My first idea for this year’s Back to School DIY were bookmarks, but something drew me to making pencil cases instead. Browsing my local craft store gave me the inspiration I needed:

I created two pencil cases, made out of felt. I didn’t have any instructions, I just spontaneously made them at a whim.

Two quick tips:

First, as the making of the pencil cases was a little bit unplanned, I just realized the day I made them (on a Sunday when all the stores are closed) that I didn’t have iron-on interfacing at hand. As the felt is a little thin, it might have been beneficial to the overall stability and durability of the pencil cases to use some.

So far they still look fine, but I just use them at home. If you or the person you make this for would like to carry it around in a bag, it might help to line the insides with interfacing so the pens won’t make their way through the felt at some point. Or you could use thicker, more durable felt, if your sewing machine is up to that.

Secondly, for both projects it is easiest to use zipper that comes in a long roll with several sliders. That allows you to cut it to size in exactly the length you need. Just make sure to secure both ends by sewing over the teeth a couple of times.

No 1: Bat Pencil Case

This case is ideal if you have only a handful of pens that you would like to take along. Right now, mine holds only a pencil and an eraser, but it could take a little more.

You’ll need:

2 sheets of black felt, approx. 8.5×11″ (or A4)
black thread
a black zipper

First of all, you’ll have to decide on the shape you would like your bat to have. Find a template online and print it out in the appropriate size or draw one yourself on a piece of paper.

Make sure you choose a form that will leave enough room in the middle to hold a couple of pens.

You will need only one half of the bat. If you drew it, cut out the half that turned out best.

Fold your sheet of felt in half and attach the template in such a way that the fold is on the inside of the bat, so that, when you fold it open, you have a full bat shape.

Now, cut around the corners. Repeat for the second sheet of felt.

When you open the folded-up halves, you should have two full bats.

If I’d had any, this is the point where I’d have ironed on some interfacing on the backsides of the bat shapes to give them more stability and make them a little more durable. But it also works without.

Decide how long you would like your zipper to be and cut to size.

Again, don’t forget to secure the ends after you have attached the slider. Otherwise, the slider might come off and you will have a hell of a time getting it back on, especially if the zipper is already sewed in.

Fold one half of your bat shape up again and cut a line for the zipper. Cut out a very narrow strip to make room for the width of the zipper teeth.

Attach the zipper with fixing pins and make sure it works correctly before you sew it in. It doesn’t matter if you sew by hand or with a sewing machine.

Then, attach the two halves together and sew around the bat. This is the most difficult part because they probably won’t match 100%, so you have to be careful to catch every opening. It’s probably easier to get that if you sew by hand, but it also works with a sewing machine. If you have a hole somewhere, just sew over that part again.

And you’re done!

For a little splash of color, I added a name to the pull tap, using letter pearls and a piece of elastic string. Of course, this can be any pull decoration you like.

No 2: Two-colored Pencil Pouch With Cute Patches

This pencil case is larger and holds a lot more pens and pencils. It is a little more difficult but also quite easy to make. And you can decorate it very individually with whatever patches you like best.

You’ll need:

2 sheets of felt in fitting colors, approx. 8.5×11″ (or A4)
+ plus two small pieces for the sides
some cute embroidered iron-on patches
thread in a color fitting the outside felt
a zipper

Put the two sheets of felt on top of each other. It is best if the inside sheet is a little larger than the outside sheet because that gives the pouch a colorful border.

Fold in a way that leaves a flap on top.

Attach a rectangular piece on each side. This is the tricky part because you have to get it in relatively evenly. And it is a little more difficult to sew with a sewing machine. The good thing about using felt: You can have ends standing out and after sewing you just cut them off.

Cut a zipper to size, secure the ends as described above, and sew it in. Make it a little bit longer than the pouch so you have enough to decently close off the ends.

The actual sewing on of the zipper can be done with a sewing machine, but the ends need to be sewn by hand.

I again attached a colorful band with letters to the pull.

To secure the tap, use Velcro fastener. I had these handy dots that you could glue in, but you have to be a little careful with those when you open the tap so they don’t come off, especially on felt. To be more on the safe side, you can also use Velcro strips that are sewed on.

Whatever you use, make sure the tap is nicely secured.

Last but not least, arrange a number of embroidered iron-on patches. You can use whatever motifs and however many you like. It’s completely up to you. Rearrange them a couple of times before you iron them on to see where they look best.

And there you go, two cute pencil cases for Back to School time—or any other time where you need something to hold your pens.