Create a Custom Locket of Your Pet's Print
And Always Keep Them Close to Your Heart
If you're a dog or a cat lover, chances are the simple image of a paw print resonates with you. And the actual paw print of your own loved pet? Even more powerful. I made my kiddos these easy locket pendants using the print of our own dog and a few inexpensive materials from the craft store.
We were fortunate to have our pitbull-mix rescue for 13 years of our lives (since she was a puppy!), but sadly this past week, we had to say goodbye. One of the things were were most grateful for was the fact that three of our children got a chance to know and love Nina before she passed. But as much joy as our children's relationship with her has given us, it has simultaneously made this sad transition even more difficult. If you have kids and you've ever lost a pet, there's no doubt you've experienced the helplessness of watching your children try to understand and cope with their loss.
I wanted to create a little memento for the kids to remember Nina, and this project was a really easy way to do it. The pendants are a cute way to keep your pet (past or present) close to your heart.
Paw Print Necklace Materials:
- Locket Pendants: Available from craft store for $9 (although they go on sale for about half that from time-to-time). I got mine at Joann's.
- Chains and/or Keychain: Again, check out the jewelry section of your local craft store--you can get them really inexpensively. I liked the simplicity and the look of the colored ball chains. I also grabbed a keychain for my 2 year-old son, but he ended up wanted a necklace like his sisters :) But I did it both ways just to show another option.
- Paper: I used colored cardstock. I also considered printing on transparency paper for a clear background but I had a printer OOPS and it didn't work out like I planned... I may attempt it again later.
- Your Pet's Paw Print: How you capture depends on your pet, so you may need to play around with some strategies. I painted her paw with non-toxic paint and pressed it into a white piece of paper. She tolerated me ;)
- Computer Software (optional): I made Nina's paw print into a PNG image using Adobe Illustrator (so it was really easy to manipulate on my computer), but it's not necessary. If you just take a photo of a black print on white paper, you should be able to size it appropriately and print it out without any special software. But if you really get stuck on this part, leave a note in the comment section or shoot me an email, and I'd be happy to help you out.
Paw Print Necklace Tutorial Instructions:
- Capture Your Pet's Paw Print: Like I said before, this process has to work for you and your pet. Some pets may freak out if you paint their paws, so you may need to be more creative, but I was able to paint her paw with a foam brush and press it onto the paper. It took me probably 4 tries to get a usable imprint that wasn't too smeared. You probably notice the stray marks around the paw pads, and that's from the little hairs growing from her paw. It doesn't give a "clean" look, but that's how her paw looked, so I wanted to keep them in there. I did remove that circular splotch that was at the top left... I think some paint dripped as I was moving her paw.
- Make Into a Digital Image (optional!): I did this by snapping a photo of the paw print and creating a PNG in Illustrator (see below). I rasterized it first (because it was huge) and then LIVE TRACED it to make a vector image that I could easily size and customize. But if this sounds foreign to you, don't worry because it's not necessary! See next step instead.
- Get Paw Print on Computer: With just simple software, you can take a photo of the paw print, pull it up on your computer, and change the size and print it from there.
- Figure Out New Size for Paw Print: Measure your locket space. I had about 13/16" to work with, so I sized it accordingly in an 8.5x11" document in InDesign (because I'm most comfortable using InDesign).
- Print Your Image on Cardstock: I copied/pasted the image several times (just to have extras for mistakes) and printed it onto colored cardstock in each of my kids' favorite colors.
- Cut Your Pawprints Into Shape: This part is tricky! You'll definitely want some sort of tool to cut a perfect circle. Maybe you have a punch or device to cut paper, but I tried measuring/eyeballing it, and it did not work. Then, I grabbed a compass and that was much better, although it was hard to achieve the perfect size, so it took many tries.
- Last, place your paw print in the locket charm, attach the desired accessory or chain, and you're done!
The craft stores also have various gems and whatnot that you can also place inside the lockets to make it look more fancy. I was going to put a few in there for the girls, but it ended up looking too cluttered and took attention away from the paw print, so I left them out.
My kids were very happy with how the necklaces turned out, and they love that they can carry a part of Nina with them when they're missing her. They also decided to make a whole bunch of more crafts using the extra paw prints, so all-in-all, it was a positive experience for everyone.
These necklaces or keychains would also make a perfect give for the pet-lover in your life! You'll just need to commandeer their pet for a little while when they're not around :)
Making these mementos for the kids was good for my healing process, too. As hard as it was to say goodbye to her, I know how fortunate we were to have 13 happy years together. We adopted her out of a rough situation and gave her a loving home. In turn, she taught us how beautiful, smart, silly, cunning, intuitive, and compassionate a pet could be, and we will always cherish our time together.
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