Saturday, 30 October 2010

How to create a Lazy Susan Coloured Pencil Holder

Lesley Crawford's Lazy Susan Coloured Pencil Holder
courtesy of David Crawford, Janie Gildown and Barbara Newton
all photos copyright Lesley Crawford
This post describes yet another way coloured pencil artist Lesley Crawford has found to store her art materials.  Earlier this month this blog has a post about Storage for Unison pastels.  This post is about how to create a "Lazy Susan" pencil holder for coloured pencils.

How many times do we see great ideas for helping us sort out our studio in books?  But do we all put them into practice?

Like many coloured pencil artists, Lesley likes to have all her art materials and storage sorted while working in her studio.  She used to have problems with tins and boxes of coloured pencils all over her desk.  They took up too much space.  Plus she also didn't like the way she had to shuffle through pencils bunched together in jars, especially when the shorties fell to the bottom!

Then she saw the Lazy Susan Pencil Holder - as pictured in the Colored Pencil Solution Book by Janie Gildow and Barbara Benedetti Newton.  She asked her husband David if he could work out how to make the pencil holder from the picture!

This is her explanation of how it came about once David had studied the picture and worked out how to make it.  Thanks to Lesley and David for both the story and the pictures - and thanks to both Janie and Barbara for the inspiration!

Instructions for Making a Lazy Susan Pencil Holder
Here's the instructions for making a pencil holder.  It's very simple to make.

The starting Point - a wooden Lazy Susan

  • Lazy Susan (a circle of wood on a small circle of wood joined by ballbearings so that it spins round - available from kitchen shops).  The one we bought is 14 inches in diameter - see right.
  • Timber 35mm x 14mm - from DIY stores, very cheap.  Usually comes in lengths of around 2 metres.
  • Small hinges and screws
  • Saw
  • Drill and bit
  • Screwdriver
Instructions for how to make a Lazy Susan Pencil Holder
  1. Cut the timber into 165mm lengths.  (Please note that this is what fitted my lazy susan.  If yours is a different size you need to adjust this measurement)
  2. Choose a drill bit that is slightly larger than the diameter of your pencils.  Put a piece of tape around the bit 30mm from the tip - this will prevent you drilling through the bottom of the wood, and will make all the holes consistently deep.  Drill one hole and check that a pencil will fit, if it is tight then use a slightly larger bit.  Drill a line of holes along the narrow side of the wood, with a slight  space beween each one - I got 14 holes per strip.
  3. Join two pieces together with a hinge as shown
  4. Make as many units of two pieces of wood as you need.   
  5. Sort your pencils out as you want them to be arranged, and write the names  on the wood with indelible ink - ballpoint pen fades over time.
Paired strip joined by hinge - open to show the names of the pencils
Paired strip folded and sitting on top of the Lazy Susan
- and the  Pencil Holder has started (repeat as required)
This then held all my original set of Derwent pencils.  However as my collection increased, it got a bit crowded, so I cut a piece of plywood into a circle of 18 inches in diameter, and screwed four small blocks on it so that it would sit tightly on top of the original lazy susan.

I now have 11 units of paired strips, holding a total of 308 pencils - all in a footprint of 18 square inches.  I have my complete sets of Derwent Artists, Faber Castell Polychromos and Prismacolor Verithins, plus a few odds and ends from other sets.

In the centre is a tub which holds tools, erasers, blenders etc. 

You can keep the whole thing on the desk, or lift off as a unit off to use separately.  The pencils are always in the same order so you soon get to know where they are, and it is easy to put your hand on exactly the one you need.

If you've got a good solution for storage 
or anything which is a cost-effective solution for anything to do with art 
DO let me know by leaving a comment and a link or contacting me (see right hand column). 


Dorcas said...


Annemaritta said...

This would be great thing to have. I also would love to have pencils ready all the time! All those beautiful colours.

WOW! Congratulations!

Annemaritta said...

Ok, this bothers me. You mention 14 holes in one strip, but all the pics shows 12. Also when counting space between pencils, it sounds a bit too tight. Hole should be 8mm, and a bit of space before first and last hole as well between holes.

Oh well... I am just curious! :)

Making A Mark said...

Not my instructions!

I don't think the number of holes matters - decide for yourself what you want

Annemaritta said...

Katherine: Of course everyone decides how many pencils they want or what type of holder they want. :) I'm making a chopping board pencil holder and really enjoying this Lazy Susan project here.

I made a genuine and reasonable point. Not to annoy anyone, but wondering if there is an error of these instructions ;)

Making A Mark said...

Annemaritta - I think the ;point is you can make it any number you want. It's entirely determined by how much space you leave inbetween each hole. David explains that he got 14 holes a strip. The length of the strip is determined by the size of the Lazy Susan.

You can make it a different number if you want to.

Collette said...

OMG ! How perfect is this! I'm off to buy me a lazy susan as well as hit the Hobby store for scraps today! Thanks for the Magnificent idea!

Nicky Stevenson said...

Just spotted this, very clever. As you were looking for other storage ideas, you might like to look at this one my husband and I made from cardboard tubes:

Flowerlily1 said...

I keep my pencils, markers, etc. in jars on a lazy-susan but I like this idea much better. The ease of finding your pencils! I will be making me one of these pretty soon...thanks for sharing!

guin saunders said...

Such a wonderful idea, gonna save it for when I have my own studio. I'm fond of tidy but easy to see and easy to find storage solutions, rather than having cases upon cases that you have to fumble inside of.

Joe Hendry Art said...

Absolutely brilliant idea! I create artwork almost exclusively in coloured pencils now and when you start to build up a collection it becomes a real problem finding the colour you want fast. You should speak to the pencil manufacturers about selling pencils in these instead of tins! :-)

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