Eight wiggly legs of fleece fun? Spooktacular! This DIY Halloween spider dog tug toy combines multiple simple spiral tugs into one big spider with lots of fabulous flail and plenty of grab points for interactive play for people and pups. Here’s how to make a spider dog tug toy.
Hauntings of Past Halloween Play
Many years ago, I made a Halloween spider tug toy with a soft squeaky fleece body and a matching mini spider cat toy for Tiger. That blog post is one of the archives that hasn’t been published after we moved to the new domain and website format. Some of our old content would need new photos, a full rewrite, and/or a do-over to get additional step-by-step photos or to check details, and so not all have made across. Apologies to anyone who sniffed their way here from an old pin or link looking for the combo spider instructions.
You can adapt the DIY below and a body over the midsection, if you’re keen. It’s a harder sewing project than many of our stuffed toys because you’ll need to hand sew the body around the legs, like the heart on our Cupid’s arrow Valentine’s Day tug toy. Squeakers are always a hot commodity for our boys and the spider body was a simple softie, like Oli’s Easter bunny dog toy. Easier to sew the spider’s body into place, but also short lived. Haha! It was made so that legs carried on for tug toy fun long after the body had gone to the great rainbow web.
Combining Tug Segments into Larger Dog Toys
Fun and Flexibility
Combining tugs is a great way to make interesting shapes or to create a larger tug toy. We’re often asked questions about tugs, sizes, and options for making bigger toys. We have a post in our pet craft help section on DIY fleece tug toy sizes, but often our readers are limited by the sizes of fleece they can find and/or afford, especially when it comes to length. Joining tugs together is a option for making a bigger finished toy if you want more size, or just for the fun of making fun shapes or having extra loops or ends for more play options.
Tug Toy Joining Methods
There are lots of different options for joining tugs, depending on the shape, size, and strength you’re trying to create. As some of the simplest options, you can just knot stick tugs together (easy as!) or combine individual loops like links on a chain. Alternatively, simple intersections, like our infinity loop tugs, can be used to connect tug pieces and/or create joined shapes. Or you can go all in and merge or split portions of the tugs with modified weaving techniques. That’s a great option for both strength and good looks, like our DIY split double loop dog tug toy.
For our spider, I wanted a stronger connection for all of those many legs than just passing through an simple intesention and possibly creating a weak point for tug loading in the middle. I also thought it would be fun to make the eight leg combo a bit more spidery by having two distinct sets of four legs with a bulkier middle body section. The spider tug has excellent flail, a strong taper into the body, and a very sturdy middle. The DIY below includes options for simplifying the joint if you’d prefer an easier approach to making your DIY spider tug toy.
Eek! My chosen Halloween fleece colours were all taken from my existing craft stash, and included a bright orange fleece that is excellent for Halloween, but seems to boggle the brains of my camera sensor. Sorry if some of our photos are a little paranormal. Tricky treats indeed… But it’s a long time in dog years until next Halloween and the dogs love playing with it, so here’s the spooky spin on weaving our very glowing spider tug toy. Perhaps it’s a fitting follow-on to have a radioactive spider after our zombie gummy paw Halloween dog treats. Haha!
How to Make a DIY Halloween Spider Dog Tug Toy
The pictured Halloween spider tug toy combines four simple four strand spiral tugs (corner-to-corner weave) to create eight legs, joined in the middle. You could use simple four strand square tugs instead, but round legs seem a little more spidery and might be easier to smoothy transition through the mid section than boxy tugs. If you aren’t familiar with those weaving patterns, you might like to practice on a few solo tug toys to get comfortable before moving on to joining and shaping. The midsection joints can be woven with either method.
Spider Colour Combo Options
You can weave with any spooky spider colours that you like for making this toy. One colour is a-ok too! If you want the visual effect of spirals in the legs, you’ll need at least two different colours. Simple spirals use two strands of each colour, one on the verticals and one on the horizontals, woven corenr-to-corner. If you’d like a solo colour in the middle body, the legs should share a colour (orange here). I’ve used three different colours (two colours per tug, one shared) in my tug pieces, alternating colour combos between legs.
DIY Halloween Spider Dog Tug Toy Materials
The materials and craft supplies used in making this spider dog tug toy are:
- Polar fleece fabric
A basic tug toy made with a spiral weaving pattern uses four long narrow strips for fabric. We’re making four tugs for joining, so they require sixteen long narrow strips of fabric (four sets of four). As noted above, spiral tugs like those pictured here use two strips of each colour for the wraparound colour effect. The tugs also need to share a colour for the single colour merged middle, if you’re using this style.
The spider tug toy pictured here uses four strips of black, four strips of purple, and eight strips of orange.
You can scale toys by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. See our post on fleece tug toy sizes for tips and tricks. For a big spider like the one pictured here, you’ll need to use long strips of fleece. It’s also worth noting that my bright orange fleece was thinner than my heavyweight other colours. Mismatched weights can cause pattern imperfections in tug toys, but I thought it was worth compromising a little on looks to the most Halloween looking colour in my stash. Because its thinner, it also tends to stretch out longer, so I used it as my main body colour to consume some of that difference and lessen the end offcuts.
Weaving and Shaping the DIY Spider Tug Toy
Preparing the materials:
- As per the material notes above, cut sixteen long narrow fleece strips of similar size and length. The shared colour (orange here) can be a little longer, if your materials allow. As noted above, my strips were the same length but not the same weight due to availability.
- Group into two sets of four strands in your chosen colours and combinations.
Starting the weave:
- 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 loops.
Weaving the first portion of the tugs:
- Starting with one group, weave to a stopping point near the middle for joining. The toy shown uses the corner-to-corner method for creating a spiral. Detailed instructions, diagrams, and step-by-step photos are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
- Repeat the same process individually for all of the other groups, weaving to the same length.
Caution: Making the sections even for both side of the spider requires a little bit of what I would call “the calibrated eyeball” which is why I recommend weaving a few straight solo tugs first to get a feel for things if you new to weaving. I marked a stopping point at the midsection on my first orange strip as an indicator and stopped shy of it. The midsection joint will consume extra material before weaving the other half of the legs and more for the shared colour. Expect to have uneven offcuts at the end if you’re using the same lenths and weights. If you get the estimate wrong, the spider legs will be assymetrical. It will be lopsided, but still just a much fun for play. The dogs won’t judge…
Joining the tugs in the middle of the spider’s body:
We’re going to take our four corner-to-corner tug pieces, put them together, partner the shared colour (orange here) into four pairs, bundle the others in the middle, and then weave around them to cinch the tug legs together into the middle. Then we loop knot around the midsection. Then we seperate back out to weave the share colours back out in a matching pattern before splitting our groups of four back out into legs to finish the other half of the spider. It sounds complicated, but isn’t that tricky. The hardest part is keeping track of what’s where.
If you’d prefer an easier joint, you can do the loop knots without the weave around, do a big loop knot, or use a simple intersection without making a body. You can also modify the methods below to use more spirals around with or without the overhand knots. As long as your joint is secure and suitable for your pup and play, anything goes when you’re making your own tug toy project.
Starting and cinching the joint:
- Carefully position the working ends of the four tug pieces together in a flat row, lining up the strands to match the shared colours (orange here) as the paired sets of strands for weaving. This will take a bit of fiddling around to get the strands into the right places.
- Bunch the other strands together, grouped to be hidden inside the middle of the other weaving and knotting for the body. I tied a loose knot to help keep mine together, and then put them over my shoulder while seated for weaving the orange strands around then.
- Ready? Carefully weave a single spiral or square knot around the bunched strands, taking extra care to pull the tugs tightly together. It might not be perfect, this is just for shaping and cinching the legs into a set. The first knot is always the hardest when setting up a pattern. Although our primary for this DIY is spiral, you can use whatever methods is easiest for your strands and positioning here. It’s going to help us have a nice tight joint leading into the body knot without risking loose loops and also keep the four legs in a flat row.
- Repeat again with another knot to further cinch and shape.
Looping the body:
- Split your shared strands into two sets and then tie two big overlapping overhand loop knots around the bunched starnds, one top to bottom, one bottom to top. Splitting instead of just doing one giant knot will make it easier to divide the stands back out to continue weaving after these loop knots at the middle of the body. Or you could just go all-in with a giant knot if you don’t care about colours.
Matching the other side:
- Carefully seperate the strands back into their positions, and weave another two spiral or square knots around the bunched strands. Although our primary for this DIY is spiral, either method is ok here, just like when we first cinched the legs together.
Splitting the legs back out from the body:
Middle part done! Now it’s just a matter of carefully splitting things back out into their positions and weaving the simple spirals again into matching length legs on the other side of the spider’s body.
- Ready to split? We’re going to reverse what we did when we merged the tugs, and separate the strands back into four sets of four. We want to be as close together and tidy with the transition of colours as possible, and split the legs back into a flat row of four sets. Take your time to get things into position before you start weaving. My go-to method of nipping the working end of tugs between my knees while I weave is extra helpful for keeping the strands I’m not working with pulled and tucked out of the way here. I also used loose temporary knots to keep the groupings of loose strands together while I was working with other sets.
- Starting with one split set of four, carefully position the strands, and weave a single spiral or square knot to secure.
- One-by-one, take each of the the other split sets, carefully position the strands, and weave another single knot to secure.
- Check your splitting, strand positioning, and tug positioning before you carry on. If you need to undo and correct anything, it’s much easier to unpick one layer than a length of woven tug.
Finishing the legs:
- Looking good? Continue weaving the seperate tugs until they match the length of the legs on the other side for end knotting. Or until you’re nearing the end with enough left for end knotting if things have accidently come out a little lopsided…
- Tie the ends. Optional: Trim excess fabric if required and/or to even out the tassel ends.
Additional Tug Toy Making Help and Information
Helpful information is also available in our tug toy FAQs, tips, and troubleshooting mini-series:
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 doggone dangerous. Toys are for playing, and playtime is always safer (and way 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!