How to Turn Your Old Jeans into a Cozy (and Durable) DIY Dog Bed

Make a durable dog bed that can easily be washed again and again. Gather old jeans or denim pieces and put them to good use.

A good pet bed needs to be two things: Comfortable and durable. Purchased beds can be very comfortable, but they're not always durable, so you can find yourself spending a lot of money on replacements. The good news is, using recycled denim, you can make your own sturdy dog bed that's just as comfortable as a store-bought one. In addition, you can easily remove and wash the bedcover whenever you need to.

To create a bed from recycled materials, check your local thrift store (or the back of your closet) and gather old jeans or denim shirts. This is a great way to use denim clothing that might never be worn again—clothing with rips, holes, or stains—and, since you'll be cutting the fabric into smaller strips, you can cut around the holes or stains.

finished denim bed with small dog
Jason Donnelly

How to Make a Pet Bed

Supplies Needed

  • Thrifted denim jeans
  • ¾-yard cotton batting
  • 1-yard chambray fabric
  • 24x24-inch pillow form
  • Scissors
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Straightedge
  • Iron and ironing board

Step-by-Step Directions

With a few supplies and these step-by-step instructions, you can create your own pet bed. Customize this easy sewing project by using a fabric of your choice.

Step 1: Cut and Piece Strips

Cut the clothing apart with fabric scissors, ($14, Amazon), removing all the seams, pockets, and zippers. Lay the remaining material on a cutting mat and use a rotary cutter and ruler to cut pieces into 4-inch-wide strips. We used varying lengths, but you can stick to a consistent length if you like. We used the Fiskars Rotary Sewing Set ($31, Amazon) to cut the strips for this project.

Use a sewing machine set to a zigzag stitch to attach the strips, sewing the 4-inch sides together with a 1/4-inch seam allowance. (If you don't have a sewing machine, these are our favorite beginner machines.) Sew the pieces end-to-end until you have a 25-inch strip, then cut off the excess material as needed. Repeat this process until you have seven 25-inch strips. (We made seven, but of course the number of strips you'll need will vary based on the size of your dog.)

Step 2: Sew Front of Pillow

When you've finished sewing the strips, lay them out side-by-side to check that the finished pillow yop will be large enough for your dog. Rather than sewing the denim pieces all at once, sew each strip individually onto a piece of cotton batting. Cut a piece of cotton batting that measures the size of your pillow top. We started with a piece that measured 25 inches on each side—but if you're not sure how large to cut the batting, cut more than you think you'll need and trim it later.

Lay one of the 25-inch strips along the edge of the cotton batting with the right side visible. Use the sewing machine to sew down the edge so it's secure. Then, lay the second strip on top of the first with the right sides facing each other. Pin and sew along the edge with a 1/2-inch seam allowance. Fold the top strip open and press the seam, then add the third strip by placing it on top of the unfolded second strip with the right sides facing. Sew along the edge with 1/2-inch seam allowance, unfold strip and press. Repeat this process with the remaining strips until the pillow front is assembled.

Step 3: Detail and Sew Back

Add detailing to the finished pillow front by sewing decorative seams down the middle of the strips, or adjust your sewing machine settings to add decorative patterns. Set the pillow front aside and create a back for the pillow. Cut two pieces of chambray fabric that measure 25 x 28 inches. Fold the pieces in half with the right sides facing out, then press the folded seam to create two pieces that measure 14x25 inches. With the pillow front facing up, lay the two chambray pieces on top with the folded edges in the center (they should slightly overlap). Pin the edges.

Step 4: Finish Sewing and Insert the Pillow

To finish the pillow, sew the front and back edges together with a 1/2-inch seam. Trim the corners and turn the pillow right side out, then add a 24x24-Inch Pillow Form ($16, Kohl's) and deliver your finished pet pillow to your furry friend. You can use a regular bed pillow, or look for a pillow form that matches the size of your dog bed.

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