How to Make Your Own Fossils

There probably wont come a time when you’ll need a tutorial on how to make your own fossils, but if you’re a dinosaur lover, an aspiring archeologist, or you’re having a dinosaur themed party, you may be interested in making a few for fun.

To get started, you will need:

-Plaster of Paris
-Small plastic dinosaurs/shells/ferns/coral/or other plastic animals
-Tempera paint in color of choice
-Aluminum foil
-Bucket/container and plastic spoon or ladle
-Modelling clay
-You may need a small face mask to keep from breathing in the Plaster of Paris, as well as plastic gloves to protect your hands.

1. Create a “bowl” or “plate” out of the aluminum foil to keep the Plaster of Paris from leaking out. You can do this by simply rolling the foil up on each side until you create a circle-like shape. Take your modelling clay, roll it into a ball, and flatten it a bit onto your foil. You want the clay to be thick enough to make impressions in. Also, the more you flatten your clay, the larger your fossils will be.

2. Take your plastic dinosaurs, shells, ferns, or whatever else you are making a fossil of and push them into the clay. Lay your dinosaurs on their side and press them hard enough into the clay so you can see their impression. You can use shells to create quick prints all around the clay. My advice, dont leave any blank spaces in your clay. Cover the entire peice of clay with some kind of print, even if it is just a fern or shell print.

3. After making your impressions, it will be time to make the Plaster of Paris. Mix 2 parts Plaster with 1 part water into a bucket or container. Stir using a plastic spoon until the mixture is the consistency of a milkshake, or at least evenly mixed. If its too dry, add a little more water. Bang the bucket or container a few times on the ground or on a table to get rid of air bubbles. If you would like to add color to your fossils, add some tempera paint to the mixture and stir until blended. For my fossils, I used brown tempera paint to create a tan color. You might also be able to use some coffee grounds in your mixture  to create a textured effect, but I havent tried this to see if it works.

4. Remove your dinosaurs and other objects gently from the clay. Spoon your Plaster mixture over the clay and smooth it. You can also bang your clay against the table to get rid of air bubbles too, or to smooth it more. Just pick up the foil and drop it a few times gently on the table. If you drop it too hard, the mixture will spill out.

5. Let your fossils sit for about an hour until they harden. I let mine sit in the sun for the same time. You can remove your plaster from the clay within about an hour after it is hard, but you should leave your fossils sit overnight after your remove the clay to cure it. You can sand, paint, or chip your fossils to create a worn look if you want to, or you can leave them as they are. When I removed my clay from the plaster, both of my dinosaur impressions took on the color of the clay, which I thought was neat. (You can see in the picture below.)

There you have it! Easy fossils for dinosaur lovers or perfect crafts for dino-themed parties!


3 responses to “How to Make Your Own Fossils

  1. Oh, it’s very interesting! It’s the first time I see something like this. A good present for some child!

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