Pencil cases can be made from a variety of materials such as wood or metal. Some pencil cases have a hard and rigid shell encasing the pens inside while others use a softer material such as plastic, leather, or cotton. Soft versions are typically fastened with a zipper. Decorated versions are popular with schoolchildren depending on age and sex.
Early pencil cases were round or cylindrical in shape. Some early pencil cases were decorated with jasper (one from 1860) or platinum (from 1874).