FossilCrete Concrete Stamping
Time: 01:26
Stan Pace demonstrates his FossilCrete stamps and the textures and patterns they can create.

Concrete is a material for the ages, derived from the earth's oldest natural elements and designed to endure for decades. So what better medium to use for the fossilized renderings of our planets flora and fauna, from prehistoric dinosaurs to animal footprints to fern fronds and bamboo leaves?

Concrete artisan Stan Pace of FossilCrete began preserving nature in concrete several years ago. At the time, he was working as a decorative concrete contractor specializing in custom concrete water gardens and fountains. On a pondscape job he was undertaking for Doug Bannister of The Stamp Store (now a distributor of FossilCrete stamps), Pace was asked to create an artistic rendering in concrete of fossilized dinosaur bones.

"We went to great extremes to hand carve a 7-foot dinosaur in the concrete," says Pace. "That inspired us to make a stamp out of the design so we could reproduce it. People started asking for it, and soon we began making other designs, such as starfish and shells."

The demand for Pace's unique concrete stamps continued to grow, and soon he shifted gears from doing contracting work to manufacturing and selling stamps. Today, Pace's company offers nearly 100 standard stamps as well as custom designs. Most lend a wild touch to landscape or interior designs, producing impressions in the following categories:

  • Animals and tracks

  • Prehistoric renderings

  • Plants and botanicals

  • Trees and bark

  • Sea and marine life

Inspired by requests from customers, Pace is continually adding to his vast selection of stamps. "Every week, we're making something new for somebody," he says.

Pace does painstaking research to create these realistic, detailed depictions of fossils, plants, animals, and sea life, studying numerous drawings and pictures. To produce the stamps of the bones of large dinosaurs, such as the baryonix, he has conducted many hours of paleontology research.

Pace primarily sells his stamping tools to concrete contractors whose customers want to create a one-of-a-kind environment. They have been used for zooscapes, waterfalls, pools, parks, and even residential landscaping. "There is really nothing else like these fossil stamps out there," he explains. "Once a homeowner sees the specialized designs, they want to incorporate them into their landscaping. They are especially fun for people with kids."

Recently, Pace supplied custom stamps for a new African-themed area of the Nashville Zoo, including renderings of bamboo leaves and the footprints of the meerkat - a mongoose of the African grasslands. The leaf stamps were used to imprint a 4,000-square-foot Bamboo Trail running through the exhibit, while the meerkat footprints lead visitors down a 300-foot stretch of pathway.

FossilCrete not only makes stamps for concrete flatwork, the company also manufactures a line of stamps made specifically to add pattern and texture to walls and other vertical surfaces. They are used with a proprietary lightweight-aggregate concrete mix that can be applied to most wall surfaces, including retaining walls, brick, and masonry. One of the top-selling vertical stamps is the country cobblestone pattern. "A guy in Oregon who is building a castle plans to use these stamps for his walls," says Pace.

Raccoon footprints
Vertical patterns (left to right) include cobblestone, bamboo, and sandstone.
Custom stamps of company logos

Currently, FossilCrete is working on a boulder system consisting of rock-shaped pieces of Styrofoam to which the vertical wall mix is applied and a special set of stamps to imprint the top, sides, and crevices of the rock. "Using stamps rather than molds gives you more freedom to change the pattern," Pace explains. "With one set of these stamps, you can produce more than a hundred different rockscapes."

FossilCrete's flatwork stamps are made of a durable yet flexible rubber, and the vertical stamps are made of a lighter-weight rubberlike material for ease of handling. All of the stamps offer multiple reuses and extraordinary detail, with relief up to 1 inch for the vertical stamps and 3/4 inch for flatwork stamps. "You can see the ribs and even the teeth in our fossil stamps," says Pace.

Although FossilCrete is primarily in the business of selling stamps, they will also provide assistance in how to use them if necessary. At the beginning of the Nashville Zoo job, for example, Pace went to the jobsite to go over the use of the stamps with the concrete crew.

For more information:

121 NE 40th St.
Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Phone: 405-525-3722
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Anne Balogh writes feature articles each month for The Concrete Network. She is a freelance writer based in Glen Ellyn, Ill., and a former editor of Concrete Construction magazine.