Making a Dog Paw Print Christmas Ornament
One of my favorite crafts I have done with the dogs we have had is to make each one of them their own paw print ornament for the tree. It is a wonderful way to create a holiday memory and a fun tradition of hanging them on the tree each year.
I thought this would be a fun idea to share so please follow along with the instructions and make your own paw print ornament!
I have chosen to make mine out of polymer clay, but you can use regular clay as well. I personally like how easy polymer clay is to work with and decorate which is why I went with it for this craft.
What You Will Need to Make Your Paw Print Christmas Ornament:
- Polymer Clay like FIMO
- Craft Mat or surface for cutting and rolling the clay
- Toothpicks for lettering and decorating
- Dog Paw Cookie Cutter shape (optional)
- Cookie Sheet
- Parchment Paper
- Clear Coat Gloss Varnish (optional)
A standard block of polymer clay like the poplar brand FIMO is approximately 57g or 2 ounces and I am basing my measurements off this. There are other types of polymer clay that come in smaller packages, about half the size, so please adjust accordingly if using a smaller block of clay. I used ½ a block for this paw print.
Depending on the size of the paw you are going to make an ornament out of you may want to reduce the amount of clay you are using. For large paws, dogs up to 150lbs, I would use the whole block, 57g, and for smaller paws, border collie size and under, I would use half a block. If your pet’s paw is on either extreme of that, you may have to adjust the amount again.
This will impact the thickness of your ornament and the size you can roll out. However, you can make any size you want and decorate it as you choose, be creative!
To make the clay easier to work with I suggest softening the clay before using it. I find putting it in my pocket or in my hands warms it up a bit and it is usually ready to go in 20 minutes or so.
Starting with ½ a block of clay. Soften until it can be worked into a ball.
Once the clay has been softened begin to work it in your hands to form a smooth ball.
When you have a smooth ball roll out the clay into a rough shape. This can be the shape of your ornament, or you can cut out any shape with a cookie cutter or sharp knife.
Now that you have the shape of your ornament it is time to do the paw print. This can be done in a few ways, and it will depend on the cooperation level of your dog.
(First, wake up your dog from their beauty sleep so they can help.😉)
For some, I have found placing the cookie sheet on the floor and guiding them to step on the soft clay ornament works and then carefully having them step off. This can be a really good way for dogs who are foot-shy. For others, I have put the ornament on a small plate or craft mat and brought it to them on the couch or bed and pressed their foot in myself.
It can take a few tries getting the paw print part and that can also be the most fun! It really depends on how your dog, cat or other animal will react; you know them best so make any adjustments necessary to keep them comfortable.
Belly rubs for being a good girl, got it in one try!
Now you have your paw print!
Place your pawprint onto a piece of parchment paper so it is ready for baking; plus it saves moving it more than you must as it is still soft. Now decorate as you want.
I like to use other colors of polymer clay to make decorations on the ornament.
And since this is going to be an ornament hung on the Christmas tree you will also need to add a small hole at the top.
Now that it is all decorated and you are happy with the look, it is now time to bake it. Follow the instructions on the type of clay you used. Most ask to be baked for approximately 30 minutes at about 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Be sure to follow the instructions of the type of polymer clay you have.
When it is done, take it out of the oven, it will still be a little soft as it is warm so cool it on the cookie sheet until it hardens.
Once cooled, a clear coat of gloss varnish can be added after the ornament is completely dry, and before putting the ribbon through to give it a shiny appearance. Just be sure to find one that works with your type of clay. I chose not to use a clear coat for finishing as I like the rough texture of my dog’s paw print itself.
After the clear coat has dried, if you have applied, string any color ribbon you like through the top hole and hang your new creation on the tree and enjoy!
Emily Charlton is a lifelong animal lover (and crafter) drawing on more than 12 years experience in a veterinary clinic.