Plaster Cast Animal Tracks

This is a safe and easy project for any time of year.  You must leave the plaster in a track you find, or carefully dig up the whole thing and bring the project home.  Either way, you'll have a permanent record of your find!


an animal's print in mud or clay

1 cup plaster of Paris

1/2 cup water (sea water works well on the beach)

disposable mixing bowl

plastic mixing spoon

animal tracks


Mix plaster with water until creamy.  Spoon plaster into animal track.  wait until plaster is stiff (about 30 minutes).  Carefully remove plaster cast.  You now have a "positive" track.  To make a "negative" track (a "print"), coat the hardened track with petroleum jelly.  Mix a batch of plaster, and spread it out on some waxed paper.  Wait until the plaster is beginning to become stiff, and press the track firmly into the plaster.  Remove, and let the track set.

Next time you are on the beach, try this a great beach activity for little children.  Use shells in the plaster to make designs.  Add seaweed, egg cases, or pebbles for a reminder of your beach hike. 

(adapted from Glues Brews and Goos)

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