This combination tug and squeaky softie Valentine's Day dog toy is sure to set puppy dog hearts everywhere a pitter-patter. To make it you will simply need a length of fleece (or other suitable material), some contrasting fleece offcuts, scissors, and if you would like to include the optional arrowhead heart, some additional fleece, stuffing, a squeaker, coordinating thread, a needle. Squeakers can be rescued from old damaged toys for recycling (if you're lucky!) or purchased from craft stores or online. You can, of course, also make the arrowhead without a squeaker.
- Cut two long strips of fleece. The length and width are at your discretion to scale the arrow to the size of your pet. The grey strips in the toys as shown were approximately 2m long x 4-5cm wide.
- Tie a knot securing both strips together in their middle. This forms the tip of your arrow/shaft
- Knot using a "box weave" aka "square knot" or "box braid" per the diagram and steps below:
- Spread the strips in a cross (+) shape
- Fold the top of the vertical strip towards the bottom
- Fold the bottom of the vertical strip towards the top
- Fold the right end of the horizontal strip towards the left, passing over then under
- Fold the left end of the horizontal strip towards the right, passing over then under
- Pull to secure.
- Repeat the steps until you start to approach the end. Pause knotting to prepare the "feathers".
- Cut a number of shorter strips from fleece offcuts in a variety of colours. We used grey, black, white, pink, and red. The strips shown are approximately 15cm long x 4-5cm wide.
- Slip the offcut lengths under the loops at the working end of your knotted arrow shaft and tie to secure. Add 4-6, then repeat the box weave steps to knot your arrowshaft material over the top, leaving the ends of your offcut strips sticking out through the sides of the shaft. These form the feathers for your arrow.
- Repeat this knotting-in of offcuts once or twice, depending on your toys size and the fluffiness you'd like in your arrow's feathers, then do a final offcut tie in but this time allow some of the ends to stick up through the center of your final knot so that you have a tuft of feathers all around the sides and top.
- Even out your offcut ends with a straight cut, or use pinking shears to for a little extra feather flair. You can skip the arrowhead and use as-is, or continue to complete the full cupid's arrow.
- Cut two heart shapes (size to suit your arrow shaft) from a small piece of fleece.
- By machine or hand, sew your edges, leaving a shaft-sized hole in the cleavage of your heart and a squeaker sized hole on one side. You can absolutely use the shaft hole for the squeaker and stuffing if you prefer to save on tidy stitching, but it is a little trickier to get squeaker placement, a well-stuffed heart, and a neatly attached arrow this way. Totally up to you!
- Invert the heart.
- Position the shaft in the heart cleavage, extending into the heart, and securely sew to secure in place.
- Insert the squeaker and incrementally add stuffing, making sure that your squeaker is well-padded and positioned. Beware: Accidental squeaking during stuffing will cause very excited dogs! :)
- Blind stitch to securely and neatly sew closed. If you're not sure how to blind stitch and want things to look pretty (trust me, your dog will not care either way so stitch however you want to!), look at blind stitching instructions online for pillows for detailed help.
Remember, toys are for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved. You can read more about dog toy safety here.
This is the first of several pawesome Valentine's toys and other crafty DIYs that we have prepped for you. Yes, that includes that cute little bandana Humphrey is wearing in the photos for those of you who noticed. :) We also have some free printables that we'll be posting for you to download next week and (of course) a whole lot of tasty treat ideas to add to the naturally pink beetroot dog treat recipe we shared with you earlier this week, pictured with the toy in the photo above. Stay tuned and woofs until next time!