A beautiful upcycled pencil pouch!

Every parent, college student or scholar on a budget knows how expensive back to school supplies and shopping can be. According to an article from the Consumer Media Network, the average American family spends nearly $700 on back to school expenses for students in kindergarten through high school, and over $900 on college aged students—not including those wickedly costly textbooks (CMN, 2012).

Since every little change counts in our reusable revolution, we’d like to help you find a few sustainable alternatives to back to school supplies. Here are seven simple no-sew steps to upcycle an old pair of jeans, T-shirt, pillowcase, towel or any fabric you no longer use into a reusable, eco-friendly pencil case.

What you’ll need:
Jeans, scissors, glue and ribbon

• Scissors or exact-o knife

• Fabric—we’ve chosen toddler-sized used jeans

• Fabric glue/ hot glue

• Decorative ribbon—optional

Cut jeans into 8 x 8 fabric strip
1)    Using your fabric, cut a piece that is about 8 inches by 8 inches.

2)    Cut 6 horizontal slits into the middle of the fabric about an inch apart. If you’re using old jeans, as we have, consider gluing additional fabric to where you’ve cut, in order to prevent fraying over time.

Cut horizontal slits into jeans

Bind edges with additional fabric or ribbons
3)    Be careful to not cut all the way across your fabric; these slits will eventually hold your writing implements in place.

4)    Weave your markers, pencils or pencils in and out of the slits.

Weave writing implements in and out of strips

5)    Roll your writing tools up in the fabric and if desired, tie the bundle together with an extra fabric strip or bow.

6)    Throw the upcycled pencil case into your child’s backpack, your purse or bag, and you’re ready to go!

Love eco-friendly DIY crafts and ideas, but not quite ready to make the crafting jump? Our reusable snack and sandwich bags also make the perfect upcycled and repurposed pencil cases for you and your little ones.