Pencil cases come in a huge selection of shapes and sizes. Some are made to hold your top three pens, while others can carry all the office supplies you own. Depending on who you are and what you need, your requirements for capacity, material, and style will vary. Students might prefer a durable nylon case that's easy to clean, with a main compartment big enough for a calculator. Artists, on the other hand, need a high-capacity case that displays instruments clearly, so that they can work quickly and precisely.
Many of the pencil cases shown here have a multitude of different pockets and slots for you to play with. These compartments make it easier to find what you're looking for, and prevent your items from knocking around and being damaged. This might not seem important when you've got a pack of Sharpies with you, but when it comes to freshly sharpened wooden pencils, razor thin pencil leads, or expensive fountain pens, you'll be glad to hear absolutely no clunking sounds from your pencil case.
Sun-Star Pen Jackets: You can attach these slim nylon cases to notebook or textbook covers. The Belt Type pen jackets attach to notebooks via a strap that can be lengthened and shortened, while the Magnet Type pen jackets “clip” to notebooks through the strength of two magnets. Both types are streamlined and light, designed to carry 2 or 3 of your must-have pens. A slide closure loop keeps the pen jacket closed, so even if you carry it sideways or upside down, the pens inside will remain secure. If you like to travel light, with only the items you really need, these pen jackets are a nice and minimal solution.
Lihit Lab Teffa Pen Cases: This pen case is incredibly versatile, with 5 main compartments of various sizes and the ability to carry 17-24 pens. It can serve as a multi-purpose utility kit, sketch kit, or first aid kit, but the first thing I thought of when I saw it was the classroom. Perhaps the style has something to do with this, since it's shaped like a medium-sized book with rounded corners, and fits nicely into a backpack. The nylon fabric is easy to clean, and there are compartments suitable for extra cartridges, erasers, calculators, and pocket notebooks. If you love office supplies but hate sorting through clutter, this pencil case is highly recommended.
Kokuyo Will Stationery Actic Mini Pencil Cases: The Will Stationery Actic is streamlined and sturdy, with protective sides and very solid construction that can take a beating without showing any serious scars. It stands up easily on desks and bookshelves, doubling as a pen holder with a small footprint. It's also the perfect size to slip into a laptop bag or purse, and wouldn't look out of place next to an iPad. With a capacity of 3-5 writing instruments, you can carry all of the necessities. It's also available in a large size.
Lihit Lab Otomo Pencil Cases: The Otomo is a triangular pouch made from nylon, and functions much like a wristlet. The interior holds 10-12 pens, and is printed with a chocolate brown polka-dot design that matches the pink exterior quite nicely. The two slim pockets sewn into the main compartment are great for cards, ink cartridges, or lead refills, and the side pocket accommodates extra items like a USB drive, chapstick, and gum. In a casual office setting, the Otomo is an ideal companion.
Nomadic PE-10 Tri-Fold Pencil Cases: This tri-fold case is shaped exactly like a wallet, with 10 individual slots for writing instruments, 2 long (but slim) pockets, and a small eraser-shaped compartment. The slots are different widths, so there's a place for your skinny pencils and your chunky markers. Once the case is open, it lays nice and flat, displaying all the tools within. Artists will really enjoy the fact that everything has its proper place, making it easy to find that waterbrush you need right away, or to switch between markers for blending. And yes, the case is closed by a large velcro strip that is quite loud, but be bold and rip away! Note: If you're worried about your instruments scratching each other when the case is closed, simply place a rectangular piece of cloth (like a folded bandanna) between the two sections.
Kokuyo C2 Tray Type Pencil Case: This sharp two-tone nylon case has an appealing box shape that, once unzipped, turns into a tray. Not all of the items inside will be immediately visible, particularly if the case is full, but things are certainly much easier to find. The no-frills design has a minimalist appeal, and works wonderfully if you have a large set of wooden pencils, inking pens, or Copic Markers to carry about. In the absence of a bag, you can also dangle the case comfortably from the button strap.
Nomadic PE-06 Side Zipper Pencil Cases: You can rest easy with the Nomadic PE-06 when you're on the road, since everything is securely zipped inside, with no uncovered pockets or compartments. It's a medium-sized nylon case that would fit perfectly in the side pocket of a backpack, where people normally put water bottles or thermoses. All of the compartments are very thoughtfully designed, and it's fun toying around with different layouts to figure out what works best. For an example, the case only has 6 designated pen slots, but if you use the other pockets for pens, it can hold 17! You can also use it as a travel kit, with your passport, boarding passes, Nintendo DS, and writing tools inside.
Sun-Star Pencil Case & Bag: The Sun-Star Pencil Case & Bag is just what it sounds like -- a pencil case that can turn into a bag. The pencil case can hold up to 10 writing instruments, and the bag can carry standard size sketchbooks, journals, and notebooks. The convertible feature is useful in a variety of travel situations. Maybe you're at an art museum and a book of paintings grabs your eye, or the night market has some fruits you've never tried before, or you simply want someplace to put your sweater. In these sorts of situations, the ability to finagle more storage space out of thin air is a pretty valuable one.
Nomadic PE-08 Easy Classification Pencil Cases: The nylon Nomadic PE-08 has a carrying capacity of 20+ writing instruments, and can hold pretty much anything you need. There's a main pouch with two small mesh pockets in it, as well as two outer pouches of different sizes. This makes the pencil case a lot easier to navigate, since you can allocate everything according to function or category. Like most other Nomadic pencil cases, it's extremely functional, durable, and water-resistant.
Kutsuwa Dr. Ion Super Mega Pencil Case: In case the name didn't tip you off, this heavy-duty pencil case is... well, quite big. It's the size and shape of a rounded lunchbox, with a very solid handle attached to the top, and metal rings on the sides for a long shoulder strap (not included). The construction is superb, and there's a wonderful assortment of pockets, pouches, dividers, and slots for you to organize your stuff. You can fill it with your fountain pen collection, school supplies, cosmetics, or any number of other items. In the event of the apocalypse, it'd be a great bug-out bag for absolutely essential items. Anybody with a penchant for organizing clutter into neat little trays and compartments will enjoy configuring this pencil case.
Hard cases made of metal or plastic are protective in some ways, and damaging in others. For an example, throwing a hard case in your backpack with a laptop could result in scratches not only to the laptop, but to the pen bodies inside (particularly if they're nice fountain pens). At the same time, hard cases display their contents quite well when left on a table or bookshelf.
Protective cases made from leather, canvas, silicone, polyneoprene, and nylon are relatively soft, and won't scratch the pens and pencils within. They tend to be flexible, can stretch if needed, and are usually easy to clean. Students, artists, travelers, and anyone that puts their tools through a beating will probably want a protective case. Nylon is especially tough and portable.
Soft cases of cloth are lightweight and comforting, with an appeal that some of the more utilitarian cases lack. However, cloth is more easily stained and torn than materials like nylon, so be prepared to take good care of your pencil case.
These portable pencil cases are very handy for organizing office supplies, and will help you find tools faster. There's a model for everyone, so if none of our recommendations feel quite right, check out all the other options here.
What do you keep in your pencil case?
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