Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Tug and Toss dog toy tutorial

Continuing with the awesome giving vibe we have over here at the ole' blog I have a tutorial for a simple, inexpensive, and colorful dog toy.  I learned how to make this toy from a wonderful charity that supports adoptions of older cats and dogs: The Young at Heart Pet Rescue, saving the world one grey muzzle at a time.  Well, when a call came out from another rescue in need of some homemade items to sell at a pet show I knew exactly what to make.  The Midwest Labrador Retriever Rescue is dedicated to giving labs a second chance, and as you can see from my blog entries that my family is all about the lab-ra-dorables.  Thus began the epic project of making the Tug and Toss dog toys. Epic, why epic you say? Didn't I just tell you that these were simple? They are my friends, but have you ever tried to make dog toys with tennis balls around a young lab who cannot for the life of her understand why you aren't giving them to her.  She poked me with that cold nose of hers for a full hour pleading, for me to give her all of the tennis balls I had bought . I hope this means that other dogs will like them too.
So here we go.........

Tennis balls: all colors and sizes
Drill or exacto knife for cutting holes in said balls
Fleece: be as creative as you want with the color collection
Scissors or rotary cutter with mat

Step one:
Grab yourself a regulation size tennis ball. Remember when these things only came in Tennis colored, now you can get them in all kinds of great colors, different sizes, even patterns! What you want is two quarter sized holes equidistant from each other, one on the on each side of the ball.  If you are using an exacto knife you can trace the holes on surface before you cut, the ball will be tough so go slow and don't gouge yourself.  If you are using a drill we found that a 3/4 inch hole saw attachment made quick work of the hole situation.   If you have the smaller sized tennis balls instead of quarter sized holes you want nickle sized ones.  If you are using the drill on the smaller sized balls use the 1/4 inch bit followed by the 1/2 inch bit.

Step two:
For the regulation sized ball toy you will need to cut your rainbow of fleece into strips four inches wide by three feet long.  You will need three of these strips per toy. For the smaller balls you will need to cut the strips one inch by 20 inches, again three strips per toy.

Step three:
Stack three strips of fleece, in any color combination you would like, on top of each other.  You want to curl one of the ends as tight as you can.  Screw this end into one of the holes in the ball and out the other one.  The curling helps get all the layers through evenly.  For the small balls you may need to use a pencil to get the strips through both holes.

Step four:
Once the fleece is through the hole pull enough of it out to tie a tight knot on the end using all three strips at once.  Once the knot is good and tight slide the ball all the way back down to the knot.  Apply this step to both sized balls.

Step five:
This step applies, yet again, to both ball sizes.  With ball in place start to braid the fleece strips into a tight braid.  This is a tug and toss toy, a loose braid won't hold up as well as a tight one so let er' rip! When you get to the end tie another tight knot in the fleece.  Give that knot a good tug to get it where you want it on the braid end.  Trim up the fleece ends to match and you have yourself a great dog toy. 

This toy is great if you have a sloberer who tends to wet the ball up right before they give it to you to throw again, they grab the ball while you get the fleece, brilliant!.  You can make them for dog parties, give them a puppy gifts, and they can be made for any sized dog.

I hope you enjoy making these for all the dogs in your life!
Keeping it crafty, punctuated with cold noses,
Kelly, the origami ninja


  1. Fun! I wonder how the fleece would hold up to my crazy dog...but it is worth a try.

  2. What a great idea. We have a beagle too! Love em.
    Visiting from the Friday blog hop. So nice to meet you. Hope you are enjoying your weekend.

  3. I hope your dogs like them. My Labs and hound love them!

  4. I am a follower! I hope you will stop by my blog and follow back!

    Emma Michaels

  5. I am so glad that i found your blog! I am now following your blog and would love it if you could follow me back at Thanks so much!