Updated: Feb 20
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I was still volunteering at a shelter and if i could take her old sheets to donate. I wasn't, but I did take her sheets anyway. I had seen this post on how to make these 4 strip square knot chew or tug toys for dogs. I thought I'd give it a try. There's a wealth of tutorials on this and they all use different materials. Here's what my first one turned out like.
The sheets she had were grey and cotton. I had an old cotton sheet at home in a burgundy color and thought they would go together and decided to donate them to the cause. It seems like anything safe for animals to chew and will hold up would be a good material to use. Obviously, avoid any overly perfumed detergent and don't use dryer sheets when washing. I also ironed the sheets (w/o starch) to make them easier to cut and manage.
This square knot is super easy once you get the hang of it. However, getting the hang of it takes a minute. There's tons of resources that show you how if you just google it, but here's a gif of how I was doing it. I explain it more further down.
The first one I made ended up being a little skinnier than I would have liked, but probably a good size for small dogs (or cats if they're into that thing). Those were about 3" wide strips, about 3 feet long. This yielded an 1" thick, 6" toy with about 2-3" of extra fabric just hanging loose on the ends. In the second round I doubled this, 6" wide strips, about 6' long, which yielded a foot-long length of knotted section with 2-3" loose fabric at the ends. I even got adventurous and tried tying one into a circle.
Start with 4 strips of fabric and either pin or tie them together. I held the tied end between my knees as I worked on the square knots. Spread each strip into the 4 cardinal directions, NESW. Take the southern strip and fold it over towards the northwest.
Next, take the northern strip and fold over to the southeast.
Then take the eastern strip. Fold it over in a southwestern direction. It should go over the northern strip, that was folded to the south east. Tuck it under the strip that got folded to the northwest.
Now take the western strip and fold it in a northeasterly direction, over the strip folded up and under the strip folded down.
Slowly pull each strip a little at a time until you get a really tight and square looking knot.
Keep repeating this until you can't fold the strips anymore. I typically had a tough time when I reached a point where there was only about 3" left. Once I got one side all knotted up, I turned the rope over to the other side and untied it and began knotting it on that end until I couldn't go any further.
With this material, the knots didn't seem to slip all that much and held pretty tight.
I got my parents involved in helping out and we made a whole bunch of them. I initially intended to donate them to a shelter, but never got around to finding one that would take homemade toys. Instead I brought them into work and gave them out to co-workers.
Many of my co-workers reported that they held up pretty well. There was one dog who loves to take these types of things apart and he totally did untie the whole thing. Although, not before swallowing a chunk of one of the strips. I'd recommend you supervise your furchild while playing with these. Here's some of the happy campers gnawing away...