As pet owners, we all know the overwhelming love and bond we share with our furry (or not so furry) friends. Whether they are cuddly cats, playful dogs, or quirky iguanas, our pets hold a special place in our hearts. And what better way to celebrate that bond than by capturing their unique paw print? But, as easy as it may sound, getting a clear and detailed print can be a challenging task. That’s where I come in.
In this post, I’ll give you a foolproof guide to taking a paw print that will showcase all of the unique ridges and patterns on your pet’s paw. From choosing the right materials to using take-home kits, I’ll show you everything you need to know to get the perfect print so you can create a one-of-a-kind memento that you can treasure forever.
Table of Contents
Gathering Materials: What you'll need for the perfect paw print
To start capturing your pet’s paw print, you first need to gather the necessary materials. Don’t worry, it’s nothing too complicated. Common items found around your house will do the trick. You’ll need a non-toxic ink pad, a piece of paper, baby wipes or a damp cloth, and a sturdy flat surface.
Before getting into the actual process of creating the paw print, make sure to choose a location where your pet feels comfortable and relaxed. It’s important to keep your pet at ease throughout the process to avoid any unnecessary stress or anxiety, not to mention making it much easier for you as well.
Once you’ve selected a spot, you can move on to the next step, which is preparing your pet’s paw for the print-making process.
Preparing Your Pet's Paw
Before capturing your pet’s unique paw print, it’s crucial to prepare their paw. This step will help ensure that the print comes out clearly and accurately, and that your pet remains calm and comfortable throughout the process.
Start by gently cleaning your pet’s paw with a damp cloth to remove any dirt or debris. This will allow the ink to make a clear impression. Next, trim any excess hair around the paw pad to prevent it from interfering with the print. Using scissors or clippers, carefully trim the hair around the paw pad, while being careful not to cut the paw pad itself.
TIP: If you take your pet for regular grooming, ask the groomer to be extra thorough around the paw area then do the print right after you bring them home.
If you’re using ink to create the print, it’s a good idea to apply a thin layer of petroleum jelly to your pet’s paw pad. This will prevent the ink from getting stuck in the crevices of their paw, making it easier to create a clear print. Don’t use too much or you’ll lose most of the fine details (and make a smudgy mess). A very light coat will do.
Once your pet’s paw is clean and trimmed, and you’ve applied petroleum jelly if necessary, you’re ready to move on to creating the print.
Taking the Paw Print: Tips and Tricks
Okay, we’ve gathered all of our materials, picked our comfy cozy spot, and our pet’s paw is clean, dry, and prepped to print.
Now we’re ready to take our paw print.
When it comes to taking the print itself, it’s crucial to work quickly and confidently. Press the ink pad onto the paw lightly a few times, making sure to ink the entire surface. Then, with a steady hand, press the paw gently onto the paper or card and hold it there for a few seconds before lifting it off.
You can do this a few times if you’d like more than one print to pick from (or if your first attempts were a hot mess).
Use a wet wipe or damp cloth to clean any remaining ink off your pet’s paw and you can let them go on with their furry day.
Leave your paw prints somewhere safely away from pets and small humans until they’re fully dry.
Ready-made paw print kits
If you’d rather avoid the DIY route, there are some ready-made kits that make getting a paw print a breeze.
These kits include an ink-filled card that is laid over a piece of paper. With a little pressure, this leaves an impression on the paper without getting any ink on your pet. No petroleum jelly necessary.
While I would still try to clean and trim the paw for the best possible print, I know how difficult it can be to wrangle a cat while wielding a trimmer. If your furry pal is less than cooperative, the inkless kits are your best bet (and you’ll avoid a trail of inky paw prints through the house if your pet makes a great escape).
TIP: If you have an extra fidgety pet, get a couple of kits to make sure you have enough to do multiple attempts. Each ink pad can do a few prints and you can use the front and back of the included paper cards.
To prevent smudges, I recommend putting the paper and ink pad onto a hard surface (like a book) and applying a small amount of tape to keep them from moving around. Press the entire paw down evenly but lightly to make a clear impression.
No matter which method you choose, getting a nice print takes a bit of trial and error. With a few tries, you’ll get one that’s just right.
Use the paw print to create a cherished memento
Now that you have a clear print of your pet’s paw, what are you going to do with it?
There are countless ways to showcase your paw print beyond simpy framing it in a shadow box. If you made several prints, you can always try a few things to see what feels right. Frame a print along with a picture of your furry pal. Enlarge the print and have it painted onto a canvas. Get a tattoo. Make it into fabric and sew yourself (or your pet) some outfits.
There are so many ideas to try!
As a jeweller I know I am biased but my favourite way to make a beautiful reminder of a pet is to incorporate the paw print into a piece of jewelry. A simple pendant necklace adorned with your pet’s print can be a subtle yet meaningful way to keep them close to your heart forever.
I have an engraved paw print pendant available in my shop in either sterling silver or gold but you can also reach out to me with any custom idea you may have.
Regardless of how you choose to use the print, the key is to make it personal and meaningful. A cherished memento of your pet’s unique paw print is a special way to honour their memory and celebrate the bond you share.