Seasons Greetings! Merry Christmas! Blessed Hanukkah! Happy Holidays!
No matter what you are celebrating and honoring, I hope this finds you and your family having a stress-free week! I giggled as I wrote that, because the reality (that we all know too well) is that this week can be incredibly hectic. From family vacations, trips to relatives’ houses, relatives visiting your home, 101 to-dos, last minute shopping, to endless check-lists, these past few weeks can be overwhelming to say the least! And not to mention the strain that it can put on our finances! We shop for relatives, we shop for friends, we shop for family members, and sometimes the pets get a few gifts sprinkled in there as well.
But what about giving a gift to our loved ones that honors our pets?
This year I decided to create something for the loved ones in my life that just happen to love our animal companions almost as much as I do. And at the same time, I found a way to save money, while honoring the foot prints that our pets have placed upon our hearts.
I decided to create my first DIY (Do It Yourself) Paw Print Ornament.
Ok, so it’s not the fanciest ornament, by any means. Clearly you can see that this is my first attempt at this! But that’s what makes it so fun! It doesn’t have to be perfect! It can be messy, with flaws and all!
What I love most about this gift idea is that it’s not about perfection. It’s about creating something from your heart, with your hands. It’s about putting effort and love into a gift. And it’s really fun.
If you have a dog, cat, pig, parrot, ferret, iguana, or rat, you can do this too!
If you would like to make these, this is what you need:
- 1/2 cup cornstarch
- 1 cup baking soda
1. Mix both into a saucepan.
2. Slowly add in 3/4 cup of water.
Note: Continue stirring mixture as you add the water. It will start to turn into a hard, concrete mixture; keep stirring! It will blend together in a few minutes.
3. Place saucepan on stove top and cook at medium. Stir constantly for several minutes.
Note: Be sure to stir all the way to the bottom of the pot. The mixture begins to harden at the bottom first.
4. Keep Stirring! — It will very quickly (and almost suddenly) become a doughy ball.
5. Remove saucepan from heat. (Let the dough sit until you can safely remove it from the saucepan).
6. Place the dough on a smooth cutting board and allow it to cool a bit more.
7. Knead it for a minute or so, until it is soft and pliable.
8. Section dough into as many pieces as you will need. (make various sizes based on the animals’ feet sizes.)
9. Roll dough into balls. Press flat.
10. Make a hole big enough for your string of choice to go through the top of the ornament. (I used a thick toothpick.)
11. While the dough is smooth and moist (before it begins to dry and crack), gently press your pet’s paw into the dough. Be gentle, but apply even pressure.
11. Reward your pet with treats for allowing you to do this 😉 Never force your pet to participate.
12. Place parchment or wax paper on a baking sheet. Place dough on sheet.
13. Bake the paw print dough at 250 degrees for 30 – 35 minutes. (thicker slices will take longer to bake.)
14. Let baked dough cool for a few minutes.
15. Decorate as your heart desires!
Tips for enhancing your creation:
- Add glitter!
- Add beads!
- Keep the color white!
- Change the color to red, blue, or whatever color speaks to you!
- Use twine instead of ribbon for a more rustic look!
- Paint the ornament after it bakes!
- Write the name and year on the back.
- Write a short poem or saying on the back.
(Just google “DIY Paw Print Ornament and you will find a ton of ideas.)
These are just a few reasons why I wanted to share this with you all:
- It works for folks on a tight budget!
- It works for a last minute gift idea!
- It works for kids that love to create things as gifts!
- It works for the people who love to bake!
- It works for the non-bakers, too!
- It works for people with limited time!
- It works for people of all ages!
It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s fast. It’s creative. It’s unique.
No matter who’s making it, and no matter how it turns out, the receiver of the gift will see that it came from your heart.
“Pets leave footprints in our hearts, and memories in our thoughts that last forever.” -Julie Hebert