Oh my dawg… A giant DIY dog tug toy made out of smaller woven fleece dog tug toys? Oh yes we did! Why? Simply because someone asked us if we could try to make one. No promises, but if you have a doggone crazy idea that you’d like us to try, don’t be shy. Since this toy was slotting into our schedule on St. Patrick’s Day, I went with a wild rainbow of colours, adding in white as the extra eighth colour. The colours also help you see what’s what in the how-to photos.
Creating a GIANT DIY Dog Tug Toy
To super size your weaving and create a giant DIY dog tug toy, you can work with larger and/or thicker materials, pick a naturally thicker weaving pattern that uses extra strands, or combine both.
Weaving with Thicker Materials
I like making my toys with fleece. As explained in our post about choosing and using fleece for dog tug toys, fleece is economical, non-fraying, colourfast, and washable with a nice, thick, strong but slightly stretchy feel. Non-fraying is particularly important to me when making no-sew toys. Linear bodies, like loose threads or stands from rope, can be particularly risky if swallowed. You can, of course, adapt any DIY (from here or anywhere) to another material that you feel comfortable with using and feel is appropriate for your pet. Any toy no matter what it’s made of or where it’s sourced from requires dog-by-dog consideration for suitability and supervision during play.
To fatten up fleece, you can use heavy weight fleece, wider strips, our group strips into pairs (or more) for weaving together. See our post on DIY fleece tug toy sizes for details and visual examples. This Tug of Tugs takes a unique twist (literally) on grouping strands by weaving them together first. The end result is a giant DIY tug toy for crazy fun.
Weaving Naturally Thicker Patterns
In most cases, the more working strands there are in a weave, the thicker the toy will be is made with the same sized strips. For example, a double twisted spiral dog tug toy (six strands) is a little bulkier than a single spiral dog tug toy (four strands).
Combining Both Techniques
Both techniques can be used separately or combined. For example, the six strand double twisted spiral we mentioned above becomes even thicker if woven with fatter strips or (one of my favourite tricks to create bigger dog tug toys) with twelve strips, paired into six working strands.
Getting Creative with the Tug of Tugs Experiment
The Tug of Tugs uses a whopping sixteen strands to create a giant DIY dog tug toy. Instead of grouping and weaving once, each set is first woven into a tug. This creates a natural bulk, added toughness, and added texture in the finished toy. The four tugs are then woven again, with each tug taking the place of a working strand for the final giant tug.
In terms of pros for the toy experiment, the Tug of Tugs is very solid and heavily textured. In obvious cons, it takes more materials and weaving effort of a basic tug. The big solid giant tug toy is relatively tough for playtime fun, but lacks the wiggle squiggle flexibility and stretch of smaller tugs. Variety! The spice of dog toy life!
Weaving the Tug of Tugs DIY Dog Tug Toy
Both the spiral weave and square box knot weave were used in making this giant DIY dog tug toy. The pictured toy is made using four long slender standard spiral tugs. The tugs are then double woven in a basic box knot, using the tugs in lieu of strands to make a giant heavy-duty rainbow riot tug.
Preparing the Materials
To create your own similar giant DIY dog tug toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece or alternate fabrics
To double weave a giant DIY dog tug toy like the one pictured here, clean fabric is cut into sixteen (16) 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. Fortunately, when making a tug with fleece there is no need to be too fussy about straight lines when cutting. Extra good news when you need to cut sixteen strips!
I used eight colours, as shown, with two strands of each colour. These should be relatively narrow strands relative to the length of your fleece. It’s important that you make your tugs sturdy, but slender enough so that you can weave them into a decent width/length tug the second stage of the double weave. Unless you have crazy lengths of fleece to work with, if you make the initial tugs too bulky, you’ll lack flexibility for the second weaving and will rapidly run out of length.
I’d normally caution that beginner weavers might prefer starting with a simple coloured tug to get comfy with the techniques before experimenting with some of our crazier projects. But, if you’re keen you can jump right in to making this giant DIY dog tug toy. By the time you’ve prepped the four tugs to be double woven into the tug-of-tugs, you should be getting pretty comfy with simple spirals!
First Weave: Weaving the Spiral Dog Tug Toys
I opted for the spirals for the inside strands. I thought their rounded form would be a little easier to double weave in the next step than square tugs. Detailed instructions as well as additional diagrams and step-by-step photos for this weaving method are available in our comprehensive post on making spiral dog tug toys.
- Separate your sixteen prepared strips of fleece into four groups of four.
- Starting with one group of four, loosely (it will be undone later) tie a knot to join one end of your strands.
- Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right upper, left/right lower). Weave into a tug using your preferred method. As noted above, I opted for spirals. Detailed instructions are available in our post on making spiral dog tug toys.
- Do not tie the working end when finished.
- Repeat the process above for each group of four to weave all four tugs.
- Untie the temporary knots from the starting ends of your tugs.
Second Weave: Weaving the Tugs Together to Create a GIANT Tug
For the second weave of our giant DIY dog tug toy, I used a basic square box knot weave to keep it as simple as possible for the double weave. If you prefer, you can go rounded with a spiral weave. Because all those ends are super bulky, I also modified the ends knots. It would be thick and awkward to join the ends using our usual loop knot. I opted to tie them together into a side-by-side ring at the start and used the same method to tie off the other end at completion.
- Pair into two set of two tugs, position them side-by-side, and tie together two neighbouring strands from each tug. Position the joined pairs together and tie the other two strands from each tug with its new neighbour. You can tie additional knots on completion, if/as you wish.
- Flip knotted side down.
- Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right upper, left/right lower). Weave into a tug-of-tugs using your preferred method. As noted above, I opted for a box knot. Detailed instructions are available in our post on making square box knot dog tug toys.
- Take care to ensure you weave the tug strands together evenly and tightly. They need a little more TLC (and elbow grease) for positioning and tightening than simple fleece strands.
- As you approach the end of the woven tug strands, prepare to tie off. If your tug strands are an uneven length, you can untie a little to even things out if needed.
- Tie the ends to secure using the method of your choice. For consistency and even aesthetics, I used the same method of tying neighbouring strands as the starting end (see above).
- Trim excess if/as you wish, 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!