Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Pencil Rolls ~ great scrap buster

Pencil rolls are a compact way to store and carry pencils. When rolled up, they take very little space, and so easily fit into a handbag, ready to bring out and amuse the kids when out and about.


Amongst many other charities, Sewing for Charity Australia sews and knits for the m.a.d. woman foundation, an organisation helping people facing social, physical, mental or financial disadvantage.


One of their ongoing projects is making pencil rolls, using the Sewing School tutorial. It's very easy to follow and enabled me to use up some scraps of fabric with kids' themes. It didn't take long to whip up 10 pencil rolls.


During the photo shoot, however, was when I realised there was a problem. The elastic was too loose to wind around once, and on some, too tight to comfortably wind round twice. The tutorial suggests using a large hair tie, but also gives instructions for elastic. Using a variety of elastics I had on hand, I followed the directions to a tee (or so I thought)

The type of elastic is obviously important, but I couldn't see any mention of this in the tutorial. The standard ¼" elastic was the worst. It mightn't look too bad in the photo above, but it's hard to wind twice and just hangs loosely when wound once. The yellow, two photos above, works OK wound twice. It's stretchier than the white. 

In retrospect, I should have thought about the different stretchiness of elastics. I've found this often enough with waist elastic on kids' clothing. Hat elastic probably would have been a better option, as it's more like hair ties.

When reading back through the Sewing for Charity Australia document outlining the current projects, it does state thin elastic or a hair tie. It pays to re-read everything before starting!

And yes, I know I should have made one pencil roll in its entirety, and checked sizes, before I made anymore. But hey, what could go wrong with a simple pencil roll... LOL!!! Lesson learned... till next time.  


Pencil rolls are one of those projects that tick a lot of boxes...
  • easy sewing for those times when I want a quick finish
  • great for using up scrap fabric
  • feel good sewing for charity

Even though I was disappointed with the final result, I've still popped them in the post and sent them to Sewing for Charity Australia. Maybe they'll find a quick fix to the problem, or maybe they'll be able to use them as is.

I will be making more pencil rolls, but I'm not sure about the closure. I'll experiment to find a solution that works for me. The following tutorials have a variety of options to think about...


If you've ever made pencil or crayon rolls, I'd love to hear your experiences.

... Pam




28 comments:

  1. I'm sure the effort will be appreciated on the receiving side even if they don't meet your standards, Pam. I've never made these before, but they look useful. And with the benefit of your experience, if I ever do, I think I'd use a button and hair elastic as a closure. Or a strip of velcro...?

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  2. I too have made these pencil rolls have one fr fountain pens etc too. I have used both ribbons to tie them closed and also a toggle and loop which works well

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  3. They look lovely. I think Velcro would be good for little fingers.

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    1. Velcro is most probably the easiest closure for kids to handle by themselves. Thanks.

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  4. What a great stocking stuffer, or item to send to a women's shelter, or to have in the gift box for last minute/unexpected gifting :) Buy a bunch of pencil crayons when school supplies are on sale, and prepare to bust some stash!

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  5. I was wondering - in the photo the wrap looks kind of empty - maybe when it's full of pencils the elastic works better?

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  6. These are great stash-buster ideas the pencil rolls look really fun and colourful!
    It is a shame about the elastic but we are always learning new things as crafters!

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    1. I enjoy the learning as much as the making, Caroline. Thanks.

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  7. A great idea and a great cause. It is a shame about the elastic but maybe someone will be able to fit some thing extra in the centre of the roll and only wrap the elastic round once, as it is a little looser. A roll of paper maybe? Or a couple of more chunky pencils?

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  8. I love pencil rolls. So handy. I did a tutorial on how to make one, and it is the second most looked at post on my blog. http://ginxcraft.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/how-to-sew-pencil-roll.html

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    1. Thanks for the link to your tutorial, Ginny. I've added it to the post.

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  9. Hi Pam,
    I think you did a fabulous job on the pencil rolls! They are all so colorful and look like kids will enjoy them very much. I need to examine some of the tutorials you shared and make a few myself. ~smile~

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  10. What a great idea Pam. My daughter would love this as she love collecting pencil cases. Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays.

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    1. Thanks again for linking up to Creative Mondays last week. You are one of this weeks features :)

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  11. Sweet idea - I need something like this for traveling with my bullet journal pens!

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    1. Thanks, Terri. I really should make one for myself.

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  12. A brilliant gift idea and can see a table full of these at a Christmas event

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    1. Pencil rolls would be fast gifts to sew, Carolee.

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  13. Pencil rolls are so handy! Thank you for your ideas and suggestions!

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  14. They look great to me, and I'm sure your efforts will be appreciated. These would be great party favors too. Thank you for sharing at The Really Crafty Link Party. Pinned!

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    1. Never thought of using them as party favours. Great idea, Teresa.

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  15. Your pencil rolls are so bright and pretty, great job, great charity. I made crayon rolls for Shoeboxes last year and first I used ribbon ties to close them and then a friend pointed out that most little people can't tie bows (!) so I changed it to a big button and a small hair elastic--that worked great!! :D

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    1. Thanks, Sheila. I have some pencil rolls for the kids, and I always have to do up the fabric ties. Good point!

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  16. This is an awesome idea! Thanks for sharing with us at Brag About It! Look for your feature at next weeks party - Tuesday - hope you can join us!
    ~Laurie

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  17. Another great stashbuster Pam! I wouldn't have thought of different elastics having different levels of stretchiness either.

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  18. Such a cute idea! Thanks for sharing @Vintage Charm!

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  19. This is such a cute idea and would make the perfect gift for a child, teen or even an adult who loves to write or draw. Pinning!

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