A great first day of school activity for sixth graders is making pencil holders. I like this project because it recycles lovely magazine pages that I hate to throw away as well as cardboard milk cartons and canisters (the kind oatmeal and other powdered products might come in). 

Pencil holder from Recycled Materials
This project is also great for getting a sense of your students’ ability to follow directions, assemble multiple parts, and stick with a project to the end. Today, my students did a great job and seemed happy while assembling their projects.

Supply List

  1. One #2 Pencil.
  2. Several magazines to tear pages from.
  3. A cardboard milk carton or oatmeal canister.
  4. A glue stick.
  5. Ribbon or rubber bands (optional).


  1. Cut a milk carton or cardboard cylinder so it is slightly taller than the length of an unused #2 pencil. (Teachers, you may want to use an X-Acto knife to help with this.)
  2. Place a magazine page horizontally in front of you.
  3. Run your glue stick from top to bottom along the right side of the paper, leaving a 1.5 inch margin without glue along the edge.
  4. Place a new #2 pencil in the margin and use it to help you evenly roll the paper from the right side to the left.
  5. Just before rolling the last 0.5 inch of paper, run your glue stick along the left edge to secure the end.
  6. After rolling several of these, apply glue to the side of each strip and attach it to the carton. Do this until the carton is completely covered.
  7. Trim the paper rolls to the correct height of your carton.

Pencil Holder Made from Magazine Pages Tip
It is helpful to put rubber bands, string, or ribbon around the project to keep the rolls in place while they dry. You can also leave it on permanently for decoration if you choose.

Total Time
This project takes about 1.5 hours (if you have already torn pages out of magazines).