Because who doesn't love a homemade ornament and some quality time with your pet?
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dog sniffing DIY Christmas ornament
Credit: Brittany Jobe / Daily Paws TikTok

Let's be honest, our parents were onto something when they kept that terribly painted popsicle stick ornament from elementary school. While buying new ornaments for the tree is a great way to commemorate the year, a homemade one like this DIY pet paw print ornament is even more special.

If you've already hung your pet's stocking and bought their presents, this adorable keepsake is another great way to remember your pet's first Christmas and a fun activity that you can look back on without having to take them to visit Santa for a photo sesh.

These ornaments are made with ingredients you probably already have in your home, making it an affordable and easy-to-make DIY. And if you have any of the dough left over after you and Fido are finished, you can keep making personalized tree decorations with the kiddos (or press your pet's paw into several to give as gifts for other animal lovers on your list).

One important note before you get started, though: Make sure to hang the ornaments out of your pet's reach as the dough is toxic for them to eat because of the high salt content. You'll also want to keep them from eating the stuff while you craft, and take care to remove any residual dough off your pet's paw when finished so they don't lick it off themselves afterward.

Got it? Here's how to get started making your own pet paw ornament. (If you're a visual learner, also check out the video tutorial, above.)

Materials You'll Need to Make a Salt Dough Paw Print Ornament

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup cold water
  • Cookie sheet
  • Aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • Straw/pen for punching a hole
  • Acrylic paint
  • Ribbon

Step-by-Step Instructions for Making a DIY Paw Print Ornament

Step 1: Preheat Your Oven 

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees fahrenheit. Prepare your cookie sheet with a layer of aluminum foil or parchment paper.

Step 2: Mix the Salt Dough Ingredients Together

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Then slowly whisk in the cold water to create a dough that's not sticky, but still stiff and easy to roll out. Once the water is added, it's easiest to mix with your hands as the dough thickens—as long as you're OK with getting down and dirty.

Step 3: Roll and Cut the Dough

Work the dough into a ball, and then use a rolling pin to roll out the dough so it's about ¼ inch thick. Using a knife, a cookie cutter, or a cup, cut out your ornament in the shape of your choice. Don't forget to poke a hole through the top using a pen or straw, as you'll need it to string a ribbon later so you can hang the ornament on your tree! 

Step 4: Create the Paw Print

Carefully press your pet's paw (or claws!) into the dough to create a paw print. You may need to entice your pet with a few holiday treats or use their favorite toy to get them to walk through the dough.

Step 5: Bake

Once your pet's paw print is pressed into the dough, place your ornament on the cookie sheet and bake for 2-3 hours until it is dry.

Step 6: Decorate & Hang

After you take the ornament out of the oven, let it cool completely. Now it's time to decorate! You can paint your ornament with acrylic paint, dust on some glitter, or keep it simple and use a permanent marker to add your pet's name and the year to finish off the memento. When it comes to finishing touches, the world is your creative oyster!

Finally, once your paint is dry and the ornament is ready to hang, thread a festive ribbon or string through the hole. Whether you hang it directly on your Christmas tree or box it up as a gift for a dog lover on your list, you've got a personalized keepsake that'll brighten up any tree. Just make sure to hang the salt dough ornament out of reach from your pet as the salt content can be poisonous for both dogs and cats. (You'll want to be sure to mention that to any recipients of your DIY gift, as well.)

Did you make this DIY paw print ornament yourself? Tag us in your photo via @DailyPaws on Instagram and be sure to check out more of our DIY projects once your artistic juices are flowing. Happy crafting!