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Layered Paper DIY Pet Portraits

Layered Paper DIY Pet Portraits

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Last week, we shared out Pet Blogger Gift Exchange post, honouring the lovely Mary at Tales from the Back Road.

As a part of our post, we created a simple DIY Pet Portrait featuring Miss Roxy the Travelling Dog.


I think it turned out pretty, right?

I really loved the concept, not only because I was pretty thrilled with how the picture turned out, but because it was easier than I expected. All it took was a few sheets of scrapbook paper, a few copies of my favourite Roxy photo and a glue stick, plus a healthy dose of patience and an hour or so later, I had my own, homemade custom pet art. (I haven’t tried a making a portrait with a smooth coated dog yet, but it’s on my project list. I suspect it will be more challenging than a fluffy dog.)

I started with this photo, shamelessly stolen from Mary’s blog.

DIY Dog Art

All the credit for this gorgeous photo goes to the talented and lovely Mary Hone at Tales From the Back Road


Here’s what you need:

  • 1 sheet decorative, patterned scrapbook paper
  • 3 – 5 sheets of scrapbook paper in various shades of the same colour (I used green)
  • 1 – 2 sheets scrapbook paper in an accent colour (I used pinks)
  • a glue stick
  • scissors

I printed three or four black & white copies of the photo on regular copy paper. (Printing it in black and white makes it easier to separate the fur into blocks of colour.)

Once I had my black & white print, I decided how many shades of fur she had. Don’t get too detailed, you want to end up with big blocks of colour. For Roxy, I decided to go with three shades of green – one to represent the dark base colour, another to represent the dark greys and a third for the light greys.



Use your scissors to cut out the very outer outline of your dog. (If they are very fluffy, feel free to cut a solid block, as opposed to cutting out each bit of fluff.)

Roxy B&W


Choose a shade of your base colour to use as the background (I recommend using the colour that matches the most of their fur.) Trace the outline of your photo onto the coloured paper. If there are missing details, like Roxy’s right ear, make sure you fill them in. Cut out the background with scissors. I added a little feathering and furriness to the edges as I cut. Set this piece aside.

Cut the photo into smaller pieces, cutting out distinctive details as you go. I started with Roxy’s ears. Trace the details onto coloured scrapbook paper and cut them out.

DIY Dog Portrait

Not going to lie…the cut out details are a little creepy.

Choose each colour to make the details carefully. You want them to look great individually and as layers. As you cut out your details, you might find that trimming one out, ruins another. That’s why we printed multiple copies. Roxy’s right ear is a good example of both how to choose your colours for layering and a time you might have to cut up an extra copy of the photo.

DIY Layered Paper Dog Art3

It’s starting to look a little Roxy.

Continue cutting out details and layering the paper until you feel like you have a good approximation of your dog. This will be different for everyone. For Roxy, I cut out her thick neck ruff and her pretty collar, but decided against over doing it. If your dog has a more patterned coat or distinctive markings, you may need to add more layered pieces.

DIY Layered Paper Dog Art4

OK, now we’re getting there.

Once you have cut all your layers, play around with the placement until it feels right, then glue them in place with a glue stick. The pattern I had chosen for Roxy’s background was a little overwhelming, so I decided to outline to portrait with a block of accent colour and an outline in a contrasting colour before putting it on the background.



Once the layering is done, the next part is up to you.

You could frame it side by side with the picture that inspired it.
I decided to include my favourite lesson I’ve learned from Roxy.
This is a great space to put your dogs name & birthday or Gotcha Day.
It’s a fun spot to put a list of toys they’ve chewed to death.
Maybe you use yours as the backdrop in a shadow frame with a collection of memorabilia, like their first dog tag & a puppy toy.

Have you ever made your own DIY Pet Portrait?

We would love love love to see your creations! Share ’em on our Facebook page, Tweet ’em at us at @kolsnotes, tag @kolsnotes in ’em on Pinterest, pop ’em over to our email at kolchakpuggle (at) gmail (dot) com or share a link in the comments below. (All comments with links will be held for moderation, but I will publish them all, I swear!)

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[…] tell you that custom pet portraits or artwork are a BIG hit as gifts, especially if you made it. This tutorial allows you to let your creativity flow and turn a regular photograph into a piece of art through […]

Pup Fan

Sunday 18th of January 2015

Your creativity never ceases to amaze me!

Jackie Bouchard

Tuesday 13th of January 2015

OMD, that is SO cute! I think my sisters and I might have our next forced-crafting project!

(Okay... this is probably just some stupid setting I have on my end, but I'm viewing this on Firefox. I'd already seen the final pic of the project on Triberr, so came over to check it out, and the images of the final work are so big that I can't even see Roxy on my screen. Even when I click on the image - the usual way I do to open the image in a new window and see all of it, or see it bigger - all I got was the option to pin it. I had to right click and hit 'view image' to see the full finished work of art.) I could send you a screen shot if you want. Like I said, probably just me, but I'd hate to think other folks have stopped by and not seen the adorable cut-out Roxy!

Chelsea Price

Monday 12th of January 2015

This is so! cute! Better yet, it doesn't look too difficult - I might actually be able to pull it off :) Only thing is...Riley is all white, so I might have to get extra creative when adding the details.


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Hmmmm...I never thought of that! What if you used all the same colour card stock, but used a slightly darker marker to lightly feather around the edges of each piece, just to add a little bit of depth to it? That might work...

Lara Elizabeth

Monday 12th of January 2015

This may be my favorite doggie DIY ever. I think Ruby and Boca would work really well since they have such distinct coat patterns.


Tuesday 13th of January 2015

Yes! This would be absolutely gorgeous with your colourful gingers.

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