Puppy love! It’s our DIY squeaky stuffed “Love Bone” Valentine’s Day dog toy. You can never have too much puppy love or too many squeaky toys, am I right, furfriends? Humphrey seems to think so. Check out these action shots playing with his new DIY stuffed bone dog toy. Wild happy little lad. He loved this DIY stuffed bone dog toy so much that its one of the very few toy designs that we’ve revisited again over the years when we made our DIY monogrammed bone dog toy.
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 toy. 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 Stuffed Bone Dog Toy with Applique Designs
Supplies and Materials
To make your own Love Bone Valentine toy, you will need pre-shrunk/washed sturdy red (or other Valentine coloured) fabric, mixed fleece scraps for embellishments (a great use for off cuts), complementary coloured thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional), and scissors/sewing tools.
- Sturdy red fabric or other colour of your preference
- Scraps of fleece for embellishments (optional)
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
Because fleece is colourfast and doesn’t fray, it’s an easy option for embellishments, like these accents, on dog toys. I keep fleece off cuts from other sewing projects and DIY dog tug toy ends for embellishment supplies. It’s also very forgiving to sewing technique, since the stitches of coordinating thread often seem to disappear into the fluff, but it’s important to make sure that any embellishments are very securely attached. No matter what the material or technique, security and safety trump looks for toys.
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 “Love Bone” DIY Stuffed Dog Toy
Preparing the materials for the bone:
- Cut two identical bone shapes of strong fabric for the main body of the toy. Scale to suit your pet and available materials.
Bones are pretty easy to free-hand (folding the material into quarters is a sneaky way to make a symmetrical shape). If you aren’t comfortable free-handing a bone, there are plenty of free outline bone shapes online that you can print and use as a pattern. To really emphasise the LOVE on my Love Bone, I opted for a long skinny middle with big ends instead of a fatter body. The letters are sized to dominate the mid section of the DIY stuffed bone dog toy.
Creating the (optional) appliques:
- Cut scraps of fleece into letters to spell out LOVE (or another personalised message). I used a double heart (white on pink) in place of the “O” for my LOVE.
- It is very important that you ensure that your letters will fit onto the toy without encroaching on your seam allowances.
Once you have all of the pieces, lay out your letters on one of your bone shapes and double check that all of your shapes/sizes work and adjust if/as needed.
Attaching the appliques:
- Carefully sew your letters onto the bone shape using complimentary coloured thread. Make sure that they are very securely attached.
- Trim any threads if/as needed.
Sewing and stuffing the bone:
- Layer your bone shapes right-sides-in.
- Sew together along the seam allowances, leaving a gap for inverting and stuffing.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material, if needed.
If your toy is small, the base fabric is very thick/stiff, and/or your bone has tight curves, you may find that cutting small slits and/or notches in the seam allowances (not all the way to the stitch line) at the heavy curves helps the curves invert more smoothly.
- Invert to right-side-out.
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s). Make it full, but don’t over-stuff too much or it will be difficult to close the toy.
- Fold the gap seam allowance into the toy and sew the toy closed.
- Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
Caution: Accidental squeaking while stuffing and/or sewing may result in dog theft attempts before you finish the project. Haha!
🚨 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!