Thursday, 4 June 2020
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DIY Double (Infinity) Loop Dog Tug Toy

Double the loops for double the fun! These DIY dog tug toys are an easy variation on a standard spiral (or square) weave tug toy. Don't let the optical effect of the continuous curve (the purple and the green tug in this example) trick you into thinking these are difficult to make. Here are all the DIY details! I created this post as a special edition for the blog after a reader question about making double loop (infinity loop) dog tug toys. They're busy crafting for their local shelter, so I thought I'd help virtually with a some options for loops including step-by-step photos. Crafting it forward!

The materials and craft supplies used in making the tug toys shown are:
  • Polar fleece fabric
  • Scissors
A basic tug toy made with these weaving styles uses four long narrow strips for fabric. Each of our double loop loops are made by joining two tugs at the midpoint and ends, so they require eight long narrow strips of fabric (two sets of four).

You can scale the toy to suit your dog by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. In the toys shown, I worked with approximately 5cm x 2m strips; however, you can make them larger or smaller to suit your dog and the size of fleece you have available. Making a double loop using one tug body is possible, but would require a huge length of fleece for a similar size tug.

I've used different colours on the bodies of the tugs to help make the visuals clearer for our DIY. It also looks pretty cool when finished, not that the dogs care about such things! The shared colour (green in these example tugs) is what allows hidden shared strands to be knotted together at the midpoint, if using that method. The pass-through method works with whatever colour combinations you wish.

Double Loop Spiral Tug Toy with Straight Pass-Through Midpoint

This is my easy (probably easiest) method for a double loop. Or joints in general. When done with care, the finished tug is tidy, tightly joined, and secure.  It's a very easy way to join the bodies of two tugs a perpendicular path, or (with a little extra effort) on other angles. You can join more than two tugs too, if you'd like! We've shown this method before with some of our other DIY dog toys, including our X in the Valentine's Day hugs and kisses tug toys and closing very simple loop tug toys.

  • Cut eight strips of similar size/length. See above about scaling the toy to suit. 
  • Group into two sets of four strands in your chosen colours and combinations. Tip: If you aren't sure about gauging the midpoint for crossing the loop, you can mark one of your strands from each group as a check point on your weaving. Keep it light so you can hide it in the finished tug, or use a removable mark, like a small piece of tape.
  • Tie a temporary knot at the starting point of each group. Keep it loose, as this will be untied and retied when you join the ends of the finished loop.
  • Starting with one group, weave to the midpoint using your chosen method. The toy shown uses the corner-to-corner circle twist method for creating a spiralRepeat for the second group.
  • Take the tug that will be the uninterrupted curve in your pattern (purple and green in this case).
    • Weave the next layer, but before pulling it tight, slide the strands of the through tug (blue and green in this case) underneath. 
    • Tighten the layer.
    • Continue to weave, stopping with enough free space at the end for future knotting.
  • Return to the strands of the other tug at the midpoint. 
    • Pull on the strands if/as needed to ensure the first half of the tug is snug against the body of the other tug. You don't want a loose joint or slackness in the loop. 
    • Arrange the strands and resume weaving from the other side of the body. Tip: For best visual effect, follow the same order in your corner-to-corner pattern as the first part of your tug. Switching the order will reverse the direction of your spiral. 
  • Untie the temporary starting knots. Tie to join the ends of the loop. Repeat on the other (free) end. Tip: When joining the ends, if you find that eight strands is too much bulk for your usual knotting techniques, you can try an alternative method to tie-off the ends of the tug toy. Make sure it's securely tied as the ends of loops tend to get a lot of tugging during play.

✂️  Uhhh ohhh... Missed the mark? No worries! You can also carefully push or pull strands through a finished tug to create a pass-through join instead of knotting in position during construction. For pushing, a small pointy object helps. For pulling, needle nosed or bent nosed pliers (I use my beading tools) can help you get the strands through, if needed.

    Double Loop Spiral Tug Toy with Shared Strands at Midpoint

    Alternatively, you can knot shared strands at the midpoint instead of simply passing through. To do this without altering the visual appearance of the tugs, the shared strands must be the same colour. The example shown here uses two shared green strands. 
    • Prepare and weave as above until ready to join the midpoint.
    • The tug that will be the uninterrupted curve in your pattern (purple and green in this case) will be the recipient of any shared strands. It is the tug being knotted through the steps below.
      • Placing the two tugs together, group shared strands
      • Arrange the strands for weaving. Ensure that non-shared strands are kept together aside (they will be pass-through strands). 
      • Weave a single layer including the shared strands. You may want to pull slightly tighter on this knot to maintain a uniform size and thickness of the tug body. Just a little.
      • Carefully reposition shared strands on a one-for-one basis back to the individual tugs. They do not need to go to their original tug. Position based on what will work best for the design.
    • Continuing with the uninterrupted tug, resume weaving. Complete the remainder of the weaving and tie-offs as per the previous tug instructions above. 

    Using the Same Techniques with Square Weaves Instead of Spirals

    Spirals are slightly more forgiving on the join than square tugs (in my opinion). Plus spirals feel like a natural fit for an infinity loop; however, both of these techniques also work with square knot tugs. I made one as an example to include with the post and decided to leave the ends individually knotted, like a giant X with fouu ends to play with. Humphrey loves a good tassel battle!

    Other Creative Variations

    The methods above are just two easy ways for weaving a double loop (or X) tug toy. The dogs don't judge on looks, only fun, so toys are a great opportunity to get creative and experiment a little.

    For double (or more) loops, you could make chain links with single loops. You could extend the middle joint by doubling up the strands and weaving together for a while before splitting again, or create a crazy fun joint by pairing only two sets of the strands (you'd need two common colours, like these for visual effect) and going into a double spiral before splitting again for the second loop.You can also come at it from a totally different approach too, of course! Did you see the combo double loop and tug toy that I made when Humphrey and puppy pal Cooper started playmates together? Crazy fun!

    Happy crafting, experimenting and (of course!) playtime together, furfriends! Woofs!

    Safety first, furfriends! Remember, no matter what a toy is made of or how it's made, toys are meant for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him/her any new toy. Some dogs try to eat toys/parts (whether bought or handmade) and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing, and playtime is always safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more on our dog toy safety page, including tips and helpful links for safer playtime. Have fun and play safe!

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