If you're going to let sleeping dogs lie, why not help them do it in style? Build this cozy bed to pamper your pet.

dog and yellow ball on white dog bed
Giving your dog her own bedhelps keep her off yours.

Looking for a way to keep your pooch or pussycat off the sofa? Maybe -- just maybe -- providing your four-footed family friend with his or her very own comfy couch will do the trick. We gave our pet bed an off-white antiqued finish that should withstand gnawing. For a perfect-fitting mattress, sew a simple square pillow. It'll let Rover roll over in comfort.

Note: Be sure to print out and study all instructions as well as the plans displayed on the last page of this article.

You'll need intermediate woodworking skills and a few power tools to get the job done. Construction should take a day or so, plus several evenings for filling nail holes, sanding, and applying a finish. Cost: approximately $50.

What You Need:

  • Table, radial-arm, or portable circular saw
  • Router
  • Tape measure
  • Chisel
  • Framing square
  • Combination square
  • Bar or pipe clamps
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Nail set
  • 80-, 100-, and 120-grit sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Four 16-inch pieces of 2 x 2 lumber for the uprights (A)
  • Four 21-inch pieces of 2 x 2 lumber for the cross members (B)
  • Two 8-1/2 x 21-1/2-inch pieces of 3/8-inch plywood beaded-board paneling for the end panels (C)
  • Two 27-3/4-inch pieces of 1 x 6 lumber for the side rails (D)
  • One 22-1/4 x 27-inch piece of 3/8-inch plywood beaded-board paneling for the bottom (E)
  • Four 3 x 3-inch pieces of 1/2-inch lumber for the caps (F)
  • Four 2-inch-diameter wood ball finials (G)
  • Woodworker's glue, finishing nails
  • Wood filler
  • Primer and paint, or stain and clear finish
  • Pillow sized to fit the bed (approx. 22 x 28 inches)

diagram drawing of dog bed

Start with the End Frames

1. Cut the 2 x 2 uprights (A -- see diagram on previous page) and cross members (B) to length. Next, rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado, centered, along one side of each cross member. These will hold the end panels (C). Measure carefully and use a combination square to mark a 3/8-inch-wide by 3/4-inch-deep mortise in each upright. Position the 5-1/2-inch-long mortises 4 inches from the bottoms of the uprights. Rout the mortises and square the ends with a chisel.

2. Now rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado, centered, in one side of each upright to hold the end panels. Position the 8-1/2-inch-long dadoes 5-1/4 inches from the bottoms of the uprights.

Construct the End Assemblies

3. Use a framing square to map cuts for the two plywood beaded-board end panels (C). They should measure 8-1/2 inches high by 21-1/2 inches wide.

4. For each end of the bed, glue and nail one end of both cross members to one upright, drilling pilot holes for the nails. (If you prefer, you can join the uprights and cross members with doweled joints.) Slide each end panel into place. Don't bother gluing them; a slightly loose fit accommodates expansion and contraction. Attach the second set of uprights to the cross members with glue and nails. Clamp the end assemblies until the glue dries.

Attach Side Rails and Bottom

5. Cut the 1 x 6 side rails (D) to length, then rout a 1/4-inch-deep by 3/8-inch-wide dado 1/2 inch from the bottom edge of each rail. Cut the plywood beaded-board bottom (E) to size.

6. Attach the side rails to one end assembly, gluing one end of each rail to a mortise in an upright. Slide the bottom (E) in place, then glue the other ends of the rails to mortises in the second end assembly. Strengthen the mortise joints by drilling pilot holes and driving two finish nails into the side of each upright and through the rail ends. Clamp the joints until the glue dries.

Finish Up

7. Top each upright with a 1/2-inch-thick cap (F). Glue the caps in place; then drill pilot holes, and screw on the 2-inch-diameter ball finials (G).

8. With a nail set, countersink all nailheads, then fill the countersink holes with wood filler. Sand all surfaces, inside and out, then apply the finish of your choice. We primed our bed, then brushed on a light-brown base coat followed by off-white glazing. Allow finish to dry thoroughly.

9. Finally, set the pillow in place, and invite your pet on board.


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