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Pencil toppers made using homemade modeling dough
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Modeling Dough
Pencil Toppers

What you will make:

It’s fun and easy to make original pencil toppers with Homemade Modeling Dough. Make a simple dough in less than 15 minutes, and use your fingers to shape fun, fanciful, or beautiful creations of your own design. Aunt Annie has included suggestions for creating easy, silly and cute pencil toppers.

This craft project requires few materials and is great for family, classroom or group craft time. The modeling dough can be made in advance and stored ready-to-use in the refrigerator.

Related crafts: Use the modeling dough to make imaginative Refrigerator Magnets. This project includes ideas for forming fall-themed shapes.

Here's what you need:
  • Pencil cup or other tall container
  • Nail polish or varnish
  • Wax paper
  • Optional: Black marker and vegetable oil

This project is rated EASY to do.

How to Make Modeling Dough Pencil Toppers

Read all of the steps before starting.
Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project then gather the materials needed for making the pencil toppers. Follow the craft recipe for Homemade Modeling Dough to make dough balls of green, yellow and pink, or other colors best for the toppers you will be making. For example, Aunt Annie's teddy bear topper requires brown, pink and white modeling dough.

If doing this craft with a group, make one recipe of Homemade Modeling Dough for every three children. It's better to have too much than too little. Leftover modeling dough can be saved for weeks in the refrigerator.

Step 2: Basic Modeling Technique

Spread a sheet of wax paper on the table so the dough won't stick.

Pinch off enough dough to make a ¾" ball, and leave the rest in the sealed bag or container. Push the ball onto the eraser end of a pencil and start shaping your creation. Attachments like petals, noses, and ears can be shaped from smaller balls and glued in place with a dab of water. See Modeling Ideas below.

To make several balls of dough the same size, roll the dough into a long snake and cut into equal-sized pieces with the plastic knife. To make ¾" (1.5 cm) balls, roll the dough into a snake about ½" (1cm) in diameter and cut into 1" (2 cm) segments.

Step 3: Dry and Seal Topper

When you have finished molding your pencil topper, put the pencil with pencil topper aside to dry in a pencil cup or other tall container. It should dry in a day or two to a hard finish. Toppers may be left plain or painted with nail polish or varnish for added durability. Be sure to work in a well-ventilated area when using nail polish or varnish.

The modeling dough will dry to a hazy finish. To restore the bright color of the dough, rub some vegetable oil into the dry topper.

Modeling Ideas
  • Easy Toppers: Pink hearts, yellow stars, and green leaves are simple shapes to make. Start with a 1" (2 cm) ball and use your fingers to create the desired shape.
  • Flower Toppers: Make flowers by starting with a ½" (1 cm) yellow ball. Shape petals from red or pink and leaves from green. Attach the petals and leaves to the yellow center. You may want to use a drop of water to glue your leaves and petals in place.
  • Silly Heads: Use flesh-tone dough to make heads. Shape ears and a nose from tiny balls of dough and use a toothpick to make eyes and a mouth. Add hair and hats of any color. The funnier you make the face, the better! Try green hair or a pink nose. How about a big red clown nose? Use your imagination!
  • Teddy Bear: Shape a ¾" ball of brown dough into the bear's head. Make two small brown balls for the ears, two smaller brown balls for the eyes, and another brown ball for the bear's snout. Make two tiny pink balls for the ear insides, one white ball for the muzzle and one brown ball for the nose. Refer to the illustrated instructions for sizing and placement ideas. After the topper is dry, use a permanent black marker to draw a mouth, color the nose black and make black pupils on the eyes.

That's it! Your pencil toppers1 are complete!
Sample pencil toppers

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Star and heart pencil toppers

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Tip: The heart and star toppers are easy to make. Create some interest by adding a small heart or circle to the topper in another color of modeling dough.

Flower pencil topper

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Tip: Make petals for flowers by rolling five or six balls of the same size, then pressing them flat to form petals.

Teddy bear pencil topper

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Tip: Other animal heads can be modeled like the teddy bear. Change the placement and shape of the ears to make a dog. Use pink dough as a basis for a pig. Your imagination is the limit!

Use markers to add details to the dried toppers.

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Tip: After the pencil toppers are dry, use permanent markers to add details.

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