DIY Super Spiral Eight Strand Dog Tug Toy

Dalmatian dog smiling on bed with colourful homemade spiral dog tug toys

Get ready to upsize your tug toy fun!  This super spiral is a DIY eight strand dog tug toy woven as an upsized variation on the corner-to-corner spiral pattern. Extra strands make a thicker sturdier tug, and combining them using different weaving patterns is a fun way to experiment with designs and colours. Let’s take a look at weaving pattern options and how to weave a super spiral tug toy. 

Upsizing DIY Dog Tug Toys

Questions about tug toy size are something we often get in messages from readers and furfriends on our social media. So much so that we created a special post all about tug toy sizes. Working with thicker materials, wider strands, doubling up strands, and multi-strand patterns are all options that toy makers can use to fatten up a tug toy. Once you’re comfortable with the basic weaving patterns, experimenting with patterns that use more strips, like this super spiral, opens up new ways to create shapes, styles, textures, and colour combinations.

Eight Strand Spiral Tugs

All of our spiral tugs use the same corner-to-corner (diagonal) weaving method, with different numbers of pairs moving in each woven layer of the tug depending on the pattern. The simplest eight strand spiral would be doubling up the strands into four working pairs and weaving a basic spiral tug toy. But we’re going to weave our super spiral with eight individual strands

This super spiral tug toy and our corkscrew spiral tug toy are both DIY eight strand dog tug toys, woven in different configurations. The corkscrew uses two verticals and three sets of horizontals. The super spiral uses two sets of verticals and two sets of horizontals. Looking at the two tugs in our blog post photos (or better yet, weaving both for yourself) is a great way to see how the variation in pairings and positions affects the finished pattern. The corkscrew is a bumpy spiral, with upper/vertical and lower/vertical pairs dominating as they wrap around the middle/vertical core. The super spiral shows all colour pairing evenly as they intertwine as spirals up the length of the tug. 

Super Spirals vs. Super Squares

Curious about why many of the multi-strand tugs you see on the blog tend to be variations on spirals? You can vary the patterns to make square knot tug toys and other weaving styles, if you’d like to experiment with those. You can increase the square pattern using any combination of extra verticals (incrementing by sets of two) and/or horizontals (incrementing by sets of two). Easy peasy.  A super-sized square is just a bigger blockier version of the standard square tug, and I prefer playing around with the colour patterns and shapes in the more stylish (personal opinion) spirals. And the rounder shape is also a little softer for hands and mouths during big tug playtime, too.  

Close up on dog draping his leg over a fleecy tug toy while sitting on a dog bed

Practice Makes Pawfect

New to weaving? You might like to make a few simple tugs (hooray for extra toys) before diving into some of the more complicated patterns. It’s easier to keep track of what’s moving where with a simple four-strand spiral tug while you learn the weave than diving straight into a more complex combo, like this super spiral pattern. But the dogs won’t judge on looks if things aren’t quite perfect with your weaving, just on fun!

Weaving a DIY Super Spiral Dog Tug Toy

Preparing the Materials

To make a similar super spiral dog tug toy, you will need:

  • Polar fleece (or alternate fabric)
  • Scissors

To weave a super spiral dog tug toy as shown, clean fabric is cut into 8 long narrow strips. You can scale the toy to suit your dog and your materials by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. You could weave this toy using one colour, but using multiple colours is recommended to really show off those spirals. I’m using eight strands in four pairs of different colours: two colours as verticals and two colours as horizontals. I’ve combined mine as pairs so you can see the effect of the different colour combinations spiralling around the tug, and there are extra examples with the eight-strand weaving pattern in other colour combinations at the end of our post.

Cutting strips of fleece for making dog tug toys

Making the Eight Strand Super Spiral Tug Toy

Preparing the strands for weaving:

  • Tie a starting end knot near one end of your strands. I used a simple overhand knot, but if you’d like a less bulky know for so many strands, then you can switch to an alternative style. 
  • Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right).

I’m weaving my super spiral with a colour pattern as follows:

  • vertical colour one (left set up/down) – yellow in the example photos below
  • vertical colour two (right set up/down) –  blue in the example photos below
  • horizontal colour three (upper set left/right) –  purple in the example below
  • horizontal colour four (lower set left/right) – pink in the example below

Since this is a spiral tug, we are going corner-to-corner on a diagonal, but only within those set positions. The colours stay in their relative pattern relationship, and with the coloured strands alternating in position as we weave each layer.  Don’t worry, it’s not as difficult as it might seem at first. It’s all just up/down over/under on repeat. 

Some weavers like to start with a base layer before beginning their pattern to with positioning, and if that’s you, go for it. For a clean and clear start, I’m just going to dive right in by very carefully setting up all of my strands and beginning the spiral weaving pattern right from the starting end knot. Once that first layer is carefully woven and pulled into place, I find weaving the rest is a whole lot easier. Ready?  

Weaving the body of the eight strand super spiral tug toy:

Pattern Configuration:

The super spiral dog tug toy is woven like four spiral weave knots adjoining each other as a quad. If your starting configuration is with the upwards vertical strands right (as shown in my example) weave shown in the diagram above and the collage photos and instructions below. If your preferred starting configuration position is with the upwards vertical strands left instead, it’s simply the opposite sequence.

Weaving Method:
  • Fold your vertical strands in paired sets so that they “trade places” on a diagonal. In each pair, the top vertical bends diagonally to bottom, bottom bends diagonally to top. Keep them in their paired lanes, the verticals don’t cross over each other.
    • Vertical left set (yellow in my example) top right strand bends to bottom left, bottom left strand bends to top right (middle).
    • Vertical right set (blue in my example) top right strand bends to bottom left, bottom left strand bends to top right (far right).
  • Weave your horizontals strands in pairs so that they “trade places” on a diagonal. In each coloured pair, the left bends diagonally downwards to the right, and the right bends upwards to the left. Again, keep them in their paired lanes.
    • Horizonal upper set (purple in my example) strand at the upper left bends diagonally across and down to the starting position of the upper right strand of this set, weaving over then under and over then under the vertical strands as it goes. The strand at the upper right bends diagonally across and up, weaving over then under and over then under the vertical strands as it goes.
    • Horizontal lower set (pink in my example) strand at the upper left bends diagonally across and down to the starting position of the lower right strand of this set, weaving over then under and over then under the vertical strands as it goes. The strand at the lower right bends diagonally across and up, weaving over then under and over then under the vertical strands as it goes.
  • Carefully, incrementally and evenly tighten the weave into a quad of adjacent checkerboard looking knots.
  • Repeat the same sequence to weave the remainder of tug.
Step-by-step collage showing how to weave an eight strand spiral dog tug toy

Knee Nip Tug Toy Tip:

Although I often set things out flat for clearer viewing in post photos, it’s much easier to weave tugs with the working end secured. I like to nip mine between my knees. No special fussing required with securing the end and it works great! If the end isn’t securely held, it’s hard to neatly weave a pattern sequence, especially when you’re trying to keep track of so many moving pieces of fleece. Movements or mix-ups can create pattern problems in the appearance of your finished tugs

Finishing the end of the tug toy:

As always, don’t leave yourself short on material for tying off the end knot of your tug. I’m using a simple overhand knot to finish up the super spiral, just like I did with my starting end. As noted above, you can use an alternative end knotting technique instead if you’d prefer something with less bulk. Whatever your style, I recommend matching your starting knot technique for a consistent look. 

Overhand knots are quick and simple, but they can be bulky when you have a lot of working strands. The example photo below shows an eight strand spiral tug woven with the same pattern that’s been finished with a different style of end knot for less bulk. It’s the tug we made back when we were prepping for a previous Christmas, that made a cameo in his Christmas stocking post. We gifted to Humphrey’s surprise holiday guest who came to stay with us during a family emergency that year so It never made it into full blog photos for DIY posting here.

DIY eight strand super spiral dog tug toy with alternate end knot

Colour Combinations and Pattern Variations

I used some extra strips of fleece from my craft stash of pieces and offcuts to make two extra versions of the eight strand spiral pattern while prepping the photos for this post. They’re shorter than the ones used for the main tug above, but still great for giving a quick visual on how variations to strand colours and position within the same weaving pattern can change the look of the tug toy.

Colour Set Pairs

The example tug above uses colour sets in pairs of two. This creates a long spiral of colour along the length of the tug in single “bumps” where the outside folds of each layer are visible in the body of the finished tug. It’s an easy colour pattern to keep track of when you’re weaving since the strands always start/finish in alternating position with its same coloured partner. And I love the look, too.

Colour configuration example for an eight strand spiral weave with colour set pairs

Full Colour Set Combinations

If you use the same colour for all of the verticals and/or all of the horizontals, you get a wider “double bump” version of the coloured spiral effects. The example below shows a tug where all four verticals are the same colour (yellow) with the horizontals are still colour set pairs. 

Colour configuration example for an eight strand spiral weave with full colour sets vs colour pairs

Alternating Colour Pairs

Alternating the colour pairs is a variation on the positioning above that’s still fairly easy to keep track of what’s moving and where. This switch alternates the colour of the visible “bumps” in each layer. This introduces a speckled effect, like you’ve seen in some of our simple spirals. But because the colours are intertwined in a quad for an eight strand super spiral, what you see on the outside of the tug can be a quite different from a basic speckle, depending on how you choose to place the alternating colours. As you can see in our example tug below, alternating within pairs creates a nifty looking alternating colour combo spiral effect. Now that you have an idea of how strand position changes the look of the tug, you can experiment with all sorts of placements and combinations for different colour effects. 

Combining Patterns and Shapes

The eight strand spiral works really well for combining two four-strand tugs for making interesting shapes. When we made our split double loop tug toy, I spiralled the middle together using the twisted double spiral with doubled up shared strands to make it look like the tugs were twining together and apart again. The eight strand spiral would be an option for a different look and without sharing strands. But positioning all those strands can be tricky, so as a bonus idea for our creative tug makers, here’s an example we call “The Mav”. 

The toy below was made for our tiny friend Mav, who took a liking to Humphrey’s blue and yellow split double loop despite it being bigger than she was at the time! For extra grab factor, I tied transition knots where the loop piece join and split from the mid section. It’s a fun look, but also makes re-positioning the strands into place at pattern switch points a lot easier than the very careful alignment at transitions in our usual splits double spirals. Since transition wasn’t a factor, I used the eight strand double spiral pattern (colour pair sets) for the middle. 

Custom dog tug toy combining spiral loops and knots

Additional Tug Toy Making Help and Information

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 way 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!

DIY 8 strand super spiral dog tug toy instructions

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