(DIY) Crayons, Markers, Pencils- OH MY!

My trash can has been gettin' some serious action this past week. There's something about moving classrooms that can really make a teacher evaluate the value of packing it up and hauling it across campus. I am laser focused on a fresh, clean and organized new start for next year and with that comes a 'lil evaluation and reflection. Ultimately, I've sacrificed many of my "first year loves" to the trash can gods... all in the name of a fresh start! 

One thing that has ALWAYS made my skin crawl is a messy writing center. Is it just me? All the broken crayons, dull pencils and random marker lids...OH! The horror!
All those materials need an organized home and every year I've tried to improve my tactics to rein in the madness.

My first year I used these:
This idea was the product of a first year teacher on a budget...they served their purpose, but I wasn't thrilled with them. I wanted a cuteness factor. So...
last year I upgraded to these Dollar Tree finds:
They worked better because they only used vertical space, which was great... but I could see all the broken crayons and random marker lids and I just can't handle that. At the end of last year, I decided that I was on the hunt for a false sense of organization. An "out of sight, out of mind" approach.
So this year I opted for these... minus the cereal {of course}:
*They are plastic and come in a set of 4 at Target*
Before you say anything- yes, I know they are clear. I have a solution for that! :)
One of the sweet teachers on my team stopped by my room at the beginning of this year and said, "Oh, those are cute, you're gonna use 'em for your desk?" I'll never forget the hesitation in her voice when I explained the hope for my writing center. I'll admit, I wasn't sure it was going to work either- those clasps look like they could prove to be tricky... but I was certainly on a mission to try.
I cut out scrapbook paper to fit each height, made a label and sent it through the laminating machine {that was the key to durability!!}
I laid each page into the canisters and put a couple pieces of good 'ol scotch tape on the edges to hold it in place and that was it! Now, because the canister is round and the paper's edge is straight, you do have to kinda play with it. I left a 1-2 inch gap in the back in order for my paper to lay nicely. I'm sure there is a way to cut it so it lays all the way around. I just made sure the gap was in the back.
Here's the finished product... 10 months later!!

The different heights work perfectly for the different writing utensils! The kiddos figured out the clasps in the first week of school and it was smooth sailing from there!
I can't believe how well the canisters held up! My class exceeds my expectations in the area of destruction. Not even kidding- every inch of my rooms is covered in child grime this time of year. Surprisingly, these held up really, really well...the crayons, markers and pencils? Well, notsomuch. You know how that goes!

I'm so happy that there's no more distracting mess staring at me on a daily basis! I'll definitely be using these again next year and the best part is I can switch out the paper to match my color theme!
 If you want a cleaner work space, but aren’t sure about tackling this DIY, there are options at places like Shutterfly to create customizable pencil holders or a desk organizer.
Sorry trash can gods, I wouldn't be delivering these to your throne any time soon.


  1. Love, love, love! What an AWESOME idea!!!


  2. Replies
    1. Thanks Teri :) Hey, I'm sorry to hear about your grandfather...hang in there girl. Your post was so sweet and positive, but I know it's gotta be hard.


  3. Are the canisters plastic or glass? Did the kids use them or did they strictly sit on your desk?

    1. They are plastic... Glass would scare me :) And yes, the kids used them all year.


  4. That canister idea is genius!! What a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing. :)

    Learning Is Something to Treasure

  5. I'm also moving classrooms this year - boo. I've been trying to look on the bright side of the whole thing and out with the old and in with the new certainly makes it better. Thanks for the ideas!
    Over the 1st Grade Rainbow

  6. What a geneous idea!! It is so creative!

    Jessica Stanford
    Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog

  7. What a great idea!!!! Right now mine are in a drawer that the kids end up wrestling over. Just had a brainstorm that may help me solve that problem (using old coffee canisters instead). Thanks!

    Every New Beginning

  8. What a great idea and knowing that they lasted all year makes me want to try it! Thanks for sharing.


    Fun in Room 4B

  9. Love the idea! Isn't it funny how we try different things each year!

  10. Those are great! Love the way the sizes fit perfectly:) So cute!! Thanks for linking up:) LOVE my laminator!!!! I laminate everything!!!!! Hope you come back next week:) Don't forget the button:))

    4th Grade Frolics

  11. Where did you get the canisters? I love this idea and am off to pin it right now so I don't forget to do this!!

    Think, Wonder, & Teach

  12. Just found your blog. I love it! What a great idea. I hate looking at the broken crayons and messy bins too. I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks for sharing. I'm your newest follower!


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