Wednesday 7 December 2011

Making Animal Footprint Casts

One of the things I enjoy about being married to a handy man who is a Zoo Keeper is that he comes up with some really interesting things to do.  Here is something that his dad taught him.
Cheetah Footprint
I was surprised at how easy this is to accomplish.

Firstly make sure your cast kit is ready.
  • Strips of cardboard about an inch in width.
  • Plaster of Paris (store in an airtight container, 
  • A container to mix plaster of Paris in, 
  • Water, 
  • Mixing tool.
  • Old toothbrush
Make strips of thin card stock

We used a Manila folder and cut a strip on the diagonal.  
The black dotted lines are where we cut the strips to join with a slide fold.

Make your cast

Choose your print to cast 

Carefully place the card stock strip around your print and slightly embed it into the soil.

Next mix your plaster of Paris. You will need a relatively runny mix.

Slowly and gently fill each separate impression first. 
If you pour too quickly you risk the print being damaged.

Continue pouring in the mix till you have reached a good depth.
A depth of  about 1/2 inch. (10 - 15 mm) is good.

Wait for 30 - 60 min for the plaster to set.

Gently lift your cast

Brush away excess sand.
An old tooth brush works the best.

Allow the cast to dry for a couple of hours.

Paul used a sharp craft knife to shave off around the print to give it a smoother finish.  This also helps to make a contrast of texture allowing a visual enhancement of your print.

You can also use a nail to engrave the date, name of animal and place of your print.  Don't forget to engrave your initials on the back.

Allow your print to dry for about a week in a safe place.

To seal your print use Mod Podge.  You will need to paint it with at least four coats. 

Try this with your dog or cat in your sand pit / garden



  1. what a great idea! I might do this in the hols with kangaroo prints, have plenty of them.

  2. Hi Erin. Can't wait to see them. The hardest part is patience :)

  3. Very neat. About all we'd see are deer. And the neighbor's dog. What kind of animal was that?

    1. It was neat. This is a cheetah footprint :)

  4. Oh very cool, we've never had the opportunity to try these.

    1. I hope you will get an opportunity it's fun

  5. We did this one year when I was a camp counselor at a zoo with the kids. It was a lot of work to do with 20 some 6-9 year olds but well worth it.

    1. Oh my gosh you're braving attempting a thing like this with so many at one time. I'm sure it's one of those things that brings back many happy memories for the children who were involved.

  6. This is so neat. I've done this with my kids when they were babies, but never to an animal. Good idea!

    1. Would love to see what you make. Yes we did this for our babies too and gave them their footprints on their twentyfirst birthdays! I love seeing how tiny their hands and feet were at two weeks old versus twenty one.

  7. Wow, that's pretty cool! I'd love to give this a try. It would probably have to be our cat's paws since we don't see a lot of animal prints by our house. That would be fun for the kids though.

    1. I do hope you do. It's so much fun. You could do your children's hand prints too :D


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