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Create fun custom stamps using modelling clay to create unique cards!

These Homemade Elk footprint cards are inspired by the kootenay elk that we have been seeing almost daily this past week. We have been noticing their footprints in the snow everywhere, so we decided to recreate elk footprints by using handmade stamps. It was fun to create and we didn’t need many materials.

  • we created a stamp using children’s Modelling clay and allowed it to harden outside in the cold for an hour before using it. You can also place it in the fridge or freezer. This allows the clay to set and become hard enough to be a stamp. It’s not fully hardened and can be reused when you heat up with your hand.

  • The clay sticks nicely to the wooden coin base without the need for any glue.

  • Apply paint or ink and use it like a stamp on a folded piece of paper. Wash the stamp gently with cold water right after using it with paint.

Materials for the stamp:

  1. children’s Modelling Clay

  2. wooden coins - cut wood pieces from a branch (or build the base out of modelling clay too).

Materials for the cards:

  1. thick card stock or watercolour paper

  2. ink or paint (non-toxic for children)

  3. a lid or container to place the ink onto


1. soften the clay until it can be easily worked, and make a flat round ball that fits over the wooden coin. This will be the part that you stick your clay stamp design to.

2. create a footprint or other stamp design, making sure that it has two flat sides.

3. once you have created your design press it into the wooden coin and clay base, then turn the base upside down and press it into a table gently, not to squish your design but to secure it onto the base and also make sure the top part is perfectly flat to become a stamp. 4. place the stamp in the fridge or freezer to set. This takes less than an hour.

4. apply paint to your stamp and use it like a stamp onto a piece of paper, gently pressing down and then back up steadily.

Elk footprint 2020

Male elk. photo credit: Chris O’Gorman 2020

Sadly, Elk populations in the kootenays have been declining. According to the East Kootenay wildlife Association the elk numbers have dropped in half since 2008, describing it as a “population crash”. There are many reasons for this, mostly due to human activity and development - agriculture taking over land. Highway and railway mortality, predators and scarce food, sometimes due to invasive plant species.

Kootenay Elk. Acorns and Aprons 2020

These are kootenay elk seen out in the open. Elk like to have a clear visual path to spot predators. We often see them walking along the train tracks and under power lines where there has been some clear cutting done to the trees. These cut areas have lots of vegetation to feed off of due to the abundant of sunlight and less growing competition for trees. There needs to be an adjacent forest next to the clearing to retreat into or when they need to rest.

Here are a few key identification features to know when you spot an elk, so that you know exactly what you are looking at instead of just a big elk.

Female vs male:

  • males have antlers, females don’t have antlers.

  • Males are larger and weight 200 lbs more than a female. Males can grow over 700lbs.


  • This can be determined by the size of the hump on the back of the bull between the shoulder blades.

  • Antlers are the largest right before they shed them off around March of every year.

Males are called bulls and females are called cows.

Never approach a wild animal, keep your distance and be respectful.

we hope you have fun creating this unique stamp. Feel free to tag us on Instagram if you create this, we would love to see it. @acorns.and.aprons


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