DIY Puppy Paw Ornament – Ilex helps me make stuff

I saw a really cute homemade ornament a few days ago when Nicolina re-blogged Jessie Euletha’s post – “A Very Pinterest Christmas: Volume 1”. Now, I don’t have any rug rats with chubby little hands to commemorate. What I do have is a geriatric dog, who, at 16 years old, is going to leave a huge hole in our lives when she is no longer in it.

Last year we made a paw print ornament by pressing Ilex’s paw into some soft clay, but the result left a lot to be desired. It looks sort of like those ash trays your teacher inexplicably had you make in art class in elementary school. Who would have thought first graders needed multiple ash trays? I wanted something that looked pretty – after all, Ilex is beautiful and so are the memories we have with her.

So, when I saw Jessie’s ornament, I knew I needed to try it. It sounded easy enough and Ken already had a heat gun, so all I needed to buy would be the embossing powder, the stamp pad, and the ornament. So, it was off to Michaels I went this morning.

The glass ornaments are on sale right now for 40% off, so that was a great deal. I got the sort of flattened round ones because that seemed like it would be easier to stamp onto. I used a 40% off coupon on the stamp pad, which was $6.99 before the discount, and the embossing powder was another $5.99. Not too bad, even though I don’t think I’ll go crazy with embossing stuff after this. This may be the only craft I make with it, but I think it’s worth it to have a nice keepsake.

One thing I would say is that if you don’t already have a heat gun and don’t intend to use it much outside of this ornament, find a crafty friend who has one and borrow theirs. They’re $34.99, and that would have been a bit too steep for me personally.

So, the process is fairly easy to explain. Ink your dog’s paw (or your kid’s hand if you don’t have a furry friend to do this with) and stamp it on the ornament.  Cover the print with embossing powder and shake off the excess. Finally, use the heat gun to set it. Easy right?

Not so fast…. Ilex was heroically patient with me, but it was SUPER hard to get a good print. The first time I tried, it was just a big weird blob. She just had too much fur around her little pads…why doesn’t she keep that stuff trimmed?! So, I found some little scissors and trimmed a good bit of fur from around her paw and tried again. Still a weird blob.

I tried a third time and held it up to the light and could make out a paw print where there was more powder than there was in the spaces around the paw print. Even after shaking to get the excess powder off, static was causing the powder to stick to the areas around the paw print so that it looked like it was just a blob.

I got out some q-tips, dipped them in alcohol and was able to clean up the extra powder around the paw print using the darker paw shaped areas and the weird clay ash tray paw print from last year as a guide. After I had a presentable print that looked like the one on the ash tray ornament, I used the heat gun to set it, tied a ribbon around the top and used some acrylic paint to write her name and the year on the ornament.

I love the way it turned out!

Some tips…I would use a colored ink that matches your embossing powder. If you use a clear thing like I did, you will have a harder time cleaning the extra powder off unless you have an ash tray print to guide you. Second, use a big piece of paper to cover your work area…this stuff is like the stickiest glitter you’ve ever used. It will be everywhere! Third, work fairly quickly when you stamp the print on the ornament and then add the embossing powder because the ink needs to be moist to really grab the powder. Last, be patient because it might take several tries to get a good print. If at first you don’t succeed, wipe that sucker off with some alcohol and start again!

Ken wants a nose print ornament now. I wonder if I can get her to cooperate for that?


4 thoughts on “DIY Puppy Paw Ornament – Ilex helps me make stuff

  1. Yay! I’m so glad you tried it!! I love the dog print, very cute. I have a basset hound that is just begging to have an ornament on the tree. Good thing I have an extra bulb. Thanks for the idea!!

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