Picture of Animal Tracks for Plaster Casting.
For a recent Cub camp, a leader wanted to run an activity (or "base") making plaster casts of animal tracks.

Unfortunately, the camp site is so well-used that the few animal tracks we get on the site tend to be quickly trampled down by hundreds of size three trainers, so I decided to provide some predictable tracks for the Cubs to cast. 

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Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
I made these from scrap wood (pine, about 21mm thick), using a scroll saw, glue, a sharp knife and a rotary tool with a sanding bit and the "dentist burr" bit.

To actually leave tracks, you need a mallet or a firm footstep.

Step 2: Select your animals

Picture of Select your animals
Getting your tracks is easy, thanks to the internet.

I chose to make a badger and a small deer, since I know they are living in the area, so there is a (small) chance that they would actually wander through the camp

You can, er, print your prints and draw around them onto your timber, or you can draw them free-hand from your Googled images. The exact size and shape are not vital, because (a) animals grow and (b) soil doesn't carry details perfectly.

Step 3: Making the Deer Track

Picture of Making the Deer Track
However you draw the design, you need to cut out the "pads".

I used my scroll saw, but most small hand saws can do it. You could show off and use a laser cutter.

When you have the pads cut out, glue them to another piece of timber, clamping if necessary. 

The deer is easy, since they are actually hooves. I cut out the shape,  slightly rounded off the edges with a sander, and glued the two parts to another piece of pine.

These are going to take a beating in use, so use plenty of wood-glue and clamp it firmly to dry.

Eye Poker1 year ago
Hmm, wouldn't happen to have made any Bigfoot tracks?
Kiteman (author)  Eye Poker1 year ago
Sorry, didn't have enough wood...
Nice, simple idea (they're always the best..;) )..

Just a couple of suggestions:

Given the amount of use these will probably get, a few single-thread wood screws should help the glue hold them together (obviously, they'd need countersinking, for safety).

If you're going to try making actual 'trails' to follow, you might want to mark the 'front' of each piece, so's your 'badger' doesn't suddenly twist a foot 180-degrees...
Kiteman (author)  karlpinturr1 year ago
Absolutely solid advice - the ground of the camp remained too hard to take prints all weekend. When attempting to force some prints with a large mallet, the deer stamp lost half the hoof.
Cool! You should make some elephant tracks, that will confuse them :)
vishalapr1 year ago
Put some sticky mud on them and tracks to the refridgerator and you can fool friends into thinking your dog ate the food instead of you ;D

Soo going to try this!
CoonX1 year ago
Deer and badger prints but where's the Bigfoot print?
BrittLiv1 year ago
Nice job, did you take a picture of the tracks?
Kiteman (author)  BrittLiv1 year ago
Not yet - the ground in my garden is too hard at the moment, but rain is forecast over the next couple of days (just well, since the camp starts tomorrow...).
Bobey1 year ago
I like it
Kiteman (author)  Bobey1 year ago
Thank you!