Updated: December 2018
I LOVE Christmas. The lights, the music, the decorations, the meaning and spirit – everything about it. I am also a very sentimental person. My favorite Christmas ornaments are those that have a special meaning, that remind me of something or someone I love. My seven kitties, two sugar gliders, and angel pup are at the top of my list of someones-I-love, so they definitely couldn’t be left off the Christmas tree. What better way to represent them on my tree than with a special ornament that we made together – a salt dough ornament with their paw print on it!
This DIY Paw Print Ornament is one that I’ve been making for a several years now. It’s inexpensive, easy, and fun, but most of all, it is extremely special. The first two ornaments we made back in 2012 for Delilah and Sampson – that was their first Christmas. In 2013, we added Sophie’s and Sassy’s; in 2014 we added Caster’s; in 2016 we added Kylo Ren’s, and Jubilee & Sydney’s; and finally, in 2017, we added Radagast and Lucy’s! I’m especially grateful to have Lucy’s this year, as she crossed the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year. I love having a little bit of her on our Christmas tree <3
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Salt dough ornaments can be toxic to cats and dogs if ingested, due to the large amount of salt in them. Please be sure you keep the ornaments out of reach of your pets to avoid any issues.
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 1/4 cup of salt
- 1/4 cup of water
This made enough salt dough for roughly 3-4 ornaments, though I was only making 1. Recipe can be doubled/halved/etc. to meet your needs.
- Medium mixing bowl
- Cookie sheet
- Rolling pin (optional)
- Straw (optional)
- Acrylic paints and paintbrushes
- Acrylic varnish
- String & ornament hooks
Step 1: Preheat oven to 250º F. I used a toaster oven this year, but a regular oven works just fine too.
Step 2: Mix flour and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Step 3: Add water and stir to mix thoroughly.
Step 4: Sprinkle countertop with flour so that the dough doesn’t stick to the counter. Knead dough on counter until it’s soft and easily moldable. Add more flour if the dough is super sticky.
Step 5: Flatten out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. You can use a rolling pin to make it easier, but I don’t have one so I just used my hands. It worked just fine.
Step 6: Grab your cat (or dog) and imprint his paw print into the dough!
Step 7: Trim off excess dough around the edges. You could even make the ornament into a cool shape, but I always just make it a circle/oval shape.
Step 8: Make the hole in the top of the dough for the hanging string. You can use a straw to do this, but I just used a pen. Just be sure that you make the hole big enough to fit your string through. Keep in mind that the hole may close in a little bit while it’s baking in the oven.
Step 9: Place dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. The original recipe I found for salt dough says to cook it in the oven for 2-3 hours, but it only took about an hour and 40 minutes for Caster’s ornament to finish. I suppose it depends on your oven. I would set a timer for an hour and a half, and then keep an eye on it after that point. When it is completely dry and hard, take it out. Be careful not to leave it in too long, or it will start to crack.
Step 10: Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
Step 11: Paint it!
Step 12: Let the paint dry, then add your pet’s name to the back of the ornament in a sharpie. I always include the year I made the ornament as well, as it is usually that pet’s first Christmas with us.
Step 13: Spray the front and back of the ornament with 2-3 coats of an acrylic varnish. This sealant will help to make the ornaments last for years and years to come. It also makes them shiny. (I always do this step outside.)
Step 14: Add string and an ornament hook, and voila! The finished product!!
Now all of our beloved fur babies are apart of our Christmas tree every year, and I forever have a personal and meaningful keepsake of them.
The Gang’s paw print ornaments:
Do you have any fun Christmas crafts you do with or for your pets?