Introduction: How to Make a Woven Rope Bone Dog Toy

About: 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 Dreamworks Animation and have taught technology to kids and adults here…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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 :)

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