Introduction: Paw Tag

Picture of Paw Tag

Here’s a fun casting project without all the typical materials. While polymer clay, silver solder, and corn starch aren’t typically used this way, it still turns out a decent end result. Special thanks to dthomp0 for helping me out with a dog volunteer.

Caution! Molten anything can cause severe burns. Anytime you use a flame make sure you’re in a well ventilated area and that you’ve taken fire safety precautions. As always, be careful and work within your experience.

Step 1: Prep the Clay

Picture of Prep the Clay

The form is made from polymer clay. After kneading it I rolled it into a ball. I coated it in cornstarch to keep it from sticking. I then took a glue stick and mashed the ball flat. I pushed the edges back in to form up a little wall.

Step 2: Make the Paw Print

Picture of Make the Paw Print

I made the paw imprint using the back handle of a small paint brush. I then coated the form with corn starch and blew it out. This helps the molten solder flow through.

Step 3: Cast

Picture of Cast

I placed a section of solder in a spoon and heated it with a torch (a common gas stove will melt solder like this just the same). Once the solder was molten I poured it into the mould.

When solder is molten it wants to stay in the shape of a ball. Just like water forms a drop. Because of this, the larger the area being cast, the harder it will be to cast a design. I was able to cast the paw by itself just fine but when I made it bigger (to stamp a name) the paw would no longer cast. To help it along I pressed the molten solder down with a piece of marble.

Step 4: Stamp and Polish

Picture of Stamp and Polish

Since solder is so soft it shapes and polished quickly. It was eaisily stamped with dies. I used a scouring pad and buffing wheels; both on my drill press. The letters were filled in with permanent marker.

Thanks for reading.


treymartin82 (author)2015-08-27

Could this work to make a wax seal?

EthanM2 (author)2014-11-12

wow! great project, can't wait to make this, my cat needs something like this and i don't want to spend £3 on a tag, great idea, keep posting!

ErraticChromatic (author)2013-05-09

This is beautiful! Will definitely make soon... I have a pup waiting for one.

kirinwantsaskateboard (author)2013-04-08

Awwww cute dog tags MUST MAKE SOME FOR MY DOGS

pheenix42 (author)2012-12-11

Got an acquaintance with several pets who would love this...! But, I think I might try it in melted zinc, if the polymer clay could handle the heat.

lazemaple (author)pheenix422013-03-14

zinc is highly toxic to pets as well as humans. Google 'Zinc Fever' it can be fatal. Experienced metal smiths have died from zinc fumes. Solder high in tin is about the safest bet or lead free pewter - which is mainly tin.

Timothy95 (author)2013-03-14

Very cool idea. However I recommend you use lead free solder as lead may harm you or your pet. Very nice idea though, I would like to try this with melted pennies.

Kiteman (author)2012-11-14

That looks really nice - how tough is silver solder, though?

Will it survive doggy rough and tumble?

Mrballeng (author)Kiteman2012-11-15

It's still to be determined but I'm guessing the collar would wear out first.

Dapper Hippo (author)Mrballeng2013-01-24

It still looks as good as the day I got it and Linna has worn it every day. Thanks again!

st_indigo (author)2012-12-07

great instructible! keep in mind that polymer clay is PVC, and the fumes from burnt PVC are BAD BAD BAD. do this one outside.

TheGeek1984 (author)2012-12-06

So, when you say 'silver solder', you're talking about lead free solder, right? Just asking because I use solder at work, and there are different kinds for different purposes.

Dapper Hippo (author)2012-11-23

The tag came out great and Linna is very grateful. Thanks so much!

Mrballeng (author)Dapper Hippo2012-11-24

Mission complete. Thanks for posting a picture.

valkgurl (author)2012-11-18

Harbor Freight has stamping sets for (last time I checked) about $12-$15. Or you can get them on ebay. I have heard the some older hardware places keep "Plumbers stamps" in stock--they are used to mark pipes and tags on plumbing and electrical work.

Just remember that you need to think BACKWARDS with casting (if its not a paw!) and make sure your letter spacing is good before you start---try the spacing on a piece of the clay first cut to the same size. You could cast any simple shape with this method!

I am definatly gonna be trying this!

sunshiine (author)2012-11-15

I love this. Were the stamping tools expensive. I have been wanting to try my hand at stamping metal but was told they are very expensive. I could not find any in my area. I am not sure what you call them.

Mrballeng (author)sunshiine2012-11-15

If you go through a jewelry supplier they are expensive. My set if from here. The price is very reasonable.

AussieAnglerGal (author)2012-11-14

looks lovely! does silver solder give of an nasty fumes when heated? because this looks like a great thing to try in the future! your projects are great, keep up the awesome work!

I didn't notice any fumes coming off the metal but I would still recommend having good ventilation. Thanks for the comment.

jawasan (author)2012-11-15

You always kill it "Mrballeng"! Another project for my animals when i finall start playing with metals. Thumbs up!

mikeasaurus (author)2012-11-14

Neat project, that tag came out great!

About This Instructable



Bio: Awesome Gear I've designed myself.
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