DIY Cobra Knot Woven Fleece Dog Tug Toy

DIY cobra knot woven fleece dog tug toy

Feel like trying something a little different? Here’s how to make a DIY cobra knot dog toy. My go-to tug woven fleece tug toy knots tend to be square or spiral; however, most macrame or boondoggle knotting techniques can be adapted for toy making. For added safety, I prefer using weaves that involve knotting over braiding or looping when making tugs for my pets. This toy uses a thickened multi-strand variation of the basic cobra stitch or knot, which you often see in lanyards or paracord bracelets and keychains.

Adapting the Cobra Knot for Making Tug Toys

Getting to Know the Cobra Knot

The basic cobra is woven with a minimum of three working strands, although the middle strand is often doubled. Doubling up the middle thickness allows for long pieces to be arranged at a starting point. The strand(s) can be untied into longer usable paracord, if needed. With stiffer cords, it also adds width to a lanyard or bracelet. The middle strand acts as a stationary core around which the side strands are incrementally looped and crossed (half knots) to wrap the core.

Fattening the Fleece Cobra Tug Toy

For our fattened tug toy version of cobra, we’re working with five strips of fleece. It uses pairs in the side strands and a long middle strand that is doubled over at the starting point. This gives us a thick paired hidden core, as well as thick paired working strands. The result is a nice sturdy fat tug toy where the cobra pattern completely conceals the inner core, if carefully tied.

The fully concealed core is a great way to use leftover material. In stretchy play, however, the core will often still be visible. If that bothers you, choose the same colour as your “over” strands (green in my case) for camouflage. I personally don’t like rope because of strand dog toy safety issues, but it would also be feasible for the core to be rope wrapped in a fleece outer for a firmer tug or to weave completely with rope or other materials.

DIY cobra knot woven fleece dog tug toy

Weaving a Cobra Knot Dog Tug Toy

Preparing the Materials

To make a similar toy, you will need:

  • Polar fleece or alternate fabric
  • Scissors

I opted for a snakey green and yellow combo, and used multicoloured scrap fleece for the core. Thankfully, toys are the only snakes our dogs are likely to encounter here in New Zealand. Eek!

  • A Strands (green in my toy) will be the visible middle colour of the tug.
  • B Strands (yellow in my toy) will be the visible side colour of the tug.
  • Core (multi coloured in my toy) will be concealed within the tug.

Since I was working with the natural width of my fleece fabric for efficiency, the starting strips used in this toy were of similar length. Two green, two yellow, and one multicoloured. Note that my multicoloured inner core is one strip, but it’s doubled over from the middle in the tug. Since the core is just being wrapped, you will need more length in the working strands than the core. Finished tug toy size will vary depending on the thickness of your materials, length and width of the strips, and tightness of the weave.

Weaving the Cobra Knot Tug Toy (With Hidden Core)

Starting knot for the weave:

If you don’t care about concealing the core, you can use six strands instead and start things off with an overhand knot or you other preferred style of standard tug toy end knot. For the concealed core, I’m using a modified overhand knot to secure the strands at the starting point.

  • Take the side strands (A strands and B strands), loop and tie the starting ends in a loose knot. This will be tightened after we add the hidden core.
  • Tuck the core strand through one or more of the looped strands on the underside of the starting knot, taking care to ensure it will be hidden below the finished tightened knot. Pull it through to its middle to create two equal doubled up pieces for the core.
  • Tighten the starting knot securely.
  • Position the joined strands so that the working strands (A Strands and B Strands) sit on either side of the core.
Starting strips and knots for a DIY cobra knot tug toy

Weaving the body of the cobra tug:

The body of the cobra is woven by incrementally wrapping the A Strands and B Strands around the core, alternating positions from side to side in a series of half knots. The over strands (A Strands) create the visible middle of the body (green in this tug). The under strands (B Strands) frame the sides of the body (yellow in this case). 

How to weave a cobra knot for a DIY dog tug toy

The weaving sequence for the cobra alternates as follows:

  • Fold A Strands over the core and under the B Strands.
  • Fold B Strands so that they loop around to pass back behind the crossed A Strands, then pass under the core, and up through the folded loop of the A Strands.
  • Carefully pull to tighten, ensuring the knots sit tightly just below the previous knot and that the core is fully enclosed.
  • Fold B Strands under the core and over the A Strands.
  • Fold A Strands so that they loop around to pass back over the crossed B Strands, over the core, and down through the folded loop of the B Strands.
  • Carefully pull to tighten, ensuring the knots sit tightly just below the previous knot and that the core is fully enclosed.

Repeat this side-to-side alternating sequence until nearing the end of the strands, ensuring that there is enough of the working strands (A Strands and B Strands) remaining to allow a finishing knot. For a tidy pattern, keep the working end secure as you weave. I like to weave seated and nip mine between my knees. Simple and effective!

Options for finishing the working end at completion:

Options for finishing the ends depend on how secure you’d like the ends and if the core needs to be fully concealed. The pictured toy has a fully concealed core, which requires a little extra finishing effort; however, our dogs definitely wouldn’t object if the core ends were visible. Humphrey loves a tassled tug, so the more the merrier. Haha!

To hide the core at the finishing end knot:

  • Optional: Position one of the working strands between the core strands. Tie a small tight knot joining the core ends with the working strand sandwiched between underneath, taking care to ensure this is tied as close as possible to the middle of the tug body. This isn’t necessary as the core is already tightly woven into the preceding half-knot layers, but it can help derisk core shifting with stretchy play.
  • Trim the ends of the core. This will be hidden under finishing knot.
  • Loop and tie the working strands (A Strands and B Strands) tightly, taking care to ensure this knot covers the tied and trimmed core.
  • Trim excess if/as needed. or leave the core visible and simply

For a simple tie off with core strands visible in the tassle: 

Starting strips and knots for a DIY cobra knot tug toy

🚨 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 or her any new toy. Some dogs try to eat toys or 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 in our dog toy safety post, including tips and helpful links for safer playtime. Have fun and play safe!

DIY cobra knot woven fleece dog tug toy

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