Monday, February 6, 2023

DIY Dog Tug Toy

Learn to make tug toys for your dog or puppy using old t-shirts. It's a great upcycle project that won't cost you anything. 

I'll show you three ways to make fun DIY dog toys, two I ended up liking - the third, not so much. But you can decide for yourself.

diy dog tug toys made from t-shirt strips

We recently got a new puppy. He's a silver Lab and his name is Rex. The kids are obsessed. 

We've always had dogs. But until now, they've always been outdoor dogs. Since the kids are older and I'm not chasing toddlers anymore, I thought we could try house-training a puppy. 

So far it's going fairly well. But boy, it's a lot of work. 


dog laying down with a tug toy

Rex definitely has lots of energy. Since it's wintertime, there have been many days when it's too cold to be outside for long. 

That's when playing tug has been so helpful. It's a great way to expend some energy even when we're stuck inside. A good game of tug is sure to wear your dog out.

We've spent more than we'd like on new toys, gear and dog treats for our puppy, so I thought it was a good idea to make a homemade dog toy to keep our dog busy. They ended up being some of our dog's favorite toys.


↓ ↓ ↓ PIN IT ↓ ↓ ↓ 
collage of diy dog tug toys
↑ ↑ ↑ PIN IT ↑ ↑ ↑

This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please see my full disclosure policy for details. 


  • old t-shirts
  • a pair of scissors (or rotary cutter and mat)
I like using t-shirts because they have a bit of stretch to them and they don't fray on the edges when cut. 

The t-shirts I used were all adult sizes. They were not all the same size and it worked out just fine. 

Other fabric options: old jeans, or old towels.   

tie dye t-shirts

Let's get started on this easy DIY project.


To make a thicker tug toy rope, I used three old shirts to make two rope toys. This is a good option for large dogs or aggressive chewers. 

For small dogs you may want a thinner rope toy, you could use just one shirt. 

If you learn better through video, check it out here.

Cut up t-shirt for dog tug toy
Begin by cutting up the t-shirt. I trim off the side with the sleeve. 

Then cut two strips from the bottom all the way to the top. These two strips are between the sleeve and the neck.

Repeat with the other side of the shirt.

Note: No need to measure. My strips were probably around two inch wide strips.
strips of fabric from a t-shirt

If you want to make some smaller tug toys, you can make some strips from the center piece of the shirt. Cut off the neck of the shirt and cut the rest into two strips.

Cut all the strips in the same manner for the other two shirts.

tie dye strips of fabric for t-shirt dog toy

Gather 6 of your long strips.

fabric strips

Lay them on top of each other at one end. This doesn't have to be perfect.

strips of fabric with a knot tied in one end

Tie a knot near the end of the strips.

braiding fabric strips

Separate the strands into three sections with two strips in each section. Then braid the fabric.

braided fabric strips from t-shirt

When you get to the end, tie a knot in the other end. You can see that some of my strips were longer than others. Simply cut off the longer strands.

diy dog tug toy rope

That's all there is to it! Pretty easy, right?  Repeat this process with the other long strips.

diy dog toy rope

I made two different types of the smaller tug toys.

homemade dog tug toy

This is the easiest one to make, but it's also the one I ended up not liking. Our dog likes to grab right on the knots - since the knot is in the middle, it's hard to hold onto while playing tug. 

Simply lay out 6 strips of fabric and tie them in a knot near the middle of the strips.

how to make a dog tug toy

For this tug toy, stack 6 strips of fabric and tie knots near both ends. 

Now you have 4 new tug toys made from 3 old shirts that were destined for the trash.

Want to watch the video?  ↓↓Click the link ↓↓


Don't forget to pin it!!
collage of diy dog tug toys

collage of dog tug toys

1 comment :

  1. A friend of mine makes these using fleece material and then donates them to her local animal shelter