Thursday, 18 August 2016

DIY Birthday Candle Dog Tug Toy

Humphrey loves tug toys, so I decided to make him something extra special for his birthday. I hinted that something fun and fleecy was in the works when I shared last Friday's instructions for making a round twist box knot tug toy, which is what gives the body of our candle its diagonal colour banding.

The materials and craft supplies used in making the tug toy shown are:
  • Polar fleece fabric
  • Scissors
Caution: This project is not recommended for beginner weavers. It can be tricky to gauge the scale if you're unfamiliar with making tugs and you will need to manipulate both the starting point and shape of the tug, as well as weave a basic box knot and either the twisted box weaving method or the circle twist weaving method to give candy cane its diagonal colour banding. Beginners might prefer starting with a simple coloured tug to get comfy with the techniques before experimenting with some of our crazier projects. :)

  • Cut two extra long strips of fleece (one of each colour) for the body, two medium strips of yellow for the flame, and (the wick is optional, but cute!) two shorter and slightly narrower strips of black for the wick. Length and width are at your discretion to scale the toy for your pet. 
  • Starting with your long candle body strips, tie them together in the middle.
  • Using a basic box weave create the first knot as follows:
  1. Spread the strips in a cross (+) shape 
  2. Fold the top of the vertical strip towards the bottom
  3. Fold the bottom of the vertical strip towards the top
  4. Fold the right end of the horizontal strip towards the left, passing over then under
  5. Fold the left end of the horizontal strip towards the right, passing over then under
  6. Pull to secure. 
  • Flip so that this knot shows at the end of your tug (the bottom of the candle) and resume weaving from the other side, using the twisted box weaving method*:
  1. Rotate each strand 1/4 turn to the right, so that top becomes right, right becomes bottom, bottom becomes left, and left becomes top - see details and diagram here
  2. Fold the top (strip rotated from left to become the top) towards the bottom
  3. Fold the bottom (strip rotated from right to become the bottom) towards the top
  4. Fold the right (strip rotated from top) towards the left, passing over then under
  5. Fold the left (strip rotated from bottom) towards the right, passing over then under
  6. Pull to secure. 
  • Repeat the steps until you start to approach the end and are ready to add the wick. 
Note: You can also use the Circle Twist method for the same effect as the twisted box knot, if you'd prefer. You can read more here if you're interested.
  • Slip your two strands of black through the working end. If you are skipping the wick (optional), ignore the black and proceed to the instructions for the yellow flame further below.
  • To help narrow the wick, trim one colour of your candle (I trimmed blue in example shown) so that the ends will be hidden inside your toy as you continue knotting and weaving.
  • Knot the black strips tightly with the other candle strips (white in example shown) for additional strength in the joint, and then wrap the white around the top of your candle to conceal the connection point. Tip: You may tint it helpful to wrap with each strip separately and pull through the toy to secure the wraps and position the ends to the inside.  Wrap more than once if needed.  Trim the candle strips.
  • Wrap again with black just above the first wrap, making sure the candle strip ends are hidden inside.
  • Weave several layers of black (basic box without a twist is fine here), pulling tight so that the wick appears slightly narrower than the candle body. 
  • Slip your two strands of yellow through the working end. 
  • Knot the black strips tightly with the yellow strips for additional strength in the joint. Trim the black ends.
  • Wrap the yellow around the connection point, looping, crossing, and knotting on opposite sides, until you have fully covered the sides of the connection and created a nice fat bottom for your flame to taper from.
  • Weave the yellow (basic box without a twist is fine here), starting wide and pulling increasingly tighter with each knotted layer so that the flame tapers.
  • To finish, securely tie one of the yellow strands around the others. This gives a smaller end than our usually all-strand loop knot, which works well for our tapered flame. Trim the ends.  
  • Have fun together and remember to play safe - see tips below. 

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 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 in our safety post and find advice from the Humane Society here.

Looking for more? You can find all of our tug toy related posts here.  Helpful information is also available in our DIY Fleece Tug Toy FAQs, Tips, and Troubleshooting Mini-Series: 

See all of Humphrey's second birthday pawty details, DIYs, and recipes:

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