Great Teacher Gift! Try Our Simple DIY Planter Box or Pencil Holder Using Leftover Tiles

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making a pencil holder diy gift for teachers

Have some extra tiles from a project you want to re-purpose?

Today I’m sharing how to turn a few ceramic tiles into a stylish planter or pencil holder. It would be a thoughtful gift idea for a teacher to display on her desk, or anyone else you think would love it. Of course, you’ll want to make one for yourself, too!

diy ceramic tile cube planter or pencil holder craft for teacher

Don’t worry – this project is simple to make! We’re gluing sides of the tile together to form a cube and then gluing a wooden base on the bottom. You can then place a small faux or real potted plant inside, or use it to keep pencils and pens together.

spanish ceramic tiles on the counter

Where can I find these tiles?

This project works for either 6-inch tiles or 4-inch tiles. I love this trendy Spanish tile look, so I chose them, but you can use any color or style as long as they’re square.

While this is the perfect project for using up those leftover tiles, if you’re interested in my 6-inch black and white tiles, I found those at Lowe’s. The 4-inch blue and white tiles came from my local tile store. Both types of tile were around $1 each!  I’d encourage you to check your local tile store for clearance tile.

use heavy objects to support sides of tile cube while drying

Hip Tips:

  • Grab a strong construction adhesive such as Liquid Nails. This will ensure that your tiles will stick (allow time for it to dry overnight).

  • Support the tiles while they dry. I used heavy objects on each side so they wouldn’t fall over when drying.

  • Use a piece of wood as a base for your cube. For an evenly constructed cube, I cut pieces of scrap wood we already had in the garage that fit the bottom area. I stained the wood pieces with some leftover stain, but that’s optional

  • Consider placing adhesive cork bumpers under the tile planter to prevent scratching your furniture. You can also make trivets and/or coasters with the leftover tiles using the bumpers, too!

DIY Tile Cube Planter/Pencil Holder


Supplies Needed

  • 4 pieces of square tiles (either 6-inch or 4-inch)
  • construction adhesive (such as Liquid Nails)
  • scrap piece of wood for base
  • wood stain (if using)
  • sandpaper (to sand excess glue if needed)
  • small potted plant or pencils



Place a generous amount of glue along the edge of one piece of tile, and glue it to the edge of another piece. Make sure the design is facing outward. Hold the pieces together for a minute or two until the glue has a chance to initially set.


Continue with that process on all four pieces to make a cube shape.


Use a power or hand saw to cut a piece of wood the same size as the bottom of cube to make a base. Stain wood and let dry if desired. Glue base to the bottom of cube. Let dry overnight.


Sand any excess glue on the tile, and wipe the tile clean. Place a small potted plant or pencils inside your tile cube to gift as desired.

holding a diy teachers gift pencil holder

I LOVE how this simple project turned out!

The combination of tile and the wood is so pretty. Now I’ll be on the lookout for any and all pretty tile! What a fun craft and gift idea. I think I need one for my desk too. How about you?!

Check out a larger scale DIY planter box I also made from tiles on!

Join The Discussion

Comments 30

  1. Lauren

    Forget the planter box. Just give us the pencils … and maybe a box of tissues 😉

    • tipaye


    • Allison Birkemeier


  2. JenniferS

    Love the blue and white tile you used here Lina 🙂 I could see an aloe vera plant used here for a classroom with more natural sunlight. Beautiful idea, I’ll keep this idea for the future.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks so much Jennifer! ❤️

  3. Raquel

    LOVE this idea!! Keep up the crafty ideas! Love them. 😁

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Aw thanks Raquel!

  4. amy

    Love! Super simple and super cute!

  5. Nita

    Gorgeous tiles! I used almost identical tiles for a reno on my old kitchen floor..would’ve never thought of this idea. Brilliant!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh pretty! And thanks so much Nita! <3

  6. Bev

    Thanks so much!!! Absolutely amazing the stuff you make! This is a definite on my list!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Ah that’s so sweet – thanks Bev!

  7. Valerie

    Coasters from dollar tree could be used too. The cork on the back side would look better I think than the plain tile.

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Nice idea- thanks!

  8. Christina

    Lina, the article you wrote about impress nails was life-changing for me. I have always wanted beautiful nails, but I didn’t want to spend the time and money at a nail salon. I often joked with my daughters that if manicures were free I would spend the time and if they were fast I’d spend the money. Your solution was fast and cheap and beautiful. Win Win Win!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh yay! I was excited those work for me too ❤️ thanks Christina!

    • Shannon

      I love that nail post also! Will the impress nails work if your nails are flat? I noticed they are very curved.

  9. Allyson

    These would also be cute to hold makeup brushes!!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Yes love that idea!!

  10. amy

    Love this idea! It would make a great remote holder to for a living room!

  11. Nancy

    I tried to put the sticker type B&W tile as a black splash over my stove. It looked too busy for the area. I absolutely love this tile and could not think of anything else to do with it. Thanks to you Lina, I can now use the tile as the planter/pencil holder. Thank you for the great idea!

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Oh good – you’re welcome Nancy!

  12. lilyonthevalley


    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks so much!

  13. Athena

    Hi, I’d like to do this for a library program. Would it be okay if I used one of the pictures for a flyer? Thanks for considering! 🙂

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Sure- thanks!

  14. Lauren

    What glue did you use? 🙂

  15. Amy R.

    This is way cute! Love the little plant & pencils! I like to craft, but only have time in the summer it seems. Thank you for sharing! Can’t wait to try this! 👏🏻👏🏻

    • Lina D (Hip2Save Sidekick)

      Thanks Amy!

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