After Friday's DIY Olympic-inspired post, we had a reader request for extra information about how to transition from a basic straight tug toy into a basic loop tug toy, so we are adding in a quick how-to post before we share our usual Monday recipe. Here are the steps for a basic loop as well as instruction/links for a few variations. We hope this helps and, as always, please don't be shy to comment/message at anytime if you need a hand with our projects. :)
Basic loop (knots but no tail):
- Cut four long strips of fleece. Length and width are at your discretion to scale the toy for your pet.
- Tie a knot near one end of your strands and then 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.
- Close the loop near your starting knot. You can knot around the strand or (as shown) you can pull the loose ends through the strand at slightly different points just below the starting knot, and tie a basic loop knot to finish the ends and secure the loop.
- Trim the ends to even things up if/as you wish.
Basic loop with single tail: You can easily have a tail instead of two knots by working as above but leaving extra loose strips at your starting point. When you have enough for your loop, untie the knot and join the strips into four pairs of two at the closure point of your loop (take care to align colours - tie an extra knot if needed), then weave the tail until you approach the end for tie off. See the pictures below of a toy we recently made for a friend's puppy, or visit our loop and handle/tail DIY tug toy post for detailed instructions.
Basic loop with multiple tails: Two tails can be easily made using VERY long strips of fleece, with a loop in the center, and the two tails extending; however, this can be a bit prohibitive from a material perspective as you would need to use a giant piece of fleece (expensive unless you are making lots of toys) to make long strips or join strips (messy). See our multi-strand tug toy with loop for details on how to make a tug with as many tails as you wish!
Circle without knots/tail: See the "O" in our Valentine XO tug toy DIY for detailed instructions and pictures.
Tips and tricks:
- Knotting can be confusing if this is your first attempt. You may find it helpful to work with different colours until you get the hang of things. As an added bonus, that also makes for a pretty result.
- You can secure the starting end to something, if you wish. I prefer to be seated with it nipped between my knees. This allows me to freely flip the strands to the front, back over a shoulder, and from side to side.
- Don't leave yourself short on the tie-off - you'll need more fabric than you might think.
- You can use any knots you wish for the start/finish, but a basic "simple" or "overhand" knot (loop around self and pull end through until tight) is my personal preference. Gather the ends together into a single bunch, loop around the bunch as close as you can to the end of your weave, pass the free ends through the loop, and pull tight. This give you a nice tidy and secure end. If you are doing two-ended tug, like this one, you can also start with that style of knot, so it matches up nicely.\
Relax and try to have fun with your toy project. Remember, your dog won't be judging his/her new awesome super fun play toy on looks. There is no right/wrong way to make your toys as long as they are secure and you are playing safely together - looks are secondary to fun (and safety, of course). Straight tug toys are the easiest place to start and once you have the hand of a basic weave you can try some of our "fancier" ideas or experiment with ideas of your own. If you're making toys, don't be shy to share with us on Facebook or Twitter - we'd love to see them! :)
Remember, this is 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.