Custom Dog Gift: Personalized Tennis Ball

Sometimes, a pet gift is less about honoring the pet and more about honoring the special pet owner. Here is a project that does both. A custom dog toy- the personalized tennis ball.
Plan A: I’d pick up some tennis balls on sale at the sporting goods store, borrow my daughter’s wood-burning set, purchase the wood-burning alphabet at the craft store using my 40% off coupon and brand a few tennis balls. FAIL. Turns out the alphabet letters only leave blobs of burnt fuzz somewhat in the shape of a letter and are best left for wood surfaces only. I chose burning over paint as I don’t know enough about the toxicity of various paints and pet health, but I figured melting the fuzz on a tennis ball would be safe enough. So, for plan B, I did the following:

Printed out the name I wanted to personalize to the ball to fit in the area and taped it over a strip of generic office-supply carbon paper. I printed in light gray in order to see the areas I’ve traced when I get to that part.
Using a ball-point pen, I filled in the lettering with as much pressure as I could without tearing through the paper to transfer the lettering.
Once transferred, I went over the lettering with the fine tip of the wood-burning tool. Be sure that you are in a safe and well-ventilated area when burning synthetic fuzz.It helps to keep the printed lettering near by for visual reference on the areas that may have not transferred well. You can use scissors or a disposable razor to remove some of the heavier fuzz in the area you plan to burn. Lightly wash and dry the ball to remove any remaining carbon residue.

You may also choose to freehand the lettering as I did for my dog’s tennis ball.
Here are some fun ideas for personalized tennis balls:

• Tuck into your dog’s mouth, if you can get him/her to stay long enough, for a fun photo op.

• Cut a long slit into the top of the ball for holding a photo of your dog. Place ball onto a wooden curtain ring or other similar stand to keep it from rolling away.

• Drop several personalized balls into a cylindrical glass container, include photos or pet mementos to create a special display.

• Wrap 3 balls in cellophane (you really only have to personalize one) and tie at the ends like a giant candy wrapper as a holiday gift. Or, cinch and tie between balls like sausage links.

• With a craft knife, score an X into the top of the ball and push a knotted loop of ribbon, string or rope into the score to create a special Christmas ornament, or to use as a marker for the leash hook. I used striped rope salvaged from a holiday gift bag handle.
Who is Gypsy? My sweet mom lives alone in an apartment in Arkansas. Her very dear friend, Don, another tenant in the complex, visits her daily. Don has a special companion, a very chubby little Dachshound, (which I would more lovingly refer to as a foot stool,) named Gypsy. Mom tells me that Don not only reads my blog, but he actually makes some of the crafts I share. Thank you Don! I’ll be sending a care package to Mom soon with the tennis ball gift for your pup included!!

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25 Responses to Custom Dog Gift: Personalized Tennis Ball

  1. #1 - Anonymous says:

    I love this project! But what I really love is that it was for a dauchaund named Gypsy, for that is the type of dog we had as kids, and her name was Gypsy. We miss her lots, even tho she's been gone for about 25 years. Thank you for sharing and the project!

  2. #2 - Jennwith4 says:

    Very cute idea! Great for my dog and for a few friends I have who love their pampered pooch.

  3. #3 - Funky Dreams says:

    I love this project! I would just add that when picking out your tennis balls, be sure to buy some that are lead free. Many tennis balls (even ones made specifically for dogs) contain lead.

    Here's one article about lead in tennis balls:
    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/pawprintpost/post/2009/09/tennis-balls-for-pets-get-bad-marks-from-watchdog-group/1

  4. #4 - Cathe Holden says:

    Funky Dreams-

    Thank you SO much for that important information!

    -Cathe

  5. #5 - DogpackMOMMA says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for inspiration – again!

  6. #6 - Createology says:

    You continue to amaze me with your talents. This is so perfect and doable. Thank you for always being so generous with your ideas and tutorials. Happy and Safe Labor Day Holiday…

  7. #7 - Chonky says:

    Hi Don, hi Gypsy.

  8. #8 - The Polka Dot Closet says:

    OK that is just too cute! We need more dog gift ideas as us blog girls all seem to be pet lovers!

    Carol

  9. #9 - Caroline B says:

    Not only is this cute but practical if you have a dog like mine who just runs off with the ball and dumps it in the brambles for me to fetch…

  10. #10 - stefi_licious :) says:

    hello!
    i love to read your blog and i love the stuff you make. thanks for sharing all these wonderful ideas!

    additionally to funky dreams' post i have to say that not only the lead in tennis balls is a problem. tennis balls in general aren't good for dogs' teeth. espacially when the ball gets dirty it's like sandpaper for the teeth.
    maybe you'll find a way to personalize rubber balls? that would be great!

  11. #11 - lisbonlioness says:

    I didn't realize tennis balls aren't that good for mutts, but I still love your idea to bits. I'll be keeping this in mind when i go to the pet shop later to get about 17 tons of cat litter for my 4 little scratching machines 😀

  12. #12 - Polly Pierce says:

    I just love your blog, it's so full of great suggestions, idea and free downloads. Thank you so much for all of it, I'll be following your fortunes from now on!

  13. #13 - Michelle says:

    You never cease to amaze!

  14. #14 - Diana says:

    Besides the personalized tennis ball project itself, I love the different fun ideas you suggested. Great post!

  15. #15 - Ann says:

    I know a Jack Russell that is always losing his tennis balls (or destroying them) so I will be making him this very special Christmas gift this year – a lead free one of course! I always find inspiration and learn something useful here Cathe!

  16. #16 - Karen says:

    I so know exactly who this is being made for this Christmas! No more generic doggie treats from Cost Plus! :>

  17. #17 - Teje Karjalainen says:

    Hello! This is great idea for our 'best friends'! I love also your neckless with 'curtainring', it's a dream of every quilter! Thank you and best wishes! Teje and Nero

  18. #18 - Randi says:

    I love that idea. I wonder if you could do the letters with heat transfer paper? Might have to try it.

  19. #19 - Jeanine says:

    love the personalized tennis ball…..but where did you get the ball/leash holder (hand)? I LOVE IT!! I would love to buy one! Please email me?

  20. #20 - Barb says:

    What I want to know is where you found the hand hook???? It is way cool.

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  25. #21 - Lisa says:

    You could make money selling these on Etsy or something. I would definitely buy one