Upcycled Dog Toy Kids Can Make

This DIY upcycled dog toy is the perfect way to treat your dog for any occasion, but especially during the holidays. Even better, the project is so easy your kids will be able to get in on the fun.

braided dog toy laying on wooden table

Between our two dogs and our two cats, sometimes we truly feel like we live in a zoo! But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Over the years, our pets have become an important part of the family. Their companionship has filled our house with tons of love, laughter, and lasting memories.

To show them we care, we love providing enrichment and special treats. As family members, our pets deserve a few special holiday gifts too! Whenever we have old jeans we whip up these super durable dog toys, which have become a household favorite.  They are totally FREE to make and the assembly is easy enough that your kids can help!

DIY Upcycled Dog Toy


  • 1 old pair of adult jeans
  • scissors

To begin cut out the 4 side seams and waist band on the jeans. To remove some of the remaining bulk, it is also best to cut out the pockets.

purple scissors cutting blue jeans along the seam

Due to the thickness of the jean material, this step does require adult scissors. For this reason, this step is best reserved for older children.  When finished you should be left with 4 panels of fabric. You will be using 3 of the panels for this project. Save the last panel for future craft projects.

After cutting the jeans into panels, taper the top quarter and bottom quarter of each. This eliminates a lot of the bulk and makes the knot tying much easier.

a strip of cut blue jeans with tapered tabs at each end

After tapering the ends, gather the three strips and tie a really tight knot at one end. You really want this as tight as possible, because your dogs will be pulling on this knot as they play.

Next, braid the 3 panel pieces together. To make this step easier for kids, you can lay the project on a table and have them fold over 1 piece at a time. Keep the pieces spread out to help your kids stay visually organized throughout the process.

3 stripss of blue jeans being braided together

If your kids are new to braiding and it seems a little lose, don’t sweat it. Pull firmly on the ends to tighten it up. Once the braid reaches the tapered portion of the fabric, it is time to tie your bottom knot. Again, tie this as tight as possible. If desired you can tuck the stray ends into the knots.

completed braided dog toy with tight knots at each end

As you can see, this toy is always a big hit! Happy holidays, y’all!

2 dogs playing tug of war with braided jean dog toy
Photo of author
Written By
Erica Cardinal
Erica is a long-time resident of East TN and the founder of East TN Family Fun. She's also a sucker for a good adventure. Together with her hubs and kiddos, she spends her time exploring, homeschooling, and making memories.

32 thoughts on “Upcycled Dog Toy Kids Can Make”

  1. I think we’re going to go all out for our dog Peru this year. She could probably use a toy like the one you made because she loves to tear things up. lol Love your ideas for what to include in a basket.

  2. My dog is quite the chewer and destroys practically everything that comes in contact with his mouth. Those beneful treats have been lifesavers for us. Too bad he also likes to bury them rather than eat them. We will find them weeks later stuffed between our couch cushions.


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