Sewing DIY Dog Toys
Dog Toy Safety
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.
Creating Your Own Custom Dog Toy Designs
One of the great things about making your own toys is that’s is a fun opportunity to get a little creative. We share DIY ideas, but you can take those inspirations and adapt them to your own unique crafts to suit your skills, pet, materials, and style preferences. Depending on where you live, there may or may not be a tradition of Christmas elves and appearances can vary quite a lot. Have some fun and create your own special version of the squeaky elf with unique colours or styling.
How to Make a DIY Squeaky Stuffed Christmas Elf Dog Toy
To make a similar DIY stuffed squeaky Santa Claus dog toy, you will need:
- Sturdy green fabric or other colour of your preference for the base
Sturdy beige fabric or other colour of your preference for the face
- Brown fleece or other colour of your preference for the beard and hair
- Scraps of mixed fleece for facial features and embellishments
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional but so much fun!)
- Non-toxic pink makeup or tint for the cheeks (optional)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
I used a green base fabric for the front of my elf, so this is visible in the design of the finished elf toy. The rest of the toy is layered on with other materials to create the design. The beige for the face is sturdy fabric. All of my other embellishments are fleece.
Because fleece is colourfast and doesn’t fray, it’s an easy option for embellishments on dog toys. I keep fleece off cuts from other sewing projects and 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, 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 the Christmas Elf Dog Toy
The triangular shape was inspired by our original triangle toy, the DIY witch dog toy. Humphrey loved that toy shape! Triangles are easy to sew and efficient to cut, so I’ve used the shape again. It’s a great fit for our style of Christmas elf with a hat. The facial features are a similar style to the Santa Claus dog toy in this triangle toy set. I decided to skip the moustache on this chap, though.
Making the DIY Christmas Elf Triangle Dog Toy
Cutting and shaping the materials:
- Cut two identical triangular pieces from sturdy base fabric. Don’t forget to include seam allowances. You can shape and scale your toy to best suit your fabric and your pet. If you are working from a large piece of fabric, you can also cut the toy as a large diamond and fold at the bottom instead of having a seam.
- Cut a piece of sturdy beige fabric (or fleece) for the face. It should be tall enough to go from under the hat to under the collar/beard, and wide enough to span the toy so that the edges are all well attached and hidden underneath the fleece embellishments.
- Cut fleece for the face, hair, hat band, collar, and/or any embellishments you wish. My elf was styled to coordinate with Santa and the Christmas tree, but you can get creative and make any design you’d like for the elf face, hair, clothes, etc. My elf has a double hat band (wide white, narrow pinked red), holly spring and bell embellishment, and jester-style collar with red/green triangles and golden bells. The face is styled similar to Santa’s, but with different hair and a smiley pink mouth.
I used one triangle of green and one triangle of red for each of the three toys in this coordinating trio, and decided to have the elf be green in contract to Santa’s red. If your base fabric is a different colour to what you would like for your elf hat and/or jacket, you can cut fleece to cover these sections. If used, sew these into position before attaching the other embellishments detailed below.
Adding embellishments to create the elf design:
- Position the beige face and collar pieces. Pin to secure and incrementally sew into place. I opted to sew the top edge first (it’s hidden under the beard later anyway) and then stitch the edges of the triangles.
- Layer the bells into position and sew securely into place.
- Position the beard. Pin to secure and sew securely into place.
- Position the hair. Pin to secure and sew securely into place. I added extra lines of stitching to the hair, which are primarily for looks, but also ensures the pieces are very well attached.
- Sew the bottom layer of the hat band into place, ensuring that the band covers the top edges of the beard and face.
- Continue layering to best suit your embellishment placement, incrementally sew the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, and any other extra embellishment pieces securely to the base.
Sewing and stuffing to finish the toy:
- Layer (or fold) your triangular pieces so that the toy is right/embellished side in. Pin to secure.
- Sew together along the seam allowances, leaving an opening gap for inverting and stuffing.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material if/as needed. For thick materials, you can trim or notch excess material in the seam allowances at the corners if you want them to turn pointed.
- Invert to right-side-out
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s).
- Sew to securely stitch closed the gap.
- Optional: If you wish, rub the nose/cheeks of your elf with a little bit of lip tint, blush, or other non-toxic tint to create a slightly rosy glow.
- Trim any threads if/as needed, and enjoy!
There were no doggy play pictures in this post when it was first shared on the blog. Humphrey was still counting down the days until his Christmas morning squeaker fest at the time. When the post was updated for transfer to the new website, I went back into my family photo files and pulled out some behind the scenes photos of the blog dogs of Dalmatian DIY on Christmas morning. Such a happy day, so many happy memories!
The Christmas Triangle Toy Collection
🚨 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!