Recycled TShirt – Dogs Tugga Toy

Recycled TShirt – Dogs Tugga Toy

This home made dog toy is perfect for tug of war games or fetch. It is so simple to make that even kids can put it together. It is a great project for fetes and fundraisers too.

What you need

20 1 inch x 20 inch (2.5 cm x 50 cm) recycled stretch knit from upcycled pants or t-shirt tops in assorted colors.

Looking for pet supplies, toys, food or gift ideas? Check these out.


You can use recycled stretch knit from old t-shirts or pants or if you like you can use new fabric.

Cut the fabric into 20 pieces that measure approx 1 inch x 20 inch (2.5 cm x 50 cm) for a large dog.

For smaller dogs reduce the length and quantity but not the 1 inch width.

Lay your pieces together in 2 sections of 10. Twist the 2 sections together and tie a large knot at each end as shown in the picture. Your knot should be tight and secure.

There is no need for gluing or sewing.

Alternatively you can plat your strands together or add extra knots depending on your dogs desire.

If your dog is gentle with its toys then it’s probably fairly easy to buy for them. All you have to do is find out whether they prefer balls, squeakers, or tug toys and you’re pretty much set. However, if you have the type of dog that enjoys destroying its toys then it can rather frustrating finding something that will not only last but still keep your dog entertained. Well, after testing toys in a yard full of fifteen or more dogs a day for seven years I’ve embraced a pretty good understanding of what toys will last with a tougher crowd.

I’ll start with a toy that most people in the dog community have at least heard of if they don’t already own one two or of them – the Kong. For those of you unfamiliar with the toy, a Kong is a thick rubber toy that usually has a whole in one or both ends that you can fill with dog treats or something more gooey like peanut butter. The Kong company has made several variations of their original toy but they’re all based around the same premises. They’re made to keep your dog busy for long periods of time and to withstand several hours of being chewed on. However, if your dog is a heavy chewer it can eventually rip small chunks of rubber off the Kong and, if left unsupervised for too long, they can destroy the toy entirely with enough determination.

Another tougher-built toy is something called a Wubba Wubba. I know, I thought the same thing when I first heard of it: What?! Allow me to explain – the toy is basically shaped like an octopus. It has a hard rubber ball on top, a larger rubber ball directly beneath that one containing a squeaker, and both balls are wrapped in a layer of extremely thick cloth that ties under larger ball and spreads out into what looks like legs. For being held together with fabric the toy is actually much tougher than it seems and dogs that like to play tug games generally love it. The squeaker ball is exceptionally loud, however, so if you don’t like a lot of noise then this toy probably isn’t the best for you.

By far the most successful toy as far as durability goes has to be the Hurley made by a company called West Paw. It’s basically a kind of barbell-shaped, colorful stick that’s made from a rubber type material. Now, when I first experimented with this toy I thought for sure that it would pull apart in the center of the stick where it thins out the most. However, even the dogs that have previously chewed through every other toy I’ve tried in the yard couldn’t manage to destroy this thing. The dogs literally will tug on both ends with all their might, throw it up in the air, lay down and gnaw on it as if it were a bone, and the toy still doesn’t even have tooth marks in it! The very same Hurley I first threw out into the yard over a year ago is still the one that the dogs play with today and it doesn’t look like it’s going to break down anytime soon. In fact, the company stands behind its toy’s durability so much that they’ve issued a warranty on the back of the packaging stating that the toy ever gets destroyed then they’ll send you a new one. Also, the company will recycle the Hurley so if for whatever reason you decide you don’t want it anymore just help improve the environment a little and send the toy back! The West Paw company also has balls and flying discs available made from the same material as the Hurley, so be sure to check those out as well.

On a side note, be sure that whatever toy you decide to buy for your dog, make sure you supervise your dog if they have toys that can be easily chewed up or swallowed. Sometimes dogs think they can swallow things that are too large for them and end up choking so be mindful of that. Stick with the harder, larger toys to leave with your dog if you can’t supervise them. Other than that, just make sure that you pick a toy that’s safe and fun for your dog!

Looking for more things to hand-make and DIY for your dog? Check out some of our favorite things to make for dogs. Owning a dog can be very expensive and not only does making your own dog beds, coats and toys seem like fun, it is also a great way to save money on pet supplies too.  One of our puppy’s favorite homemade dog toy is a soda bottle ½ filled with rice. It is noisy, it flips and spins and has a spout for him to grab. 


No Sew Easy Dog Bed – Quick and easy to make, you will want this soft and fluffy dog bed for every room, if you are looking for more DIY dog beds check out these articles for making your own dog beds.

DIY Dog Shampoo for sensitive skin – Even doggies have allergies and this recipe is for dogs with sensitive skin. 

Recycled TShirt – Dogs Tugga Toy This project was featured in Moderndog magazine and was so fun to make, the best part was ripping up all the old t-shirts. Such a great way to recycle.

Recycled Dog Collar – Pickup old shirts from thrift stores and make fun collars in different colors and sizes. Make sure to measure your dog’s neck before heading out so you know what size to shirt to buy. 

No Sew Dog Wrap –  Made from old human track pants, very affordable to make.

Peppermint Dog Soap –  Stinky dogs are gone, peppermint is soothing and antibacterial too.

Dry Pet Shampoo – Sometimes they haven’t even dried from their bath before they are dirty again, this shampoo helps to brush out the grime.

Looking for pet supplies, toys, food, or gift ideas? Check these out.


  1. I love this! I’ve already spent so much money buying toys for our new puppy so this is perfect! Thanks

  2. Not sure how you get the twisted material to stay twisted mine just unravels

    • Don’t use JEAN material! Frays – strings and a terrible mess! uhh – Stick with cotton tees or something “chewy.”

    • in order to keep them from falling apart divide strands in two sections twist them both the same way, then twist them together the other way and tie a not, I do my daughter’s hair like this all the time!

  3. Yep! Simple and fun to make this dog toy! Work time really was about 30 minutes and well worth the excitement for my hubby’s hound dog! I used strips from a t-shirt, tank top, and T-shirt gown, all stretchy fabric that doesn’t unravel. Toy was “untied” at one end within 30 minutes of play but “RB” still thinks it’s great! He’s been totally involved for one hour now. Even if it doesn’t last a minute longer, it’s still worth making as I’ve bought several of these in the $5-10 range that didn’t last beyond an hour either! And, this cost nothing besides time!!

  4. Wow…an endless supply of inexpensive dog toys since my dog seems to love to chew every single one up!

  5. I love this and so does my dog. My only complaint is, I used jeans since my dog chews things like crazy, and jeans cause a a lot of strings, which worries me. So, like every dog toy, watch your dog. Any toy that you give your dog, whether it be a home made one or something you buy, you must watch your dog so they don’t swallow any pieces. All in all, I loved this toy.

  6. Nice.. im using it to get donations to spay and neuter cats 🙂

  7. Love this!! To bad my dog would rip this up in a heartbeat:(

  8. My student just brought one in as a project on recycling and gave it to me for brand new puppy. This is the neatest project!!!!

  9. I have a jack Russell and she LOVES IT!!

  10. cool

  11. looks so cool! can’t wait to try it!

  12. we just made this. our dogs are currently fighting over it. great idea! (:

  13. wow! this is the easiest project to make!

  14. I used scraps from a no-sew blanket. You know when you have to cut off the icky fabric at the edges? It works really well because it wasn’t the stretchy side of the felt. Just put all the thin strands together and cut them in half.

    Also, I braided it instead of twisting it. Put the little strands together, like the threads of a rope. I made sure to braid it REALLY tight.

    This is a GREAT idea 😀
    It’s colorful and soft, yet functional!
    Kudos to whoever thought of it!

  15. i love it! my friends dog is going to love it.

  16. I’m definitely trying this! Instead of getting my dog a toy from Petland for Christmas, I can just get him this and then give him a big snack!

  17. I”m going to try this one with my 5 year old to make a present for our dog! To keep it twisted, you have to twist each of the two sections by itself clockwise, and then twist the sections around each other counterclockwise. Then when you knot it the twist will stay.

  18. omg my dog loved the toy
    it took forever to twist it 🙁 oh well when i finally got it worked like a chem:)

  19. I think this is a really cute idea for my large dog who tears through every rope I ever given him.. This one might last, but how do you twist it? It keeps untwisting.

  20. Thanks. This will be great for my 2 dogs that love to play tug of war.
    Sadie, American Bulldog also loves to chew. I will tie in the middle as well as the ends.

  21. my 5 month old puppy loved this. I always have old or stained t-Shirts on hand fo cleaning and dusting rags so I just used those and they worked up beautiful.Thanks

  22. i love this project. it is a good way to recycle and i mean wat dog doesnt love a new toy?!

    thanks for shareing!

  23. Brilliant idea, a must have for dog owners, and so easy too.

  24. Very cute and creative!

What do you think of this project? Let us know!