Monday, 12 December 2016

DIY Frosty the Squeaky Snowman Dog Toy

 
Frosty the Squeaky Snowman was created as a matching toy for our Squeaky Santa Christmas dog toy. I wanted to make a few extra tough toys for our Christmas playtime and, like Santa, Frosty combines  a sturdy material base with decorative fleece embellishments for a tough but cute softie. Here's how to make your own Frosty:
 
To make your own, you will need sturdy white and black/dark fabric, mixed fleece scraps for embellishments (a great use for offcuts!), complementary coloured thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional), non-toxic pink blush/tint (optional),  and scissors/sewing tools. The toy can be hand sewn, but will be much easier if machine sewn.  Softie 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.
 
 
I free handed Frosty's embellishments so that I could work with my available materials and off cuts, but since he is a little more complicated than most of our toys, I created a little sketch (see above) to help clarify what's being cut and used where.  It isn't a pattern. You can create your own customised embellishments to suit your circle base, available materials/scraps, and preferences. For example, I didn't have a strong enough white decorator/upholstery fabric in my craft stash to suite my tough Frosty plan, so I made two circles for Frosty's head out of some strong dark denim and layered the white on top instead of just using a single layer of white.

 
  • Cut two identical circles of strong fabric for Frosty's head, one white and one dark. Alternatively, as noted above, I wanted a stronger base than my white fabric, so I cut three circles: two drak and one white, and then layered and sewed the white onto one of my dark circles to create a reinforced white face circle.   A large plate or bowl makes a great template for tracing your circles. :)
  • Cut an identical partial circle (roughly 1/3) of black fleece for Frosty's hat. Cut long narrow strip of black fleece that is wide enough to span your full circle at the base of the hat for a brim. If you'd like to add holly or other embellishment for Frosty's hat to break up the black and add a little style, you can also cut those shapes if/as you wish. 
  • Cut two strips of fleece to create an overlapping scarf for the bottom of Frosty head.  No need to trim to match the circle edge yet - you can do that when you position for sewing.
  • Cut scraps of fleece into coal and a carrot to create Frosty's face. The lumps of coal can be a little irregular and vary is size, like real coal or stones would, for added style.
  • Once you have all of the pieces, lay out your Frosty head on the white base circle and double check that all of your shapes/sizes work and adjust if/as needed.
Tip: Sewing small pieces of fleece can be tricky for pinning, positioning and stitching.  If you wish, you can tack them into position with a non-toxic glue (this will be chewed on, so make sure its non-toxic/edible, whether bought or homemade) or a few quick hand basting stitches.
  • Carefully sew your Frosty hat, scarf, and face pieces onto the white base using complimentary coloured threads. Where the edges of the hat and scarf cross the outside of the circle these places do not need to be sewn (you can, of course, if you wish) as they will be sewn into the seam when you join the circles for stuffing.  
  • Optional: If you'd like to add a little extra stitching for style and strength (totally up to you), do this before adding extra embellishments and joining the circles. I opted to sew a few lines on my carrot nose, vertical lines on the main part of Frosty's hat, and double sew the edges of the hat brim and scarf.
  • If you're adding an embellishment to the hat, sew into place after the hat has been sewn to the base and ensure it is positioned far enough from the edge of the circle that it won't be in your seam when the circles are joined.
  • Trim any threads or excess fleece if/as needed.
  • Optional: If you wish, dust the nose and cheeks of your Santa (...his nose like a cherry...) with a little bit of blush, mica, or other non-toxic tint to create a slightly rosy glow. 
 
 
  • Layer your face and backing right-side-in and sew together along the seam allowances, leaving a gap at the (top or bottom, whichever you prefer) for inversing and stuffing.
  • Remove any excess threads/fleece and inverse to right-side-out.
  • Add stuffing and (optional) squeaker(s). Don't over-stuff or it will be difficult to close the toy.
  • Fold the gap seam allowance into the toy and sew the toy closed. Caution: Accidental squeaking while stuffing/sewing may result in dog theft attempts from your craft table before you finish the project. :)
  • Optional: If you hate hand-closing or want to reinforce the closure seam, you can cheat a little and carefully machine sew an external seam along the edge.
  • Trim any threads if/as needed and enjoy! 
 
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.

We have a Christmas post for your ever weekday between now and the start of our offline holidays, with toys, decorations, treats, and more so stay tuned! See you again tomorrow, furfriends!

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