Back to School Supplies 2019 – What’s In My Pen Case?

A review of quality writing supplies from a teenager who has fully tested all the products.

I’d like to introduce you to my daughter, Mya, who is a stationery enthusiast. Mya is currently in high school and likes to share her expertise (in a lot of subjects) with others. She will be a regular contributor to this blog!

Hello, Mya here! In this post, I will be talking about the stationery in my pen case. I bring this pen case with me almost everywhere I go. I look forward to sharing my recommendations!

Pen Case:

The LIHIT LAB Pen Case is my go-to case to hold all my stationery. As a pen fanatic, I usually take upwards of 20 pens with me, everywhere I go. The case itself is very compact and portable. It’s small enough to be thrown into a backpack or purse without taking too much space up inside. With a blank slate to customize the face of the pen case, I decided to glue a neon patch onto one of the front pockets.

Here is what my LIHIT LAB pen case looks like when it’s closed.

My pen case is currently holding 8 gel pens, 22 highlighters, 5 mechanical pencils, 6 erasers, 4 markers, and a few other supplies. That ends up being a lot to organize and keep track of. Luckily, like what the red label suggests, the LIHIT LAB Pen Case really is “Designed for arrangement”.

This is what my pen case look like when it’s opened on the left side…
…and this is what my pen case looks like when it’s opened on the right side.

The organizers within the pen case make it really easy to find what I’m looking for when I need it. It’s almost like there’s a compartment for everything I bring along with me.

Gel Pens:

These are the 8 gel pens I keep in my pencil case.

To normal scholars and writers, most pens are the same. The other day, my mom said, “As long as it works, I’ll use it” when referring to the pen I decided to give to her because of it’s writing inconsistency. I prefer gel pens over any other style of pen because of the ink’s vibrancy, smoothness, and affordability. I can always rely on them to get the job done. As an avid gel pen user, I like to try new brands and styles of pens to find the best ones. Here are some of the best gel pens I’ve found:

Colored Gel Pens

My two 0.7mm Zebra Sarasa pens and 0.7mm Red Pilot G2 pens are great for correcting classwork and adding color to worksheets. These three pens are very smooth and rarely skip. They don’t take too long to dry and the colors are vibrant.

Black Gel Pens

I also carry two black pens with me, the 0.7mm Paper Mate InkJoy and the 0.4mm Zebra Sarasa Clip. The PaperMate InkJoy is my favorite pen for sub-headings in notebooks because of it’s bold stroke, strong pigment, and quick drying time. For a majority of my writing in class, I like to use the 0.4mm Zebra Sarasa Clip because of it’s extremely fine point and smooth writing. It dries fairly quickly and doesn’t smear.

Other Gel Pens

As an artist, I like to add an extra flair to my little doodles during school. After 2 years of seeking out the best of the best among silver gel pens, I’ve found that the Pentel Sparkle Pop Metallic Gel Pens are amazing. The silver sparkles brilliantly in the light and dries fairly quickly.

For about 4 years, I’ve been working with different white mediums to add highlights to my artwork. From white acrylic paint to chalk markers, it just seemed like nothing would work! Most artists like to use the white Sakura Gelly Roll, but I noticed an inconsistency with the opaqueness of the ink. I began to test the white Uni-Ball UM 153 Signo Broad Point Gel Pen and was amazed by the smooth writing and opaque white ink — perfect for adding opaque highlights to art pieces. I never looked back on using white Gelly Rolls again!

However, not all Gelly Rolls are bad. Adding sparkles to different parts of drawings can be really fun. Most pens that sparkle are colored, so it can be difficult to find the right color for your drawing. I’ve found that the clear Sakura Stardust Gelly Roll gets the work done! It has a longer drying time, which allows the artist to smear the sparkles all over the art piece before it dries. It’s really fun and unique to add sparkles to an art piece. The drawing will surely stand out from the rest!


I bring 14 Mildliners with me to school everyday!


Back in the simpler times, I’d take a pink, yellow, and blue Sharpie highlighter to school. I never thought twice about needing any other colors and I was fine with what I had. However, one day, my friend brought 15 Zebra Mildliners to school—It was astonishing. I thought to myself, “How was it even possible to have more than 6 highlighter colors?” I NEEDED those highlighters, all of them. The next school year I got the 15 Mildliners for myself. The mildliners are double sided with a chisel tip and a bullet nib. It’s fun to color coordinate work and keep everything organized. Since then, Zebra has released two new packs highlighters, one with some warmer tones and another with more vibrant and saturated tones. I received both of those packs for Christmas this past year, as well as three other packs of the colors I already had. Currently, I own all 25 different colors of the Zebra Mildliners, and I use most of them on a daily basis.

Other Highlighters

These are the other 8 highlighters I bring to school.

Pastel highlighters save eyes from being strained by looking at the bright fluorescent ink of typical highlighters. Therefore, I almost always use pastel highlighters on my schoolwork. As you may have noticed in the picture of the Zebra Mildliners, I was lacking pastel highlighters. Many companies sell pastel highlighters of the same or higher quality than Zebra’s pastel Mildliners. This past year, I tried two different brands of pastel highlighters.

The Uni Propus Window Soft Color Double-Sided Highlighter is the best pastel highlighter I’ve tried so far! The chisel tip writes smoothly and doesn’t bleed through the paper as much as most other highlighters I’ve tried. The chisel tip has a window inside which helps the writer see what they’re highlighting. Many pen experts recommend these pastel highlighters for left handed people so they can neatly highlight their work.

Have you ever highlighted something, then later regret it? Well, most people have, and for most highlighters, nothing can be done to erase the highlighted areas. Luckily, the Pilot Frixion Light Highlighters can end your days of accidental highlighting. Crafted with a special formula, the Frixion highlighter ink disappears with heat generated from friction by rubbing the rubber end of the highlighter onto the paper.

Some of my rather forgetful classmates tend to ask me to borrow a highlighter. Since I don’t want to lose my precious pens to my thieving classmen, I bring a cheap Daiso Twin Tip Highlighter to school, too. This is the only highlighter I lend out and I’m glad that I won’t be losing my special highlighters anytime soon. I paid $1.50 for a five pack of these, and even though they’re not the best quality, it’s suitable for most people who need to quickly highlight something.

The Daiso highlighters aren’t sold on Amazon, so the only place to get them would be in store. To find the closest Daiso to you, check out the Daiso Store Locator here!


The 5 mechanical pencils I store in my pen case

The technology in Japanese mechanical pencils is far more advanced than anything that budget American stationery companies can produce. Pencils from Japanese stationery companies can protect lead from breakage, twist lead for even strokes, and can be shaken to advance lead. Even if they don’t have these fancy mechanisms, almost all mechanical pencils are low cost and high performing.

The small 0.5mm Zebra M-301 Stainless Steel Mechanical Pencil is a high quality, low budget pencil that I like to use as my lender pencil. For those classmates who want to borrow a pencil, this is the pencil I give them.

As a heavy handed person, I tend to break lead from most mechanical pencils. About 2 years ago, I discovered the magical mechanism of the Zebra DelGuard. When the lead is pressed down at any angle, a metal sheath pops out and protects the lead from breakage up to three clicks. My friends who have borrowed one of my two DelGuards, the 0.7mm and the 0.5mm, have almost all bought a pencil for themselves!

The 0.3mm Uni KuruToga is my favorite pencil for detailed work in my drawings. As the pencil writes, the lead is twisted in microscopic increments to guarantee an even thickness with every stroke. When the pencil lead is uneven, it has a higher chance of breaking. Lots of protection is needed to keep the fragile 0.3m lead from breaking, and the KuruToga gets the job done perfectly.

With all these mechanical pencils, it can be hard at times to choose which one to write with in a hurry. My ultimate go-to pencil is the 0.5mm Tombow Mono Graph Shaker Mechanical Pencil. When I need to advance lead, I can quickly shake the barrel and some lead will be released. I like to use this pencil, especially for writing essays and notes, because of how easy it is to use. I don’t need to stop writing in order to advance the lead!


I use all 6 of these erasers everyday.

The cute little Tombow MONO One Eraser Holder is a great eraser to bring along with you everyday. I like the quality of the eraser and it’s smaller size. The tip is smaller than most erasers and is protected with a cap to prevent dirt and dust from corroding the eraser.

A common eraser for students and artists alike is the Pentel Hi-Polymer Block Eraser. I purchased a large pack of these about a year ago and always bring them with me. It’s high performance and durability come at a very low price and can be purchased from almost any store.

I recently picked up a 2 pack of the black Sakura Arch Evolutional Foam Erasers from Daiso for $1.50 (also available on Amazon). I heard great reviews from many people about the quality of the small eraser. I decided to give them a try and I was amazed. The Sakura Arch Evolutional Foam Erasers can erase the deepest, darkest pencil strokes with ease.

On a lucky day at school, I found a Kokuyo eraser on the ground in my math class. I’ve been using this eraser non-stop ever since I’ve found it. I really like the high performance and the slim shape. Sadly, I’ve spent hours on the internet, searching far and wide for this eraser and they’re not sold online.

The Tombow MONO Knock Eraser is a great click eraser with a very fine point. I enjoy using it to add highlights or erase small sections of my drawings. Only coming in at 3.8mm in diameter, the thin point is ideal for artists.

My little “party trick” in the classroom is the Faber-Castell Perfection 7056 Eraser Pencil. It looks like a pencil, but performs as an eraser. My classmates get confused on why the pencil is erasing and how I can sharpen an eraser. The fine point achieved with this eraser is like no other. I love using this pencil eraser for the itty bitty details on the eyes and hair of the people in my drawings.


My 4 “markers” are essential for taking notes everyday.

Once in a while, I like to write headings in calligraphy with a brush pen. Headings require a large tip for statement-making lines. I picked up a black Platinum Brush Pen from Daiso for $1.50. I like the harder tip and the thick lines.

For smaller calligraphy, I use the black Super Fine Zebra Brush Pen. The hard tip and tiny strokes are ideal for small calligraphy and sub headings in notes. It’s also a great for adding in small details on drawings.

The gray Stabilo Pen 68 Coloring Felt-tip Marker Pen is great for writing that isn’t supposed to stand out. A gray marker matches with any color paper and doesn’t pop out too much. I like to use this for subheadings and drawing details.

For very large and bold headings, I use the black Kuretake ZIG Memory System Writer Twin Tip Marker. One side has a large, 1.2mm tip while the other is just 0.5mm. I usually use the larger sized tip because I already have a large selection of fine-tipped pens to use.

Miscellaneous Supplies:

Most of these things are neatly stored away within the LIHIT LAB Pen Case’s pockets.

Like I’ve stated before, I’m an artist. One of the ways to make drawings three-dimensional is by creating shadows. My large blending stump cleanly blends graphite and charcoal into my drawings. I like to take this with me because it’s portable and easy to use.

To correct mistakes made with pen, I use a Tombow MONO Retro Correction Tape. The slim body easily fits into one of the pockets inside my pen case. The Tombow MONO correction tapes are well loved for their high quality and performance.

Since I bring many different mechanical pencils with me, I need lead to refill them when they run out. I keep 0.7mm and 0.5mm lead inside an old case that came from a BIC Velocity pencil set I received 6 years ago.

I like to keep a small 3″ ruler in my pen case for underlining and making small, straight lines. I don’t remember where the ruler came from, but I really like it’s convenient size and shape.

Why do I need so many supplies?

I care about the quality of my work and look for pens that I can depend on for high performance. They help me take organized and color-coded notes that help me study for tests. (And they make me happy.)

Organized Geometry Notes

While I know that most people won’t have the desire to have so many writing supplies, I hope this post can help you custom-create your ideal pencil case.

You can find many of the products I use on Amazon by clicking the images below:

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links where I earn a small commission on every purchase. All opinions in this post are of my own and have not been sponsored by their respective brands.

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