Friday, 19 February 2016

St. Patrick's Day DIY Dog Green Beer Toy

Old man Oli really enjoys squeaky toys, but their lifespans are short in his quest to conquer the squeaker by any means necessary. Made with inexpensive scrap materials and quick construction, it's ok that this St. Patrick's Day beer will be consumed quickly.  Less vigorous pups may sip at their leisure.  This DIY toy recycles an old tea/dish towel (substitution ideas noted below if you don't have one on hand) with a few offcuts of fleece, stuffing, and (of course!) a squeaker into a frothy green beer toy just for him.  No puppies allowed. :)

The materials and craft supplies used in making the toy shown are:
  • Fabric
  • Scissors
  • Stuffing
  • Squeakers
  • Sewing Supplies Can be fully hand sewn if you wish, but will be much quicker/easier if you have a sewing machine. Basic sewing skills are needed - nothing too fancy or difficult!

To make this toy, you will need a sturdy green dish towel (make sure it's clean) or other strong woven green fabric.  I used an old dishtowel that SOMEONE (Young Master Humphrey...) had stolen from the drying rack and ripped.  You will also need a scrap of white fleece/felt, scissors, stuffing, a squeaker, coordinating thread, and 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 toy without any squeakers and the handle is also optional if you'd rather make a simple tall glass of beer vs. mug.

  • If needed, cut your green fabric to the length and height you would like for your green beer mug. If you wish, you can expedite by using a fold on one side (as I did) or the bottom.
  • Reverse the fabric and sew together the sides and bottom, taking care to sew the handle so that the handle is inside (which will be the outside when inverted) and ends outside, as shown in the third image above. 
  • Inverse so that your seams are inside and the handle is outside.
  • Re-sew a small border around the sides and bottom as shown in the fourth image above.  This is part of creating a stylised mug shape, but also helps with added strength.
  • It is optional to hem the top of the mug at this stage if you wish, but it will be covered by the froth in the finished toy.  If you're using a tea towel, the edge is per-finished with is great!
  • You now have an open mug shape; however, we are going to add two vertical seams, splitting the mug into three long compartments prior to stuffing. This really gives the toy a mug-like appearance when complete, and makes it a little harder to rip apart to conquer the squeaker.  
  • Stuff the three compartments, taking care to carefully place one or more squeakers (if using) inside such that they are well padded and positioned.  Beware: Accidental squeaking during stuffing will cause very excited dogs! :)  If you're having difficulty stuffing all the way into the length of the compartment, use a pencil or the tip of your scissors to help.
  • Sew the top closed.  
  • Position your fleece off-cut and cut to size/shape, allowing a little overhand on the sides.
  • Sew the sides and top firmly onto the mug.
  • Hand-sew the bottom edges onto the mug, skipping the valleys of the seams so that your froth  rests naturally on the surface of the mug.
  • As with all beverages, enjoy safely and in moderation! 

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.

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