The Pennovator's dilemma

One of the foibles of accumulating pens is the question of where to store them. Do you want to store them? Display them? Keep them out of reach of little fingers? And yet there are so few options out there that appeal. Most of my research turned up such gems as:

 If you can't say anything nice... but $700+? Seriously?

If you can't say anything nice... but $700+? Seriously?

Nice in their own way, I suppose. But not for me. So I started to think laterally. Early on I found an artists drawer on eBay and lined it with felt. That was OK for the first pens I had, but wasn’t really too attractive. I upgraded that by gluing an toolbox to the top to store ink and assorted whatnots, but it was still functional rather than attractive.

 Functional, but not exactly inspiring...

Functional, but not exactly inspiring...

I started to think even more laterally, and came up with three options - a scientist’s specimen cabinet, a machinist’s toolbox and a cantilever sewing box. These are all wonderful, handbuilt objects that aren’t generally made at high quality today, and so antiques are the way to go. The machinist’s toolbox and specimen cabinets were too rich for my blood, but I still think either would be a great option.

 Would probably have replaced that green felt...

Would probably have replaced that green felt...

I briefly considered a cigar box 1, but it would have been too small. So it was the sewing box - I wasn't sure at first but I am delighted with the way it turned out. The steps were nothing more than:

  1. Find appropriate box on eBay
  2. Rip out the internal dividers
  3. Find some wood varnish and stain the internals a similar colour to outside
  4. Line the lids with felt
  5. Cut some pen tray inserts to size2 and drop them in
  6. Realise that you have too many pens too fit in the box and more on order
  7. Cut some more pen tray inserts to size, make a notch in the middle and thread a bit of ribbon through to form a loop and hey presto, a second layer! It’s like a box of chocolates3.

I’ll do a post with pictures of the end product and a catalogue of the contents later - interested to hear how others have found novel ways to store their pens!


1 There were huge bonus points for Henri Winterman’s based on Girl from Mars though...

2 I got mine from gopens.com - cheap, look good and easy to cut to size with great service.

3 My momma always said to me, “life is like a box of pens - sometimes it goes smoothly, sometimes you can find it hard to get going, and sometimes its bloody expensive"