Hello new squeaky toy! The sewing machine has finally surfaced from the purgatory of moving boxes and Humphrey has a new toy! This DIY monogrammed squeaky stuffed bone dog toy is an easy adaptation from Humphrey’s Love Bone dog toy. Here are the DIY details on making a homemade stuffed dog toy extra special with easy custom fleece applique designs.
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.
It had clearly been too long between new homemade toys with the chaos of moving and settling into the new house. Humphrey was having far too much fun to pose for proper photos. Sorry, furfriends. Too busy playing and making sure Momma doesn’t steal my new squeaker!
Whenever possible, I like salvage squeakers in our DIY dog toy hospital for reuse. Not all squeakers survive the fangs, though, so 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.
How to Make a DIY Stuffed Bone Dog Toy with Monogram Applique
Supplies and Materials
To make your own monogrammed bone dog toy, you will need pre-shrunk/washed sturdy base fabric, mixed fleece scraps for embellishments (a great use for off cuts), complementary coloured thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional), and scissors/sewing tools.
- Sturdy base bone fabric
- Scraps of fleece for embellishments
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional, see my comments above)
- 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 sew, since the stitches of coordinating thread often seem to disappear into the fluff. No matter what the material or technique you choose, security and safety matter more than looks. Make sure that any embellishments are securely attached.
Sewing the Monogrammed Bone 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 easy to free-hand, but if you aren’t comfortable free-handing the shape for cutting, there are plenty of free outline bone shapes online that you can print and use as a pattern. This bone toy was made with a long narrow middle, which is where I placed the applique. It’s the same style as Humphrey’s Love Bone dog toy. He absolutely loved that first squeaky bone! Our DIY sprinkle cake birthday bone dog toys are stouter. It’s so easy to use this applique technique to create you own customised looks and styles.
Creating the monogram applique(s):
- Cut scraps of fleece into letters to create your monogram applique or other chosen designs. It is very important that you ensure that your monogram 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 appliques onto the top/front bone shape using complimentary coloured thread. Make sure that the applique pieces are all very securely attached, including checking that all edges are firmly sewn to the base bone.
- 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.
- Optional: You can sew a double seam or finish the raw edges for extra strength, if you wish.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material, if needed.
If your toy is small, the base fabric is very thick or stiff, and/or your bone shape has tight curves, you may find that trimming excess or cutting small slits and/or notches in the excess material of the seam allowances along the curves helps the curved shapes invert more smoothly. Cut with care. Not too far into the stitch line or you will weaken the seams, especially in a toy like this that isn’t top stitched.
- Invert the bone to right-side-out through the gap.
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s) through the gap. 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. Try to line up the seams, then sew the toy securely closed.
- Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
Sewing (and Squeaking) Under Supervision
Beware, as accidental squeaking while stuffing and/or sewing may result in dog theft attempts before you finish the project. Haha! It’s an unfortunate hazard when squishing things into position inside my homemade stuffed toys that I often accidently squeeze the squeakers. This, of course, gets Humphrey very excited about what he’s knows will be coming soon. New toys!
In this case though, Humphrey knew I was making a new toy well before I got to the stuffing stage, clever little rascal. With move, it had been a long time since our last homemade toy and he was hopefully watching as I prepped materials. Then my sewing efforts were very closely supervised by an impatient pup. No need for accidental squeaker alarms to summon the spotty supervisor this time around. At peak excitement, I couldn’t hold up the little lad for pretty posed pics before playtime. Straight from sewing to play!
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 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!