Sunday, August 7, 2016

DIY project: modern styled dog bed on a budget!

 OK we've all been there, at the pet supply or local big box chain... staring at the mountain of pet beds thinking: "which will go better with my living room decor; pink bones or black and red paw print?" The answer is neither, they are both ridiculous... Now I'm not saying you can't find some really nice options out there, but have you seen those prices?!? Equally ridiculous if you ask me! If you want to create a special spot all for your pup, that doesn't hurt to look at AND doesn't break your budget... you've come to the right place. I'll share multiple options, at various skill levels, using things you already have (or can purchase for no more than $20)!


Right now my fur-family consists of 2 medium size mutts... around 60-65 lbs each. Together they have a total of 6 beds (1 each in the family, living, and bedroom). For the most part, these beds are just really big floor pillows, with boxed corners and a large zipper opening for stuffing.

If you can sew, and you have dogs, then you probably already know that there are lots of patterns for dog beds out there that you can buy... here are a few (Burda and Simplicity have some of the cutest!)
But the easiest, quickest, and least expensive is a simple floor pillow with boxed corners and a zipper closure; no pattern needed! In fact, if you can't sew, this is a perfect first project to learn! Let's get started ;D

Boxed corner sewn dog bed: 3 easy steps
What you'll need:
Fabric (yardage based on bed size)
Needles/thread for machine sewing 
Zipper (length based on bed size)
Stuffing 
Tools: sewing machine, scissors, chalk or fabric marking pen, ruler
OK, start by figuring out how big of a bed your dog needs: Dr. Foster and Smith have a guide on their website, but I just eyeball it based on an area around my dog when he's lying on the floor. For this pattern we need 3 measures: length(L), width(W), and height(H). For my medium/large dog, that's L: 40in, W: 22in, and H: 6in. We need to get 2 rectangles out of our fabric that measure: (L+H) x (W+H). For me that means 2 large rectangles: 46 x 28. Don't worry about being too precise here, like trying to factor in seam allowance, it's just not that critical... trust me! To figure out how much fabric you will need, you just have to know how wide the fabric is on the bolt. Upholstery fabric is the best option here for durability, and generally comes on 60in. width. So for this project I would need to purchase 1.5 yards (generally fabric is sold by the half yard). Lastly we need to pick up a zipper, just short of the width of the bed; for me that's 22in. so I'll pick up an 18in. zipper.
Shopping tip: Great remnants and clearance upholstery fabric can usually be found at JoAnn's for about $7/yard!

Step 1: Mark and cut! With fabric purchased, it's time to mark and cut. Layout the fabric flat on the floor, folded over so the wrong side is facing up, and start by determining the direction of the pattern (if you want the pattern to run the length of the bed, you need to know before you cut!) I like to mark that with and arrow. Now measure and mark the length+height of the bed along one edge of the fabric(for me that's 46in). Using your ruler, mark off the width+height of the bed(for me that's 28in) at the top and bottom of the length (see photo). With those lines marked, you can now cut out both pieces (top and bottom).

Step 2: Insert the Zipper! OK, if this really freaks you out you can always use velcro... they even make some that is iron on (no sew!) but I really prefer zippers for the durability. I like to insert the zipper along the width of the bed, and I like to do this before stitching the other sides just to make life easier! First center the zipper on the edge of the fabric, with right sides facing (see photo), and stitch along the edge. If you have a zipper foot that's great, if not it's no problem... you can use your regular presser foot on the machine and just adjust the needle all the way to the left. Next, flip the fabric over on top of the other piece with right sides facing each other. Align free zipper edge to the edge of the other bed width and stitch the same way.






Step 3: Attach top and bottom! With right sides facing (that means inside out, with wrong side of fabric facing out) place a couple pins along the edges of your fabric to hold it in place while stitching. starting at one side of the (and overlapping it at least 1in.) stitch all the way around the perimeter of the bed about .5in. from the edge. Almost there! Right now you have a viable dog bed, and you could stop here if you wanted to... but we're going to box these corners! OK, here we go! Start by making sure the zipper is halfway open, to ensure you can turn the bed right side out at the end of this process! Next, Pick up a corner and flatten it out so the width and length seams are matching. Now measure down along the seam (from the corner) half the height of your bed; for me that's 3 in. And mark a line perpendicular to that, which is your sewing line! Repeat on each corner, and turn right side out. Done! well almost...



You will want to stuff you dog bed, and for that you have a number of options!
Buy new fiber fill or bean bag beads: this is probably the most expensive option, and not my top choice because of the cost and the fact that I have to add more later as the bedding is used (it tends to flatten out). Use and old comforter; I love this options for a few reasons, it's cost effective and easy to launder! If you don't have an old comforter you can usually find one at a thrift shop, yard sale, or from a family or friends. Use other scrap finds; old clothes, towels, even yarn or fabric scraps from other projects!

If you like the idea, but aren't quite up to the task right now, check my etsy shop... or convo me for a custom order! Custom orders are generally $20-$30, and take up to 2 weeks to complete!

No Sew options!
If you don't know how to sew, you can still create a comfy spot for your pup! It starts with a container of sorts... this could be a basket, a drawer from an old dresser, an old suitcase leather ones look great!), a wooden crate, or if your handy you can make a small box frame from pine boards, palette wood, just about anything you have on hand! Just find something that's the right size for your dog, and follow these simple steps:

  1. Clean and seal: this may mean cleaning, sanding, and potentially some sort of sealing coat like wax or poly. We don't want our pups to get splinters, or eat any chipping paint! 
  2. Stabilize: protect your floors, and prevent the bed from sliding around, by attaching some sort of stabilizing "feet". Small rubber feet are cheap and easy to find at the hardware store!
  3. Comfort-ize: As mentioned above, the bedding can be made from any number of things. Old throw pillows, old comforters, bed pillows, and even towels... most of these things you can find super cheap at yard sales or thrift shops! Fill your frame with the bedding, and then cover it with a blanket, or piece of heavy fabric you can tuck into the frame to finish with a little more style.

Re-purpose options!
If you would rather not do any work, you can still find something that you can purchase and use as stylish dog furniture without spending too much... if you are will to look for it! Thrift shops, yard sales, and second hand furniture stores are where you want to look; and that's where you are going to find a footstool, ottoman, or old sofa cushions that are your read-to-use puppy furnishings.

I hope you found this little experiment helpful, and consider trying some of these DIY ideas for yourself... in fact, now it's your turn! I would love to see how you're making your home more pet friendly! Leave a comment, and tell us how you pamper your pooch!

That's it; on to the next project! Want to know what it is? Follow me on twitter for sneak peeks and updates! If you're just looking for DIY inspiration, stayed tuned @ dawntoussaint.com for more on my DIY projects through the summer! If you're looking to get some of the items you've seen here, on twitter, or on my boards, check out my etsy shop!

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