DIY Dog Toy - Recycled T-shirt Tug Toy | PetFirst
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DIY Dog Toy – Recycled T-shirt Tug Toy

by PetFirst Pet Insurance
4 years ago

When it comes to our furry family members, it can seem like keeping them happy, healthy and active is a full-time job. Aside from being time consuming, new pets, especially puppies within their first year, are expensive.

Happy dog rolling around on the floor with his brand new DIY recycled t-shirt dog toy

Upcycling, the art of reappropriating old objects or materials to create new brand new products, is one of the biggest DIY trends of the decade. We’ve all heard the saying “Waste not, want not.” Well, at PetFirst, we have found our own way of taking the old (in this case, t-shirts) and creating something new and enjoyable. In this case, that something is a do-it-yourself dog tug toy which furbabies young and old will be sure to adore. Use our step-by-step instructions below to make this awesome DIY dog toy.


  • T-shirt scraps (Try using contrasting or complimentary colors)
  • Scissors
  • Optional: An extra set of hands for when you’re braiding.


Step One:

In order to get the most bang for your buck, we need to cut as many strips as we can from our material. Here are the tried and true methods for the sleeves and the body.


  • Cut off the sleeve along the seam that connects to the body.
  • Cut the seam of the sleeve along the armpit and flatten the piece out.
  • Cut the edge seam off of your new flat piece of fabric and cut the remaining material into 1″ wide strips.
  • Stretch the strip to lengthen and create a rolled edge
  • Take the edge seam pieces you removed from the sleeve, which should now look like little tubes, and remove the stitching by cutting down the center, then flatten.


  • Cut as many 1” wide strips from the front and back of the body of your t-shirt as possible.

BONUS: You may have some tiny fabric scraps left over from this DIY project. Save them in a small bag and use them to stuff a dog bed or other crafts in the future.

Step Two:

Okay, now we have our strips! Next you’ll have to determine how thick you’ll want your braid to be. Six strips will be a thinner braid, while nine or more will yield a thicker braid. Remember, the more strips you use, the longer they need to be so you will have enough space to tie the ends together.

Step Three:

Braid away!

  • Take the bundle of strips, line them up, and tie a tight knot at either end.
  • Separate the strips into three groups and braid them. If you use nine strips, you will have three groups of three strips. Need to brush up on your braiding? Check out YouTube for some great braiding tutorials!
  • Stop the braid with approximately 6″ of fabric left and tie another knot.
  • Trim the strips to your desired length.

And that’s all there is to it!

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