes
  • Craft knife and mat


  1. Remove any labels and clean your jar thoroughly. Using a rag, wipe the inside of the glass with alcohol and air dry.DIY Pencil Cup Supplies
  2. Pour paint into the jar and then use a paint brush to spread a thin coat of paint to the inside of the glass. Turn the jar upside down and let excess drain onto a paper towel. Allow that coat to dry and apply another layer as needed. Dry and cure the paint according to the manufacturer’s instructions.Paint the Inside of the Jar
  3. Cut a panel of your favorite paper to fit around the center of the jar. Cut a narrower piece of paper for another accent, if desired.Cut Paper to size
  4. Apply a layer of Mod Podge to the outside of the jar and wrap and press the paper panel on top of it. Smooth out any bubbles as the glue dries.Apply Mod Podge Layer
  5. Apply a coat of decoupage over that paper and lay the second, smaller piece of paper on top.Apply Second Layer of Paper
  6. Smooth out any bubbles and allow both panels of paper to dry. Brush on one to two more coats of decoupage over the paper to seal it.Repeat with other Jars


Costs vary for this project - I used a recycled glass jar and other supplies I had on hand, making it free.

Read our guide to Mod Podging on glass if you like before gluing the paper down. If you find your paper keeps popping up, you might want to use a few rubber bands to keep it in place.

Once dry, you can protect the decoupage by flipping the jar upside down and sealing it with a clear enamel spray. Let dry completely before using.

Did You Make This Project?

Please leave a rating or share a photo on Pinterest!

If you like recycled crafts like this DIY pen holder, there’s plenty more where that came from! Break out your bottle of decoupage medium and get started on these crafts you can make at home:


Thursday 15th of August 2013

Shannon's done her magic again. Love this.

Madeline Fuhriman

Tuesday 13th of August 2013

So cute! I need some modge podge! :)


Tuesday 13th of August 2013

This is awesome! I love anything recycled. Pinning!

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