Monday, August 17, 2015

#InspiredByCrafted - Getting Crafty: Homemade Dog Toys

This post is sponsored by Hill’s. I am being compensated for helping spread the word about Hill’s® Ideal Balance® Crafted™, but Lapdog Creations only shares information we feel is relevant to our readers. Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. is not responsible for the content of this article.

Over the past few months, not only have we been having a blast telling you all about Hill’s® Ideal Balance® Crafted™, we've been learning a lot as well... and getting #InspiredByCrafted.

One of the coolest things about this experience - besides learning about some truly amazing dog food - is that our first post was picked to be featured on the Ideal Balance Crafted page! Zeus was still with us when we started the campaign, and it means the world to me that in addition to our post, Hill's also spotlighted my favorite shot of him from our campaign photo shoot.
#InspiredByCrafted - Getting Crafty: Homemade Dog Toys #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

While I've often had thoughts of cooking my dogs' food at home, the reality is, I simply don't have the time, nor a degree in pet nutrition to ensure my furkids are getting exactly what they need in their diet. That's why I love Ideal Balance Crafted! The artisan crafted dog and cat food is made the way you and I would make it at home, if we could. Homestyle food that has been oven roasted with ancient grains, in small batches. I honestly couldn't think of a better way to feed my dogs!


After learning so much about Ideal Balance Crafted over the past few months, I have been inspired to expand my horizons when it comes to homemade and handmade. Despite a very hectic summer schedule, the humans in the Lapdog household are trying hard to eat better.  This includes more visits to the farmers markets, as well as creating more of our meals from scratch. It is certainly a big challenge during race season, but we have made some changes and I'm looking forward to making many more come fall. Not only does our schedule slow down, but the cooler temps certainly inspire me to get back in the kitchen more.

When it comes to handmade, I'm a huge fan.  I grew up with a very talented and crafty Mother who always had me dabbling in different craft projects.  Although, it wasn't until I moved out on my own that I really decided I wanted to knit.  There's just something extra special about giving and receiving items that someone has made with their own two hands.  Knowing the time and attention to detail they put into it, just for you, is comforting and heartwarming.

While I do spend a lot of time knitting, learning about Ideal Balance Crafted inspired me to expand my crafty, handmade comfort zone.  I find myself constantly pinning great ideas on my Pinterest boards, but never seem to actually make anything that I pin "for later."   So, I decided it was time to try my hand at fleece tug toys for the Lapdogs and their friends (after all, the holidays are coming).

I've seen several variations on tug toys all over the internet, as I'm sure you have as well.  Some are as simple as cutting three strips of fleece and braiding them together, but since Penny recently discovered how to un-braid a similar toy, I decided to try my hand at a woven style tug instead. 

Giving credit where credit is due: The original tutorial I used can be found here (with more detailed instruction, as well as an alternate design). 

DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

Materials Needed:
  • Four pieces of fleece, cut the entire width (selvedge to selvedge)
  • The width you cut your pieces depends upon the size of your dog. I cut my strips 3" wide, eyeballed with handheld scissors. My edges were anything but even... but it doesn't matter! Your edges will be hidden as you weave the toy.

DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

Let's create:
  • Hold your four strips together and tie an over-hand knot on one end, leaving a few inches of fleece on the other side of the knot.  Pull tight to secure the knot.
  • Lay your strips out so you have one going in each direction - North, South, East, West
DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations
  • Start weaving by folding your North piece South, and your South piece North
  • Fold East over South and Under North, then West over North and under South (trust me, it makes more sense once you do it)
DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations
  • Tighten each strip by pulling North and South, then East and West.. tugging and repeating as necessary until they're even and the tension is not too tight. 
  • Continue the weaving and tightening process, trying to keep your tension even throughout.  As you'll see in my finished project, I had a few hiccups.  As I got further into the tug toy, a rhythm developed and I began to realize the best tension.  I'll use this knowledge going into the next toy I make for sure (next up will be a grey and pink zigzag print toy).
DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations
  • Once the toy is your desired length, tied another knot (make sure you leave at least a few inches of fabric after the knot).  Trim the selvedge edges and any excess fleece off, then cut each strip in half to create fridge. 
I worked on this tug toy at the race track and found clipping the end to a table helped.  It allowed me two free hands and made it easier to get the right tension.  (Bonus: this homemade project is portable and something you can do anywhere!)

DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

I found the fleece tugs to be extremely easy to make, so even if you suffer from craft-phobia, don't worry... you can do it!  The process reminded me a lot of friendship bracelets back in the late 80's.  And Penny already loves the new tuggy toy!

DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

DIY Easy braided #dogtoy tug #InspiredByCrafted #LapdogCreations @LapdogCreations

SmallbatchI hope you've enjoyed the information I've brought to you over the past few months and I hope you've been inspired to expand your own homemade and handmade skills! If you're ready to give Inspired By Crafted a try with your dog or cat, click on this link and print out a $7 off coupon!  And, if you make a fleece tug toy for your dog, I want to hear all about it!

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Unknown said...

That is a really cool DIY project! Thanks for sharing, going to try to make a bunch of them and donate them to the humane society!!!

Paws News for Cat Lovers said...

Wow, those are some awesome toys. Crafty, indeed you are.

Unknown said...

What a great idea, Crafted and crafty! I love this idea and I especially love that you could throw the toy into the washing machine if it gets dirty. Perfect gift for someone with a new dog or puppy.

Groovy Goldendoodles said...

You had me at machine washable! Thanks for the crafty idea!

Sue said...

I like the woven look and think it would last longer. My guys undo the braided ones and we had a blanket that had knotted fringe. Morgan chewed all the knots off. These are cute.

Marjie said...

That rope toy is really cute, especially with Penny showing it off! Natasha is too old to want to play tug (and really, really too ornery and just plain mean), but Tank might like one (if he didn't destroy it).

Talking-Dogs said...

Very cool DIY project!

Golden Woofs! SUGAR said...

PAWsome!!! Recently I saw a "boxed"way tutorial . Inexpensive and easy DIY toy for dogs. Enjoy your new crafted kibbles. Happy Tasty Tuesday. Golden Woofs

Donna said...

Great idea! I will have to try for Mowgli my little destruction beast.

M. K. Clinton said...

I am hoping to make some fo those toys for Christmas. Thanks for the tutorial.

Unknown said...


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