DIY pencil and pen caddy

I had a scrap 4×4 piece of wood sitting around and decided to put it to use. Drilling the holes in this desk caddy was a bit harder than it looks. This was my third try. It made me wish for a drill press. But, if you have a steady hand and a good eye, a standard drill will work. I love that it echoes the shapes of the keys on the keyboard. I went with a sleek look, but you can paint or decoupage the caddy any way you want. Bonus: It makes a great bookend too.

How to make a salvaged wood pencil and pen caddy


  • scrap 4×4 board (try Freecycle or a salvage yard)
  • spray primer
  • spray paint
  • painter’s tape
  • felt feet


  • sanding block and sandpaper
  • drop cloth
  • drill and 1/2-inch drill bit
  • tack cloth
  • ruler and pencil

Cut the wood in 4-inch pieces

1. First cut the 4×4 in 4-inch pieces. (You might need more than one in case you mess up). Thanks Rick for cutting the wood for me!

Draw a grid for the holes

2. Use a ruler and pencil to draw a grid to guide you when drilling the holes. My holes are about 1/2 inch from the edge and 1/2 inch from each other.

Drill the holes

3. Measure three inches on the drill bit, and mark it with a flag of painter’s tape. This will ensure that all your holes are the same depth. Drill each of the holes, making sure that the drill is exactly straight up. I used a 1/2-inch drill bit, but if your pencils and pens are fatter, use a larger drill bit.

Sand and fill holes

4. Sand all the sides smooth. Fill any nicks with wood filler, let dry, then sand smooth again. Remove dust with a tack cloth.

Apply primer

5. Apply one coat of spray primer. (I used regular primer because it’s what I had on hand.) Let dry, then lightly sand. Remove dust with a tack cloth, and apply another coat of primer. Let dry.

Three coats of spray paint

6. Apply three coats of spray paint, letting dry 15-20 minutes after each coat.

Adhere felt feet

7. Stick felt feet on the bottom.

DIY pencil caddy

8. Load it up with your favorite pens and pencils. Enjoy!