Upcycled Pencil Holder

For nearly two years I’ve had this little plastic Halloween cup sitting on my desk, holding pens, pencils, and scissors. It wasn’t anything beautiful or even cute, it just served a purpose and I hardly gave it a second thought. While trying to revamp my working area to be more open, organized, and me I picked it up intending to throw it out and buy something really nice. Poised, with it in my hands, over the trash can, a thought occurred to me; why not paint it and spruce the old girl up?

You would be surprised how a little paint or glitter can change the way we look at something.  What better way to be green that to change the appearance of objects we use on a daily basis so that they fit our current styles. This method works great on our wallets too! As we grow, our styles have a way of morphing and altering. If we alter the stuff around us already we can better mold our environment to what we want than simply hoping that a designer out there will make exactly what we’re looking for.

This project took so little time and the results were just what I was needing to spur another burst of organizing energy!

1. Plastic cup in need of revamping!
2. Tacky Glue
3. Ribbon for embellishment
4. Paint
5. Gesso or white paint
6. Paint brush

 Step One: Because paint doesn’t stick very well to plastic for long term use I primed my cup by using white paint. You can also use gesso or a primer of your choice.

Step Two: I painted my cup using two different paints. The first coat was a solid green with a pearl finish. Once that dried I covered it in a layer of translucent glitter paint matching the color of the solid. I left a spot near the lip of the cup free of the glitter paint. This will allow for better adhesion of the ribbon to the cup. Covering the white/primer completely may take a few coats.

Step 3: Lastly I added a bit of ribbon around the lip of the cup to give it a finished look. When gluing the ribbon on, be sure to use only as much glue as you need to attach the ribbon and work in small sections, allowing each section to dry almost completely, for a snug, more precise look.

Ta-da! This simple project completely changed how my desk space looks. It brought some color to an already dark work area (my desk is black) and I didn’t have to purchase anything to make this small improvement. Now I’ve started looking for all kinds of things I can ‘upcycle’. I feel as though a whole new world has been opened up to me. I’ve already spray painted one other piece. The room is brightening up each day and with each project my working space is becoming more like me, which, in turn, spurs my imagination and creativity.

Next I want to work on getting myself more shelf space! Right now all my shelves are full of books (rightfully so!) but I need places that allow for easy access organization. There will soon be very clear, visual indications of which side of the room is Andrew’s and which is mine-haha-and I feel invigorated with inspiration! As I work to create a functional work space I’ll post updates of the room as it changes.


  1. Michelle says:

    Cool! 🙂