Pen & Pencil Storage Design

Pen & Pencil Storage Design

The Gravity Pad Repository for Writing Instruments and Peripherals

2.0.5 – Office Supplies and Storage Design

The purpose of this post is to design a storage container system for office supplies, namely pens, pencils and peripherals that will be included in the Gravity Pad.  Design at Squishy Lemons usually starts with the inside and works out, but along the way, we must keep the end in mind.  After some brief thoughts and sketches I do have an idea in mind for the final design, so it gives me a path to begin.

Design Guidelines

Overview:  The challenge is how to get items listed below (pens, pencils, and accessories, etc.) staged for daily use and storage.

Location:  It should be close to the main desk to save access time.

Size:  It should also be large enough to fit enough supplies that will last me for at least a few years. See list of items below.

Display:  These office supplies are usually kept in drawers, however that requires opening a drawer to get to.  Hence the design should be able to incorporate a way that allows for easy access as they will get everyday use, yet still being attractive enough to allow it out in the open. The display should be able to take random knocks from random items, meaning that nothing should tip over, fall out, get knocked around etc.

Portability:  There will be times I will want to remove certain tools to other locations in the Gravity Pad Design Studio.  This means that certain tools should be subdivided into groups of use, and easily portable.

Materials:  Stainless Steel, Teflon, Heavy Metal, and the workbench will most likely be a natural dark stained type wood.

Following Squishy Lemons Design style, the design should be timeless, easy to clean, and most definitely subtle and sublime.  For the passion, I pretend to myself that Mark Twain commissioned me to create a storage solution for his pencils.

Location of Pen & Pencil Storage Depot

The final design will be placed in a small section on the long workbench located alongside the wall and behind the desk.  This provides easy access to just spin around and grab what I need.  There is plenty of room on the workstation bench and while the majority of it will be bare to accommodate general project use , I don’t mind sacrificing some space for good pens, pencils, and peripherals. *Please note the picture and blueprints are just a general representation of the location, and have nothing to do with the final design.

Office Supplies location desk Screen Shot 2015-12-20 at 4.29.14 PM

Next up is to develop a general list of supplies that will be included in the final space.  While the list may be modified, it will give me a good example of the space, dimensions, and usability I’m looking for.

List of Pens, Pencils, and Accessories to Display

The ancient advice that one should work with good tools is something I believe in.  Good tools aren’t necessarily the most expensive tools, but they are usually in the upper end of the bell curve. Being not one to sporadically spend money when it’s necessary…I still want the best.

This list represents items that this storage container should be able to hold.  It’s not a complete list,


There is just one pen that I have been using since 2004.  The Uni Jetstream 1.0MM SX-210 Rollerball. For my lifestyle of just needing a pen handy, to do lists and most writing, this pen is more than adequate.  It’s virtually smudge proof as it dries very quickly, no goop buildup after continued writing, smooth, clean, controllable.  I’ve only had one crack at the end of it’s lifespan…which is quite long.

The Gravity Pad Office Workstation is a hub for basically all office supplies needed throughout the home so storage will need to be designed to handle a bulk load of 32 pens. 16 Black, 8 Blue, 8 Red. This pens newer versions have the black top accent instead of the chrome color.  The caps are great for making this portable as push pens in a bag/purse can cause the unintentional stray markings. Colored removable caps that stick well to butt of pen when in use.

Jetstream 1.0 blue

Jetstream 1.0 red office supply pen

Jetstream 1.0 black


Not to disrespect the fine engineering and usefulness of a pencil…I just don’t use them much anymore.  I opt for the Jet Stream pen 90% of writing time. But on occasion…for the crossword, the random and temporary writings…pencils are very much needed.

The Gravity Pads officially approved graphite pencil of choice is the Palomino Blackwing.  It’s eraser (which comes in white and a most awesome orange) sets it apart to easily identify, it provides more control when erasing, and stops the pencil from rolling.  Black pencil color will be preferred to hide pencil marks as white pencils tend to show smudges.  12-20 Pencils should do.

Graphite Pencil gravity pad

…with 50 (5 packs) spare erasers


…and then we get into mechanical pencils. These have drastically improved in the recent years.  I chose this Lamy Safari everyday use and carry mechanical pencil.

Lamy safari gravity pad office supply

…with about 15 (5 – 3 packs) of eraser refills…



Professional Grade Markers for design projects starting with a full color range set of the…Copic Markers in Original, Sketch, and Wide




20 markers (2-packs) by Crayola for when intruders visit and want to play…Crayola 10 Classic Broad Tip Original Markers

crayola original broad tip

24 fine tip markers (1 Packs) by Crayola…

Crayola super tips

Five, fine line markers in black. Various sizes of…PRISMACOLOR® Premier® Illustration Fine-Line Markers – Black

PrismaColor fine line

…and some more fine line markers (8) in color…Prismacolor® Premier® Fine Line Color Marker Set

Prisma color fine line 05

About 30 Black Sharpies and space for 24 additional Sharpies, or a multi-use hard working pen…Sharpie Basic Colors


In addition, the storage container design should be able to hold…

Graphite Pen Set

Chalk Set

White Board Markers Set

Exacto Knife with extra blades

These are all tools that can be displayed out of package if needed and still meet design requirements.  Items and tools such as printer ink, stapler, sharpeners, may need to be hidden in drawers…which require opening…which require energy use…which is unfortunate, perhaps a design will need to be created to solve that problem.  Now that I know what all will be going into this Supply Storage Design, I can move on to the display.  How will the function affect the form.


Clearly there is a great variety of items in terms of size and shape. I wanted a very easy way to grab and replace the pens and pencils.  The design allows for an ample amount of pens and pencils so that when you grab one, the others do not move.  I prefer a wide mouth opening to increase the surface area of the opening that will make it easy to remove and replace the writing instruments.  In order to prevent random knocking around, the workbench will have holes in the top that a tapered or flared stainless steel cup can easily fit into.  With the pens and pencils then going in the stainless steel cup.  I’m not worried about the bottom of the cup showing underneath.  It won’t be visible unless you are down low.  This solution would be hard to knock over and random bumping is not going to be a problem.  I like how the cups sort of bloom out of the workbench just asking to be plucked and used.


The stainless steel cups are removable.  Hence part one of portability is accomplished.  This will let me grab say, a set of markers and take to another area of the Gravity Pad.  But once there, there will be no holes to place the cup in.  So the cup must have a flat bottom, and I’d like to place a heavy metal in the base of the cup to decrease and tipping mistakes.


The workbench will most likely be a natural wood with a dark stain finish.  It will be easy to drill a hole that will fit the cup.

The stainless steel cups are great to not show pen/pencil marks…easy to clean, and provide a distinct sound when the pens and pencils are removed.  They will last virtually forever.

Inside the stainless steel cup at the base, I would like to place a heavy metal that adds weight to the design for when the cups are removed from the holes in the workbench.  A thin layer of teflon above that will provide another distinct sound that the pen or pencil has reached the base.

If the cups are going to be removed, it is important that they slip in and out with ease.  I may need to line the holes in the wood with teflon so that the stainless steel does not stick to the wood, but rather slides right out as nothing sticks to teflon.


So the initial concept would look something like this…Pen and Pencil Storage Design Concept

  1. Natural dark stained wood approximately 1.5 – 2 inches thick.
  2. Stainless steel cups with a flared or tapered design.  These are readily available and will stop the cup from sliding all the way through.
  3. Spacing will be important.  It needs to be far enough apart that you can easily grab a cup and remove, yet not too far apart that it takes up a lot of space.
  4. At the bottom of the cup, a layer of heavy metal and above that a thin layer of teflon.
  5. Flared cup design to increase the ease of pens and pencils going in and out.


For the erasers and smaller accessory items, the stainless steel cups can be different sizes.  Think of a restaurant dipping cup that ranch or ketchup is served in.  The small cups will also provide the blooming effect I’m looking for, allow for portability in the same manner as larger cups, but shallow enough to reach in and grab a small eraser.


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