ClayLinks Kits are a convenient way to make a lasting keepsake of a loved one’s hand. When used in cooperation with skilled bereavement care, ClayLinks prints can be a valued part of memorializing beloved family members who have died. ClayLinks prints are tangible symbols of your commitment to delivering high-quality grief support when families need it the most.
5 W’s and 1 H – Questions about ClayLinks® Kits
Who Uses ClayLinks Kits?
The practice of using ClayLinks Kits to make keepsake hand and foot prints for grieving families began at various UCHealth hospitals in Colorado. Along with the healthcare teams at these award-winning hospitals, others who use ClayLinks Kits include:
- NICU nurses
- hospital chaplains
- hospital social workers
- hospice and palliative care staff members and volunteers
- bereavement support program staff members and volunteers
- funeral home directors and crematory staff members
- medical specialists, like oncologists
- nurses and Child Life staff at children’s hospitals
- nurses and staff members in hospital labor and delivery units (to welcome newborns!)
ClayLinks Kits also have many uses outside the bereavement care profession. Our print-making system is perfect for:
- pre-school programs
- school art projects
- family holidays, reunions or other special occasions
Veterinary professionals have made clay impressions of pets’ paws for 20 years using a similar product from World by the Tail, Inc., called ClayPaws®, the original paw print kit™. Learn more about ClayPaws prints.
What’s Special About ClayLinks Kits?
- Special Formula
ClayLinks patties are made from a specially-formulated modeling compound that is only available from our parent company, World by the Tail, Inc. During our 20 years in business, we’ve worked closely with our vendor to create clays that hold their shape and are easy to soften and knead. Other products may seem easier and quicker to use and may seem less expensive if they are sold in bulk. In our experience, though, these products are often aged well beyond their shelf life by the time you purchase them. This makes the clay stiffer and much more difficult to manipulate. Since we buy and sell clay in large quantities, our specialized formula is mixed upon the placement of our order and is always the freshest product we can provide.
- Lasting Keepsake
ClayLinks prints will not crack or deteriorate over time. Some other modeling compounds, especially those that air dry, can crack and crumble as time goes by. If you are going to make the effort and go to the expense of making keepsake prints, be sure they are mementos that will last!
ClayLinks prints are quick and easy to make (no mixing or mess!) and are packaged with everything you need to make a hand or foot print. Each kit includes a fresh patty of clay and complete, detailed instructions for you or for the families you work with, if you choose to send your prints home with them for decorating and baking. Once imprinted, the prints can be slipped back into the larger protective plastic bag and you can sign or stamp your name on the enclosed insert so clients realize the gift is from you.
- Low Prices
We want to help you provide care and comfort to your patients and their families by providing practice tools that honor their love. We care deeply about supporting people through their grief and want each person who could benefit from a ClayLinks print to have one when they need it most! That’s why we keep our packaging simple and our prices low, so you can afford to give ClayLinks prints as gifts or easily work their cost into your pricing structures. To make ClayLinks Kits even more affordable, we offer quantity discount pricing. So the more you buy, the more you save!
- Customer Service and Questions
We field many calls each day from those who have received a ClayLinks print and may need assistance with baking, decorating, or duplicating their prints. In your busy work day, you don’t have time to take these calls! That’s why it’s important for you to pass along our contact information to your clients. Our phone/FAX numbers and our email/website addresses are prominently listed on the materials enclosed in each ClayLinks Kit. We encourage families to call us for help instead of attempting to reach you!
- We Provide Outstanding Customer Service
Taking care of YOU, our valued customer, is always our number one priority. We are a small, family business that loves building personal relationships with our customers. We strive to make it as easy and satisfying as possible for you to use ClayLinks Kits. Call, FAX or order online. If you have questions or want a ClayLinks Sample Kit before you buy, we can take care of that, too!
Where Did ClayLinks Kits Originate?
The practice of making keepsake prints began in the field of veterinary medicine. In fact, if you’ve lost a beloved pet, you may have one of our ClayPaws prints.
Working closely with our ClayPaws customers, we’ve developed a print-making system perfectly suited for use in hospital and funeral care environments. Our proprietary clay formula, custom molds and handmade accessories are efficient, reliable tools for creating detailed, high-quality prints at an affordable cost. Thousands of veterinary practices throughout the world use our specially-formulated clay to make these precious keepsakes for their grieving clients.
We know this system will work for you, too. We adapted the print-making process to human bereavement care and the tradition of making ClayLinks prints as keepsakes began. Today, ClayLinks Kits are more than a product–they are a tangible symbol of your heartfelt approach to caring for grieving families. More than any other gesture, ClayLinks prints let the families you work with know that the pain of loss is truly shared and understood.
When Can You Use ClayLinks Kits?
There are many reasons to use ClayLinks Kits. For example, ClayLinks Kits can be used to:
- provide end-of-life bereavement support at hospitals, hospice programs, funeral homes and crematories.
When families lose a loved one, especially a child, it’s comforting to hold on to something that belonged to that person. Grief experts call these items linking objects. Linking objects can be anything that connects grievers to their loved ones who have died. A ClayLinks hand or foot print provides this link for families in the most personal way.
- soothe anxious families whose loved ones are hospitalized or undergoing surgery.
Family members often feel frightened and worried when they are separated from their loved ones for prolonged periods of time. ClayLinks prints create personal connections between family members and their loved ones, giving them “something to hold on to” during emotionally difficult times.
- welcome newborns.
As a counterpoint to bereavement care, ClayLinks prints can also be used to mark joyful occasions. With ClayLinks Prints Accessories, hand and footprints can be decorated with our Heart Charms or Birthstone Charms to welcome either gender.
- create greater work satisfaction for members of your healthcare team.
Helping families deal with loss can be an awkward, emotionally difficult task. Making ClayLinks prints helps you and your staff feel confident about conveying your personal feelings of compassion and understanding.
- create a caring reputation for your hospital or business.
Today’s hospital staff members and funeral care providers are genuinely concerned with the well-being of the families they serve. ClayLinks prints help convey your concern as well as generate trust and warm feelings for your hospital, program or business.
Why Use ClayLinks Kits?
We’ve provided the materials to make ClayLinks prints for over a decade. Our customers use our products because they help:
- reduce the stress of dealing with death and family grief
- make final good-byes a bit easier to bear
- help bereavement care providers feel confident, skilled, knowledgeable, and professional when talking with families about grief and end-of-life emotional support
- define an approach to bereavement care as supportive and compassionate
- increase customer loyalty and retention
- decrease staff turn over
- save money! Flowers, memorial donations, and other handprint casting methods can cost much more per patient. When ClayLinks Kits are purchased in larger quantities, the cost per kit can be under $7.00
When loved ones die, surviving family members don’t leave ‘empty-handed’ when they are sent home with ClayLinks prints. Instead, they go home with a precious reminder of their loved one, as well as warm feelings for the professionals who cared for them.
How Do You Make a ClayLinks Print?
Making instructions are included on the Tip Sheet enclosed in each ClayLinks Kits. If you have further questions about making paw prints, call us toll-free at 1-800-248-2820. You can also watch our Instructional Video, download our Printable Instructional ClayLinks Chart, or browse our Frequently Asked Questions.
How To Make a ClayLinks Print:
- Wash your hands! This modeling compound attracts dust, dirt, and ink.
- Knead the clay until it is soft and warm. DO NOT soften the clay in a microwave oven!
- Roll clay into a ball and place on a hard, clean, smooth, and portable surface (dinner plate, plastic clipboard, or a portable Patty Pad with Mold.)
- Flatten ball into a patty and turn over to reveal smoothest side.
- Lift the hard surface to the hand or foot and center it on patty.
- Firmly, but gently, push center of the hand or foot into clay and, without removing it, press each toe or finger into the clay.
- If print does not meet your standards, start over and try again.
Baking instructions are included on the Tip Sheet enclosed in each ClayLinks Kit. If these instructions are lost or not included, the instructions are below.
How To Bake a ClayLinks Print:
- Please bake within 30 days of making impression.
- Impressions should always be baked in a well-ventilated oven and area. DO NOT bake in a microwave oven!
- Preheat oven or toaster oven to 275° F (135° C). Use an oven thermometer to be sure the oven temperature is accurate. Over-baking or baking at too high a temperature may cause discoloration and cracking.
- Bake for 20 minutes in a clean, ungreased glass or Pyrex® baking dish or baking tile.
- Allow print to cool completely before taking it out of the baking dish. The impression will not look any different after it is baked. Baking simply “sets” the impression so it is permanently preserved.
- When removing a print from it’s baking dish, it’s normal for a print to seem “stuck” to the dish. After the print has cooled to room temperature, place a spatula under the edge of the paw print and apply light pressure. Your print should “pop” loose.
- A baked print will feel like a piece of pottery. It won’t ever feel as hard and smooth as porcelain or china. Unbaked clay will typically feel slightly moist and quite flexible. If a print is not thoroughly baked, return it to a preheated oven and bake for an additional five minutes. Allow to cool completely and test again. Repeat as necessary, but DO NOT over-bake.
How To Tell If a Print Is Baked:
If a print is baked, it will feel like a piece of pottery. It won’t ever feel as hard and smooth as porcelain or china. Unbaked clay will typically feel slightly moist and quite flexible.
While it is OK to not bake an impression immediately, we suggest impressions be baked within about 30 days. If left unbaked for a long period of time, cracks may start to form in the clay. These can be smoothed out before baking, but the durability of the impression may be compromised.
It is best to store an unbaked ClayLinks print away from danger of being crushed or flattened. Also, store the unbaked impression in a container that keeps the dust from getting on the clay.
We guarantee the modeling compound for six months. If left unused longer than that, we can’t guarantee the use of the clay