• Karen Tatiana


Updated: Dec 27, 2020

My family and I adopted our dog during my freshman year of high school; I'm 24 years old.

It was my sister's pediatrician's idea. She suggested that my mom introduce a dog into our home to ease my sister's crying. My mom wasn't fond of this idea; my step-dad thought otherwise. Without warning, Bartolo became part of our family. My sister and Bartolo have been inseparable ever since.

Today Bartolo is ten years old but still playful and lovable as ever. But my sister can't bear the thought of losing him. So when I found this DIY on Pinterest, it was the perfect project to share with her. We memorialized Bartolo's paw as a Christmas tree ornament.


Why a pet keepsake?

Pet keepsakes can be a healthy outlet for anyone preparing or grieving the loss of a pet. Although grief can be different for everyone, a healthy approach is necessary for all.

Healthy grieving results in an ability to remember the importance of our loss—but with a newfound sense of peace, rather than searing pain. Healthy grieving, University of Washington

Helpful resources

I love my Chi - Grieving Over The Loss of a Pet

Life & Cats - Remember Me: Coping with Grief of Pet Loss

What you need

All ages can enjoy this DIY. You can find the materials you need in your pantry, especially if your mom loves to bake like mine. She can give you a hand when you mess up the measurements. (Thank you, mom!)

Check if your mom has these materials in her pantry:

  • 1 Cup of Flour (and a little more)

  • 1/2 Cup of Salt

  • 1/2 Cup of Water

  • Cookie cutters or a cup

  • Straw

  • Bowl

  • Measuring cup

  • Rolling pin or wine bottle

  • Cooking spray (alt. butter + flour)

  • Your pet (You can find them by the treats)

Once you've gathered your materials, thank your mom!

You can even get creative and give her a pet-themed Christmas card as a thank you.

Perfect! Now that you have your thank you's out of the way, your materials gathered, you can get started.

Step 1: The easy part

Add the flour, salt, and water to a bowl. Begin to mix all the ingredients with your hands until the dough becomes sticky.

Step 2: Kneading the dough

Set your bowl with the sticky dough to the side to prepare the area where you will be kneading. Choose a tabletop where you'll have space to move your arms. Sprinkle flour on the tabletop, set your sticky dough on top, and begin kneading.

Full disclosure, I tried to knead the dough on my own and failed. That's when my mom stepped in to clean up my mess. It didn't take her long to make it perfect. Let me explain my mistake in case you face the same problem.

When it was time to knead the dough:

1. I didn't mix enough flour into my dough

2. I added more flour all at once, instead of adding it slowly

3. I didn't knead it properly

Hopefully, you can learn from my mistakes! Either way here is a how-to knead the bread dough tutorial.

Step 3: Rolling out the dough.

If your dough is puffy and soft to the touch, it's time to roll it out. You can use a rolling pin. I used a wine bottle because I felt classy :P

Roll out the dough until it's 1/4 inch thick.

Step 4: The fun part

It's time to get your cookie cutters out! If you can't find any, a cup will work as well.

Take the time to set up your baking sheets as well.

If you have cooking spray, spray down your baking sheet. If you don't, spread butter and sprinkle flour over it (the old school way).

Step 5: Treats time!

To print your pet's paw on the dough, place the shapes onto the baking sheet. This way, you can position the baking sheet on the floor where your pet is comfortable.

Do you have your pet's favorite treats handy?

Great, because you will need them for the next step.

Firmly press your pet's paw onto the dough. Holding your pet can prevent moving; you don't want to start the dough all over.

Don't forget the treat!

Feel free to get creative with the dough! I created neat designs using a mini pumpkin carving tool.

Step 6: Bake at 350 degrees

Before you place your dough in the oven, use a straw to make ornament holes.

How else will you hang them on your Christmas tree?

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake for 15 minutes or until the dough is dry. I removed them from the oven once they were slightly golden.

Step 7: Paint the ornaments.

You don't have to use expensive paints for this step. Crayola has affordable, washable paint for $5; it's safe for kids and pets.

My younger siblings had a lot of fun in this step.

If you're grieving the loss of a pet, get creative with this one. Add your pet's name, their collar, or anything that reminds you of them.

Step 8: Decorate your Christmas tree.

Don't forget to add a ribbon to your ornaments!

This DIY can be a fun activity for your Christmas celebration; especially, during the quarantine. You can even turn it into a last-minute Christmas gift.

So many possibilities!

Who do you think will enjoy this DIY pawprint Christmas ornament?


DIY Paw Print Ornament


Karen T. Gonzalez

Cat mom & Blogger

Writing to deepen the relationship between cats and cat parents by educating cat parents about cat care, wellness, and lifestyle.


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