This is a sponsored post brought to you from Tom’s of Maine through my participation in the Tom’s of Maine Goodness Circle. I was provided product and compensation. All thoughts, opinions and super cute puppy friends are my own.
More than 250 million tons of waste is generated every year in the United States according to the EPA. That’s a LOT of trash. The good people over at Tom’s of Maine, who I have partnered with for the 2017 Goodness Circle, have decided to do what they can to improve this ghastly number by making a goal of zero waste to landfills goal by 2020. Wow, right? By focusing on natural and sustainable practices and materials they’re going to do what they can to reach this goal.
And since it’s time for spring cleaning Tom’s of Maine has a an idea for us… it’s the #LessWasteChallenge. Basically it’s a call to do what you can to put less stuff in the landfills by reusing, repurposing and recycling. And a great place to start when spring cleaning is the toy box. We all know how the stuff inside of that box somehow magically expands until it’s about to explode. I mean, where do all of these toys come from?!?
Just because I don’t have proper little human children, don’t think I don’t have the same problems. You see I have four legged ‘children’ and while they don’t leave plastic toy blocks everywhere have you ever stepped on a half chewed up cow hoof? It’s kind of the same thing in the pain department but waaay more gross. Because, you know, cow hoof. But dang if dogs don’t absolutely love them!
Even without little humans in this house, we still have toy boxes deluxe around here. Dogs and cats need stimulation or they get destructive toward things like shoes and sofas. I know you’ve seen the memes. Awful things happen with pets, dogs especially, that aren’t kept busy.
And so we have multiple toy boxes all around the house. Some are straight up cat toys, dog toys and the we have boxes that are a mix. Heck, sometimes we have the occasional human toy the dogs found on a walk or whatever that they bring back.
If you also have these pet toy boxes around you know just how expensive it is to fill them. Straight up, dog toys are pricey and my pups love to rip out stuffing and decimate squeakers because they don’t seem to understand that plushies don’t grow on trees! But these days I don’t toss a toy because they’ve freed all of the stuffing from it because that is some of that waste that 250 million tons of waste that I’m only adding to. So today I’m going to show you how we limp dog toys along for years (literally, years) to keep our expensively purchased dog toys out of the landfills. A little bit of patching here and there and a few changes to the initial design, if necessary, and you’ve gone from something that should be hitting the inside of a wastebasket that’s instead going to be taking on round 2 or some rough stuff with your furry tough stuff.
For this project you will need:
- Old dog toys
- Needle and thread (I prefer embroidery floss)
- Strong fabric
- Toy squeakers
Every toy is going to be a little bit different but we’re going to work on this plush snake today. It has been one of the favorite toys around here, hands down. It’s long design = some pretty fun tug of war times.
This entire toy had been stuffed with many squeakers down the body. The stuffing is all gone and there are holes in the fabric that they used to get to the stuffing to rip it out. It’s made out of a faux fur type of fabric which is super easy to patch even for a beginner. Want to see how I reworked this baby?
First you’ll need to turn your toy inside out. The tail of the snake was literally shredded and it was pretty much a loss.
Using a marker I roughly copied the original shape of the tail’s end and then used embroidery floss to stitch down that line keeping the thread nice and taut. After a few passes of stitches tie off the end of your thread and trim away the excess fabric. If you’re going to be stuffing the toy you can use this to jam back in there<– reuse all the things if possible!
Areas where holes are small can be patched up with a couple of passes of stitches to hold it shut. You really don’t have to worry about how pretty or even your stitches are, just try to get decent coverage.
Now on occasion there might be a pretty bad hole in an area that would kind of wreck the toy if you just eliminated it like the snake’s face, here. Grab some sturdy fabric (I’m using canvas duck cloth that was on top of my fabric stash because I didn’t feel like digging around) and lay out the toy so you can easily see the shape of the hole or rip. Cut a piece of fabric that is similar in shape but about a quarter of an inch larger all of the way around. I typically lay a piece of fabric on top of the hole and then lift and replace the fabric to trace the shape and then cut that out.
Tack the fabric piece to the hole by pushing the “right” sides of the fabric together and then sewing in place. This means the rough edges of your toy’s fabric will be hidden inside of the toy without any worry the seams and rough edges tearing further.
Because we have a few toys with minimal stuffing just in the head that haven’t been destroyed I went ahead and turned the head right side out and then stuffed it with filling from an old bed pillow (reuse ALL the things) and a new squeaker.
Areas like arms and legs tend to get ripped up pretty well. If you have the ends of these pieces you can make a straight cut to eliminate any areas that are torn up like I did with the snake’s body you can see above.
If you don’t like cleaning up puffs of toy stuffing off of the floor for ages you can instead fill the inside with cellophane. Tacked down strategically along the inside, it will stay put to create this crinkle sound when played with. It’s not as loud as a squeaker and lately my dogs seem to prefer it.
With the toy turned right side out check for any missed holes or rips and repair as needed. Stitch pieces back together and seal up that last hole you used to turn your fabric right side out and you’re set.
Oh, and the faux fur type of fabric will absolutely hide your stitches so no worries about perfection. Grab a pair of scissors and start to remove any areas the fur fabric has tufted or pilled and remove any loos strings.
Once cleaned up this guy looks pretty darn good, right? AND we’ve saved him from the terrible fate of the landfill!
Back to tug of war with a slightly shorter, but still pretty awesome snake toy and the pups are pleased as punch, huzzah! I think our first little raid the toy box project to waste less was a total success! Are you ready to take the #LessWasteChallenge, now?
Dig in those toy boxes and see can be given new life with a bit of patching up. Check out Pinterest to see what you can use old toys as craft supplies for things like an awesome lamp makeover or bookend project, to name a few. But, wait, you can even raid the wastebasket… you can totally turn a Tom’s of Maine mouthwash bottle into a bird feeder. Cool, right?
Reemember, the more you save the less you waste and the better the world can be! Take the #LessWasteChallenge with me and Tom’s of Maine by visiting tomsofmaine.com/lesswaste and let’ make things better for our home planet… with a little effort we can all make a huge difference!
Thanks again to Tom’s of Maine for including us in the 2017 Goodness Circle, providing us with awesome Tom’s of Maine products and supporting Dream a Little Bigger with this sponsored post!Written by Allison Murray - Visit Website