I’ve enjoyed making crafts since I was a little girl. Some of my strongest and most enjoyable memories are of drawing, painting, stitching, and using a glue stick and some glitter to turn around-the-house items into something beautiful. As an adult, it is difficult to find the time to dedicate to crafting, especially now that I recognize my very limited artistic skills.
When I do find the time to be creative, I like projects where there are clear instructions, such as sewing from a pattern. Ace has been the tolerant victim of more than one failed craft project, including a series of attempts at sewing dog clothes (sorry, Ace). My most successful dog craft thus far has been using a computer template to create annual photo albums of my adventures with Ace. With templates helping me arrange the photos in a pleasing layout, I’m able to make something unique, but which does not require an incredible amount of ingenuity.
The slightly crafty part of me was pretty excited when Pearhead offered me the chance to sample one of their products. This company specializes in unique keepsakes for the parents of human children, but has a few items geared towards those of us who want a special reminder of our dogs or cats. These items include a desktop frame, wall frame, a Christmas ornament, and a hanging keepsake, all of which showcase an impression of your dog’s paw that you create with the included materials.
Ace and I sampled the desktop frame kit ($34.95). It included simple instructions for creating the impression, as well as the frame, a small rolling pin, a ruler, and a piece of double-sided tape to attach the impression to the frame. On one side the frame is a space for you to insert a photo of your dog, and on the other is a deeper space to attach the impression. I measured the area inside the photo mat and decided to order a 4-by-6-inch photo I printed at my local drug store. I centered the photo and taped it to the mat. So far, so good –- I’m crafting!
I really enjoyed creating the impression. I expected the material to be heavy and claylike, the kind I used as a child to make crafts. When I opened the pouch containing the impression material and began to knead it, I was surprised by how light and soft it was. It felt like a smooth, pliable Styrofoam.
After a few minutes of kneading, I rolled the material out onto an aluminum foil-covered book, as the instructions suggested. It took me a few tries to get the material smooth with few creases. Use the rolling pin as much as possible instead of your hands, because it is plastic and a smoother surface than your skin. I also recommend making sure your hands and the surface on which you are working are really clean before you touch the material so that no tiny particles get trapped in it.
After I rolled out the impression material into a thick pancake, it was time to bring in Ace, who had been sniffing around the table while I worked. Following the instructions, I moistened her paw with a damp cloth before making the impression. I had to repeat this step twice as well because the first time I did not press hard enough on her paw to make a good impression.
It takes some effort to knead and reroll the material, so don’t be afraid to put even, steady pressure on your dog’s paw so you get it right the first time. I was worried Ace would get fidgety with the process, but she was exceptionally calm. For folks with larger dogs, you could probably slip the impression material under your dog’s paw while she stands on the floor, instead of lifting your dog up like I’m doing with Ace in this photo.
Once the impression was made, I noticed that Ace’s paw hadn’t been totally clean when we made the impression, and some flecks of dirt were embedded in the impression. While I used a pair of fine-point tweezers to carefully lift out the particles, it would have been easier if I had made the impression after giving Ace a bath –- her paw would be moist, and it would be clean (or as clean as it is ever going to get).
Next, the instructions suggested I use the ruler to cut straight edges on the sides of the impression. I cut off quite a bit of material, so I expect there is enough impression material in this kit for dogs with large paws. It was easy to cut through the material, and I was delighted by how nice it looked at this stage. We then let the impression dry for a few days, flipping it over halfway through. When dry, the material is not hard and brittle to the touch like clay, but remains soft and almost rubbery in texture. It is very lightweight, so the piece of double-sided tape affixes the impression in the frame with ease.
I am very pleased with the results of this kit. I imagine it would make a nice gift for a new pet owner, a pet’s birthday, or another holiday or milestone. If you are as fortunate as I am to have extended family who love your dog, you could make one of these frames and give the completed project to an adoring relative as a gift. I think I’m going to keep this one around the house or at the office, so that I can show off my amazing crafting skills and Ace’s pretty face at the same time.
Dogster Scorecard for Pearhead’s Pawprints frame
- Quality: The frame, photo mats, and impression material are attractive and of appropriate quality for a gift.
- Style: The complete Pawprints frame is simple and tasteful.
- Function: I found the process of making the impression to be relatively easy. The impression material is soft and light.
- Creativity: Although this company makes mostly keepsakes for the parents of human children, I appreciate that they are branching out to include pet parents.
- Value: Given the quality of the materials and the convenience of the kit, I think the Pawprints Frame is appropriately priced at $34.95. A less expensive option is the Pawprints ornament or keepsake at $14.95.
This kit makes a unique gift for a pet lover. It is also a fun and easy craft for those of us who like a little direction when being creative.
Dogster readers, do you make dog-related crafts? Share your tips for celebrating our dogs in the comments!
Read more reviews by Ace’s Mama:
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- Fluff & Tuff Dog Toys: Can They Stand Up to Ace’s Abuse?
- Dogster Reviews: Can Reviver Pets Freshening Swipes Handle This Stinky Dog?
- Ballistic Friends Toys from the Kong Wubba Line: Tough Enough for Your Dog?
- And Now, We Review a Sampling of Summer Dog Collars
- Man of Steel? Try Dog of Steel! We Review Marvel/DC Comics Clothes and Toys at PetSmart
- Can Dog Toys and Grooming Products by Hartz Withstand a Summer Day with Ace?
About Ace’s Mama: This East Coast transplant enjoys the bounty of San Francisco, including its micro-climates, farmers’ markets, and secret stairway walks. When she’s not walking with, talking about, or kissing the face of her Boston Terrier, Ace, she blogs about Ace’s adventures. Product reviews writer and guinea pig at Dogster.