DIY: Cosmetic Bags Turned Pen & Pencil Cases!

I recently transformed some clearance cosmetic bags I found at Michaels into customized pen and pencil cases, and thought I’d share them with you.  The bags, a steal at 50 cents each, were pretty enough as is – but I wanted to make them at bit more artsy and more durable.  I was inspired to use them to hold pens, pencils, and other art supplies, and just knew I’d come up with some fun looks.  They’re easy to make, and can be customized a million different ways!

The cosmetic bags – BEFORE..


My customized Pen & Pencil Cases – AFTER!


Basic Instructions:

The first step on each bag was to tape along the two sides (where the bag was stitched) and the bottom. This laid a base for my other tape, and adds extra strength.  Next, I taped along the top edge, by the zipper, and worked my way down.  In most cases I worked horizontally, but you can tape vertically (up and down) as well like I did on the Washi Tape Case.  This project is very loose and flexible, so just play and find what works for you.


Washi Tape Case


I made this case by using three different patterns of washi tape and clear packing tape.  I used the packing tape as a base layer on the whole bag, applied the washi tape in a repeating vertical pattern, and then “sealed” the case with another layer of clear packing tape.  I’ve put colored pens inside this case.

Silver & Black Duct Tape Cases



I made these cases by taping along the sides and bottom, and then taping along the top and down the bag.  The black pen case also has another layer of tape along each of the sides, to cover some of the edges of the tape strips I applied horizontally.  The silver case holds my Caran d’Ache water-soluble crayons, and the black case holds my black pens.

Vintage Ledger Paper & Masking Tape Case


I made this case by attaching pieces of vintage ledger paper to both sides of the case using a very strong double stick tape.  I covered the entire case with clear packing tape, and then accented the sides and bottom edge of the case with pieces of masking tape cut to assorted sizes.  This case holds assorted art tools like small tapes, my XActo knife, pencils, and an eraser.


Now, rather than having bunches of things loose in my “art supplies on the go” case, I’ve got these fun, sturdy, and budget-friendly cases keeping things tidier and more organzied.  Woo hoo!  Oh, and if you missed my post on how to repurpose a vintage train case into a travel case for your art supplies, please click here.  I love the way the case turned out, and it’s really handy – whether I’m just creating here at home or am out and about.


I picked up some extra cosmetic bags, in case some of you would like to customize a bag for yourself or someone you know.  If you’d like me to mail you one of the unaltered cosmetic bags, please leave a comment indicating as much – and use the CONTACT feature to email me your mailing address.  The first FIVE people to comment and email me their addresses will get one of the bags.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, dear readers. And Happy Fall!

Warm regards,

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  1. Posted September 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm by Barbara I. | Permalink

    I LOVE the pencil cases you made out of cosmetic bags. Thanks for the DIY instructions. I will follow them and make one for myself! Thanks so much for the offer to give a bag to the first five commenters. You are so kind!

  2. Posted October 3, 2012 at 5:27 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Thank you – so glad you like the project! It’s my pleasure to send you a “before” bag, and hope you enjoy the creating process and results!

  3. Posted October 4, 2012 at 5:03 am by Debbie | Permalink

    Hey Mel…
    I love what you did with these cosmetic bags! I’d love to get one if possible…I just treated myself to a new set of washi tape that would be perfect for this project. Many thanks, my dear…and keep healing from your surgeries.

  4. Posted October 4, 2012 at 8:38 am by Melody | Permalink

    You’ve got it – I’d be happy to send you one! Thank you for the well wishes… :]

  5. Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm by Denise | Permalink

    Oooh! I’d love to have one! A lady can never have too many bags. I find it amazing just how much ‘stuff’ I actually tote around with me. Glad you are doing well and have really enjoyed the ‘retro’ posting. Late comer to your blog so these are kind of catching me up.

  6. Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:16 pm by Melody | Permalink

    Glad to pass one of these along to you! I’m also glad you’re enjoying the retro posting. :]