If you love sentimental keepsakes that are also functional (and decorative), this salt dough paw print ornament project will be perfect for you. Everyone has seen the precious school-made ornaments parents often hang on their Christmas trees, but have you ever thought to do a homemade one for your dog?
I loved this project and learned a thing or two along the way. I will share my experience and my best tips and tricks so you end up with a precious keepsake of your pup for years to come.
Materials You Will Need for the Salt Dough Paw Print
Creating your own paw print ornament requires minimal, easy-to-find materials. The first thing you need is a basic salt dough recipe. This requires three items only and I bet you already have them all in your kitchen right now.
Salt Dough Ingredients:
- 1 cup of all-purpose flour
- 1 cup of salt
- 1 cup of hot water
Other Materials Needed:
- parchment paper or foil
- cookie sheet or baking sheet
- circular cookie cutter or basic circular glass cup
- glitter-any color you would like. I used gold in my project.
- acrylic paint- I chose white and gold.
- paint marker- this is the exact paint marker I used for this project
- Ribbon- I chose this thin gold ribbon but there are a lot of colors to choose from
- Hot Glue (if you want to do a ribbon)
- optional: modge podge
- optional: rolling pin
Making the Salt Dough:
Combine these ingredients until a firm dough forms. I added the salt and hot water first and gradually added in the flour. The dough should be firm enough where it is not sticking to your hands. Add more flour gradually until you achieve this consistency.
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Making the Salt Dough Paw Print Ornament
- The project really begins once you have prepared your salt dough (read above if you missed how to make it–super simple).
- To begin crafting your salt dough paw print ornament, you’ll need to roll out your prepared dough. I place my dough on foil but you can also use parchment paper. Using a rolling pin, flatten the dough so it’s about a one-inch thickness. This thickness will ensure that your ornament is sturdy enough to withstand handling and hanging on the Christmas tree.
- Now, use a circular cookie cutter/cup to cut out the shape of your ornament.
- If you want to get creative, you can use cookie cutters to cut shapes around the paw print. You’re not limited to the traditional circle! You can try stars, hearts, or bone shapes. As you can see in picture 4, I just chose a traditional circle. Next time, I will definitely try this with a different shape.
- Regardless of the shape you choose, don’t forget to make a small hole at the top of the ornament using a straw or a toothpick before baking. This hole is where you’ll thread a pretty ribbon or a hook for hanging on your Christmas tree.
- Now, comes the most important part-getting a good pawprint from your pup. This was definitely the most challenging part so make sure to have some patience. It might take a couple tries to get your dog’s print to look right. Wipe your dog’s paw clean and firmly press it into the salt dough. Apply some pressure and try and keep it there for several seconds.
Now, you are ready for the baking and decorating process!
Baking and Decorating Process
- Once you have your pet’s paw print and cut your dough into the desired shape, it’s time to bake your salt dough paw print ornament. Preheat your oven to a 200°F. Carefully place dough paw print ornament onto the ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, ensuring there’s enough space between each ornament if you are doing multiple.
- Bake the ornaments for about 1-1.5 hours, or until they’re completely dry. Turn them halfway through to make sure they bake evenly. Remember, our goal is to dry the ornament, not to brown it. If you notice the ornament puffing up or turning brown, reduce the heat.
- I would check on the ornament every 30 minutes or so to make sure it is not burning.
- Once baked, allow your ornament to completely cool before moving on to the decorating process.
- This part is really up to you. I chose to paint my ornament white and I used the gold acrylic paint marker to outline the paw print.
- I waited until all parts were dry and pained over the paw print with the acrylic gold paint. I kept the white spaces dry. I then added gold glitter to the paw print section.
- Paint your pet’s name and the year if you wish. You can use a small brush or toothpick for the finer details. If you don’t like your dog’s name on the front, write it on the back. Once the paint is dry, seal your ornament with a couple of layers of Mod Podge. This will give it a nice polished finish and help preserve the print for years to come.
- Last but not least, thread a pretty ribbon through the small hole you created. Voila! You have an adorable paw print ornament ready to grace your Christmas tree. This wonderful keepsake from your fur baby will undoubtedly be your favorite Christmas ornament.
Making it a Tradition and Sharing the Joy
There’s something incredibly sentimental about these salt dough paw print ornaments. They serve as a beautiful memento, especially for those with old dogs or pets who have crossed the rainbow bridge. It’s also a perfect way to remember your dog’s first Christmas. Making a new one each year could become a cherished holiday tradition, a beautiful way to capture how your pup grows over the years.
These also make great gifts for the dog lovers in your family as well. Who wouldn’t love an awesome keepsake of their beloved dog? They are also fun to share on social media during the holiday season.
Salt Dough Paw Print Ornament FAQs
How can I store the ornament without it getting damaged?
You can store it by wrapping it in tissue paper and then placing it in a plastic bin. This prevents it from getting chipped or scratched when not in use. You may also store it in a cool and dry place to maintain its quality.
How long does the ornament last?
The salt dough paw print ornament can last for a very long time if properly stored and taken care of. Using a good amount of Mod Podge on the front and back of the ornament can seal it and add to its longevity.
Is the salt dough recipe safe for my pet?
The ingredients used in the salt dough recipe are technically non-toxic. However, it’s important not to let your pet eat the dough as it contains a lot of salt and it’s not meant for consumption. Again, no one should be eating this dough-crafting purposes only.
How much time does this DIY project need?
Expect to spend around 2 to 3 hours for this project. This includes the time to prepare the dough, make the prints, bake, and decorate the ornaments.
Are there extra costs involved in making this ornament?
Minimal costs are involved if you have to buy some of the materials for the first time. However, these materials like the rolling pin, cookie cutters, and acrylic paint can be reused for other craft projects.
What’s the best way to get a good print from my pet’s paw?
The best way to get a good print is by making the dough about an inch in thickness and then gently pressing your pet’s paw into the dough. Make sure your pet’s paw is clean before starting this process.
Can I make puppy paw print salt dough ornaments?
Definitely, you can use this same method to create cute ornaments using your puppy’s paw print. Just remember to be gentle when pressing the puppy’s paw into the dough and be patient as puppies can be a bit playful.
Creating your own salt dough paw print ornaments is not only a fun and easy craft, it’s a rewarding way to celebrate your bond with your pup and make the holiday season extra special.