Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Fossil Casts - Dinosaur Art Project #1

Okay these are really easy I almost decided not to do them but after all the comments from the kids at school who saw the samples we will have to go ahead.

Kindergarten is doing their Dinosaur Unit right now, so I have been putting together some dinosaur projects for them.


- salt dough clay (recipe to follow)
- tin can or large glass
- parchment paper or foil
- cookie sheet
- access to an oven
- little plastic dinosaurs
- some plastic ferns or trees
- acrylic craft paint
- paper towel
- mod podge
- paintbrush


4 cups of flour
1 cup of salt
1-2 cups of water (can vary due to air humidity)
This is enough for 8 casts approx. 4 inches in diameter

Mix up your salt dough want to add enough water to make a soft workable dough. This clay will keep indefinitely in your fridge.

Knead a bit to get it nice and consistent.

Roll out your dough to a 1 inch thickness.

Cut a round...I'm using a large tomato can.... I have one of those safety can openers..the ones that don't leave a sharp edge. It has enabled me to use cans for arts and crafts without worrying about any cuts..truly fantastic!

( rounds ready for imprints )

We are imprinting some background foliage for our dinosaurs...I'm using some plastic tree parts that I think are from an old playmobil set.

These are stems from some artificial flowers.

Press into the dough hard enough to leave a nice imprint. We put our foliage around the sides leaving the center for the dinosaur.

You now can imprint your dinosaur....we are using small ones from the dollar store that are about 2-3 inches. Don't push too don't want to go all the way thru.

You can use this technique to make bug or reptile casts as well...or one that is only ferns and plants.

Place on foil or parchment paper and bake at 350 degrees for about 2 hrs. You want them to be hard.

Let them cool.

Make a glaze by watering down some acrylic paint.

After brushing it on ...wipe it down a bit with a paper towel for a nice antiqued look.

When dry use a thin coat of mod podge to get that shine and to seal them.

That's it....piece of cake.. yet the kids think they are fantastic and have a great time doing them...what more could you ask for.

Give it a try and we'll see you next time with another dinosaur project.


  1. Applause, applause! Excellent!

  2. Thank you. I'm glad you like them. I find myself considering salt dough for a number of new projects....I just wish I had an extra 5 hrs. every day!

  3. I am LOVING these dino projects, they're amazing! I'll be linking to both of them. So much fun!

  4. This is very different than other uses for Mod Podge I have seen - very cool idea! I'd love to repost on my blog and give you the much deserved credit, if you would let me -



  5. Amy:you are more than welcome to link this project, thanks for asking.
    Rachel: as always thanks for the great comments and I look forward to seeing the dinosaurs on one pretty thing

  6. Another great project! Just amazing!

  7. Wow! I'm so glad I found your blog! You are amazing! I have got to try this and your other wondeful projects!! -Kimmie :)

  8. such a great idea! i'll be posting about this on my blog (w/link & credit, of course) if that's ok. the kidlets just lovelovelove the dino stuff... they'll find this project captivating :)

  9. I just tried the cast, but when baked they began to puff up on top, leaving them bubbly like pizza crust. Help!

  10. Hey anonymous,
    you may have a hot oven...bake at a lower temp like 300 or 275. I had some rise slightly on one side before but never bubbly. Make sure that it's not self raising flour and that the dough has been kneaded a bit before the cast to push out any excess air.
    Hope this helps.

  11. Hi Gail - I have done a version of this project of yours recently.

    Thanks again! I love this idea.

  12. What kind of paint do you use - and are you brushing it on and then wiping it off? Do you seal after using the paint?

  13. Hey Arimenthe, you make a thin paint glaze out of acrylic craft paint and water. After you brush it on you wipe it away a bit with a cloth.

  14. This is awesome we did this project today. My son loved it.

  15. I've been hunting for a "handout" for my daughters preschool class, theme being dinosaurs! I'm so excited that I came across your site! You have amazing, fun, and easy ideas!
    Love it! Thanks!

  16. I'm looking forward to trying this with my preschoolers this week!! Such an awesome idea :)

  17. you are a great artist woman

  18. These are awesome! I'm pinning and featuring these on a Dinosaur craft round up. Thank you!

  19. Great idea! We will be doing this activity for my sons 3rd Birthday! Do you have to use the Mod podge? Is there anything else I can use in replacement?

    1. Mod podge gives you the nice shine but you can also try white glue with a little water for a glaze. We would use that at school when we were out of podge. It can be a bit cloudy sometimes though. Good luck with the project, these last forever I still have the samples from my son's kindergarten class and that was 12 years ago!