T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy

DIY No-Sew T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy

By Erin Huffstetler | 09/24/2020 | 1 Comment

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Tired of spending money on dog toys that your dog destroys in minutes? Here’s how to make a sturdy, long-lasting tug toy out of old t-shirts. This simple, no-sew toy is the perfect project to keep your hands busy when you’re watching TV.

If you used to make lanyards when you were a kid, it’s time to brush off those skills. Cuz these tug toys are made the same way. But don’t sweat it, if you missed that right-of-passage, or need a refresher, I’ll show you how it’s done in a minute.

First, let me show you how to make the t-shirt yarn that you’ll need for this project.

T-Shirt Yarn

How to Make T-Shirt Yarn

Turning any t-shirt into a continuous piece of “yarn” is a simple matter of knowing where to cut. After you’ve cut up the first shirt, you’ll have the technique down.

Here’s how it’s done.

Cut Shirt Into Strips

Spread a t-shirt out on your work surface.

Starting from the bottom, left side, cut your shirt into two or three-inch-wide strips. Stop each cut a couple inches from the right side. Continue making cuts, until you reach the arm pits.

Two-inch strips will make a thinner dog toy, three-inch strips will make a thicker dog toy.

Cut Top Off the Shirt

Cut straight across the arm pit seam, to remove the top portion from the shirt, and toss it aside.

Spread the T-Shirt Open on the Side Seam

Now, reposition the shirt, so that the uncut seam is at the center of the shirt. It’ll look kind of like a rib cage, at this point.

Cut the Bottom of the Shirt at a 45 Degree Angle

Position your scissors at the bottom center of the shirt, and cut up at a 45-degree angle, until you reach the first strip you cut.

Where to Cut the T-Shirt

Then, move up to the next row, and make the same 45-degree cut to connect with the row above it.

Cut From the Left Side at a 45-Degree Angle to the Next Row

Continue moving up the rows, until you reach the top. This will leave you with one continuous piece of t-shirt yarn.

Pile of T-Shirt Yarn

Stretch the yarn, so the edges curl in.

Ball of T-Shirt Yarn

Then, roll your yarn up into a ball. One t-shirt is enough to make several dog toys. Create several colors of t-shirt yarn, so your tug toys will be bright and colorful.

T-Shirt Dog Tug Toy Instructions

T-shirt yarn is an excellent material for a dog toy because it won’t fray. Since this tug toy is created by tying a bunch of box knots, it’s incredibly strong, and will stand up to lots of rough-housing. Of course, it’s always a good idea to supervise your dog when they’re playing with any toy.

What You’ll Need:

  • (4) 3-5 ft strands of t-shirt yarn (fleece will also work)
  • Scissors

The length and thickness of the finished tug toy will vary based on the t-shirts you use, and how tightly you tie your knots, but generally, three feet of t-shirt yarn will produce a shorter toy that’s ideal for a dog to play with alone, while five feet of t-shirt yarn will produce a longer toy that’s perfect for playing tug-of-war with your dog.

What You Do:

Tie a Knot in One End

Join the four strands with a simple overhand knot. Leave a three-inch or so tassle at the end.

Position One Strand in Each Direction

Hold the knot in one hand, and arrange the strands, so that one is facing in each direction — up, down, left and right.

Form Loops With the Top and Bottom Strands

Fold the top strand down over the knot to form a loop, and hold it in place with your hand.

Fold the bottom strand up over the knot to form a second loop, and hold it in place with your hand.

Weave the Left and Right Strands Through the Loops

Weave the left and right strands through the loops. Start by going over the closest loop. Then, go under the second loop.

Pull on the Ends of the Strands to Tighten the Knot

Pull on the ends of the strands to tighten the knot, and your first box knot is complete.

Continue Tying Box Knots

Continue tying box knots, until the toy is as long as you’d like it to be.

Then, finish the toy off with another overhand knot.

The great thing about these toys is that they’re machine washable. Just toss them in the wash when they get dirty, and they’ll be ready for another round of play.

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