What if you walked out into your backyard one day and saw a trail of giant dinosaur footprints? After a few seconds of confusion and disbelief, the excited little kid inside you would take over. You would grab your safari hat and go chasing after that dinosaur.

In this project, I am going to show you how to make giant dinosaur footprints. You can make them as decorations for a party. You can use them to prank people. The choice is up to you.

Project Steps

Find or Make a Dinosaur Footprint Design

​The first thing that you need is a design for your dinosaur footprint. There are a lot of different kinds of dinosaur footprints to choose from. I recommend using a footprint that has well defined toes, such as that of a ​theropod. This makes it a little easier to distinguish it as a footprint.

You can either find a design online or just draw one yourself. I have included the image that I used for this project.

Transfer the Footprint Image to Your Board

​Now that you have your image, you need to transfer it onto your board. If you want to trace the image, you can print it out at the appropriate scale and cut it out. Then trace the cutout with pencil. Or, if you are a good freehand artist, you can just draw the image straight onto the board.

Cut Out the Footprint

Next, I used a jigsaw to cutout the footprint​. This will be the template for our footprints.

Select a Location for Your Dinosaur Footprints

​Now you need to decide where you want to make your dinosaur footprints. Sand is by far the easiest material to work with, so locations like beaches, volleyball pits, and sand-filled playgrounds work great. Loose dirt and slightly wet mud can also work pretty well. Grass covered areas are difficult to work with because the grass needs to look crushed — it can’t just be dug up and removed. Gravel doesn’t work at all because you can’t get a well defined shape in the rocks.

Trace the Shape of the Template on the Ground

​Place your wooden footprint on the ground. Then, using a stick or a small garden shovel, scratch the outline of the shape onto the ground.

Shovel Out Some of the Dirt

​Using a small shovel, scoop out some of the dirt from the inside of the footprint. Be careful to stay inside the outline.

Set the Wooden Template Back in the Hole

​Place the wooden template back into the partially excavated hole. Press it down firmly. If you are using a relatively thick board, you can just stand on top of it. Then, remove the board. You should see the outline pressed into the next layer of dirt. This will help to keep the shape well defined as you are removing the dirt.

Shovel Out More Dirt

​Using a small shovel, scoop out some more of the dirt from the hole. Be sure to stay inside the impression that you just made with the board. The easiest way to do this is to scoop the dirt toward the center of the footprint. This will prevent you from accidentally going outside the outline.

Finish the Footprint

​Continue removing dirt from the hole until you are happy with the depth. Using your small shovel or your hand press down on the bottom of the footprint to even it out. The bottom of the hole should look smooth as if it were pressed down.

If you want to make the footprint look even more realistic, you can build up the dirt around the foot print. This will make it look like the dirt was pushed out to the sides. Just make sure that the dirt looks rough and natural when you are done. If the dirt looks brushed or swept around the hole, it will ruin the illusion.

Make a Trail of Footprints

​One dinosaur footprint is cool. But a trail of dinosaur footprints is much more impressive. Use the same procedure to make each additional footprint.

Space the footprints out about 10 feet apart (closer if you use a smaller footprint). Don’t position them in a straight line; shift the footprints to the left and right to give the appearance that they were made by the right and left feet.

Try to find a good way to end the trail. You can have the footprints go off into the ocean, or into a forest. You can also use the footprints to lead people to a birthday party or an event at a children’s museum. Use your imagination and have fun.