Tutorial: Reinforced Tunnel

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This tutorial will explain how to create a hand-sewn tunnel for your rats to hide in (and chew up) that is reinforced on the ends.

I’ve made a lot of cozy fleece tunnels, but it bothers me how the ends flop down and lie flat.  I tried using plastic to keep the ends standing up, but really wanted a material that would be durable in the washing machine.  Well, apparently, there’s a material that’s meant to do exactly that – reinforce flopping sewing projects and completely machine washable!  It’s called “boning” and is sold at any decent fabric supply store.

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Step one – supplies and tools.

Supplies needed:

  • Fleece (in this example, an 13″ x 13″ square)
  • Boning – $6.29 at Jo Ann Fabric store

Tools needed:

  • Scissors
  • Thread, needle, pins

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Step two: pin and sew the ends of the fleece.  In this example, I’m using boning material that is 1/4″ wide, so I’ve folded the fleece down about one inch. Place the pins and sew the fleece into a tube of sorts – this is where you’ll insert the boning material in the next step.

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Step three: insert the boning material.  Slide the boning strips into the stitched tubes so that the rough, unfinished seams will be on the inside of the finished tunnel.

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The boning will naturally curl up and form the fleece into the shape of the finished tunnel.  It’s a little tricky to work with!

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Step four: pin and sew the long edge of the tunnel.  This is the tricky part, because you have to turn the tunnel inside out and the boning strongly resists being turned against its natural curve.  Use lots of pins!

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That’s it!  Now you have a completed tunnel with reinforced ends!  I couldn’t think of a clever way to make it look nicely finished – maybe make it a longer tunnel next time and fold the ends back into cuffs?  If you’ve any bright ideas, share away!

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4 thoughts on “Tutorial: Reinforced Tunnel

  1. To make it look more cleanly finished, I suggest sewing the tube together, then sewing a tunnel on the edges for the boning(leaving a hole for the boning to go in). After inserting the bonining, you can shut the hole and try it inside out! That would make the edges look more finished.

  2. I’m incredibly lazy and needed a new tunnel quickly so I used non toxic fabric glue instead of sewing. Looks great but since I didn’t have washable glue, it will turn back into its original flat square piece o’ fleece if I wash it! :p Clearly just a temporary measure. I’m trying to find out the name of a good non-toxic, washable, fast-drying fabric and/or craft glue that will do soft fabrics as well as cardboard and plastic (boning etc). Do you happen to know of any? I’m in Toronto btw.
    Thanks for the fun site!

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