Cool DIY Dog Collarettes

With reuse all the rage, old becomes new again with this DIY dog collar!
By Penelope Cake, November 2008, Updated December 2020
dog collar diy

It’s like magic. Something old becomes new again. I have always been enchanted by this process of transformation, even before it became known as recycling and was recognized as good for the environment. As a child, I made milk cartons into doll houses  and lunchboxes into pocketbooks. Paperclips became jewelry and my father’s old neckties became bracelets and belts. Now, when I make things for my dog, this is the creative process.

I discovered this idea for DIY dog collars while refashioning a shirt for myself, and even though it didn’t fit me at all, it is almost impossible for me to throw anything away. So there I was on the floor with scissors, needles and thread, and of course my dog Eloise. She always helps me sew by finding as many dangerous things to chew on as she can. As I cut and tucked and modeled the changes in front of the mirror, I caught Eloise disappearing around the corner with the collar in her mouth for a nice private chew. And then the moment arrived ... when I saw something become something else.

I think I actually got a surge of adrenaline when it happened because it made me laugh out loud. I removed the collar from her mouth and slipped it effortlessly around her neck. A perfect fit. Tight enough to keep it away from her teeth and paws, but loose enough to be comfortable. The concept of “dog collar” took on a whole new meaning.

But I couldn’t stop there. The possibilities were endless for decoration and embellishment. Trims, embroidery, buttons and bows. I began asking all my friends for hand-me-down shirts and combing thrift stores and flea markets for different sizes, colors and patterns. I gave them to all my doggie friends and started selling them in my local pet store. At 48 years old creating DIY dog collar fashions for my dog is almost as much fun as making things for my dolls when I was 10, but with an added bonus. It helps soften the blows of middle age.


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Easy DIY Dog Collarettes


  • Shirt with a collar the right size for your dog. It should be 3"- 4" bigger than the exact neck measurement. You can find different sizes by using children’s, women’s and men’s shirts. It must also have a neckband. That’s the piece that joins the collar to the shirt and allows you to cut it off in one piece.
  • Some kind of glue that is made for preventing fray. There are several kinds available in sewing and craft stores.
  • Another kind of glue that creates a permanent fabric bond and can be washed.
  • A button.
  • Small piece of Velcro™.
  • Assorted trims and decorations.
  • Embroidery floss.


1. Cut the collar off the shirt being careful to stay as close to the seam as possible but without cutting into the neckband.

2. Spread the fray block glue along the bottom seam. It will dry clear on most fabrics. When dry, trim loose threads and fabric.

3. If you want to use the button to open and close the collar, then make sure your new button fits the hole and replace the old one. Or you can sew Velcro in place of a button for easier access and then you can add a bigger button or other decoration to the front.

4. Decorate with trims and/or embroidery to your heart’s content! These can be sewed or glued with the permanent washable glue.

[Note: The DIY dog collarettes are designed to be fashion pieces that fit loosely around your dog’s neck, they are not intended for leash attachment.]

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 30: Spring 2005

Photograph by Mark Compton

Penelope Cake is a long-time The Bark crafts contributor.