Custom Paw Print Necklace: Getting the Paw Print

River and Birch Custom Paw Print Necklace with Stamped Print

Maybe you've been considering ordering a paw print necklace, but you don't know where to begin. I am here to help!

It may be obvious that it all starts with a clear print, but how do you do this when you have a wiggly dog or a kitty who would rather you didn't touch her paws at all? We don't want any traumatized pets or pet parents, so read on for some tips! 

Below are the best and easiest ways to capture a paw print that will get the result you want for a necklace. These apply to any type of pet, from dogs and cats to birds, rats or horses! Once you have one of these paw prints, you just snap a photo and email it to me and I will take it from there.

Inkless or Ink Stamped Print Inkless or ink prints will usually yield the best result. They enable me to get the clearest artwork because shadows don't usually become an issue and the paw prints don't get distorted.

Inkless kits can sometimes be found at craft or scrapbooking stores or websites. They are typically used for fingerprints, but are safe for and work great for pet prints.

Ink pads are also available at craft or scrapbooking stores and come in non-toxic varieties (they will say "non-toxic" on them, so be sure to look for that!). Be prepared with wet paper towels or cloth to wipe any excess off the paw after the stamping.

If possible, press the paw into the ink pad and then directly onto a piece of card stock or plain paper. It may be an option to press the paw onto the stamp pad and then have the pet walk on a piece of poster board or large piece of paper to minimize handling of the paws.

As long as the print is easy to see on the paper, it doesn't matter what colors the ink or paper are. It will end up being made into black and white artwork as I work through my process.

If you have lost your pet, sometimes veterinarians will provide an ink print for you as a keepsake at your last appointment. These typically work very well for pendants and are what I work with most often.

River and Birch Ink Paw Print


Finger Paint Print Children's finger paints are another great tool for capturing paw prints. Make sure not to use too much paint in order to avoid globs, and stamp a few to get the best results. That way, you will have options and can pick the best one!

River and Birch Finger Paint Paw Print


Rain or Dew Print (Dino helped me with this example.) A great and non-confrontational way to get a paw print is to use rain or dew to your advantage. This could be a great option for a dog who doesn't like his paws handled. Just walk him through dewy or damp grass or through a puddle and then onto dry pavement—concrete or blacktop will work. Then just snap photos of the prints. Your dog will be none the wiser!

River and Birch Rain Paw Print


Snow Print The same idea as the rain or dew print, but using very a very light snow accumulation.

River and Birch Snow Paw Print


Paw Pad Photo Sometimes you can catch your dog or cat sleeping in such a way that you might be able to get the perfect photo of the pad side of her paw. This is another acceptable option and is nice because it can be another "hands-off" way to accomplish what you need. Or, sometimes she will let you hold her paw and you can snap the photo! 

This option will make a pendant with a look similar to a drawn paw print, because I will trace around the pads and basically draw the print.

Note: It's important for this one that you get as straight on as possible as opposed to being at an angle, so that the photo doesn't distort the shape of the paw pads.

River and Birch Paw Pad Photo 


Clay Impression Print I have had people contact me after losing their dog and this is the only paw print they have available. Not to worry—I can work with a clay impression also!

This will yield a similar style as a paw pad photo in that the print will look more like a drawn paw print. 

Note: It is really important to get as straight-on and with as few shadows as possible when taking a photo of the impression to minimize distortion. This allows me to see the print outline clearly and will get you the best result for your necklace. Sometimes taking a photo outside in the shade will yield the best results.

River and Birch Clay Impression Paw Print

So there you have a few ideas! Can you think of more? If so, or if you need help troubleshooting, please send me a message! I am here to help. 



  • Hi, Debbie! Yes, I can work from a photo of a clay impression! I will email you. Thanks!

    Theresa, River and Birch
  • I have the clay impression print of my dog can you work from a photo of the clay impression?

    Debbie Ervie
  • I wanted to see if an ink paw print that I have from one of my dogs that recently passed away would work for the paw print necklace. Thanks Katherine

    Katherine Mix

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