No-Cost DIY Dog Toys

When my significant other and I first adopted our dog, my growing pup would (literally) tear through every new stuffed or squeaky toy in a matter of minutes. So I decided to supplement her toy box with an array of homemade toys that could withstand her tugging and that I wouldn’t feel bad about throwing out on a frequent basis. Plus, it was a great way to repurpose a supply of items I wasn’t really using in my home — old t-shirts — meaning it cost nothing to make.

You can easily make these braided tug toys too!


  • At least two old t-shirts
  • A pair of scissors

Everyone has that old t-shirt that maybe they received free as a promotional item or maybe they wore to the max and really should get rid of it, but haven’t “gotten around to it” yet. I’m a size medium and like longer t-shirts which worked great when my dog was a pup. Length is definitely important for this project. As my dog has gotten older (and a lot bigger), I have needed longer shirts, so I have “taken off my dad’s hands” a few of the 4x tees he doesn’t wear. As a personal preference, I like to use two different color tees for each project for aesthetic reasons and stay away from anything with a graphic printed on it or I cut out and discard the graphic before proceeding with the project.

To make this particular toy, I chose to use a tie-dye shirt and a baby blue shirt.

Step 1

Lay out your t-shirt on a flat surface. Starting at the bottom of the shirt, cut a straight vertical line until you get to the top seam.

Step 2

Move a couple inches over and cut again. You can also make a small cut and then “tear” the t-shirt the rest of the way to the top seam. It is quicker and more fun!

Step 3

When you get to the top seam, cut the strip horizontally below the seam so it is not part of your strip. Also, cut off the bottom seam of the strip.

Step 4

Repeat Steps 2 and 3 for the entire shirt. When you get to a graphic or an arm hole, you can cut around it and then keep going.

Step 5

Repeat Steps 1 through 4 for the second t-shirt.

Step 6

Lay out all of your strips flat on the table (it’s ok if individual strips curl). Trim strips where necessary so that they are all about the same length.

Step 7

Take your strips (I used about 13 to make each toy and was able to make two toys from this set of strips – but this can vary depending on the weight of the t-shirts you’re using and the size of your pup) and tie a knot at the one end. Pull hard to make sure the knot is as tight as possible.

Step 8

Separate your strips into 3 equal sections and start to braid.

Step 9

When you have about 5 inches of strips remaining, tie a second tight knot.

Step 10

Trim the ends of the toy so that all strips are again the same length.

Step 11

Start playing!

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Jane Gealy says:

    This is such a neat idea!

    Liked by 1 person

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