Sunday, January 11, 2015

Pen and Marker Holder from Downspout

Welcome to Ornery Dave's Shop!  Today my wife got a bee in her bonnet and decided she needed a storage solution for her rather impressive collection of pens, markers and pencils.  So, off to the local hardware and home improvement store I went.

I bought this 10 foot piece of plastic downspout. It cost about $8.50 and is enough to make 20 compartments in our pen holder. I actually ended up using two because 20 was not enough.  Oy.

First I marked the piece at 5.5", because that is how big she said she wanted them.  You could make them shorter if you don't have long markers such as Copic or Spectrum Noir, but that was about the right length for what she needed.

Then I marked the rest of the pipe at 5.5" intervals with a sharpie. (Note: if you don't get the marks in the right spots and end up with ink on your pieces where you don't want it, just wipe clean with a bit of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol.)

After I cut the first one, I decided to put some painter's tape where I was going to cut to help keep the plastic from chipping.  It didn't really help and was a mess to clean up afterwards, so you can skip that step. :)

I had to re-mark all the marks on top of the tape. (another reason to skip that step)

Once I had it ready to cut, I set up my miter saw.

I put the first mark under the blade with the saw off,

and set a clamp at the end of the piece to act as a stop for future cuts.  This makes it easy to cut every piece exactly the same length.

Here is the first cut.

Here they are after I cut the whole piece. They are quite messy as the plastic bits are so filled with static.

Use a shop vac to clean them up, inside and out.

It left a BIG mess on the saw, too!

This is what I mean about chipping.  The secret to success is to cut v-e-r-y  s-l-o-w-l-y.  If you don't have a miter saw, you could cut them by hand with a coping saw or hacksaw, by setting up a miter box with a stop.

Once everything was thoroughly clean, she added washi tape (decorative masking tape) to one end. She wrapped it all the way around leaving 1/2 the width of the tape above the edge.Then she folded it over the cut edges to keep it from snagging or cutting fingers, because the cut edge is rather sharp.

To glue the pieces together, you could use any glue that works on plastic.  Below are three options. We decided against the contact cement because of the health hazards. It is pretty toxic and needs to be used in a well ventilated area. But it is really cold here right now, so we chose a different glue.

Liquid Fusion is what we chose, and it works really well on plastic.

Just squeeze some out onto the side of one piece

and stack another piece on top of it, aligning it so the sides are directly on top of each other. You might get a better bond if you allowed the ridges in the plastic to settle into each other but we chose to make the stacks straight.

We didn't press or clamp, just let it set for awhile undisturbed.

Keep gluing the sides together in a stack until you have it as high as you want it.

Here is a picture of the completed holder.  Each of the stacks is free standing, but if you wanted to make it more permanent you could glue the stacks together in between. We put small binder clips on the top cells at the back to hold it all together. We discussed adding a back to it as well, but decided to leave it open.

Once we finished with that project, we had several pieces of downspout leftover, so we cut them in different sizes to make a matching tool caddy for scissors, paint brushes and other tools.

These pieces were glued with the same glue as the pen holders, and we used small binder clips to hold it all in place while the glue dried.
The lengths of these cells are: the two tall ones in the middle are 5.5", three around the sides 4" and the smallest one is 2".

The spinning tray is from Amazon, here is a link to it. I hope you enjoyed my first little tutorial. I have lots of projects for the home and garden coming up. Thanks for reading!

Tools Used:   miter saw, vaccum
Total Cost:    $17  (2 pieces of downspout @ $8.50... Already had glue and decorative tape) 


  1. These storage solutions are wonderful, you did a great job with both of them.

  2. I love the caddy!! This is awesome!


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