Bicycle Inner Tube Becomes Rugged Pencil Case

If you’re a cyclist that lives in an area with poorly-maintained infrastructure, you’ll likely have plenty of punctured inner tubes begging for reuse. Consider crafting them into a rugged, hard-wearing pencil case with this design from [Yorkshire Lass].

[Yorkshire Lass] does a great job of not only explaining the basic design of the pencil case, but also the unique techniques required to work with inner tubes in this manner. For best results, the tube must first be straightened by stretching it for some time along a flat board. Strips of the rubber must then be cut to suit, and then assembled into the pattern to make the pencil case. Sewing up the case also requires some special techniques outside those used in regular sewing. That’s largely down to the fact that rubber can’t be pinned in place without leaving a permanent hole in the material. Thankfully, the write-up explains all the traps for those new to sewing inner tubes, which we’d have to suspect is most of us.

Assembled properly, you’ll end up with a pencil case made of far tougher material than most. Plus, it makes a great fashion accessory to flaunt to other bicycle or recycling evangelists at your school, college, or workplace. Even better, there’s scope to run a group craft session with your local bike group given everyone surely has a few dud mountain bike tubes laying around.

We’ve seen some other neat hacks intended to store pens and pencils around the workshop. Meanwhile, if you’ve got your own great reuse ideas for old bicycle inner tubes, do drop us a line!

23 thoughts on “Bicycle Inner Tube Becomes Rugged Pencil Case

  1. Some inner tubes hate UV. They start to crack and dry up. Some but not all. One can tell with touch. Those feelings harder and most slippery a bit like PVC will resist, while those having a typical soft, rubbery touch will likely fail.

    1. No you can’t, most modern butyl tubes has very little stretch in them.
      In fact the CST tube in the picture has almost no stretch.
      Source, I have been working in a bike shop for 25 years.
      I replaced thousands of tubes over years
      I sold CST tubes as budget tubes.

  2. ken keaseys last book,has a group of characters called
    “the fish kids” who live in a massive tire dump in
    alaska and have developed a whole suite of used tire and tube technologys
    sailors song

  3. I have some old bits of books (the books have fallen apart from over use the books came out in the 50’s) from my father which have a whole heap of things for kids to make and in there was a couple of bags and the pile to make from car inner tubes and there something they did car tyres as well from memory

  4. A supply of old inner tubes is surprisingly useful. One can stick pieces on things as rubber feet. I used a strip with super glue to repair a pair of running shoes whose stitching came apart on one side, like a strip of tape. I used inner tube rubber to patch worn out climbing shoes from the inside (I use these shoes for warm-ups and lower-grade endurance laps). When I strap 3D printed adapters onto a bike (water bottle and pump holders) I put rubber in between to keep them from sliding as much. And I have an Ikea Poang armchair where the lower back plywood strip was digging into my back, so I replaced it with tensioned inner tube wrapped several times around, greatly increasing comfort.

    1. I have many nonrepairably punctured inner tubes. Stuff I’ve done with them:
      Wallet, similar to the pencil holder. It’s lasted for like six years, much longer than others. It’s a little annoying because it’s soft enough it can hang up on other stuff in my pocket and pull it out.
      Big rubber bands to hold trash bags in trash cans
      I cut strips off and put holes in the ends and use rope through the holes to support trees. It’s extremely windy where I live. We’ve had multiple storms of over 100mph wind here this year. Young trees don’t appreciate that, and they also don’t like hard or noncompliant supports because it damages the bark, so a couple of rubber inner tube based tie-downs do a great job.
      I cut pieces off the tubing as soft jaws for pliers, cut gaskets from it, use it as noise insulation for vibrating stuff. This can require a bit of care. Don’t put a piece of rubber tubing right on your hardwood floor and then stick your refrigerator on it: it’ll smash into the floor and damage the finish. Put down a bit of wood you don’t care about, and the rubber on that, and the appliance on that, and then your floor will be okay.

  5. Cut short sections and use as hefty (you control the strength by how wide you cut them) rubber bands. Also stretch them around plastic or wood wheels as “tires” to increase traction.

  6. That was amusing Dave Webster, but the question is valid, in my experience the smell of inner tubes is not very nice and I only used it for things that are meant for outside.
    And I always quietly wonder how healthy it is to breathe stuff that has that smell actually.

  7. I used tube rubber to make replacement gaskets to replace the door lock seal on a 70s Porsche 928, where the seal was long since unavailable.

    That truck innertube has travelled with me, finding various uses every so often.

  8. I used to manage a Bicycleshop for 25 years, next to a university designschool, and I gave away soo much innertubes, bicycle spokes (they are all stainless here), rims and tyres, brake cables and other stuff to people reusing it for all posible things,
    Tubes were made in to seats for chairs, handbags, a skirt, spokes were bent into clasps, tools and hooks.
    Tires and rims were made into chandelers, foots for christmas trees and other stuff
    Tubes were also sand filled as weights for fishingnets and tablecloths for outdoor use.
    A cafe made tables from old rims.
    A gardener made bush supports from tires
    A fisherman made hooks for his smoker from spokes
    I have probably forgotten more uses then I can remember, but only the fantasy is the limit…

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.