How to create a DIY colour block dog tug toy by combining two simple weaving techniques at counted intervals for a colour blocking pattern effect. Don’t let the pretty pattern fool you – it’s actually really easy! Here are the DIY details for making our Mondrian-inspired colour blocked dog tug toy, plus a bonus example using the same technique to create a different look in a colourful loop tug toy.
Tug Toy Pattern Problems and Opportunities
Accidental Mix-Ups vs. Intentional Pattern Changes
One of the common questions we get from readers is about troubleshooting something unexpected in their tug toy weaving efforts. When we created the FAQ post on common tug toy pattern problems and weaving issues, I mentioned that mixing weaving patterns could be used intentionally to create alternating patterns instead of accidental mix-ups. These toys were made to illustrate that technique. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that Humphrey’s Mondrian-inspired tug was created for the blog over a year ago and I just didn’t get around to scheduling it into our posting line-up. Sorry, furfriends!
Injecting Colour Rotation at Intervals on a Square Knot Tug Toy
The colour blocked effect of these tug toys was created by combining two easy weaving knots. By injecting a single spiral (diagonal corner-to-corner knot) knot at consistent intervals on an otherwise square (straight square/box knot) tug toy, the colours rotate and form the colour block pattern. Counting between rotations is key to getting an intentionally patterned look. Careful tying and strand positioning during these transitions also helps to keep things looking aligned and squarish.
Weaving a DIY Colour Block Dog Tug Toy
This DIY colour block dog tug toy uses a square knot for the primary weaving method, with a periodic spiral knot for the rotations. Both are basic weaving patterns, but you may find it helpful to use them separately and get comfortable with the weaving techniques before combining them for special shapes or patterns.
Colour and Design
Colours are key for styling your DIY colour block dog tug toy. To create the colour blocking, you will need to use four different colours of fleece or other suitable material. Additionally, choosing colours with strong contrast between each other really helps to showcase the visual effect of the colour blocking.
I couldn’t resist going with some Mondrian-inspired colours of fleece for this tug. Mondrian’s bright cube artworks are a prime example of classic colour blocking, but any combo that you like to use is a-ok. See our colourful loop example at the end of the post for a different colour combo. It’s the same general pattern, but simply swapping colours creates a very different look. At the end of the day, the dogs don’t really care about how pretty their toy is, just how much fun you have playing together.
As chance would have it, the Mondrian tug includes three of my colour choices for a high-visibility dog tug toy. If you’re curious, check out our post on the differences between dog and human colour vision for a look at how dogs see the world, including toys.
Preparing the Materials
To make a similar DIY colour block dog tug toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece or alternative fabric (four different colours, as noted above)
To weave a tug toy as shown, clean fabric is cut into 4 long narrow strips. You’ll need one strip of each colour for the colour blocked look created here. You can scale the toy to suit your dog and your materials by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. See our post on choosing and using fleece for tug toys and/or tug toy sizing if you need extra information.
Weaving the DIY Colour Block Dog Tug Toy
Starting the weave:
- Group together your prepared strand of fleece.
- Loop and knot one end securely, leaving a “tassel” at the end.
Weaving the tug:
- The toy shown uses the square (box) knot to create the main body of the tug. Begin weaving the layers of the tug using the square knot. Detailed instructions as well as diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our comprehensive post on making square knot dog tug toys.
- Carefully count each layer of square knots until you have woven your desired interval for blocking.
- Inject a single diagonal corner-to-corner spiral knot to rotate the colours. Detailed instructions as well as diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
The spiral knot and the follow-on first square should be tied with extra care for best looking results. Try and ensure the strand positions line up with the bumps of the layers beneath. This will help the finished toy look crisp and blocky. Spiral knots create a natural rounding effect, which we want to minimise in our blocky tug. We also want to keep the blocks aligned as best we can along the length of the DIY colour block dog tug toy.
Repeating the Pattern to Finish the Toy:
- Repeat, counting the same interval between rotations each time, until you have completed the body of the tug. Make sure you stop with enough fleece left for end knotting, and ideally at the end of a block if you want consistency.
- Loop the free end and knot securely, leaving a “tassel”.
- Trim excess fabric if/as needed.
Making a Colour Blocked Loop Tug Toy
Adapting the Instructions to Create a Loop Instead of a Straight Tug
To create a basic colour blocked loop instead of a straight tug as shown above, you can adapt to use a temporary end starting knot, and then untie to join the completed ends after weaving the toy. For extra good looks, make sure that the finishing colour block pattern positions are equal and matching. Then you can gather the strands to tie together, cross, weave into a stick, or join however you wish. See our full archive of DIY dog tug toys for more ideas.
Example Colour Blocked Rainbow Loop Tug
I had a few leftover strips of different colours loitering around my craft stash, so I made a quick example in a different colour scheme during a recent clean-up. I finished the basic loop with a modified combo of end knots and tassels. You can also see our square knot fleece loop tug toy with tail for one of our favourite loop shaped tug toys if you’re keen to try. It’s pretty easy and lots of fun.
🚨 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!