Update: We finally did it! In collaboration with our partner blog Dalmatian DIY we revisited this popular DIY knot toy for easier-to-follow instructions/diagram (shared below) AND created two more DIY denim dog toy ideas. Head to Dalmatian DIY for the full collaboration post with detailed how-to instructions to make all three no-sew DIY denim toys. Don't forget to like/follow the dogs at Dalmatian DIY for all the latest pawesome doggy DIY ideas!
If you have a tired pair of denim jeans and not-so-tired dog, then this simple no-sew DIY dog toy is the perfect fit...even if the jeans aren't! All you need are some tatty recycle-ready jeans (give the good ones to charity and save the scrap ones for crafty projects), a pair of scissors, and a few minutes to make this quick toy. Our spoiled (but very loved!) dog now has his very own denim toy collection for playtime thanks to an old pair of my jeans. This toy works for us as an interactive toy for playtime together and since our dog is a problem-solver who enjoys trying to untie or open things, the giant knot it particularly tempting.
I rarely use denim for any no-sew pet projects these days, preferring to work with other materials instead (see Dalmatian DIY for more DIY toy ideas). Tough denim holds up pretty well (depending on the denim and the vigor of play), but not nearly as well as some other materials in our experience; however, variety is the spice of life! No matter what your personal choice of toy(s) may be, always remember to choose based upon your particular pet, supervise carefully, and ensure safe play. Unfortunately, one of the big problems is that denim frays - sewing the edges definitely helps, but then this isn't no-sew anymore. :) Pinking helps, but just a little. As a tip for toughness, where possible, I like to use the leg seams. The strips are a little more rugged for play and hold together better. As a bonus, this is a great use for the seams if you would like to use the "good" material for other projects.
To make your own denim knot toy, cut two extra long (leg length) strips of denim from a leg of your recyclable jeans. My strips were approximately 5+ cm wide and wherever possible I purposefully include the rugged seams/cuffs for extra fun toy texture and durability as noted above. Lay the two strips in a cross (one strip horizontal and one vertical, crossed in the middle) and then "box weave" aka "square knot" or "box braid" per the diagram and instructions below:
- Spread the strips in a cross (+) shape
- Fold the top of the vertical strip towards the bottom
- Fold the bottom of the vertical strip towards the top
- Fold the right end of the horizontal strip towards the left, passing over then under
- Fold the left end of the horizontal strip towards the right, passing over then under
- Pull to secure. The stands should now look like a woven square, but don't worry, Fido and Fluffy won't judge if you didn't get it right on the first few attempts. :)
- Flip the knot over and tidy your strands back into a neat cross (+) shape.
- Repeat the steps, watching your denim "ball" grow by wrapping around itself. If you wish, take a little extra care on the final layers to twist/flatten the denim for an attractive finish. Leave a few tempting ends for your pampered pup to carry and grip.
Tips: If you aren't comfortable starting straight in with the square knot or would just like to make life a little easier, you may find it helpful to tie your strips together in the middle with a quick loop knot first (it will just be absorbed into the denim ball) so you have four definitive ends to worth with right away, and/or you can mark your strands/ends.
Didn't turn out quite as pretty as you had hoped? No worries! You dog will love it even if its a bit ugly, and you can just grab your scissors and try again. After all, two toys are double the fun of one! Find more fur-friendly DIYs in my recent Six for Saturday (or Sunday) post and my growing Pet Craft board on my Pinterest. Play safe, and happy creating!
Note: These toys are for supervised interactive play. Like any toy, it may not be suitable for some dogs. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy and remember, toys are for playing and playtime is always safer (and more fun!) with you involved. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Foreign objects are hazardous if swallowed, and linear materials like string, thread, ribbon, rope, etc can be particular dangerous. You can read more about dog toy safety and safer playtime here.