Salt Dough Trace Fossil Ornaments

Hi scientists! We are busy working on our Salt Dough Trace Fossil Ornaments. We have made then for the past few years as a wonderful holiday giveaway. You could also make salt dough fossils to use with our Dinosaur Fossil Dig Investigation.


Salt Dough Trace Fossils (2)




Wet Measuring Cup

Dry Measuring Cup (We used 1/2 cup for easy of my little scientist)

Parchment Paper

Rolling Pin

Straw (For making a hole to hang)

Butter Knife (Adults only, for cutting to size)


Baking Sheet(s)

Oven (Adults Only)

Stand Mixer or Large Mixing Bowl

Recommended: Apron

Optional: paint, sealer, and paintbrushes


**Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit**

  1. Using the dry measuring cup, add equal parts of salt and flour to the mixing bowl. We used 3 cups each.
  2. Using the liquid measuring cup, measure out half the amount for the water. (1 1/2 cups)Salt Dough Trace Fossils (19)
  3. Mix thoroughly until completely mixed up. If the mixture is super sticky add a bit more flour, if it is dry and crumbly add a tiny bit of water.Salt Dough Trace Fossils (23)
  4. Place a large bit of parchment paper on a clean empty counter or table. Lightly flour the paper. Place your dough onto the center of the parchment paper and roll it out to about 1/4 of an inch. (If you make a large batch like us divide the dough in half first).Salt Dough Trace Fossils (28)
  5. Have your little scientist create a trace fossil of their hand or foot on the rolled out dough. You will need to help them by gently pushing down their fingers or toes to help them transfer into the dough.
  6. (Adults Only) Using a butter knife carefully cut out your little scientist’s hand or footprint, leaving a slight border. Save the extra dough and repeat steps 4 & 5 until you can’t fit anymore trace fossils.
  7. Leave the prints on the parchment paper, but cut out the parchment paper near the individual prints. If you would like to be able to hang your trace fossil, use a straw to gently poke a hole into the dough, be careful to not get to close to the edge.
  8. (Adults Only) Gently move the individual pieces onto a baking sheet. Place the baking trays in the oven until the dough is dried out. It usually takes 2-3 hours, but varies based on your thickness and wetness level of the dough as well as your individual oven. You will know the dough is done baking when it is hard and no longer looks wet, I usually gently peal them off of the parchment paper and check the bottom, if it still looks a bit wet I put them back into the over upside down, checking them regularly. Allow to cool completely.
  9. If you desire you could paint your trace fossil ornaments and seal them. Follow the directions on the paint and sealer you use. As long as you properly seal the dough it will last for years to come.

Talking Points

In this investigation you created a trace fossil. A trace fossil is footprint or some other  marking that shows that an animal had once been there, but a trace fossil does not include the animal itself.

1 thought on “Salt Dough Trace Fossil Ornaments”

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