Sewing DIY Dog Toys
Stuffed dog toys follow the same basic principles as you would use if sewing (or buying) for a small child – no loose parts to nibble free and everything securely stitched into a sturdy toy. It is particularly important to know your pet and how they play before making or buying toys. Not all toys are suitable to all pets. Check out our post on toy safety for helpful links and resources.
How to Make a DIY Giant Lips (Kiss) Dog Toy
This Valentine’s Day DIY dog toy was a quick and easy craft to sew. It’s super cute, but much simpler than some of our fancy embellished squeaky DIY dog toys. The centre seam really completes the lippy look, and the toy looks exactly the same on the front and back. Like a great big lipstick kiss!
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar stuffed giant lips dog toy, you will need:
- Sturdy red fabric or other colour of your preference
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
To make your own squeaky lips Valentine toy, you will need washed colourfast sturdy red (or other lip coloured) fabric. I used the same red fabric as our Love Bone dog toy from my craft stash leftovers. Yay for stash busting crafts!
I try to salvage squeakers in our DIY dog toy hospital for reuse when possible, but I also have purchased packs of replacement squeakers in different shapes, sizes, and sounds. Squeakers can be tricky to find in shops. Try the toy section of large craft shops or look online at specialist suppliers or large retailers like AliExpress or Amazon. You can check out the replacement dog toy squeakers on Amazon (affiliate link) for product examples and ideas.
Making the DIY Giant Lips Dog Toy
Cutting the materials for the toy:
- Cut two identical lip shapes of strong fabric for the main body of the toy. Scale to suit your pet and available materials.
Lips are pretty easy to free-hand. Folding the material into half, as shown, is a sneaky way to make a symmetrical shape. If you aren’t comfortable free-handing, there are plenty of free outline lip shapes online that you can print and use as a pattern. I layered my fabric and cut both lips at the same time to keep things perfectly matched.
Sewing the lips:
- Optional: As a lesson learned from working with this particular fabric in the past, it can be tricky to invert without pulling/fraying the free edge along the gap. I sewed a small seam between the seam allowance and edge in the section of the pieces that will be left open for the gap before sewing the lips together.
- Layer your lip shapes right-side-in.
- Sew together along the seam allowances, leaving a gap for inverting and stuffing.
- Optional: If you’d like to reinforce the edges, you can sew a second seam line between the seam and the edge or overlock the edges.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material.
You may find that cutting small slits and/or notches in the seam allowances (not all the way to the stitch line) helps the curves invert more smoothly. This is particularly helpful if your toy is small (tighter curves) and/or the base fabric is very thick/stiff.
For inverting a shape like this, it can be helpful to trim and/or notch near the bow of the top lip to help reduce bunching when inverted. It is also helpful to trim excess fabric from the corners at the sides of the lip to invert to a sharper point.
- Invert through the open gap to right-side-out.
- Sew a seam line in the middle of the toy to partially separate the two lips. Don’t sew this all the way to the corners of the toy else you will block your ability to stuff the toy fully. I also think that the toy looks better with fuller corners at the sides of the mouth. Humphrey is a big fan of stuffed pointy bits on his toys. The corners are prime grabbing, nibbling, and shaking points.
Stuffing and finishing the toy:
Caution: Accidental squeaking while stuffing and sewing may result in dog theft attempts from your craft table before you finish the project. I almost always end up accidentally squeaking and Humphrey gets very excited.
- Stuff the toy and (optional) add squeaker(s). You will need to work the stuffing into position along the top/bottom sides of the lips and into all corners and curves for a full mouth shape. A long semi-blunt object can be handy for extending the reach of your fingers inside the toy. I used my closed pen. Easy peasy.
- Fold the gap seam allowance into the toy.
- Sew the toy securely closed.
- Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
🚨 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!