getting crafty with your pets

Have you found yourself with more time at home with your pets lately and a desperate need for enriching entertainment? Fun and fulfilling artistic DIY projects were practically made for downtime, and, as every pet-lover knows, any activity worth doing is worth doing with furry friends (well, almost any). The end results might not always end up suitable for framing, but you’ll certainly have some fun together.

Whether you’re a seasoned artist or a first-time-crafter, and no matter your medium, here are a couple fun ways you can get your art on with your pets from the comfort of your own home (and some tips to make sure you’re doing so safely!)

Painting with paws

Making a paint print of your pup’s paw (say that five times fast) can result in some stunning artwork and a fun adventure. Before you begin, plan to avoid the mess and drama by doing this in your yard if you have one.

Picking the right paint is also important. Choose one that’s washable and certified non-toxic (child-safe paints are a good place to start) and run your choice by your Banfield® veterinary team if you have any questions. And watch carefully to make sure your dog doesn’t lick, drink, or otherwise ingest any paint.

Go for a minimalist approach with simple colors and lots of white-space, or scatter treats across the canvas and invite your pet to improvise.

If you have an obedient dog who’ll tolerate you touching their feet, a small surface that fits a single paw-print is an option. If you have a dog with lots of energy, try laying down poster-board or a bed sheet and embrace the (colorful) chaos! Once your masterpiece is complete, end this escapade with a bath ASAP.

Felting your feline

Did you know cat hair can do so much more than ruin your black t-shirts? Felting (a soothing process of compressing fibers into fun shapes) is usually done with wool. It also works remarkably well with your feline’s fur!

With a little patience and a dedicated brushing schedule, you can create cat toys from your kitty’s most renewable resource.

Start out by saving up some cat hair post-brushings. You’ll want to start with a sizeable amount as you’ll be packing it tightly. Grab a stencil or a small cookie cutter and set up a soft surface to work on. You’ll also need a felting needle, which has barbs that compact the hair each time you poke ‘em. (Make sure your cat can’t get ahold of the needle or anything else sharp or dangerous.)

Now: Put the cat hair inside the stencil, packed tightly, and begin to evenly poke one side for a long time with the needle. Then flip it over and repeat the process. Congrats: you’re felting! Do it enough and you’ll have a small but soft toy that’s hard to pull apart. Roll it in catnip and your cat won’t even know they played a role in the creative process.

More time at home can mean more time to be bored, but it can also mean new opportunities to learn from and be inspired by those we love (and whose wet noses wake us up each morning). If you're looking to embrace the passion, curiosity, and spontaneity of a new artistic endeavor, we can't think of a better partner in art than your pet.

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