This sturdy stuffed squeaky DIY snake dog toy was sewn in compartments to make a strong but wiggly stuffed snake dog toy that’s harder to unstuff. Humphrey has developed a liking for dismantling stuffed toys. Fortunately, he doesn’t eat anything. He just makes a joyful mess of fluff! My sewing the snake with compartments, he’s harder to eviscerate and toy hospital friendly for repairs. Mooohahahaha….
Sewing (and Snake) Dog Toy Safety
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.
Fortunately, there are no snakes here in New Zealand, although occasional beach sightings of sea snakes make headlines from time to time (yikes). If you are in an area with snakes, a snake toy might not be the best option. Definitely don’t want to encourage interest or undermine your dog’s snake safety training. Although stuffed toys are strictly for indoor play at our place, I couldn’t resist putting Mr. Snakey in the garden shrubbery for a few blog photos. Of course, that was a short lived failed plan, as Humphrey’s toy homing beacon was active. I really love living somewhere without any real snakes in the wild!!!
Designing the Stuffed Squeaky Snake Dog Toy
Compartmentalised Toy Experiments
This is our third fully compartmentalised toy experiment in this style, but the first two didn’t make it to the blog. The first was snake made with a patterned fabric. It was cute, but not nearly tough enough for my liking. Although Humphrey really enjoyed having fun while it lasted! The next attempt was a caterpillar since I had some wildly vivid orange fabric. Fun, but I still wasn’t satisfied. Then I decided to go for a super tough and sturdy base fabric with fleece embellishments for this snake. It’s so tough and so much fun! Mr. Snakey is definitely a keeper.
How to Make a Compartmentalised DIY Squeaky Stuffed Snake Toy
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar DIY stuffed squeaky snake dog toy, you will need:
- Sturdy fabric in a snakey colour of your preference
- Scraps of fleece for embellishments (optional)
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Squeakers (optional but so much fun!)
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
- Dowel or other long thin object (optional but helpful) for inverting and stuffing
My snake used the same green upholstery fabric as our Frankenstein dog toy and some of our other tougher DIY dog toys. The heavy upholstery fabric with a bonded black fleecy backing is thick work for sewing, but it is really great for making tough stuff!
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 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.
Snake? Caterpillar? Something Else?
If you’d like to create a cute caterpillar instead of a slithery snake, just swap the colours and embellishments. Anything long is fair game for creativity and your imagination. Compartmentalising the toy is optional. If you prefer to just stuff the whole snake (or whatever you decide to make), it would still make for a fun toy. If you’re not sewing the toy closed in stages, you can adjust the head and mouth design, if you’d like. Without the compartments, you can also skip the mouth all together if you’d like to just make a long closed tube toy.
Making the DIY Compartmentalised Snake Toy
Cutting and shaping the materials:
- Cut a long narrow piece of snake-sized sturdy base fabric. The fabric needs to go from tail to head, with a fold over at the head. You can cut double length to fold at the tail or two halves to join at the tail, depending on your available fabric and preferred toy size. My fabric is very long, so I folded at the tail.
- Cut a long piece of fleece (I used black) and trim to create a long diamond accent strip for the back. It should stop short of the tail area and end before the head area, just covering the snake’s back.
- Cut scraps of fleece for eyes, to line the mouth (optional), and (optional) a tongue. Position on the head of the snake, so that mouth is folded back into the body and trim the edges slightly to gently taper the edges of the snake’s head.
- Cut a scrap of black fleece to cover the tail. Position on the tail end, and trim the edges slightly to gently taper the the snake’s tail.
Sewing the embellishments to create the snake design:
- With the snake open (unfolded at the tail, or in two pieces), sew the tail fleece into place. For extra snake style points, sew multiple horizontal lines to rib the tail into a few rattle-like segments.
- Sew the back diamond into place down the midline. Then sew around the edges to secure.
- Sew the eyes and mouth (optional) pieces on the base. For added security, I also sewed the (optional) tongue securely onto the mouth lining with just a bit sticking out.
Sewing together the body of the snake:
The snake body is long and narrow, so it can be tricky to invert through the gap which we will be leaving at the mouth. If you like using a pull method, you can attach a pin/pull tool, such as a sturdy string, at the right-side of the tail before you start to sew. I’m using a dowel as a push tool to assist with shoving the inside of the snake downwards, as shown. You can combine both methods as well.
- Fold (or layer) your snake at the tail so that it is right/embellished side in.
- Then carefully fold back the mouth lining flaps. Pin to secure.
- Sew together along the seam allowances, except at the front/opening of the mouth. We’ll be using that gap for inverting and stuffing.
- Trim any excess threads and/or material
- Invert to right-side-out.
The tip of my snake’s tail is the fold-over point, not a sewn seam. If yours is a seam from joining two pieces, you may need to notch your seam allowances. When the base fabric is very thick and/or your shape 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.
As a heads (heheh…) up, my fat layers of fabric definitely didn’t need any extra stuffing at the head. If you feel yours does, it may be easier to add this under the inside edges of the mouth pieces before fully inverting. It will depend on the shape, size, and style of your snake.
Creating the compartmentalised body and finishing the toy:
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s) incrementally from the tail forwards, sewing each compartment closed as you go. Use the dowel to help position the filling, if needed.
- Stop stuffing when you reach the head at the back of the mouth opening.
- Ensure the back edges of the mouth are caught in the final seam as you sew the final compartment line at the back of the head.
- Trim any threads if/as needed, and enjoy!
Snakes, Squeaks, Sharing, and Snuggles
Both Humphrey and Oli both LOVE this toy, although Humphrey has laid claim. He’s been known to wear himself out playing then fall asleep on top of Mr. Snakey, lest Oli make a move while he snoozes. It’s jam-packed with squeaky goodness, wiggles wonderfully when shaken, and yet it’s crazy tough. Especially for a homemade toy. To Humphrey’s credit, however, sometimes he’s a caring and sharing little soul. Check out his efforts to entice his disinterested cat brother Tiger to play. Dejected, he settled for a basket-side snuggle instead. Sweet little darling.
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!
Oh my goodness! Exciting news, furfriends! Many years have passed since Mr. Snakey was made and eventually (after a long time) played to death. But we have a new snake toy. And it’s not homemade! Puppy pal Cooper gifted Humphrey a gigantic snake toy. It doesn’t have stuffing, but its body is filled with big squeakers. It has a fabulous squeak, and has been holding up well with Humphrey’s squeaking and play thus far. If you’re looking for a ready-made snake toy, we’d recommend this one based on our experience, unlike many so-called “tough” toys. The snake Cooper gave Humphrey was made by Outward Hound (affiliate link). We have the big version and it’s lots of fun! And a lot easier than sewing (as much as I enjoy making toys). I like it so much that I bought Humphrey their Gecko and we’ve gifted their toys to other furfriends.