How to Build DIY Dog Beds

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…if you’re into that sort of thing…

Life at the Accidental Suburbanites household revolves around two furry little pups named Atlas (left) and Scout (right).

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Besides the fact that they’re both rescue mutts, they both have white mittens on their feet, and they both love the color pink (that’s not me projecting at all…) these girls have very little in common.

Atlas is a love sponge who needs constant cuddles, doesn’t mind being carried on your hip like a baby, likes to hide under furniture, and has an abominable snowman toy that she carries around as a security blanket (his name is Mr. Bumble, and she sleeps on top of him every night).

Scout is a sassy cat trapped in a dog’s body; she’s the biggest diva you’ll ever meet, eating dry dog food is beneath her (she won’t even glance at her kibble until its been drenched in coffee creamer), she frequently airs her grievances by howling at us, and the best way to guarantee that she won’t do something is to ask her to do it.

Through some cosmic miracle (or perhaps just by circumstance…) these girls have defied their differences and become the best of friends, and you’ll never find one without the other (Atlas makes sure of that!)

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We love our girls, but they’ve absolutely taken over our house (every soft surface is a bed, every nook and cranny is a place to hide toys…So when we were trying to decide what to do with this odd little bonus “den” that’s attached to our master bedroom, the answer seemed obvious: “ummmm dog room?!

Once we had decided to turn the spare room into a pup cave, the obvious next step was to build a pair of beds. I liked the idea of bunk beds…

…but Atlas is afraid of heights, so that wasn’t going to work.

I spent some time perusing Pinterest and mulling over my options: everything from using a toddler bed frame, to converting a wood pallet. None of the ideas I saw really fit the vision I had in my mind, so (still riding high on the confidence from my last furniture building venture) I decided to take my new-found carpentry skills up a notch and design my own dog beds!

Heads up: this post contains affiliate links (you can find more information about what affiliate links are, and why I use ’em here!)

Step One: Design

I sat down with my graph paper and my handy dandy Bic for Her mechanical pencil, and I started planning.

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Annnnnd here’s what I ultimately came up with:

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(Don’t have CAD software? No problem! I made my “3D rendering” in Keynote using the 3D bar graph tool and wood grain texture! Talk about a #DIYHack)

I based my design around the measurements of some high density upholstery foam that I found; my original plan was to buy a 24″ x 72″ piece of foam and use it to make two 24″ x 36″ mattresses that would rest inside the wooden bed frame. As such, I designed my bed frame to have an inside measurement of 24″ x 36″

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Each of the 2×4 sideboards attach into the 2×2 corner posts, bringing the total outside measurement to 39″ x 27″, with a 23″ tall headboard and an 11″ tall footboard pawboard. To give the headboard a little bit of pizzazz, I decided to incorporate wooden dowels in my design. I also decided to venture away from using strictly 2x4s, and experiment with different sizes.

Once I had perfected my design, it was time to plan my cut list.

Step Two: Plan a Cut List

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To make ONE dog bed, you’ll need…

  • Sideboards (A) – Two 36″ boards (size: 2×4)
  • Front and Back Boards (B) – Two 24″ boards (size: 2×4)
  • Headboard Top and Slats (C) – Six 24″ boards (size: 1×2)
  • Headboard Posts (D) – Two 23″ boards (size: 2×2)
  • Headboard Spindles (E) – Five 16″ dowels (size: 3/8″)
  • Footboard Posts (F) – Two 11″ boards (size: 2×2)

If you need help planning your cut list (especially if you’ll be making more than one bed!), this website is a great tool.

Step Three: Pray that the Kind Lumber Cutters at Lowe’s Will Take Mercy on Your Poor, Saw-less Soul

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God bless the guys that cut lumber at Lowe’s. They were willing, yet again, to help me out by making the cuts for my project. (I know what you’re thinking… “this is getting a bit ridiculous, Madeline, get your own effing table saw already…” Trust me, I know…)

Step Four: Sand & Binge

One of my (new) favorite traditions of furniture-making is finding new shows on Netflix to binge while I sand the sin outta my wood. When I was making my nightstands I binged House of Cards (and I still hear the theme song every time I look at the nightstands…) This time around, I decided to binge on a new show called Gypsy.

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…I guess that means that whenever I look at these dog beds, I’ll forever be reminded of an adulterous shrink with a penchant for sipping bourbon and meddling with her patient’s lives…

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After sanding, I separated the pieces into two piles (one for each bed):

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Step Five: Assemble the Base of the Bed Frame (and Marvel at the Genius of This Design)

Once everything was sanded and sorted, I pieced the bed together. After confirming that everything indeed fit together as planned, I patted myself on the back for not screwing anything up (yet).

Then it was time to start screwing stuff together, starting with the base.

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The way I designed this bed, the 2×4 sideboards (pieces A and B) butt against the 2×2 corner posts (F). This is cool for aesthetic reasons (because it means the cut edge of your wood is concealed), and it also preserves the inside bed measurement (24″ x 36″).

First, I had to determine where on the corner post I wanted to position the sideboards. The higher you position your sideboards on the post, the higher your “mattress” will rest.

I opted to raise my sideboards 3″ up the post (or 3″ off the ground).

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I lined all four of my 2×2 corner posts up (D and F), then measured and marked a reference line at 3 inches.

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Using the reference line, I then positioned my sideboards against the corner posts…

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…and planned where I wanted my screws to go.

Here’s another fake CAD rendering I made in Keynote to illustrate how shit went down:

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This is pretty straightforward… the goal is to make sure the screws don’t collide.

To prep the wood for the screws (because screwing straight into wood sucks), I drilled straight through the corner post and directly into the sideboard with a 5/32″ bit (I didn’t choose this bit for any specific technical reason, he just looked like the right guy for the job…)

With my pre-drilled holes lined up, I was easily able to drive in my 2-1/2″ screws to attach the sideboard and corner post.

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Ta-dah!

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I repeated the process for the remaining three posts, taking care to keep my headboard corner posts (D) and footboard corner posts (F) at the correct ends of the bed frame.

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Step Six: Add Dowels to Headboard

With my bed frame constructed, it was time to add my fancy pants decorative dowels to the headboard. To secure my dowels between the bed frame (B) and the 1×2 board that rests across the top of the headboard (C), I needed to drill corresponding holes along both boards.

I did this using my super awesome spade bits (if I was Oprah, these would totally be on my list of Favorite Things…)

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You know the drill (haha, drill pun!): measure and mark! Since the top and bottom boards were 24″ wide and I wanted my dowels spaced evenly apart, I opted for 4″ spacing. That means I marked drill locations at 4″, 8″, 12″, 16″, and 20″ (for a total of five dowels).

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I then adjusted each mark so it was perfectly centered on the board (for a 2×4 — which is really 1.5″ wide — the center point was at .75″)

I repeated this process on the top board (C), checked that everything was lined up and dandy, and then I made some holes.

My dowels are 3/8″, so I used a 3/8″ spade bit. (Keep the holes shallow… inserting your dowel too deep into one board might make it too short to reach the opposite board!)

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Did I mention it was an absolute pleasure working with these chaps?!

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I dropped a dollop of wood glue into each hole before inserting the dowels…

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…then I dabbed a little bit of wood glue onto the tops of my dowels, then (carefully!) lined up with the holes on my top piece (C) and firmly pressed down.

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Once everything was lined up and copacetic, I attached the top board (C) to the headboard corner posts (D) with 2-1/2″ screws.

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“So this is looking pretty legit,” I think to myself.

Step Seven: Add Support Slats

One of the biggest challenges I faced with this design was trying to figure out how I could raise my dogs 3″ off of the ground in a safe and secure manner.

I ultimately decided to go with a “slat” design (similar to the bed base you’d find in an Ikea bed) using 1×2 boards (C) that would permanently anchor onto corner braces placed along the inside of the frame.

First I had to (you guessed it!) measure and mark. I had five slats (C), and the inside length of my bed was 36.” So, for evenly spaced slats, I went with 6″ spacing

I marked my five slat locations (6″, 12″, 18″, 24″, and 30″) on the inside-facing edge of both of my sideboards (A)…

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…then I lined up my corner braces with the marked locations on the sideboard (A) and affixed them using the provided screws. (I positioned the braces so that the ‘corner’ opened downward, meaning the slats would rest on the flat topside of the brace).

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After attaching my corner braces (five on each sideboard), I flipped the bed frame onto its side so that I could easily access the underside of each brace…

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…then, working from the underside of the bed, I lined up each slat (C) over the braces and screwed it in from the bottom.

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Since my 1×2 slats were too thin for the screws that came with the corner braces, I used a shorter wood screw for this part.

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And there you have it! One groovy little dog bed!

Optional Step: Decorative Balls

As you can see from my original drawing, I had planned on adding a round wooden ball knob on top of each corner post. After seeing the beds, R decided he preferred them without the balls… but if you’d like to add them, you can pick up a perfectly-sized pack here.

Step Eight: Paint it Pink!

I knew from the start that these beds were going to be a pale pink (I had a firm vision in my mind that the pup’s room would be centered around a charcoal and rose quartz color scheme), but the question remained: what pink paint?!

My front runners were Rust-Oleums ‘Blush Pink’ Chalked paint (available in paint or spray)… but then I discovered Rust-Oleum’s Pearl Metallic paint in ‘Champagne Pink,‘ and it was basically love at first sight.

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I was apprehensive about how the metallic finish would look on a wooden bed frame (especially one with the wood imperfections and characteristics that lend themselves better to a rustic chalk paint finish), but I decided to give it a try anyway. Worst case scenario, I could paint over it.

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It turned out BEAUTIFUL! I was so obsessed with this pretty pink that I kept sneaking out to the garage to admire it while the frame was drying (so did Bigfoot, apparently…)

Step Nine: Insert and Secure Bottom Panel

Last but not least: use an MDF sheet (like the one we used for our chalkboard wall panels) cut to match the inside measurements of the bed frame (24″ x 36″), then drop it into the frame over the support slats…

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…and secure along the front and back sideboards (B) using additional corner braces.

This panel helps to ensure proper weight distribution (and prevent flimsy dog beds from slumping through the support slats!)

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These pup bed frames can be used with standard dog beds or pillows, or you can get crafty and fashion your own “mattress” out of upholstery foam (I’m still toying with the idea of DIY’ing a pair of mattresses…)

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I’ll be sharing more projects from our pup room soon, so stay tuned!

DISCLAIMER: These furniture plans were conceived by a nincompoop blogger who has zero background or experience in furniture design or engineering. I offer no insight or guarantee on the safety or weight capacity of this item. Proceed at your own risk, and please rely on your own discernment to determine whether this item is safe and suitable for use in your home.

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About Accidental Suburbanites

Just a couple of kids turning a house into a home, one Pinterest fail at a time.
This entry was posted in Bed, Decor DIY, DIY Hacks, Furniture, Pet. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to How to Build DIY Dog Beds

  1. mcgypsy says:

    Absolutely adorable! Oh and I love your disclaimers!

    Like

  2. Jackie Eaton says:

    Love these doggie beds, thank you for sharing your design, can’t wait to make them❤❤❤❤

    Like

  3. Shannon Ringe says:

    these beds look amazing! and i love the grey pillow!

    Like

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