Clay Pencil Topper – Soccer Craft Idea for Kids

This post was created in partnership with Lionsgate. All opinions are 100% my own.

Dinosaurs, cave men, wooly mammoths … and soccer? All of these elements and more come together in Early Man in theaters February 16, 2018! My son and I wanted to create a craft project in the spirit of Early Man, using clay in a nod to the claymation techniques used to create the movie. These DIY clay pencil toppers are fun to make for every age … and there's a touch of geometry in the process as well.

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay

I added twine to the pencils right under the clay pencil toppes to make them feel more like the Early Man movie. But what is Early Man actually all about?

Early man movie poster

From the creators of Chicken Run and Wallace & Gromit comes the next epic adventure for the ages: Early Man.

On February 16, catch Dug and the gang in Early Man. Set at the dawn of time, when dinosaurs and woolly mammoths roamed the earth, EARLY MAN tells the story of how one brave caveman unites his tribe against a mighty enemy and saves the day! Starring the voices of Eddie Redmayne, Tom Hiddleston, Maisie Williams, Timothy Spall, Early Man also features soccer, one our favorite sports, in the spotlight!

To find out more about Early Man, watch the movie trailer above or visit these links:

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay

Inspired by the claymation animation style of Early Man and the soccer theme in the movie, my son and I decided to make clay pencil toppers together. We used an air dry clay and acrylic paint as the main supplies to make raw clay turn into soccer ball pencil toppers!

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay

Here's what you'll need to get started:

Supplies to make soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay


  • air dry clay
  • acrylic paint: black, white
  • hexagon shape pattern (download here)
  • tooth picks
  • twine
  • tacky glue
  • printer paper
  • pencils


  • paint brushes
  • scissors
  • printer

Like I mentioned before, there's a little bit of a geometry lesson in creating these DIY soccer ball clay pencil toppers. I created a pattern to cut out for the hexagons on the soccer. But have you ever noticed that a soccer ball is made up of synthetic leather cut out in the shape of both regular hexagons and regular pentagons?

Regular pentagons are shapes with sides of 5 equal lengths. And regular hexagons are shapes with sides of 6 equal lengths.

By joining one side of each hexagon together, a pentagon is naturally formed in the middle. On a typical soccer ball, the hexagons are cut from white material and the pentagons from black material. You can easily mimic this patterning onto clay with paint and a paper cut out of a hexagon.

I created a printable sheet you can download with a series of hexagons on it. If you make a larger ball of clay for your pencil topper, you'll need a larger hexagon to make the soccer pattern on the clay ball. If you make a smaller clay ball, you'll need one of the smaller hexagons from the printed sheet to use as a pattern.

Choose a hexagon from the sheet and cut it out with scissors.

Starting on the upper side of the clay ball, lay the paper hexagon on the clay. Using a toothpick, draw an outline into the clay around the hexagon pattern. Remove the pattern. Place the pattern on the clay ball again, lining up one side of the hexagon pattern with one side of the hexagon on the clay ball. Trace with a toothpick, remove the pattern, and repeat. The hexagons will start to form a ring and a pentagon shape should appear in the center of the ring. Repeat until the clay ball is covered with a soccer ball pattern.

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay

If you make a mistake, smooth the clay over and start again. Once the ball is covered with the pattern, paint it with acrylic paint in white. Allow to dry, then add black acrylic paint ONLY to the hexagons on the pattern.

Add a bead of tacky glue under the soccer ball and wrap the pencil with twine. Allow to dry overnight.

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay

Since the soccer balls in the movie are primitive, perfection is not necessary with this project. You can touch up the edges of the black pentagons on the soccer ball using more paint or a permanent marker if you like cleaner lines.

You can watch this video to see the full process to make these DIY soccer clay pencil toppers:

After the clay soccer ball pencil toppers were finished, I printed out a FREE printable activity book from Early Man for my son to enjoy. You can get the work book too!

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers on pencils with Early Man movie activity printables

Kids are gonna love all the fun games and activities in this Early Man activity book, from word search to tic-tac-toe and so much more. Click here to download this FREE Early Man Activity Book! It’s epic. My son loved the word search the most!

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers on pencils with Early Man movie activity printables

We made a few extra clay pencil toppers and pencils for my son to pass out to his friends. All of the kids in his 5th grade class are talking about Early Man. They can't wait to see it!

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers on pencils with Early Man movie activity printables

Be sure to check out Early Man, in theaters starting February 16, 2018!

I'd love to see if you make this clay pencil toppers project too … be sure to tag me on social media @smartfundiy or share your image on the Smart Fun DIY Faceboook Page.

Pin this project:

Soccer ball shaped pencil toppers made with air dry clay


About the Author

Author Profile

Jennifer Priest is a 20+ year designer in the arts & crafts industry and home DIYer with a passion for creativity. An Army veteran raised on a ranch, from her experience, she shares smart DIY projects that save money and fun craft ideas that anyone can make. Besides blogging, Jennifer is a Master Practitioner and Trainer of NLP, Hypnosis, and MER, and coaches other online entrepreneurs on money mindset, business, and living an intentional life. When not blogging, Jennifer is having adventures in the wilderness, on road trips, playing with her cats, and making paleo food.

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