Santa Claus is coming to town! This round squeaky DIY Santa dog toy combines sturdy base materials and decorative fleece embellishments for a tough but cute stuffed Christmas dog toy. The jury is out on whether squeaking Santa’s face qualifies the boys for the naughty list, but they definitely think their squeaky stuffed Santa is rather nice indeed!
This toy was revisited years later in a different design as part of our Christmas triangle toy collection. It includes a triangular version of a squeaky Santa Claus dog toy as well as a coordinating squeaky stuffed Christmas elf dog toy and a squeaky stuffed Christmas tree dog toy. Check out the new designs for additional DIY ideas. You can find all of our DIY stuffed dog toys and DIY squeaky dog toys, including these, via the archives.
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 Stuffed Santa Dog Toy (Round Face)
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar stuffed Santa dog toy, you will need:
- Sturdy red fabric or other colour of your preference
- Sturdy beige fabric or other colour of your preference
- Scraps of fleece for embellishments (optional)
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional)
- Non-toxic pink makeup or tint for the nose and cheeks (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. I keep fleece off cuts from other sewing projects and DIY dog tug toy ends for embellishments. It’s also very forgiving to sew, 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.
Designing a DIY Santa Dog Toy Face
I free handed Santa’s embellishments so that I could work with my available materials and off cuts. Since he is a little more complicated than some of our toys, I created a little digital sketch (see above) for this post to help clarify what’s being cut and used where. It isn’t a pattern. You’ll notice a few differences between the sketch and my toy, which I’ll note below. The sketches are just ideas to help get you inspired. Then you can create your own customised Santa with unique embellishments.
Making the DIY Squeaky Stuffed Santa Claus Dog Toy
Cutting the materials for the toy:
- Cut two identical circles of red fabric for your Santa, in the desired size of your finished toy plus an all-around seam allowance. A large plate or bowl makes a great template for tracing your circles.
- Cut a matching part circle (roughly 2/3 to 3/4) of beige fabric for the skin of Santa’s face. The top of the circle is not included so that the red of your base material show through to form Santa’s hat. I was using a beige scrap that wasn’t big enough for the full width of my circle, so you can see the edges (covered later by the beard) on my Santa face during construction.
- Cut a matching part circle (roughly 2/3 to 3/4) of white fleece, then trim out the middle to create a U-shape for Santa’s beard. I used my offcut from the beard when making the moustache, eyes, and eyebrows.
- Cut a moustache out of white fleece that is wide enough to span across your face and over the beard on both sides. Not too far, though. You don’t want the tips to get lost in the seams when you close up the toy.
- Cut a scrap of red fleece that will go under the beard and moustache to create a red mouth.
- Cut scraps of fleece to create eyes and eyebrows.
- Cut long narrow strip of white fleece that is wide enough to span your full circle where the top of your face ends. This will form the trim on Santa’s hat and cover your top edges of the beard and face pieces. If you have pinking shears, you can use them instead of a straight cut to create a decorative edge.
- Optional: Cut a fleece circle for the pom pom, if you wish.
Checking it twice:
- Once you have all of the pieces, lay out your Santa head. Double check that all of your shapes and sizes work for the design.
- Adjust if/as needed before sewing.
Sewing the pieces to create the face:
- Sew the beige part circle to your red backing, both right-side-up. As noted above, my beige scrap wasn’t big enough for the full width of my circle.
- Check placement and then sew the red mouth piece into place.
- Sew the white beard into position.
- Position your remaining facial features and carefully sew into place.
- Optional: Add a few extra seams in the “hair” of Santa’s moustache and/or beard for extra style and strength.
- Optional: Sew a small seam to create the appearance of a dimple (…his dimples, how merry…) or a nose.
- Position your white fleece trim for the hat edge. Take care to ensure that the top edge of your face and beard elements are covered, and sew into place. You do not need to sew the outer edges, as these will be sewn together hen you join the toy. If you wish, double sew each edge for extra style and strength.
- Optional: If you wish, dust the nose and cheeks of your Santa (…his nose like a cherry…) with a little bit of lip tint, blush, or other non-toxic tint to create a slightly rosy glow.
Sewing and stuffing to finish the toy:
- Layer your face and backing right-side-in and sew together along the seam allowances. Leave a gap at the top (or elsewhere, if you prefer) for inverting and stuffing.
- Trim loose threads and excess fabric if/as needed.
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 in your round toy. This is particularly helpful if your toy is small (tighter curves) and/or the base fabric is very thick/stiff.
- Invert to right-side-out.
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s).
- Fold the gap seam allowance into the toy and sew the toy closed.
- Optional: If you hate hand-closing or want to reinforce the closure seam, you can cheat a little and carefully machine sew an external seam along the edge.
- Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
As you can see in the collage above, I added my pom pom after the toy was finished so that it was round. Alternatively, you can machine sew it in place with the facial features instead, if you prefer. Or skip it all together!
🚨 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!