90s kids (and their parents) will remember the absolute craze known as Beanie Babies. These cute stuffed animal toys were recognizable by their distinctive “Ty” heart tag. Beanie Babies were created in 1993 and by the mid to late 90s, there were appraisal guides to track your plush investments, as some Beanie Babies resold for hundreds of thousands of dollars!
While the Beanie Baby fad may have passed, making a “Ty” tag for your pup is a fun throwback, and can also be a great last-minute Halloween costume for dogs. And it’s cheap! Assuming you have a printer and scissors already available, the rest of the supplies should cost you less than $10.
This post will cover both options… if you want to make a costume, we’ve got downloadable files and instructions for you. If you want something a bit more robust and permanent, we’ve got a number of custom dog tags for you to compare.
Note: this post may contain affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, we may earn a commission. Thanks for reading!
The Original “Ty” tag
Before we get into the details of the tag, why is there a “Ty” on the tag in the first place? As it turns out, Beanie Babies were owned by Ty, Inc., which was started by H. Ty Warner.
In general, the tag is a red heart with a gold border, the letters “Ty” in lowercase, and occasionally, other details. The internet truly does have everything, including a guide to tag variations throughout the years.
How Do I Make a “Ty” Tag for My Dog?
DIYing your own tag is pretty straightforward. A few other tutorials online use a Cricut but this tutorial will only use scissors to cut the shapes.
First off, supplies. To the craft store!
You will need:
- Files (below) to create the shapes
- Printer and plain paper
- Red cardstock
- White cardstock
- Shiny or holographic gold paper or cardstock
- Pencil or pen
- A hole punch
- String, ribbon, or a metal loop to attach it to your dog’s collar
Assuming you already have a printer, printer paper, pencil, and scissors, the rest of it should cost under $10. The Joann’s craft store near me frequently has deals on large 12×12″ cardstock
Additionally, you can make the following modifications with these items:
- To make your tag “pop” more, you can use thin foam board instead of paper for some or all of the colors.
- If you don’t have gold paper, you can use yellow paper, or fill in the outer portion with a gold paint marker. In a pinch, just leave the gold portion off entirely, and do a red and white tag.
- Reinforcements for the hole using tape or pre-made hole reinforcements.
Downloadable “Ty” Tag Files
We’ve created a free PDF template for you to download, click here to get it.
If you found these files useful, please consider pinning this tutorial on Pinterest!
DIY “Ty” Tag Halloween Costume Instructions
With the supplies and files mentioned above, let’s get crafting!
Step #1: Print the Files
Print up the PDF file on plain white paper. You may want to experiment with different sizes by printing at 150% size, for example. Hold the printed paper next to your dog to determine appropriate sizing. You may have to print two sheets and attach them with tape.
The following steps use only a single print-out of the PDF, but if you want, you can make duplicates to simplify the process.
Step #2: Outer Heart
Cut along the outer heart shape. Don’t cut the “t” and “y” letters out yet.
Using the outer heart shape, trace on your paper.
- If you have gold (or yellow paper), trace the outer heart onto gold paper. Then cut out the gold heart shape.
- If you don’t have gold or yellow paper, trace the outer heart shape onto the red cardstock. Then cut out the heart shape.
Step #3: Inner Heart
Next, we’ll cut out the inner heart shape. To do so, cut the PDF printout so the outer heart is gone, and you only have the smaller heart left.
- If you’re using gold paper, use the inner heart to trace onto the red cardstock and then cut that out.
- If you aren’t using gold paper, use the inner heart shape to trace a heart within your big red cardstock heart. Center the inner heart, then trace with a pencil. Fill this border area in with a gold paint marker.
Step #4: Letters
Next, cut out the “t” and “y” letters with scissors. Trace these onto your white cardstock, and cut the shapes out.
You should now have two letters, a smaller red heart, and a larger gold heart. Or a larger red heart with a hand-drawn gold border.
Glue it all together
Now, glue the red heart onto the gold heart (with the red heart centered within the larger heart).
Next, add the letters. You can use the scraps of your printer cutouts to help place the letters appropriately. If not, just wing it. : )
You can also write “original beanie baby” in gold marker above the “y”, as shown in some of the tags earlier in this article.
Additionally, you can cut a straight line on the left side of the heart to make it look like the original tag, which has a fold on the left side.
Attach to your dog’s collar
Use a hole punch or other method to cut a hole on the upper lefthand side. Then use a ribbon, piece of string, or metal ring in order to attach it to your dog’s collar.
A word from the wise: foam letters easily form indentations from fingernails. If I did this again, I’d probably use another material for the white letters.
I can see a lot of little imperfections in my “Ty” tag but I’m happy with how it turned out for a 10-minute, $10 craft!
Ty Tag Shortcut
If you have a good printer, then you can simplify the process and just print up this image.
All you’ll need to do is cut the overall shape out, and maybe add some heavier backing material.
Again, if you enjoyed this tutorial please share on Pinterest!
Custom Dog Tags in the “Ty” Tag Style
If you’re looking for a longer term option, you’re in luck! Maybe you tried out the costume and loved it so much that you want an everyday version of it for your pup. Or maybe you know that a paper tag won’t last long unsupervised.
First, the bad news. The bestselling option from Etsy’s UrbanSawmill shop is no longer available.
It’s not clear why they closed up shop. However, the only other two resin “ty” tags on Etsy are not in the ‘official’ colors (perhaps there was a copyright claim?), and aren’t marketed as dog tags. You can see them here and here.
If you want to stick to the original design, you’ve still got options. There are a handful of small businesses that offer variations of the classic “ty” tag.
House of Pink Art “Ty” Tag
First up is House of Pink Art which offers a tag with the “Original Beanie Baby” catch phrase on it. You can order it in classic red, glitter red, or glitter pin.
The tag itself is 1″ across. It does not come engraved by the shop itself. But you could find a pet store and get the back engraved after the fact.
They also offer “Ty” tag earrings so you can match your pup!
Herbert and Husky
Next up is another small business with a variation on the Ty logo, opting for a simple white and red laser cut acrylic tag.
Herbert and Husky does offer engraving, so you can add a phone number or other contact info to the back. These come in three sizes, small, large, and cat-sized (which is less than 1″ across).
Cannoli’s Decal Boutique
Last but not least is a Beanie Baby-inspired option from Cannoli’s Decal Boutique. This tag is slightly larger at 2″ across, and made of acrylic so it’s lightweight. This shop also offers engraving to include your pet’s name and phone number.
Dog Tag FAQs
What should I include on my dog tag?
Almost none of the options listed above let you engrave the tag, which means you’ll need your dog’s regular tag in addition to the decorate “ty” one.
The most important thing to include on your dog’s tag isn’t their name, but a way of contacting you. Include the phone number of your dog’s primary caregiver. If you’re skittish about including your cell phone, you can always set up Google Voice for free, which allows you to have a separate number that forwards to your cell.
You can also include your address, but for a lot of people, this can change fairly often. If you are in the UK, however, it’s a legal requirement to put your address on the dog tag.
Also consider including:
- Whether they are microchipped. Including a phrase like “I’m microchipped!” means that if your dog is found by someone else, they can bring them to a vet to pull up your information.
- Health issues that a stranger might need to be aware of.
- An alternative method of contact.
- A reward if the dog is lost
- Any other messages you’d like to include like “please call my dad!” or “I’m afraid of cats”.
Some people apparently don’t include their dog’s name, for fear that a stranger will pretend to know their dog. While this description certainly made me anxious, I included my dog’s name on her tag. I don’t think she would be swayed by someone saying her name. If they offered her dog treats, on the other hand…
What legally should be on a dog tag?
If you live in the UK, you must include your name (first initial and last name) as well as an address.
If you live in the US, the requirements vary based on where you live, so we can’t give blanket advice here. The following information may be required by your city or county. Ask your vet for more details:
- Your dog’s name
- Phone number and/or address
- Rabies vaccination tag (separate from ID tag)
- Municipal license tags (separate from ID tag)
We hope this has been useful. Let us know in the comments, are you planning on making a costume for your dog? Or are you getting a dog tag for your pup to wear year round?