I mentioned in a previous post, that my dog is getting older. She’s started to have some health problems, and sadly I know our time together is drawing to a close. I really want things to remember her by, and when I saw this idea, I was so excited to try it.
Did you know that dog noses are like human fingerprints? They are unique to each pup. This is beautiful. Why wouldn’t you want a print of your dog’s nose? Maybe you wouldn’t want to wear it everyday as jewelry, but it would be great to hang next to a photo in your home or put in a shadow box with their collar and tags. I’ve seen some people on pinterest call them “creepy” or “distasteful” but if you truly love your pet, I don’t see anything wrong with these, and I think they’re beautiful.
Beautiful, but maybe not worth $200, which some Etsy sellers are charging. This price tag led me to look for other alternatives. Why couldn’t I make it myself?
Although I have a great interest in one day learning to cast silver, and am actually in the process of learning how to cast metals with a lower melting point (such as pewter), that is for another time. Instead, I took advantage of a material I’ve never worked with before, but have always wanted to try: resin!
I found this great tutorial by Tanya Ruffin on her blog. This is what gave me the idea to use resin. I purchased Resin from Hobby Lobby with a great 40% off coupon. I bought a large amount, because I know I will be using this again for future crafts. I followed the directions on the container (how much activator to add to the resin), but added some silver pigment powder I found next to the resin in the aisle. Were I to do this craft again, I’d add black pigment powder instead, so that I wouldn’t have to apply ink as well and then rub and buff, which would save me a step.
I also bought Silicone Mold Putty. This can also be found at a craft store or on Amazon. The particular brand I used is safe and nontoxic. This comes in two parts. You mix equal amounts of both parts together, and then get a limited amount (about two or three minutes) to work with it. You might have to try this a few times to get the timing right. Also, be sure to really really really mix both colors together, otherwise after you cast your first resin piece the silicone will start to separate from itself and flake off in the areas where you didn’t mix it as well.
The method I used to take the mold was mixing the two parts of putty together, waiting a minute, then tackling the dog and taking the mold. Of course, most dogs are going to be a pain about letting you do this. Lily stayed still long enough for me to do it, but when I removed it it was still a little soft, and I think it morphed a little while I waited for it to dry. I also noticed she has very narrow sides of her nose compared to most dogs, so hers looks a little different. I can’t imagine doing a cast of a pug or a dog like that…it might be kind of difficult. Your dog may not let you cast their nose, in which case you could always ambush them while they are sleeping (just remember to always leave it away from their mouths so they can still breathe, obviously). I attempted to cast my roommate’s dog’s paw print, and I couldn’t even get her to sit still for a second, so that was a failure. I guess it all depends on the dog.
Ignore how dirty my silicone cast looks. This is after many attempts with dying different colored resin.
After the mold has hardened (it won’t take long) you can mix your silicone and add it to the mold. Different brands and different thicknesses take different amounts of time to cure. Mine was completely cured within 24 hours. Be sure to measure correctly, mix well, scrape the sides as you mix, and tap the mold on a hard surface it if you see any bubbles in the resin forming on the back.
After that, Tanya (from the above tutorial) recommends a nail file, but I used my dremil, which was much faster and more efficient. When I got it to the size I wanted it, I applied black ink, rubbed it in a little, and let it sit to dry. Then I used silver rub and buff.
The final step was drilling the tiniest of starter holes into the top of the piece to put a ring in. I bought these findings that screw in nicely, and then you can attach a jump ring to that so it isn’t always turned sideways. You can use it as a necklace, or just hang it by a photo of your dog or put it in a shadow box. It is adorable.
For me, personally, I’m not sure I’d actually wear the full sized dog nose with anything, but I’m so intrigued by the pattern of a dog’s nose print being so unique, and I’d really love to carry Lily around with me. So I decided to also make a mold of just the textured area of the nose print, sans other parts of the nose, and make it into a geometrical shape of some sort. I used the same mold as before, I just put less resin in the mold, and sanded a lot more of it away once my piece had hardened. I think this piece is more delicate, flattering, and less outrageous, but still as sentimental and sweet. I plan to make some kind of metal bezzel to go around/behind it so it looks more framed, as if it is some kind of exotic stone.
Now that I’ve experimented with resin and silicone putty, you can bet there are a lot more crafts involving these items coming to the blog in the future.
UPDATE: Small Piece with Wire Bezzel…