Making a pencil topper is a great activity for a rainy day during the school holidays. No specialist equipment is needed and you can improvise with anything you have in your craft stash at home. Pencils are very cheap to buy and come in many bright colours.
Making pencil toppers is also a good way to get children thinking and preparing for going back to school – the dreaded first day back can be made more fun if the pencil case has lots of bright fun pencils to use.
Start by looking through comic books cartoons and story books for ideas about funny faces to design or pretty patterns. Look for scary monsters, wicked witches, crazy-haired beasts, pretty princesses or sweet designs to inspire. Let youngsters choose their own embellishments and designs to encourage creative thinking.
Why not use beads and thread to make jangly embellishments for pencils.
Start by taping strong cotton or thread around the top of a pencil. Then thread the other end onto a needle small enough to go through the eye of the beads you have chosen. Now string beads onto the thread, making a pretty pattern. When you have nearly reached the end of the thread take the needle back through the second from last bead and tie in a knot. Trim the end. Now repeat with as many strands of thread as you wish.
Here ribbon was tied around the top of the pencil and threaded with a few pretty beads.
Fuzzy sticks (pipe cleaners), felt, pom-pom balls and wiggly eyes can be used to make quick funny faces.
Here a fuzzy stick was wrapped around the length of the pencil and taped in place at the top. A large pink pom-pom ball was glued to the top of a pencil. Two wiggly eyes were glued on and a small white pom-pom ball for a nose. For the ears and mouth pink felt was cut and glued on.
Sheets of foam are readily available from craft or hobby shops and are easy for children to cut. Foam sheets come in many colours and can be used to create fun monsters.
Here two pieces of orange foam were cut with a zig zag edge. They were glued together around the edge but leaving enough room for the pencil to slot inside. A mouth was cut from blue foam and glued on, then an eye shape cut from red foam, with black and white foam making the actual eye.
You could also try writing messages onto your pencil toppers, such as your name or a single word. How about making a different pencil for each subject? You could use the maths pencil when adding up, the English pencil for writing out a story and even make a homework pencil, for the dreaded time when you have to work at home!
When using small parts always supervise small children. Take care with glue and scissors. Always protect your work surface with a plastic sheet when gluing with children.