Make a Cozy 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 pet 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, you can make your own sturdy dog bed that's just as comfortable as store-bought versions from recycled denim. Plus, you can easily remove and wash the bed cover whenever you need to.

To make this DIY dog 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 up denim clothing that might not otherwise be worn again—think clothing with rips, holes, or stains—because you'll be cutting the fabric into smaller strips, so you can cut around the holes or stains.

finished denim bed with small dog
Jason Donnelly

How to Make a Homemade Dog Bed

Supplies Needed

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

Step-by-Step Directions

With a few supplies and these how-to instructions, you can create your own DIY dog bed. Customize this easy sewing project with your favorite fabric.

Step 1: Cut and Piece Strips

Cut the clothing apart with Fabric Scissors, ($13, 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 of strips, but you can stick to a consistent length if you like. We used the Fiskars Rotary Sewing Set ($28, Amazon) to cut the strips for this project.

Use a sewing machine set to a zig-zag stitch to sew the denim strips together, 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 and cut off the excess material as needed. Repeat this process until you have seven 25-inch strips. (We made seven strips, but 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 strips from the denim pieces, lay them out side-by-side to make sure the finished pillow is large enough for your dog. Rather than sewing all the denim pieces into a pillow top 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 measures 25 inches on each side—if you're not sure how big to cut the batting, cut it larger than you think you'll need and trim it later.

Lay one of the 25-inch strips along the edge of the cotton batting square with the right side visible. Use the sewing machine to sew down the edge to secure. Then, lay the second strip on top of the first with right sides facing each other. Pin and sew along the edge with 1/2-inch seam allowance. Fold the top strip open and press the seam, then add the third strip by planing on top of the unfolded second strip with right sides facing each other. Sew along the edge with 1/2-inch seam allowance, unfold strip and press. Repeat process with 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 aside pillow front and create a back for the DIY dog pillow. Cut two pieces of chambray fabric that measure 25 x 28 inches. Fold the pieces in half with the right sides of the fabric facing out then press the folded seam to create two pieces that measure 14 x 25 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 and Stuff

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 ($20, Kohl's) and deliver your finished pet pillow to your furry friend. You can use a regular bed pillow, or look for a pet pillow form that matches the size of your DIY dog bed.

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