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Paw Print Ornament: A Sweet DIY Keepsake for a Furry Friend

See how easy it is to make a DIY paw print ornament as a sweet holiday keepsake for a furry friend!

It just takes a few supplies and your pet can be included on your Christmas tree every holiday season!

How to make a DIY paw print ornament for your pet!

Paw Print Ornament: A Sweet DIY Keepsake for a Furry Friend

This fall, we officially became a family of six when we rescued a pair of adorably furry feline brothers!

Boone and Midnight joined Team Backus and we’ve been smitten with our kittens ever since.

Seeing as I’m a DIY blogger who loves keepsakes AND all things personalized (especially Christmas ornaments), it was only fitting that we create some special ornaments to commemorate our cats’ first Christmas.

Yes, I’m one of those people…

And bonus points for already having all of the supplies on hand!

You gotta love a holiday project that’s frugal AND tugs at the heartstrings.

Here I’ll show you how easy it was to create these DIY paw print ornaments!

How Do You Make a DIY Paw Print Ornament for a Pet Cat or Dog?

There are several different ways to make a paw print ornament for a special furry friend in your life.

If you’re feeling the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and are looking for the quickest and easiest route, then there are paw print stamp and impression kits available with everything you need.

You can also simply apply some craft paint with a foam brush to your pet’s paw and then stamp the paw print on some paper, cut it out, then pop it in a festive frame ornament.

Have fun with cleaning that paw though…

If you’re a true DIYer through and through (*fist bump*), then you could always try making your own batch of salt dough or (for a gingerbread look) some cinnamon-scented salt dough.

Another option is air-dry or oven-bake clay, the latter of which is what I chose to use.

Why Use Oven-Bake Clay for a DIY Ornament?

I went with oven-bake clay for my cats’ paw print ornaments because:

  • You can get an actual impression of the paw print with lots of detail as opposed to just a flat stamp
  • I already had some white oven-bake clay on hand from making many other ornaments over the years
  • The clay ornaments are easily painted and bake smooth, so personalization would be a breeze
    • Vinyl sticks well but a metallic Sharpie can also be used…I’ve done both methods!
  • They hold up wonderfully, even in storage, so I know they will last for many, many years

Paw Print Ornament Supplies

Here’s what I used to make these paw print ornaments for our two kittens.

Step 1: Roll Out Clay

The first step in making these paw print ornaments was rolling out the clay.

We used an old cookie sheet as well as an old rolling pin that are no longer used for food.

A toy set for Play-Doh would work great too!

If you don’t have an old set and don’t want to purchase any new ones from a local dollar store, just cover your cookie sheet and rolling pin in some plastic wrap to protect the surfaces from the clay.

As for those random chopsticks, since I wasn’t using my go-to rolling pin with handy built-in thickness rings, they acted as a free substitute to ensure a quarter-inch thick ornament.

Rolling out oven-bake clay to make a paw print ornament.

Step 2: Get Pet’s Paw Print

Once the clay is rolled and ready, it’s your furry friend’s time to shine!

This was the most challenging aspect of the whole project because – *SPOILER ALERT* – most pets are not too thrilled with having to stay still while their paws are stretched out and pushed into an unknown substance.

I mean, can you blame them? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Our black kitten, Midnight, was our guinea cat pig, and we got a decent paw print on our third attempt.

Boone, our gray fella, was an over-achiever and provided a perfect paw print on his first shot.

Getting a cat's paw print impression for a DIY paw print ornament.

A few wayward strands of fur became stuck in the clay during this step, but a small strip of tape removed them quickly and easily.

Step 3: Use Cookie Cutter for Paw Print’s Shape

After looking through our giant set of cookie cutters, I settled on a circle with a decorative edge.

It was the perfect size to accommodate not just the paw prints, but also a hanging hole at the top as well as the cats’ names along the bottom.

To keep the ornament’s shape in tact while the cookie cutter is being removed, it’s best to pull away all of the excess clay first, then pull up the cookie cutter.

After being washed, this cookie cutter was then relegated to only non-food crafts from here on out, just like the cookie sheet and rolling pin.

Cutting out a clay oven-bake ornament with a cookie cutter.

Step 4: Use Straw to Cut Out Hanging Hole

A super easy way for making the hole to loop some ribbon through is to just use the end of a straw.


Instant ornament cutout.

Alternatively, you could cut a paper clip in half and slide it into the top of the ornament as a hanging hook.

Either way, just make sure you do this step BEFORE baking the clay.

Adding a cut out to a clay ornament using a straw.

Step 5: Bake Clay Paw Print Ornament

On your mark…get set…BAKE!

Any fellow Great British Baking Show fans?

Ok, moving on…

As per the instructions on the clay’s packaging, the ornaments were baked in a 275° oven for 15 minutes.

This baking time for clay is MUCH quicker than baking salt dough ornaments, which takes hours.

NOTE: Before baking our ornaments, we take a strand of dental floss and run it between the clay and the cookie sheet.

We’ve found that this helps to easily remove the ornaments from the cookie sheet after they’re baked.

Baking clay paw print ornaments.

Step 6: Paint Paw Print Ornament & Personalize (Optional)

After allowing the now-baked ornaments to cool completely, it was time to paint!

I wanted to go with a classically festive holiday color scheme, so I first painted each with some white craft paint.

This was to give them a nice consistent base color that was a little brighter and smoother than the natural clay.

Painting a DIY paw print ornament.

Once that was dry, each adorably tiny paw print impression was filled in with some bright red craft paint to really make them POP.

Painting a DIY paw print ornament.

Now it was time to personalize both ornaments with our kitties’ names, as well as a festive commemorative decal on the back.

You can of course write this personalization on the ornaments with a festive metallic Sharpie, which is what I did with my previous DIY clay ornaments for my boys’ hand and footprints.

What a great way to preserve a Christmas memory! 21 Christmas Keepsakes for Kids! | Where The Smiles Have Been

However, not only is my handwriting terrible, but I’m also addicted to my Silhouette Cameo, so this time it was vinyl decals to the rescue!

I also used vinyl decals on a personalized clay vacation map ornament, complete with a photo too!

Clay Vacation Map Photo Ornament | Where The Smiles Have Been

After perusing all of my fonts at the same time and finding one that was vinyl-friendly (even at such a small size), I created my mockup in Silhouette Studio…

Paw print ornament mockup in Silhouette Studio.

…then pulled out a small piece of black vinyl from my handy scrap vinyl organizer and had my Silhouette Cameo take care of the rest.

Cutting vinyl with a Silhouette Cameo.

After trimming and weeding all four vinyl decals, I applied the names on the ornament fronts and then the other decals to the backs.

Step 7: Seal Paw Print Ornament & Hang on Tree

Almost finished now!

To protect these paw print ornaments and help them last throughout the years (and give them a nice shine), the final step was sealing them with a little glossy Mod Podge.

Sealing a clay paw print ornament.

Our Cats’ DIY Paw Print Ornaments!

Once completely dry, the last thing I did was add a festive red ribbon loop for hanging.

And here’s how our cats’ DIY paw print ornaments look on our Christmas tree!

How to make a DIY paw print ornament for your pet!

I think they turned out SO DARN CUTE.

Those tiny paw print impressions into the clay are just the most adorable things ever.

How to make a DIY paw print ornament for your pet!
How to make a DIY paw print ornament for your pet!

I’m so happy we were able to freeze this moment in time, and now we’ll always remember our kittens’ first Christmas.

How to make a DIY paw print ornament for your pet!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you have a pawsitively Merry Christmas!

Where The Smiles Have Been | Crafts. DIY. Home. Mom Life.

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