Monster Making Tips
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 toy. Not all toys are suitable to all pets. Check out our post on toy safety for helpful links and resources.
One of the fabulous things about making a monster is that a little imperfection is perfect! You can easily scale the project to suit the size of your pet. Cat brother Tiger has his own matching mini-Frankenstein homemade felt catnip toy.
Creating a DIY Frankenstein Dog Toy
Supplies and Materials
To make your own Frankenstein toy, you will need sturdy green, black, and grey fabrics plus some additional accent scraps for the face (fleece works well for accents as it doesn’t need the edges finished), complementary thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional) and scissors/sewing tools.
- Sturdy green fabric
- Grey fabric for neck bolts (optional)
- Scraps of fleece for embellishments
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy)
- Squeakers (optional)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
My Frankenstein was made with a scrap of heavy green upholstery fabric with a bonded black fleecy backing. It is ridiculously tough stuff! Frankenstein was so durable that I went searching for more of the same type of fabric for making other stuffed dog 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 DIY Frankenstein Dog Toy
Cutting material for the Frankenstein head:
- Cut a large rectangle of green fabric for the head. If your fabric piece is big enough, you can fold at the bottom neckline, as shown, and eliminate a seam. If not, you can use two separate pieces instead.
- Cut two shorter pieces of black fleece in the same width as the head for the hair. Trim the bottom of your front piece into a zigzag.
- Position the hair pieces just slightly higher than the top of the head.
- Using complimentary coloured threads, sew the bottom edges of the hair into place, zigzag at the front, plain at the back. You do not need to sew the sides or top at this time.
- Sew a few adhoc vertical lines into the hair. These will quilt the hair onto Frankenstein’s head for added security plus add a little style to the hair.
- Trim loose threads.
Adding a Frankenstein face:
- Cut accent pieces for the face from scrap fleece.
- Using complimentary coloured threads, sew the facial features into place.
- Trim loose threads and any excess fleece if/as needed.
- Trim the bottom edge of the face to slightly round the jawline. Just a touch – Frankenstein is a square fellow.
Tip: You can cut fleece slightly over-sized then fine-trim edges after sewing if needed for small pieces. This is particularly helpful for adding the scar, as shown.
Creating (optional) neck bolts:
- Cut strips of grey fleece to create bolts. I used two rectangles plus two squares per bolt to give a little extra dimension to my bolts. Tip: Leave longer than needed strips for the bolts to extend into the stuffed interior of the finished toy.
- Using complimentary coloured threads, first sew the square head onto your bolt strips, then sew the strips together, creating a double seam around the external edges of the bolt head (use a tiny gap between if you’d like for extra style). Leave the bottom open for later stuffing. Trim loose threads and any excess fleece if/as needed.
Assembling Frankenstein’s head:
- Position the front and back of the head together, right-side-in.
- Mark a gap for the bolts at the base of the head, where the neck would begin, and ensure that you do not sew this closed when joining the edges.
- Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew the sides of the head together, stopping just short of the marked gaps for the bolts. Do not sew the top (hair) edge together when you sew the sides. We need this edge left as a gap for inverting and will be finishing it slightly differently (see below).
- Invert the head, right-side out.
- Position the bolts into the gaps, stuff to past the seam, and pin to secure, ensuring that the raw edges of the face are turned inside to match the rest of the side seams.
- Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew an outside top stitch along each side of the face all the way from top to bottom. This secures your bolts and strengthens the rest of the toy. Do not sew the top gap closed.
Stuffing and finishing the toy:
- Stuff and (optional) add squeakers.
- Sew the top of the toy closed with a double outside seam, one across the hair plus face fabric, and another just above in the fleece hair only. (See below.)
- Trim any threads or rough edges if/as needed, and enjoy!
We positioned the hair just higher than the head. Fleece is non-fray, so the raw edges don’t need to be turned inwards. My heavy duty materials were pretty tough for sewing when doubled over with the extra layers. I was worried about it being too thick with the addition of the fabric and fleece, especially at the corners where seams meet. Finishing with the exposed fleece edge was much easier. You can, of course, flip these edges inwards instead, if you wish. If you’re sewing thick materials, make sure your sewing machine can safely manage the bulk.
The boys have been having tons of fun with Frankenstein. Thus far, he’s holding up pretty well (very tough fabric!), but I suspect his neck bolts will be their first victims. However, with the way that Frankenstein was assembled, the monster face itself will still be sturdy (or easily repaired) without them, if and when that time comes. At least until Humphrey the Ripper eventually manages to vanquish the monster itself in an explosion of stuffing!
If you want a sturdier toy, these bolts would need to be made with something other than heavyweight fleece. Or you can omit them all together and just go for a fun monster face instead.
🚨 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!