Recycle A Brick Into Something Useful

I found an old brick at our rental house the other day when we were doing yard work. It looks like any old building brick but when I saw the holes, it reminded me of a project I saw where someone had recycled an air brick into a pencil holder. I have a gazillion markers, calligraphy pens, pencils and small paintbrushes and am always looking for unique ways to display them on my desk so that I have easy access to them. I'll show you how I turned this ordinary brick into a useful pen holder for my desk.
STEP 1:   Wipe your brick down with a dry cloth if there is just a little dirt on it or if it is in pretty rough shape hose it down or give it a good scrub to remove any embedded dirt in the holes
STEP 2:  Paint your brick.  I had some Annie Sloan Chalk paint in Pure White.  I used a paintbrush to give it a couple coats of paint.  I did not paint down inside the holes nor did I cover every part of the terracotta brick.  I wanted some of the natural brick to show through.
STEP 3:  Separate your 2 or 3 ply decorative napkin so that the decorative side is the only ply you have left.  This can be a little tedious.  Don’t worry if your napkin tears a little.  When you mod podge over it, it won’t be noticeable
STEP 4:   With the Sponge foam brush, apply a coat of mod podge  on one of the larger sides of the brick.  Immediately apply the single ply decorative napkin to the brick.
STEP 5:  Repeat STEP 4 until all the sides of the brick are covered.  Let dry for about an hour
STEP 6:  With stencils or your own hand writing, you can write or paint anything on your new pen holder for your desk.

I use my new pen holder for my desk as an actual art supply holder for my favorite hand lettering tools.
Other ideas: If you don’t want to mod podge a decorative napkin, you can use black and white newspaper or pages from an old book.  The brick looks great with just paint and stenciled letters too.

Have fun with this fun and super easy craft. It's also very affordable. I spent leads than $5 for the decorative napkins. Everything else I already had in my craft supplies. If you are starting out without any supplies, it shouldn't cost you more than $10, especially if you go to the dollar store or use your coupons from Michaels or JOANN Fabrics craft Supply.
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Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

3 of 17 questions
  • Gina Berdecia Spencer
    Gina Berdecia Spencer
    on Jan 31, 2018

    What is the reason to use chalk paint?
    • Colimbia1
      on Jan 31, 2018

      I think it was what she had on hand. No reason you couldn't use another kind or color of paint. Also coulld use fabric instead of napkin. If I make one I would probably use a road map or page from an atlas, just because my home office has a map theme. You could also use this idea to make a door stop.
  • John
    on Jan 31, 2018

    Have you tried marbleing ?
  • Nancy
    on Feb 1, 2018

    What do you put under it to keep from marking up the desk?

Join the conversation

2 of 167 comments
  • K. stay
    K. stay
    on Jan 9, 2020

    If Rustic is the goal, I would probably clean the brick, glue felt on the bottom and put it to use. Bricks are pretty heavy and on a level surface shuld stay in place. Thanks for the great recycling idea...I might even spray paint it black.

  • Launa Elaine Strickland
    Launa Elaine Strickland
    on Mar 4, 2020

    Wow! So pretty!

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