Pet Paw Print Impression Process
step-by-step procedure on how to get the perfect impression
of your pet's paw print.
And everything you will need to know about getting a good
a word on impression materials:
home made or store bought (any color), is my preferred material
to use for impressions. Play-doh is softer than clay so
the paw can sink into the material easily with very minimal
A cat paw impression using home made Play-doh.
A catfood can makes a great impression container for a small
Don't forget the lid!
Play-doh also captures
Press your finger into some Play-doh and look at your resulting
Yes, I can make you
a finger print pendant! See my
Although Play-doh is my favorite, I can make a Pet-Paw from
ANY impression material. If you have an old plaster or clay
impression that you would like to have a Pet-Paw made from,
I can do it. But, there are a few things to consider:
1. The impression
could get lost in the mail. If your impression is a sacred
item, then it may be risky to send it in the mail.
2. I will pour hot wax into the impression. To keep the
wax from sticking to the impression, I will have to coat
the impression with a release agent (shellac, saddle soap,
vaseline, or vegetable oil) which may stain the impression.
The wax can stain the impression also.
3. There is a chance the impression could get damaged when
the wax pattern is removed. Wax really sticks to some materials
such as Crayola Model Magic, plaster, and clay because they
are fairly porous. My success rate with using these kinds
of impressions is pretty high. I have had minimal damage.
made of Crayola Model Magic material.
made of plaster taken from a print in the back yard.
Points for a successful impression resulting in an awesome
Play-doh must be smooth, flat, and level. Play-doh should
be packed into the container so if you flip it upside down,
the play-doh will stay stuck to the bottom of the container.
Paw impression depth should be 1/8" to 1/4" for
cats and small dogs and 1/4" to 3/8" for large
dogs. Dog print
impressions should always show the claws. Claws in cat impressions
may or may not be seen.
3. Leave a minimum of 1/2"
margin between the paw impression and the sides of the container.
Label your impression container and lid with your name and
your pet's name.
what you see in your impression is what you get in your
you are unsure if your impression is a good one, email a
photo of your impression to: firstname.lastname@example.org and I
will take a look and let you know if it will work.
reading below for more details on making a good impression.
mistake: customers are making their impressions too deep!
make the impressions no deeper than listed below:
1/8" to 1/4" deep
dogs: 1/4" deep
dogs: 1/4" to 3/8" deep
impressions, especially from small animals, results in distorted
example of what an impression looks like that is too deep.
two wax patterns made from the same paw with two different
The impression for the paw on the right is too deep. The paw
The impression on the left is just right. There is no paw
This is the SAME PAW.
Pet Paw Print Impression Process
you need to get started:
will need an impression kit. You can make your
own, or buy one from us (with purchase of Pet-Paw - see "Order"
page). An impression kit includes a container with a lid,
some Play-doh, a mini rolling pin, and instructions. I highly
encourage you to make your own, especially if you need it
in a hurry, or if you live outside of the U.S.
Make sure your container is big enough so that the paw does
not come in contact with the edges. Make sure it has a lid
so that you can seal it. Sandwich containers work really well
because they are big enough for big dogs and they fit very
well into a small flat-rate Priority mail box. Small catfood/dogfood
containers with lids work well for the small paws too.
Homemade Play-doh works very well. See recipe below if you
decide to make your own Play-doh. Store bought Play-doh works
very well also. Any color of store-bought Play-doh will work.
If you have old Play-doh and it's a bit stiff, just microwave
it for about 25 seconds and then knead it really well before
You can use a rolling pin to smooth and flatten your Play-doh
after you press it into the container. A piece of PVC pipe
works well. Your fingers will do the trick also.
The Pet-Paw impression
- prepare the Play-doh
your Play-doh seems a bit hard, put it into the microwave
for about 25 seconds to soften it. Knead the Play-doh and
then pack it down into the container so that it will stick
to the bottom. Push down along the edges too. When you turn
the container upside-down the Play-doh should not move or
fall out. This must be done so that the Play-doh will not
dislodge during shipping. Make sure the Play-doh is 1/2"
to 1" thick - enough so that the paw will not push through
the play-doh and touch the bottom of the container when taking
Very important: for great Pet-Paw results, make the
surface of the Play-doh as flat and smooth as possible. Use
a mini rolling pin, or your fingers. Also keep the Play-doh
level in the container as shown in the photo.
Should I use store-bought Play-doh or homemade Play-doh? If
you are sending your impression from England or some place
far away, and the impression will take a couple of weeks to
arrive, then use store bought Play-doh. Home made Play-doh
can mold over time or if it gets real warm. Also use store-bought
Play-doh if you plan to store your impression for any time
before sending it to us. Use home-made or store bought Play-doh
if you are going to send the impression right away and you
live within the United States.
A perfect imression container
with homemade Play-doh flattened and smoothed using my thumbs.
Notice the Play-doh surface is level all the way around the
container. If I turn this container upside down the play-doh
will not fall out.
- take the impression
Wipe off the bottom of your dog's paw so it is clean. Try
to get loose fur and any debris away. If the paw is really
furry, you may need to do a little trimming. Make sure the
claws are trimmed if they are long. If you are unable to trim
the claws, that is ok, I can "trim" them later when
they are in the wax pattern. Coat the surface of the dog's
paw pads with a little vegetable oil so they will not stick
to the Play-doh.
It is much easier to get the paw impression with two people.
One person can hold the dog in their arms while the second
person simply pushes the Play-doh container into the dog's
paw. It is best to gently push each toe pad and the large
middle pad slightly down into the Play-doh to be sure all
pads and claws make an impression into the Play-doh. Gently
pull the paw out of the Play-doh. The vegetable oil will keep
the pads and fur from sticking.
The impression should be between than 1/8" to 1/4"
Again, it is always easier to get the paw impression with
two people. A great way to get a big dog's paw impression
is to have him lay down on the floor. One person can distract
the dog (treats are a big hit!) while the other person pushes
the Play-doh container into the paw. This method works better
than having your dog "stand" on the Play-doh with
all their weight. Please make sure that the impression is
1/4" to 3/8" deep.
No need to use vegetable oil on the bottom of the paw. Cat's
paws don't stick to the Play-doh. Cats prefer two people when
having their paw impression taken. One person can hold the
cat while the other person pushes the Play-doh container into
the cat's paw. If you are brave enough to try and get your
cat's paw impression by yourself, follow this procedure: very
carefully, reach around your cat from behind and hold both
shoulders and front legs in each hand. Hold your cat's front
end up over the Play-doh container and gently lower your cat
towards the container keeping the leg straight so that one
of the paws pushes into the Play-doh. You can gently press
the toes to make sure that all the pads make an impression.
The impression should only be 1/8" to 1/4" deep.
Minx takes his paw impression.
3 - make sure you got a good impression
your impression. The photos show what your pet's paw impression
should look like. The impression should be as close to the
center of the container as possible. There should be at least
a 1/2" margin between the paw impression and the sides
of the container. You should be able to see the main pad and
all 4 toe pads. Dog impressions should include the claw marks
for a natural paw print look. You may or may not see the claw
marks with cat paw impressions. The overall impression depth
should be approximately 1/8" to 1/4" for small animals
and 1/4" to 3/8" for medium and large animals. There
should still be Play-doh material underneath the impression.
If any part of your pet's paw touched the bottom or the sides
of the container, the impression should be taken over again.
Some toes may press into the Play-doh deeper than others,
or one may be positioned away from the other toes. This makes
for a unique and interesting Pet-Paw. Don't worry if the first
one doesn't come out looking just right, you can always retake
the impression again.
Molly's perfect paw impression in home made Play-doh. It is
centered well and not too deep with nice wide margins between
the paw impression and the container edges.
retake: If you think that you
need to retake the paw impression, simply remove all the
Play-doh from the container. Knead it or heat it in the
microwave if it is not soft enough. Pack it firmly back
into the container and smooth out the surface with your
fingers or with a mini rolling pin. Remember that taking
an impression should be a fun experience for you and your
pet. Have patience. If your pet is unsure about the whole
ordeal, try using food as a distraction. The more treats
the better! Impression taking is easier with two people.
word to the wise: 2 impressions are better than one.
Take a second impression to keep as a back-up just in case
the impression you send to us gets lost or damaged in the
If you are not sure if your impression is a good one, just
email it to me and I can take a look at it and let you know
if it will work.
If you have questions or need some technical support, don't
hesitate to call us or send an email, we're here to help.
Another great impression
in red Play-doh. All 4 pads and claws are there and at the
right depth including the main pad. Impressions don't get
any better than this!
4 - send your impression to us
you have your pet's paw print impression, seal the container
with the lid. This will keep the Play-doh from drying out.
Label both lid and container with your name and your pet's
name. Store in the refrigerator until you are ready to ship.
Play-doh impressions may also be stored in the freezer for
long-term storage. When ready to ship, pack the container
in a box with packing material around it so that it will not
shift or get crushed when en route in the postal system. Do
not pack any material between the impression surface and the
lid of the container. Send it to:
20421 SR 194
Pullman, WA 99163
your impression container and send it to us.
* 1 cup
* 1 cup warm water
* 2 teaspoons cream of tartar
* 1 teaspoon oil
* 1/4 cup salt
ingredients and COOK in a pot on the stove. Stir over medium
heat until smooth. The dough will get very lumpy as it "cooks"
just keep stirring and it will eventually turn into one big
ball of Play-doh. Remove from pan and knead until blended
smooth - make sure there are no lumps. Be careful, it's hot!
Place in plastic bag or airtight container when cooled. Keep
in refrigerator. Will last for a long time.
Don't forget the cream of tartar - this ingredient keeps the
salt from crystalizing in the Play-doh.
Everything you need to
make your own Play-doh.