How to Make Your Own Fossils

Spiral fossil
MARTIN BOND / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY / Getty Images

A long time ago, plants, bugs, and animals left their impressions in soft mud, which dried out, got buried, and eventually became rock. These rocks are called fossils. Much of what we know about plants and animals that lived long ago was discovered by scientists who studied fossils. Since it takes more years than we can count to create real fossils, we can make fun fossil prints using these instructions.

How to Make Your Own Fossils

  • Age Guideline: 3 Years and Up
  • Time Required: 30 minutes (Does not include drying time)

The above age and time guidelines are estimates. This project can be modified to suit other ages and may take more or less time depending on your circumstances.

Materials Needed:

  • 1/2 Cup Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Used Coffee Grounds
  • 1/4 Cup Salt
  • 1/4 Cup Sand
  • Water
  • Fossil Objects (sea shells, plastic dinosaurs, or other small objects)

Instructions:

  1. Start out by mixing together all of the dry ingredients. Add the water a little at a time until you have a thick dough. You do not want it to crumble, but you also so not want it too wet and sticky.
  2. Flatten your dough on your work surface so it is about an inch thick. Carefully press and remove your fossil objects into your clay until you get nice impressions. Let your clay fossil dry completely before you move it. This can take a few days depending on the thickness of your project and the humidity.

    Projects to make with Dinosaur Fossils:

    • Host a Dinosaur Birthday Party - if you have a little one who loves dinosaurs, make a whole birthday party out of it, complete with the kids using the recipe and instructions above to make their own fossils to take home!
    • Storybook Dinosaurs Love Underpants and super silly crafts to go along with the book to celebrate dinosaurs!