If you’re from Pittsburgh you’ve probably shopped for holiday gifts at Handmade Arcade at least once. It was the first big independent craft fair to happen here – they started in 2004 – and they’ve been bringing Etsy to real life ever since.

The show is massive! There will be 239 makers, crafters and vendors there. With that many sellers there’s something for everyone but what I really want to know before I go is… What dog gifts can I buy  at Handmade Arcade? Lucky for you I did some research and asked the event coordinator Jennifer Baron (who’s also a local dog mom!) and we came up with a list of 5 makers selling dog gifts this year.

handmade arcade pittsburgh

Photo: Joey Kennedy

What can I buy for my dog at Handmade Arcade?

There’s a variety of goodies for dog lovers at the Handmade Arcade market this year. I found people making leather leashes, bandanas, dog inspired decor and more. I love to buy unique handmade items for my dog mom friends and family each year. We all have so many things from mainstream pet stores so unique handmade gifts show that you put some effort in! Want to make your dog mom gifts extra thoughtful? Wrap them up with some dog treats so your friend has something for herself and her pup!

Doggy Decor and Accessories: bubbledog

The maker behind bubbledog is Aiden who says his goal is “to bring a little enjoyment into peoples lives through the power of cuteness.” He’s definitely doing that with these super cute dog breed pillows including Labs, Chihuahuas, Jack Russels and more. I’m also pretty obsessed with the breed tote bags because the reverse side of the bag shows the back of the dog’s head! How cute is that? Everything in the shop is designed by Aiden and he has a lot of variety to pick from. Make sure you stop by his booth!

bubbledog handmade gifts for dog lovers

Photo: bubbledog

The Only Leash You’ll Ever Need: Pike Leather

I have a Pike Leather leash and it’s one of my favorite dog accessories. It’s practical, gorgeous and will last a lifetime. I had a very similar leather leash for my old dog Lola that I used for her entire life. After about 12 years of use it finally broke and I replaced it with this one. It features heavy duty latigo leather sourced in the U.S. and nickel hardware.

This leash is named after the makers’ 1 year old German Shepherd, Luna! They also make gorgeous leather bags, wallets and belts. Make sure you find them at Handmade Arcade and say hi! By the way, you may recognize the dog mom in the photo below. That’s Milla of Real Happy Dogs! I had the pleasure of interviewing her about her pet photography business on my podcast.

Shibori Bandana: I Would Dye For You

Once I got over the adorable name of this shop – I love a good pun! – I obsessively looked at every photo on the Instagram for I Would Dye For You. I love Shibori dyeing and it’s one of those trends that never goes out of style. Lucy actually has a summer bandana in this style and it just looks so good against her fur! If you’re unfamiliar with Shibori it’s a Japanese technique that involves lots of tight little folds that result in really beautiful patterns. It’s usually dark blue and white, but I Would Dye For You make special black and gold dog bandanas for Pittsburgh pups!

Hand Sewn With Love: Three Shelties and a Cat

You can tell that Jane of Three Shelties and a Cat puts so much love into everything she makes. I love shopping from dog mom makers because they know dogs and they know what we need! Jane is inspired by her three shelties Jasmine, Prince and Babe so everything in her shop can handle real life dogs. One of my favorites are her dog blankets that are the perfect size to use as a bed topper. I always have several blankets in rotation for our dog beds. They’re much easier to wash than the actual dog bed cover!

I also really love the upcycled denim dog bone toys, I think they would fit right in with the decor at my house while also being sturdy enough for Burt and Lucy. You should also add the dog print zippered pouches to your shopping list for Handmade Arcade. If you’re giving these as a gift I recommend including some good hand lotion inside. Dog moms spend a lot of time outdoors all year round and in the Winter our hands could use some extra pampering!

Three Shelties and a Cat

Match Your Baby To Your Dog: OttoFinn

The maker behind OttoFinn is Rona and she’s a mama to two little ones and a dog so it’s no surprise that she makes adorable accessories for both! Her baby bandana bibs and doggy bandanas come in a lot of the same prints so you could dress all your babies up in matching outfits. I love that the dog bandanas are a collar sleeve style so you don’t have to mess with tying them. They’re also all reversible so it’s like two doggy outfits in one.

Look for OttoFinn at Handmade Arcade! If you can’t make it on December 8th, Rona is also a collaborator at Make and Matter, a studio and storefront in Lawrenceville, so you can look for her bandanas there.

OttoFinn Dog Bandana

Photo: OttoFinn

When Is Handmade Arcade 2018?

Handmade Arcade happens on Saturday, December 8th from 11am-7pm in upper-level Hall B of the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

This year’s Handmade Arcade will also feature an Early Birdie Shopping Preview, Hands-on Handmade Activity Area,  Framer’s Market and Activity, Youth Maker Alley, limited-edition Handmade Arcade tote bags and T-shirts, music by local DJs Mary Mack, Stephanie Tsong (Jellyfish), Pete Spynda (Pandemic) and Jennifer Baron (The Garment District) and more!

How I avoid the crowds: Handmade Arcade can get very busy! I’ve gone during the Early Birdie Preview before and when the doors opened up for general admission it was like a wave of shoppers descending on the booths. Early Birdie ticket holders get to shop one hour before the event opens to the public (it’s worth it!), plus you’ll receive a black cotton tote bag designed by HA vendor Kim Fox (Worker Bird) filled with crafty coupons and swag. A limited number of $20 Early Birdie tickets are for sale online.

Can’t go on Saturday, December 8? For the first time, Handmade Arcade is having a fundraising event the night before. 140 of the 239 vendors will be set up and ready to shop on Friday night when you’ll also be able to mingle with other crafters, make some stuff yourself and enjoy snacks and cider. You can get tickets for that on Eventbrite.

Pittsburgh: Find Dog Gifts at Handmade Arcade


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