DIY Fossils

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By General Craft Contributor Michelle

Take some time to learn about mold fossils and cast fossils, and then make some “fossils” of your own as a fun, and educational project.

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own:

To begin, make a “pancake” of clay about 1-inch thick.  Use your fingers to pinch a short “wall” around the entire edge of the pancake–make it at least 1/4-inch tall.

Gently press your creature into the “mud,” making sure to press down all the small parts like legs, and tails so they make an impression.  If the animal has a top, and bottom, like our lizard, make sure your press the top “good” side into the clay–it will be pressed so it’s underbelly is facing up out of the clay.

Carefully peel your creature out of the clay “mud,” and you’re left with a mold fossil.  A mold fossil is just the fossilized impression of a creature, plant, or even footprint.

Now, mix a small amount of plaster of Paris in your cup, according to the directions on the package.

Pour your plaster into the mold that you made.  Pick up the plate it’s sitting on, and gently rap it on the counter to help the plaster settle into all the crevices of your mold, and dislodge any bubbles.

Let your plaster harden–this will take 10 minutes or so.  Gently peel the clay away from the plaster to reveal your cast “fossil.”  A cast fossil occurs in nature when a the mold of a creature/plant fills with sediments, or minerals, and creates a replica of the original organism.  Now let both the mold “fossil,” and cast “fossil” dry.  If you don’t want to keep the mold fossil, you can put the clay into an air-proof container, and save it for future craft projects.

Happy Crafting!


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