Specifications and Constraints – Snuffle Mat

I want to begin by recapping my plan and updating my progress for my final design project. I plan to make three snuffle mats, one for each of my two dogs and one for my cat. A snuffle mat is a flat mat that has bits of fabric attached to it that create pockets and folds that hold treats. The point of a snuffle mat is to encourage enrichment for the pet. If you want to ready more about snuffle mats see my past post here: https://www.aesdes.org/2024/02/28/main-project-plan-snuffle-mat/

Currently, the progress I have made aligns with the timeline I created. Basically, I have completed the base part of the three mats and have begun creating the flowers and plants. I did meet my deadline of March 20th for the mat bases, but I did learn that this project is a bit harder than I previously planned for. I was also gifted a store-bought snuffle mat for my pets, and this has helped me see how my animals engage with the toy.

 

Specifications

The top five specifications I have for my project include aesthetic, feeling, durability, usability, and engagement. The aesthetic that I am trying to achieve is Bloomcore. Bloomcore includes plants and greenery, but it has a larger focus on brighter colors and flowers. I believe that the color pallet I chose for the plants and base will meet the aesthetic.

For feeling, I need the fabric to be soft but thick so that it does not cause any irritation to the skin on my pets’ noses and faces. Fleece is a soft and thick fabric that should not irritate them when they are playing with the mat.

I am more focused on durability for the two mats that I am making my dogs. I have two large breed dogs, so it is important that the mats can withstand how they play. This will have to be tested once the mats are finished but I have confidence in the strength of the materials I chose to increase the lifetime of the mats.

For usability, I think it is important that my animals are able to access the treats hidden in the folds of the fabric without too much ease or difficulty. This is important for the intention of the snuffle mats.

Finally, for engagement, I find it important that these mats are something that my pets actually want to play with. So far, they really enjoy the store-bought mat that I was gifted so I want them to have the same reaction with this mat.

Constraints

The top five constraints I have for this project include time, skills, organization, supplies, and size. I am hoping to complete three mats before the final deadline, but despite meeting my timeline so far, there can always be issues that interfere with my ability to complete all three mats.

I am learning a lot of new skills for this project. I think that hand sewing is the hardest of the skills, but I also have never made a fabric flower. I am crafty so that has helped me so far, but this is a difficult task to take on with little to no prior knowledge of these skills.

Organization is an important part of both the usability and aesthetic of this project. If the plants aren’t organized in a beneficial way it could negatively impact the look of the mats and the ability for my pets to play with them.

After finishing the bases of the mats, I realized that I may need more embroidery floss than I had originally thought. Luckily, this can be found at any craft store, but it is still a constraint I have to keep in mind.

Finally, size is a really important part of this project. Both my dogs need larger mats to increase their enrichment which takes more materials and time. The cat’s mat is smaller and will lead to less bumps in completion.

Overall, I think that the progress I have made so far has helped me meet and approach majority of my specifications and constraints. Other specifications and constraints will be addressed over the span of the manufacturing process.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • Jonathon Gruener
    April 8, 2024 11:33 pm

    Hi Sierra. It is great that you have already gotten a start on this project. Something I think that could help with portions of the project would be fabric glue. It could definitely help with some of the parts that won’t be as roughed up by the dogs.

    Reply
  • Hi Sierra! I am also building something for my pets for my main project, so it was really fun to read about a different toy to engage pets. I agree that hand-sewing will be a big challenge. Possibly looking into larger sewing needles with a thick thread might allow you to do less stiches but still get that durability you are looking for. So excited to see how the project turns out, and I might just follow your final report to make one for my dogs and cats as well!

    Reply
  • Noah Howell
    April 3, 2024 6:18 pm

    Sierra,
    Awesome idea, I think this will turn out great and hopefully your pets enjoy it. Are you really planning to hand sew everything? This will be insanely time consuming if you take as long as I do to hand sew anything. The ideaforge has sewing machines available for student use if you think that that might help your progress. I hope to see this turn out well, and I hope you’ll show a video of your pets using it when it’s done.

    Reply

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