Introduction: How to Make a Woven Rope Bone Dog Toy

Picture of How to Make a Woven Rope Bone Dog Toy

My dog loves rope toys. Tying knots is a hobby of mine, so it just doesn't feel right buying them. Instead I order my own rope and make ones that are much better than the ones you can get in a store! I make all kinds of different toys, but in this instructable, I'll show you how to tie a woven rope bone. I'll be showing you how to do it with 3/8" cotton rope which makes a toy suitable for large to extra large dogs. I've also tied this knot using 1/8" cotton rope which is suitable for small dogs.

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

1. 60 feet of 3/8" cotton rope. You can get soft cotton rope from Knot and Rope supply by the foot: I also buy it by the spool (400') from Koch on Amazon: The Koch rope is twisted tighter which can be good for some purposes. In this case, either would do fine.

2. Two lacrosse balls. They can be used or new. I suppose tennis balls could be used, but they are a bit bigger.

3. Cardboard. An old cereal box is perfect. We'll use this to make a mandrel to tie the knot around.

4. Duct Tape. You may also want some clear tape for taping the knot grid to the mandrel (see step #3).

5. Pins. In some of the pictures you'll see that I'm using threaded pins that I got from T-pins are actually a bit easier to use and more accessible!

Step 2: Print Out Knot Grid

Picture of Print Out Knot Grid

Download the first image of the knot grid in its full resolution. You can download it here:

It's dimensions should be 1952x2985. Now we need to print it at 300 dots per inch. If you know how to do that, then go for it and skip to the next step. I'll show you how to do it using the GIMP.

You can download the GIMP here (it's free):

Once you've installed it, open the image you saved and go to File - Print... In the Image Settings tab set the X and Y resolution to 300. It should print at about 6.5" x 10".

Step 3: Make the Mandrel

Picture of Make the Mandrel

Cut out the knot grid along it's left and right edges. We'll be wrapping this around the mandrel so we can follow it around. Now roll up the cardboard until it's about 2 inches in diameter, making sure the knot grid can be wrapped around it nicely so the edges meet up. Wrap the cardboard in duct tape so it won't unroll. Then tape the knot grid image around the cardboard. Push pins into the mandrel under each bight.

Step 4: Tie the Knot

Picture of Tie the Knot

Now start tying the knot. Start about half way through your rope. Doing so will limit how much rope you need to pull through when going under a strand. Start at A1 and weave between pins as indicated in the instructions below (or you can just follow the image you printed). The dots (.) give an indication of how far the rope goes before going over or under a strand or reaching another pin.

From A1      . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .      to E2
From E2      . .      to D3
From D3      . . . .      to F4
From F4      . . . . U . . . . . . . U . . . . . . . O      to B2
From B2      . .      to C2
From C2      . . . .      to A4
From A4      . . . . U . . . . . . . U . . . . . . . O      to E1
From E1      . O      to D2
From D2      . O . .      to F3
From F3      . O . . U . O . . . . . U . O . . . . . O      to B1
From B1      . O      to C1
From C1      U O . .      to A3
From A3      . O . . U . O . . . . . U . O . . . . . O      to E4
From E4      . O      to D1
From D1      U O . .      to F2
From F2      . O . O U . O . U . . . U . O . U . . . O      to B4
From B4      . O      to C4
From C4      U O U .      to A2
From A2      . O . O U . O . U . . . U . O . U . . U O      to E3
From E3      U O      to D4
From D4      U O U .      to F1
From F1      . O U O U . O . U . O . U . O . U . O U O      to B3
From B3      U O      to C3
From C3      U O U .      to A1

Step 5: Double Up the Knot

Picture of Double Up the Knot

You can now take the pins out of the mandrel. While the knot is still on your mandrel, follow it around again to double it up.

Step 6: Cover the Lacrosse Balls

Picture of Cover the Lacrosse Balls

Take the knot off the mandrel and put a lacrosse ball into either side of the knot. The knot will naturally start to form around the balls.

Step 7: Third Pass to Finish the Knot

Picture of Third Pass to Finish the Knot

Now follow the knot around one more time to tighten everything up and you're done! I've included a side by side picture with the same knot tied using 1/8" cotton rope.

Step 8: Other Rope Toys!

Picture of Other Rope Toys!

Here are some other examples of toys that I've made. I've created an instructable of the first one, which uses a knot that I'll being tying as part of other instructables as well:

If there's one you'd like to learn how to make let me know in the comments and I'll put together an instructable for it! The last picture is of my puppy, Maggie, with a bunch of her used toys :)


crazyeric (author)2015-09-05

I made a similar simpler one by backsplicing both ends of 3 ropes then tieing them in the middle with a square knot. Only took my dog a couple months to ruin it.

borgem (author)2015-05-06

I'd like to see how to do the two that you have with loops/handles (top-left and bottom-right of the grid)

beme2013 (author)2013-08-18

Lacross balls? Really?! :D lol

Angus MacGyver (author)2013-07-04

I've done something similar for my dogs in the past. One was a bone made of two monkey fists connected by a short length.

The all time favorite is the monkey fist chain. Dogs love it because it's almost as hard as wood, but they can sink their teeth into it. And when it's reefed as tight as possible it takes months to chew through. It was 5 or 6 monkey fists intertwined. When it was all reefed down it was a knobby stick. I should make some instructables, that's a good one to start with.

I can try to explain. With a 30-50 feet of 3/8 rope make a loose monkey fist.
make another loose monkeyfist with the outside wraps going under the wraps of the first.
Reef down the first fist, and repeat until it's about a foot long. The 'knobs should be about the size of golf balls when done. When you can't squeeze any more slack snip off the excess and you're done.

The more work you take in reefing down the knots and removing slack, the stronger and longer lasting it will be. It takes me less than 20 minutes to tie one, but an entire evening in front of the TV reefing it down with a Marlinspike

Cool! I'll have to try the monkey's fist chain.

lindsaymcdonald2311 (author)2013-06-29

final question, at the end, do I just cut the excess rope off? will it stay secure? sorry for all the questions, this is my first time giving this rope weaving stuff a go

Yes, you can just cut the excess rope off and tuck it down into the knot so you don't see the ends. It can come out if that one strand is tugged on, which is a real possibility, but I didn't worry about it. If you want it to be a little more secure you can tuck it under several strands before trimming it. Another option is to sew it to neighboring strands with white thread.

lindsaymcdonald2311 (author)2013-06-29

final question, at the end, do I just cut the excess rope off? will it stay secure? sorry for all the questions, this is my first time giving this rope weaving stuff a go

lindsaymcdonald2311 (author)2013-06-29

yep all good cheers :) does this knot have a name?

I don't know of a name for it, besides it being a Turk's head which is very generic.

lindsaymcdonald2311 (author)2013-06-29

this is fantastic! cant wait for more. what do you mean in step 7 by "follow the knot around"? thanks

Thanks Lindsay! Just like in step 5 you're going to weave another pass (step 5 adds the second pass and step 7 adds a third). Since the knot has already been tied, you just need to go over and under strands exactly how the first pass does, essentially you're following the knot. Let me know if it's still unclear!

handprints (author)2013-06-14

love it!!!

tmoney438 (author)2013-06-09

That ball looks do able.

cglass (author)2013-06-09

Prior to the pic of your puppy, there is a toy with a ball on the end. My pitbull and I would love to know how to make it. Thank you in advance.

inexperiencednoob (author)2013-06-08

How did you make the monkey fist on a rope?

Are you talking about this one? If so, it's actually a 3 part 3 bight Turk's head. I unraveled the rope several feet, and tied a Matthew Walker knot to prevent further unraveling. Then I covered a lacrosse ball with the Turk's head.

scooterB (author)2013-06-08

Please do the monkey fist next. Thanks and awesome work.

BigWeezy (author)2013-06-08

Would love to see the monkey ball one, as it has practical uses in rope dart

knotty152 (author)2013-06-08

I'm hooked! How did u tie the knots on step 8? Can't wait to tie them myself! Thanks!

allwinedesigns (author)knotty1522013-06-08

I'm glad you like them! I'll be putting more instructables together soon. If there's one in particular you want to learn, point it out and I'll do that one next!

HollyMann (author)2013-06-08

Great job - how long did it take to make it? :)

allwinedesigns (author)HollyMann2013-06-08

Thanks! It probably took 1-2 hours, but I didn't keep track.

About This Instructable




Bio: I've been a software developer my whole life, studied computer science with a focus on 3D graphics in college, was an effects artist for ... More »
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