DIY Pet Toys: Upcycling Household Items into Playthings
Pets love new toys to stimulate their minds and bodies through play. But with how quickly some dogs and cats can destroy toys, constantly buying new ones gets expensive. A creative solution is to DIY fun homemade toys from household items you already have on hand.
In this article, we’ll explore unique upcycling ideas to transform common household materials into exciting new toys your pet will love. Let’s get started on making free and low-cost DIY playthings to enrich your furry friend’s life!
Upcycled DIY Cat Toys
Our feline friends love batting and pouncing on interesting objects. Upcycle household items into interactive toys that engage a kitty’s hunting instincts.
Toilet Paper Roll Puzzle Toys
- Collect empty toilet paper tubes
- Cut lengthwise into rings
- Stack rings together on a dowel or stick
- Vary ring sizes for more challenge
Cats enjoy nudging and pawing the rings off the stick. Start with bigger rings on bottom, smallest on top.
Bottle Cap Maze Toys
- Save cleaned plastic bottle caps
- Use hot glue to attach caps into pyramids, stacks, or mazes
- Can add bells inside for sound
Watch cats bat and roll the bottle caps to remove them from the tower. Adjust complexity by maze design.
Paper Bag Rustle Toys
- Recycle paper bags from groceries or shopping
- Add holes, slits, and folds to the bags
- Put in balls, pom poms, or crinkle paper
- Poke through a stick for dragging
Cats stalk and pounce these noisy paper bags as they shuffle across the floor. Chase and paw for exercise.
Twine Ball Toys
- Collect balls of leftover twine or string
- Wind together into a large tangled ball
- Add feathers, pom poms, paper for texture
Batting this lightweight ball keeps cats occupied and entertained for hours. Simple and free!
Magnet Fishing Toy
- Tie a magnet onto a string
- Attach string to a dowel or stick
- Drop metal objects like bottle caps in a box or bin
- Fish out metals with the magnet wand
Cats have a blast trying to catch the cap with the magnetic wand as you drag it around. Interactive fun!
Upcycled DIY Dog Toys
Dogs love toys they can shake, squeak, and shred. Upcycle common household items into playthings they’ll enjoy.
Braided Rope Toys
- Collect old t-shirts, sheets, or fabric scraps
- Cut into 1-2 inch wide strips
- Braid or twist strips together
- Optionally add knots or braid over a dowel stick
Durable for tugging and chewing. Vary fabrics for texture.
Water Bottle Rope Toys
- Cut the bottom off clean plastic bottles
- Thread rope through the bottle mouth and knot
- Braid multiple bottle pieces onto the rope
- Knot rope ends for grips
Shake and fling around the bottle pieces on rope for noisy fun. Durable and waterproof.
Aluminum Can Cat Toys
- Rinse and remove sharp edges from cans
- Place a few rocks or pennies inside
- Use duct tape to seal the opening
Dogs love flinging these noisy makeshift cat toys around by the taped tails. Metal is tough and holds up to rough play.
Sock Puppet Toys
- Take clean lone socks and sock pairs
- Tie a knot in the toe to cinch it off
- Decorate sock with ribbon, buttons, etc to make puppet faces
- Optional: fill lightly with stuffing
Interactive tug and shake toy. Change faces to make new puppets.
Tug Toy from Old Clothes
- Use sleeves and legs from worn out shirts, jeans, pajamas
- Tie knots at each end
- Braid and twist fabric for durability
Great for pull and tug games. The natural scent excites dogs. Wash periodically.
Cardboard Box Puzzle Toys
- Save clean large cardboard boxes
- Cut into pieces with holes or slits
- Put treats or toys inside
- Let dog dismantle the box to get inside
Hide treats in the maze box for a challenging puzzle. Recycle boxes regularly.
Safety Tips for Upcycled Toys
When making DIY pet toys from household items, follow some basic safety guidelines:
- Avoid small, choking hazard parts
- Remove any sharp edges, points, staples
- Monitor play to check for destruction and consumption
- Do not use toxic materials like pressure treated wood
- Choose pet-safe cleaners when washing items
- Upgrade to new recyclables regularly to prevent bacterial buildup
Customizing Upcycled Toys
Personalize recycled toys with creative embellishments for extra enrichment.
Texture and Sounds
- Add bells, rattle beads, pennies
- Attach ribbons, pompoms, feathers
- Mix and match materials
- Link parts with rope, Velcro, bungee
- Add cups, boxes, or tubes to hide treats
- Increase maze complexity over time
Diverse Shapes and Sizes
- Craft toys to match big and small pets
- Accommodate energetic chewers vs timid pets
- Provide a variety of toy styles to prevent boredom
- Rub toys on hands or other pets for familiar smells
- Sprinkle toys with catnip or dog pheromones
- Use their old unwashed bedding in toys
Upcycling for Pet Habitats
Recycled household materials can also enrich indoor and outdoor living spaces for pets.
Cat Trees and Scratching Posts
- Use PVC pipe, wood cutoffs, sisal rope
- Wrap posts in scraps of carpet or sisal
- Attach cardboard tubes, paper bags
- Connect toilet rolls, boxes, PCV pipes into tunnels
- Cut holes in plastic containers to link together
Outdoor Play Structures
- Use old ladders, barrels, crates, and wood
- Weave vines through for climbing and scratching
Inspiring Upcycled DIY Pet Toy Ideas
Need more ideas for upcycling household items into pet toys? Here are unique projects to inspire:
- Plastic bottle bowling pins
- Aluminum can pyramid maze tower
- Kibble dispensing toilet paper roll game
- Old shoe chew toys
- Melted crayon canvas coloring board
- Treat hiding paper bag crinkle maze
- Old t-shirt tug snake
- Scented cardboard puzzle feeder
- Makeshift agility course from household objects
Raid your recycling bins, closets, and junk drawers for potential toy materials. Everyday items take on new life as boredom-busting toys. With a dash of creativity, you can curate an ever-changing toybox filled with homemade playthings using DIY designs or your own ideas. Reduce waste while making free pet toys from the items you have on hand.
Upcycling household objects into homemade pet toys is a budget-friendly way to keep your furry friend entertained. Apply the DIY toy tutorials and customization ideas in this article to turn common materials into exciting playthings. Get creative in transforming recyclables into enrichment toys your pet will cherish, all while sticking to a minimal budget. Soon you’ll have a toy making craft and a happy pet!