What is a Pen and Pencil Holder?

Sheri Cyprus

A pen and pencil holder does just what it implies; it holds pens and pencils. Although a box or a bag can also hold pencils and pens, a holder usually refers to a cylinder-shaped container in which the writing instruments are placed upright. It can be bought at an upscale store and made from the finest materials, or it can be as simple as peeling the label off of a washed food can and using it to hold writing implements.

Some containers are made specifically to hold pens or pencils.
Some containers are made specifically to hold pens or pencils.

Sometimes called a pen and pencil cup, a holder can be as simple as a favorite coffee cup that's too chipped or worn to use to drink out of. Someone can also buy coffee mugs from second hand stores to use for this purpose. Really, small vases or bowls can also work; a person just has to use his or her imagination.

Pen and pencil holders are often cylinder-shaped, and may be featured on desks.
Pen and pencil holders are often cylinder-shaped, and may be featured on desks.

For a fun, quick craft on a rainy day, parents can let kids make their own pen and pencil holders from clean food cans; adults should first make sure no sharp edges are left behind from the can opener. Some colored paper and/or scraps of ribbon and trim can transform a food can into a great holder. This is a craft that most children will enjoy and it has the added bonus of teaching them to keep their possessions neat.

Adults can make fabric-covered or decoupage holders that suit their work space. Another idea for those who do needle point, cross stitch or embroidery is to use up scraps of plastic canvas or cotton cloth and stitch up a cover for the can to create the pen and pencil holder. It may be handy for practicing those new stitches someone is trying to master too.

A purchased or hand-made pen and pencil holder can make an excellent gift for anyone with a home office. A friend can give the holder along with little storage baskets that coordinate with the color and material. Most people appreciate organizational items for their office supplies and can never have too many.

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Discussion Comments


I'm always amazed when I hit the office supply store and see how much things like pen and pencil holders cost! It's unreal! Buy a toothbrush holder at the dollar store and take the top off -- much cheaper and does the same thing.

I've seen holders made of solid mahogany or a similar material, and this mystifies me. Why on earth does someone need something that costs $50 (or more) to hold pens and pencils? Office supplies are hideously expensive anyway, and as I said, frequently you can find something much cheaper that does the job just as well.


I've never had an "official" pen and pencil holder since I've worked at my company! I inherited this wicker frog basket and that's what I've used for 22 years. It holds pens, pencils, letter opener, china markers -- you name it. It's the only thing on my desk that hasn't been stolen at one time or another. I guess no one wants a wicker frog.

It does have some cons, though. The wicker gaps a little at the bottom and my letter opener is apt to slip through the gaps. But I didn't have to buy the holder and, as I said, it's never been stolen, so I keep it around. It does the job.

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