I get it. There’s nothing super exciting about a pencil caddy. BUT a rollup organizer that can store tons of pens and pencils without taking up too much space? I’d make one of those. As long as it’s cute. And it is! Here’s the story…

I’ve been working on getting the studio organized (and ‘finished’ to the point of sharing an official studio tour) this last month and a half. And it’s led me to some organizational project stuff that I’ve been wanting to share.

Some projects are large (can’t wait to show you what I’m talking about – very soon) and some are small. Today happens to be on the small side…

It’s a 15 minute project that is almost too easy (and functional) not to take the time to make. It’s a DIY rollup caddy that makes the perfect pen and pencil organizer. All you need is a tea towel and a sewing machine (and thread). That’s it!

We made a couple and I’ve been using them to keep small items like pencils, scissors, paint brushes, etc handy at the studio. But it also totally works for back to school, if you have any little ones. Click through for the step by step instructions.


How to Make a DIY Pencil Organizer

Two tea towels, which are supplies for a DIY pencil organizer

Materials for Rollup Pencil Caddy

  • tea towel with an interesting design*
  • sewing machine / thread
  • (optional) thin leather strip 8-12 inches long

*In case you’re curious, the pink pattern tea towel I used for this DIY is vintage. But the green tea towel can be found right here.

Making a Pencil Organizer (Instructions)

1. Lay your tea towel flat and using a pencil to measure fold up the bottom section, pin on each side and sew.

2. Continuing to use your pencil to measure decide how wide you would like for each section to be, pin and then sew.

3. Fold over your top section and decide how far you would like the fold to come. If your towel is just the right length you can skip this step. But if not, cut off excess fabric and hem.

4. To finish, iron your fabric at the fold and sew a seam from side to side to make a flap that will lay flat.

5. (Optional) To keep the rollup secure, you can add a leather strip, tied in a knot. I didn’t attach mine to the actual rollup – just wrapped it around and knotted it after everything was rolled. But you can sew the two pieces together, if it makes more sense to have that piece connected.

What else can I use this rollup organizer for?

This rollup pencil organizer that works for all kinds of things, not just pencils. It would make the perfect makeup organizer! You can use it for makeup brushes and tubular makeup items (like eyeliner, lipgloss, etc). Or what about as a makeup brush organizer? This would be perfect for that.

Speaking of brushes, artist brushes would fit perfectly in the slots of this rollup too.

What else could you use this organizer for? I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Photo step by step instructions for making a pencil organizer with fabric.

Honestly, I am always, ALWAYS losing small things in my desk.

These pencils organizers are a lot harder to lose track of than one single pencil. Right? Hope you like ’em too.

Pink pattern rollup fabric organizer with leather cord on a white desk.

Fabric rollup office organizer with pencils and scissors inside.

Closeup of mint green fabric pencil organizer with office supplies around it.

Overhead photo of fabric rollup organizer with scissors and other office supplies.