Make Pen And Pencil Holders From Recycled Tin Cans


Recycled tin cans are the perfect size to contain pens, pencils, markers and other office supplies. There are so many ways to design a recycled tin can into holders. I've made a lot of woven ribbon items lately and thought, why not try it on a tin can. I have too many pens and other writing and drawing instruments and really need something to store them in instead of my usual ziplock bags.
You don't need much to make one - a clean tin can, ribbon, scissors, hot glue, pencil and a candle or lighter to seal the ribbon ends and fabric or cardstock to cover the bottom. That's it!
First, measure the height of the can with a strip of ribbon and cut. Begin by placing the strip edge around the rim of can , marking with a pencil on rim to determine the number of strips needed. Cut out as many as you need using the first strip as a guide.
Take another ribbon and measure the circumference of the can by wrapping it around and cut. Place strip on can from top inside rim to bottom rim to determine the number of strips needed and cut out.
Seal the ribbon ends with flame of candle to prevent fraying.
Next, attach each vertical ribbon strip along the can rim with hot glue.
Once all of the vertical ribbons are attached, take a horizontal ribbon strip and place the edge right next to the inside rim and glue on. Begin by weaving over and under the vertical strips as you wrap the horizontal ribbon around the can. The wrapped horizontal woven ribbon should end at the place where you began. Glue ends in place. Continue adding and gluing horizontal strips on, alternating and weaving over and under until reaching the bottom rim. Straighten and adjust the ribbon by putting down the strips.
Once finished weaving, wrap vertical ends over rim onto bottom of can and glue down. Cut out a circle of fabric or cardstock slightly smaller than the rim of can and glue on to cover ribbon edges.
For another tin can, I used wired burlap ribbon, removing the wire before cutting and weaving..
Have fun making these in complimentary ribbon colors and prints. It's really so easy!

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Gail@Purple Hues and Me

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Lolartanya Nou
    Lolartanya Nou
    on Apr 25, 2019

    can I substitute can tin with a large cherry bottle or even a plastic wipes dispenser cut in half?

    • Bzm11686139
      on Apr 4, 2020

      I think you could use this technique with just about any container. For a jar that had a twist-off lid, you could start the vertical strips just below the threads, and cover the threads with cord, twine, whatever is suitable to your main body.

      As usual, Gail, you have a brilliant idea. Thanks.

Join the conversation

4 of 22 comments
  • JadeKauffman1956
    on Feb 9, 2017

    The weaving that you did inspired me to decorate the vegetable cans I keep vintage pens and pencils in. They are colorful themselves so I color matched the cans to the vibrant colors in the pens. But the biggest thing this inspired me to do was using two 2" rolls of colorful duct tape, weave a pretty cover of two colors for my boring black crutches no longer boring in glitter pink and glitter purple. The applications here are really endless. Thank you!

  • Manghi
    on Feb 27, 2019


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