Sunday, 20 December 2009

Thrifty and quick(ish) dog toy tutorial…

I needed a quick Christmas present for my uncle’s dog and it needed to be thrifty too. I decided to gather my brother’s old t-shirts and make something chewable and tuggable – dogs like tug-of-war, right?
I came up with this:
It was really easy to make, but because it needed to be gift-worthy I added a few steps to make it neater than I would if it were for my dog :)
You will need:
3 differently coloured man-sized t-shirts
Sewing machine
Door knob
t shirt toy 2
First, gather 3 old, huge, blokes t-shirts
t shirt toy 5
Then, starting from the hem, cut the t-shirt in one continuous spiral to create a strip about 2” wide and 3 metres long.
t shirt toy 3
Do this for all three t-shirts.
t shirt toy 1
If this is for your own dog, you can skip this step, but I needed it to be neat and tidy and giveable – even if dogs don’t care, humans seem to!
Sew each strip, face-to-face, lengthwise to make really long tubes. It takes ages, but it will hide all those seams and slightly raggedy edges you have.
Now turn each strip right way out using a chopstick or knitting needle and lots of patience.
I forgot to take pictures from now on, (doh) but hopefully my words make sense.
To make the handle:
Fold each strip in half lengthwise, and then find the centre of the doubled strip. Hold them all together so you have 2 strands of each colour in your hand. About 6” from the centre, tie the strands together with a scrap of fabric. Now plait the strands together until when you hold the centre of your plaited bit, the loose ends all hang level.
Hold all the strands together (there should be four of each colour), untie your scrap of fabric and re-tie it tightly where the plaited middle bit ends.
This is your handle. Now loop this over a door handle, gather your coloured strands, and plait away until you have about half a foot left.
Tie a big knot in the whole thing, trim the ends and you’re done!
Finally, give to a dog and hope it lives through Christmas day (the toy, not the dog) :)


  1. Cute! Looks indistructable, too!

  2. This is awesome!! The braided dog toys can be sooo expensive to buy!

    I featured your tutorial on Craft Gossip Sewing:


  3. We bought something very similar in a store years ago and it is still holding up. Thanks for the directions!

  4. I have several t-shirts already cut and tugged for rug-knitting, but my two big goofballs obviously need this toy :-)

  5. This is such a great idea. I think I'll make some for my dog, wonderful!

  6. How do you cut the t-shirt so that it is one continuous strip? I have tried and can't figure it out! GRRRRRR

  7. Thankyou everybody :)

    Hello anonymous!
    Cut a slit up the seam of the shirt the width you want your strip to be. Start cutting round the shirt hem, keeping the width fairly even, until you reach a point about half a foot before the point where you started.

    Now, change direction and start cutting at a slight angle so that when you reach the point where you started, you still have an even width. Keep cutting, keeping the width level until you have your desired length.

    Near the start you will have an odd extra triangular bit where you angled your cutting, just snip this off level.

    Because t-shirt material is stretchy, it doesn't matter that your strip might have a little angled bit or two!

    Does that make sense?

    Beccy :)