Turn Trash Into a Fossil




About: I own Barney's Carpet Cleaning in Boise, Idaho 83705 our number is 208-343-5577

Welcome to Faux Fossil Building. I chose the Tyrannosaurus Rex because of my own Childhood Dreams of Owning a fossil of my very own. I will show you how to build a T-REX using recycled paper, recycled cardboard and a home made mold.

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Step 1: Things You Will Need

What you will need.
1. Hot Foam Cutter $20.00 USD(optional) of a Steak knife (free).
2. Foam Insulation $2.50 USD
3. Paper (recycled)
4. Cardboard (recycled)
5. Plaster $13.00 USD
6. Blender
7. Oven
8. Coffee
9. White Glue $2.00
10. paint brush

Step 2: A Good Picture

I found a picture of a T-rex on the Internet. I traced the image using Illustrator or you can free hand if you feel comfortable. Just make a Pattern that suites you.

Step 3: Tracing Patterns

I blew the Image up using a graph. I made the T-rex the size that I wanted. Use Signboard or Cardboard when making the graph for your resize. Signboard helps to keep your knife or foam cutter steady while tracing the outlines.

I then used an exacto knife to cut out the T-rex pattern. I Glued the cut out Pattern to the Foam using white Glue only, spray glue will melt the Foam. I found this out the hard way and had to make a new foam T-REX.

Step 4: Cutting Foam

Cut out the Foam using either a Hot Foam Cutter of a Steak knife. I found out both work just as well and a Steak knife is free.

Step 5: Make a Mold

Make a Mold of your Foam T-Rex Using Plaster of Paris. Make sure you glue (white Glue) down Foam original to Wax Paper. This will allow Plaster to release from the surface that you place it on and by gluing it down you will not have any under cuts under the plaster.

Spread Plaster evenly over your original at least two inches thick. Spread plaster at least three inches past the boarder of your original.

Let plaster shell dry for 24 hrs and then demold.

Step 6: Pulp Your Paper

Place cardboard and Paper into Water for 24 Hrs and let it Soak. Stir occasionally to let water permeate all of the Paper. Place saturated paper into a blender with a little bit of water and blend until you end up with a pulp. Place white pulp into the teeth area and Pulped Cardboard into the Skull area. I blended a combination of white and brown pulp to make up the rocks behind the T-REX.

Step 7: Bake Your T-rex

Place Mold and Pulp into an Oven for Four Hours at 200 degrees or until paper pulp has dried. Check occasionally because paper will burn if left in the oven to long.

When the T-REX has dried carefully demold. Use old coffee to highlight dark areas. Glue a hook onto your Faux T-REX Fossil and enjoy your work.

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    25 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Wondering of using this method for a school project. Wondering how much the final product roughly weighs. Thanks

    1 reply
    John Sielaff

    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you Porcupine mamma I had alot of fun making this project. I will be posting some more in the future.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very creative and cool John. My grandson will love this.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Pretty cool! Looks like you could make just about anything you want with this method!

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    That's pretty cool. I always wanted to make a table or something with some 'faux fossils' in it. I'll remember this, and see if I can make it work. : )

    1 reply
    John SielaffDIYDragon

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    To make a Table Top I would use Cement instead of the Cardboard method. Cover your original with Silicone Caulk first and after that has dried then pour your plaster over the Caulk Shell. Your Plaster will form a mother mold and then you can pour your cement into the Silicone. Instead of using coffee to color your T-rex use acid in varying strengths. This method will make a better table top. The T-Rex I made from Paper is a better wall hanging because it is light and easy to hang.

    John Sielaffmg0930mg

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. This is my first Instructable I love to make things and this web site has really helped me out with alot of my projects.