Our beautiful boy Oli turned 11 this week. We (of course!) had to celebrate with a pawty and some special treats and toys. This DIY wrapped birthday present stuffed dog toy is part gift, part ball, and all fun. Complete with ribbons, a bow, and a personalised gift tag. Here’s the scoop on how to sew a cube of any size and our DIY birthday dog toy details.
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 Wrapped Birthday Present (Cube) Stuffed Dog Toy
I made this cube extra large as a special soccer ball sized birthday present stuffed toy for Oli, but the general process is the same no matter what the desired size the final cube. Unlike many of our other DIY stuffed dog toys, I didn’t include any squeakers as we’re using this as a big ball type of toy. Albeit it a rather squarish one! Without squeakers, the soft fleece ball is also more likely to be played with as a ball than fanged for fun.
Supplies and Materials
To make a similar DIY stuffed wrapped birthday present dog toy, you will need:
- Fabric for the body of the cube
- Scraps of mixed fleece for ribbons and embellishments
- Stuffing for filling for the stuffed toy
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
Fleece is fun to play with and easy to sew, but if you’d prefer a stronger toy, you can swap the base fabric for something sturdier. I used fleece here as it’s one of Oli’s favourites. He loves the super soft softies. I know it means the toy won’t be as tough or long lasting as it could be with a sturdier fabric, but it’s a special birthday treat.
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 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.
For a different look, you could swap the fleece ribbons for actual sturdy ribbon instead, like we did for our easy Easter egg DIY dog toys.
Making the DIY Wrapped Birthday Present Stuffed Dog Toy
Cutting the materials:
- Cut six equal squares of fabric for the sides of your cube. These should be the size you’d like you finished cube sides plus seam allowances on all edges.
- Cut eight equal strips of fleece or ribbon embellishment for your cube (one each side, two crossing top, two crossing bottom). Length is the same as your square panels, and width is st your discretion. I used pinking shears on my ribbon edges to give them a little bit more personality.
- Cut an additional strip for the top bow (optional).
- If adding a tag (optional) cut scraps of fleece to suit.
Attaching the embellishments to create the side panels of the wrapped cube:
- Group your side panels and their embellishments.
- Check position, size, and layout. Adjust if/as needed before sewing.
- Sew the ribbon strips individually into place, taking care to ensure that they are centred on their respective panels before sewing.
- Sew the gift tag (optional) and any embellishments (I used a personalised O for Oli) into place on the top panel.
- Sew to securely attach the bow strip (optional) to the centre of your top panel at the ribbon intersection. Tie the bow.
Joining the panels to sew the cube:
- Starting with the top of your cube, layer the first side panel right-side-in. Take care to align the ribbon joint for a nice finish. I didn’t get mine quite right in a few spots and it made me a bit crazy. Oops! Sew together along the seam allowance. Remember to ensure you leave allowances free at each end of the seam for when you later join those sides of the cube together!
- Repeat to join the four sides of the cube incrementally to the top panel, sewing only the adjoining top-to-side panel edge together along the seam allowance.
- Layer the bottom panel right-side-in with one of the sides. Again, take care to align the ribbon joints. Sew together along the seam allowance.
- Fold the top panel on the diagonal right-side-in to help you align a side seam to sew together right-side-in. Repeat to join all of the sides of the cube incrementally.
- Carefully align right-side-in and sew the free edges of the bottom panel to the sides. Where there is one seam left to join, sew only part way, leaving a gap for inverting and stuffing.
Stuffing and finishing the toy:
- Trim any excess threads and/or material. If you want to have point corners on your cube, you can trim material from the corner seam allowances prior to inverting. For a giant squishy ball cube like mine, it doesn’t matter so much, but for a smaller toy or a stiffer/thicker material, it can be very helpful.
- Invert to right-side-out.
- Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s). There are no squeakers in our birthday ball cube, as noted above.
- Fold the gap seam allowance into the toy and sew the toy closed.
- Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy!
🚨 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!