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What to Make for Animal Shelters?

Close up of a brown and white dog looking through a fence

Are you motivated to assist the animals in your neighborhood but unsure of how to get started? There are several ways you may assist those animals and those who look after them who are in need. Making something by hand and expressing your creativity may give a donation item a distinct sense of significance. Read on to know about some of the best things to make for animal shelters.

Click here to learn 3 fun and easy homemade dog toys you can donate to shelters.

Things to Make for Animal Shelter

There are several things that you can make out of simple items in your home that are of no use anymore. But those things when used to make things for animal shelters provide them a sense of being loved, secure and comfortable. Here are some ideas of things that you can make by following simple instructions.

No-Sew Dog Bandana

Jack Russell Terrier wearing a blue bandana

No-sew bandana is used to tie around the neck of a dog or cat. The good thing about the no-sew bandana is in its name. It does not need any sewing. All you need to do is cut and fold the fabric with all your creativity to get it done.

Materials Needed:

  • A piece of fabric (for example, an old shirt)
  • Scissors
  • A measuring tape
  • Fusible hemming tape
  • An iron


  1. Cut a triangle (a right isosceles triangle) with the long edge large enough to wrap loosely around your pet’s neck. It should also be big enough to tie a tiny knot. If you are not confident determining the size, you may measure your pet’s neck or use a collar as a guide. For double-folded seam allowances, don’t forget to add a little more.
  2. Along the initial fold allowance, fold and iron a crease all the way around the edges.
  3. To make a double-fold hem, fold the edge over one more time 3and iron all the way around.
  4. The bottom corner should be unfolded and mitered at a 45-degree angle (right angle). For comprehensive directions and methods for mitering a corner, see our DIY flannel blankets (if necessary). Before going to the top edge acute corners, refold, iron, and confirm.
  5. For each of the top corners, unfold and either cut an acute miter (see an example at Ageberry) or gently fold and trim to make the edge fold that is seen. That is a little difficult to fold precisely (re-iron and try again until you’re satisfied), but it makes a good cheat since it permits a secure line of hemming tape to go all the way around the top and tie points. Before proceeding to hem tape, fold again, iron, and make sure.
  6. Fusible hemming tape should be used to gradually affix the folded hems, being careful to secure all edges and corners.

Thank you to Dalmatian DIY for this method.

Fleece Rope Toy

Brown terrier mix running around a yard with a rope toy

Dogs love to play with rope toys. And it is pretty simple to make one if you have some fleece that is of no use to you. You can make a rope toy with a little energy and time at no cost.

Materials Needed:

  • 3 strips of Fleece Fabric (each strip should be 3″ to 4″ wide and as wide as the fabric bolt from side to side)
  • A clip or rubber band


  1. Create three fleece strips about 3 to 4 inches wide each.
  2. Stack the 3 strips together, then lay them out flat in front of you.
  3. About a third of the way down the strips, use the clip to secure the three fleece strips stacked together (we will call this the 1/3rd).
  4. At the clip, start braiding the 2/3rd of the strips. What you should end up with is 1/3rd not braided, 2/3rd braided, 3/3rd not braided.
  5. When you have the 2/3rds section braided, loop it over so the unbraided ends match.
  6. Remove the clip. divide the unbraided sections into 3 ( you will be braiding 3 portions made of 2 stips each)
  7. Braid the three fleece groups together until they are approximately six inches from the bottom.
  8. Tie a knot and trim your ends.

Thank you to Radlin Crafts for this method.

Click here to learn how to make these cute “No Sew Fleece Blankets for Animal Shelters”

Leg Warmer

Pug sitting between to feet wearing brightly colored socks

Just like humans, animals also need warmth, especially in cold weather. Leg warmer can be a good thing that you can make out of an old pair of socks that you no longer wear, for animal shelter by going through the following simple steps.

Materials Needed:

  • A pair of old socks
  • Sewing needle and thread


  1. Cut across the socks at the bottom of the ankle region separating the top half of the sock from the bottom half.
  2. Next, split the top portion in half from top to bottom.
  3. Repeat this with the bottom half. Make sure to cut away the heel portion of the sock if needed.
  4. Now, you should have four pieces of sock .
  5. Invert them all (outside to outside), then sew the fresh edges together while leaving the top and bottom edges unstitched.
  6. Depending on the width of the dog’s legs you are sewing for, take in however much you need.
  7. Flip them right side out, and there you have it. You have made doggie leg warmers.

Thank you to Sew Doggy Style for this method.

Dog Bed

3 small white dogs sleeping on a dog bed.

Dog beds are the item to put your energy into if you want to build something very helpful for an animal shelter. It is easy to make.

Materials Needed:

  • 1 1/4 yards of fleece
  • Chalk
  • A pair of scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Filler – (Polyfill, old towels, old pillow fluff…)


  1. Cut 2-26 inches circles.
  2. Cut 2 strips for the sides, 9″ high by 44″ long 
  3. Sew the long pieces together on the short side, right sides together, to make one long side piece using a 1/2 inch seam allowance.
  4. Mark the halfway points on both circles.
  5. Now take one circle and place it right sides together with the long piece, matching the center seam to the center point.
  6. Sew in both directions starting from this center point/seam to 4″ from the other center point.
  7. Sew the other circle in the same manner. You should now have the top and bottom attached, and 8″ open at the center on the top and bottom.
  8. Now pin the seams all the way up to the center point, then fold the excess back and pin it in place. Sew all the way across the top and bottom seams.
  9. This should give you a finished bed with a hole in the middle where you will turn and stuff the bed.
  10. Turn it right sides out:
  11. Now you need to hand-stitch the opening closed. 

Thank you to Eric Erickson for this method.

Fleece Blanket

Rolls of brightly colored fleece fabric

Dogs do not like to sleep on cold surfaces. And it becomes difficult for them to sleep without blankets in winter. A fleece blanket is a great option to go for if you are making something for the animal shelter.

Materials Needed:

  • 2 pieces of fleece
  • 4 safety pins
  • A pair of scissors


  • Take two pieces of fleece fabric of the same size.
  • Stack them one over the other and use pins to join them together.
  • Then, cut out a square in each corner measuring 4 inches by 4 inches.
  • After that, mark and cut 1 inch wide stripes 4 inches long on all four sides by cutting inwardly.
  • Once finished cutting, with the front and back fabric aligned, take the first strip on one side and tie the back strip to the front strip using a double knot.
  • Remove the pins and your fleece blanket is ready.

Thank you to Lisa F for this method.

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Please note: We are not veterinarians and you use our advice at your own discretion. We always recommend that you consult your veterinarian whenever you have health-related conditions your furbaby is facing. With that in mind, as pet parents ourselves, we wish nothing but the best for your pet and their healthy and happy lives.