Picture of Homemade Foxtail-type Toy
This is a fairly simple way to reuse an old tennis ball to make a fun and entertaining toy. If you've never played with a Foxtail, they are surprisingly fun. They're great for playing games like 500 and Flyer's Up, and dogs just love them. If you aren't the maker type, you can buy one here:


...Or you could make one yourself!
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Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need
An old tennis ball
Some scrap fabric (preferably lightweight nylon)
Sewing machine
Dental floss
Sewing needle
Needle-nose pliers (maybe)

Step 2: Cut the fabric for tail

Picture of Cut the fabric for tail
You need a 30-inch long piece of fabric that is 9 inches wide on one end, which tapers (on center) to 2 inches at the other end.

I sewed various pieces of scrap fabric together so there were three separate sections, and then trimmed the whole thing to the right dimensions. (An easier way would be to just use one whole piece of fabric to begin with.)

Having sections in the tail with varying colors is nice if you plan to play a game like 500, because it allows for different point values based on where you catch the foxtail. For example, catching the ball itself is worth 25 points, the first section is worth 50, the second section is worth 75, and smallest tail section is worth 100. (I recommend this point value arrangement, as the farther from the ball you try to catch it, the more difficult it is.)

("500" is a game where one person throws (or bats) a ball to a group of people, and individuals try to catch the ball in order to get a specified amount of points. The first one to reach 500 points becomes the thrower, and everyone else's points go back to zero. That's the basics--there are lots of variations.)

Bosun Rick4 months ago

Child-Proof / Safety-For-All version of Yard Darts!!

This looks soooooooo cool! I'm definatly gonna make one!
lburke34 years ago
My Nanna helped me make one from an old sock and a tennis ball for our Border Collie when I was little... We just put the ball into the sock, tied a knot, and done! It's still going strong after 13 years and gets a good distance on it :) The no-sew version :D
0jack4 years ago
Thanks for this! I have a Dane/Shepherd who loves to play fetch, but since *cough*thesamedog*cough* tore my rotator cuff on my throwing arm, I suck at it. I bet I could get this going, though. Awesome.
Brother_D6 years ago
Sorry for being dumb, but what do you do with this?
I have a pit bull
and a husky
and a german shepard
and a puppy

yeah these are great X3

(fetch if u havent figured it out
you could use it also as a poi
You get the very skinnny bit of material, spin it around like a sling, then let go to see it go flyyyyyyyyiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing. It goes really far and is really fun if you got a nice big oval to play on.
Oh, that's AWESOME. How can something so simple seem so fun?
Ahhh, 'tis a mystery... Although you're 100% right on that one :D
seamster (author)  Kryptonite6 years ago
Yep, that's how you do it. Step 2 has a little information on an especially fun game you can play with it.
There's a certain technique for making it fly the furthest distance possible for your strength. If you swing round two or three times, side on to ~~what~~ where ever you want it to ~~hit~~ go, then for the last 1/2-1 turn spin it really fast and let go at about '10o'clock', if you're right handed, 2o'clock for left handers. If you spin really fast the whole time, it's rather inaccurate, and doesn't go as far as you would have hoped. Oh well, thanks for posting! They're great for dogs, and you don't have to touch a slobbered up ball either.
you spin it, let it fly, and watch your dog go crazy.
SWV17875 years ago
I just made one and have two more in the works... I tossed it about a bit last night and I cant wait to take it to the lake to play with.
I am also including it in a Christmas gift since our family agreed to hand make gifts for our Christmas gift exchange so keep an eye out for my Instructable on a huge toss game mash-up...
seamster (author)  SWV17875 years ago
Nice.  One of these would make a great hand made gift...

Thanks for the comment!
eulaliaaaa!5 years ago
Great instructable by the way.
eulaliaaaa!5 years ago
This reminds me of these weapons that the bad guys used in a book in the Redwall series.  They were called fire swingers.  They wrapped a rock in grass and whatnot,  tied it to a rope, soaked it in oil,  and lit it up!  The reason this 'ible reminded me of it was that they would swing it around and around and let go to light the place on fire, kind of like this, except you probably won't use these for lighting places on fire.

maxpower496 years ago
this is asome my friend had one a couple yaers ago and it rippen and we couldn't them in the stores so no i can make one YAY!!!!!
Jawsh6 years ago
awwww shweet! these are just like little kids practice poi! but i geuss you can throw them and make the look cool as well.
Lftndbt6 years ago
AWESOME!! the Intro picture deserves a "Feature" let alone the actually write-up. Well done, I am definitely making some of these!!
I second that - perfect featureable!

I'd like to note that tennis balls are pressurized, so puncturing all the way to the center *could* be a bad thing, but in this case its just being used as 'weight' for foxtail games. If you want to retain a lot of the bounce of the tennis ball, make sure you only go partway into the rubber of the ball!

5* from me.
noahw frollard6 years ago
Motion to feature passed!
Lftndbt noahw6 years ago
LoL, very funny indeed. ;-) Some intro pictures just 'PoP!!' on the recent page.
Kaiven noahw6 years ago
Yay! Noah comes to save the day! Totally off topic: My computer's internet is the best it has been in DAYS, and it's a severe thunderstorm right now!
seamster (author)  frollard6 years ago
Thank you! I ought to point out, when you stitch the tail to the tennis ball you don't want to try to sew into the rubber of the ball at all. You only want to grab a little bit of the felt with each stitch. If you feel your needle poke the rubber, just back off a bit and you'll be fine.
aha...it 'looks' a lot deeper than it is :D
bumpus6 years ago
I love playing with Foxtails! Great fun indeed.