Introduction: Upcycled Bike Tire Pet Bed
To make this bed, I upcycled a few things I had laying around the house. I was wondering how to dispose of a 29'' mountain bike tire when I got the idea. You'll need a few things apart from the tire, most of which you might have laying around as well.
You can switch the size of the tire according to the size of your pet. I used a 29" tire and that works really well for my cat, but he's rather big. You can go smaller if you have a normal sized cat or small dog. If you'd like a bed with a taller side, consider stacking a few tires on top of each other.
The only tool you really need for this project is a hot glue gun, but a sewing machine could speed everything up tremendously. I did all the sewing by hand and it took me a bit, but I'm happy with the final result and my cat really appreciates it too.
A few things about the bed itself – it has a removable pillow that fastens with velcro. You can remove the pillowcase and wash it separately. I'll also show you how to add a small surprise for your feline friend. Let's get started. :)
Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials
You will need:
- bicycle tire*
- cardboard box (or any other big piece of cardboard)
- a few strips of velcro
- old pillow
- fitted sheet** or other fabric
- scrap paper or fabric
- pen and pencil
- tailor's chalk
- needle and thread
- hot glue gun
* Don't use skinny road cycling tires, they're not wide enough to form a side for the bed.
**You can use any fabric you like, I just had a fitted sheet on hand. It turned out to be really useful for this project because of the elastic sides, which can easily be wrapped around the tire.
Step 2: Measure the Bottom Pieces
You’ll need enough cardboard to cut two circles roughly the size of the tire. I’m using two different colors to make the pieces easier to identify.
Place the tire on the cardboard and trace its inner diameter. Measure around 2 cm/0.78 inch from the edge of this circle and make a few markings (I used blue for these). Do this in a few places to get a new dashed circle – this is your cutting line.
Trace the tire again and this time measure 3 cm/1.18 inch from the edge. I used red to mark this larger piece.
Step 3: Cut the Bottom Pieces
Cut the two cardboard circles along the outer dashed lines. If you’re using a flattened cardboard box like I am, you’ll need to reinforce the slits in the circles with some tape.
Step 4: Trace and Cut the Fabric
If you’re using a fitted sheet, cut off the edges with the elastic carefully. Leave some slack so it can be wrapped around the tire later.
Fold the fabric in two and place the larger of the two cardboard pieces on top. Trace it with tailor’s chalk. I didn’t have any, so I used a pencil. It can be removed with an eraser, but it’s slower and messier than tailor’s chalk.
Trace a larger circle around the first one – this way you'll have some slack to wrap around the edge of the cardboard. Use some pins to make sure the folded fabric stays in place, cut along the outer line and you should have two identical circles.
Step 5: Add the Velcro
Take the smaller cardboard circle – this will be the inside of the bed. In this step you'll add the velcro straps that secure the pillow in place.
Place the fabric face down on a flat surface. Place the cardboard circle on top and center it. Fold the fabric around the rim and carefully flip the circle. If your fabric moves around a lot, some tape along the ends of the fabric will help.
Place the pieces of velcro on the fabric and distribute them as evenly as you can. Mark the position of each velcro strap and sew them on. You can also use iron-on velcro strips to speed up the process.
Step 6: Putting It Together
Place the circle of fabric with the velcro face down on a flat surface. Align the smaller cardboard circle in the center. Gently pull the fabric on all sides to make sure there aren't any wrinkles on the other side. If your fabric moves around, use a few heavy objects in to keep it in place.
Put some hot glue along the edge of the cardboard circle and in its center. Flip it quickly and press it to the fabric.
Give it a few minutes to cool down and start applying hot glue along the rim of the cardboard. Apply a line of glue, pull the fabric gently, fold it over the edge and press it to the glue. Do this in small increments. Use a small piece of cardboard to protect your fingers from the heat.
As you can see, my alignment wasn't perfect. That's not a big deal, as long as none of the velcro is really close to the edge.
Step 7: Still Putting It Together
Take the other cardboard circle and the remaining piece of fabric. This will be the side of the bed that sits on the floor, so you could use a waterproof fabric or something that's generally stronger and easier to clean.
Place the fabric face down on the floor, align the circle on it and glue them together like in the previous step.
Step 8: Enter the Tire
Take your tire and the bottom panel with the velcro on it. Place the circle inside the tire and make sure it's centered. Secure it with some tape on the back so it doesn't move around. Crumble some scrap paper and stuff it inside the tire. You can also use leftover fabric or old clothes, just make sure the tire can keep its shape, but is not too hard.
If you'd like to use multiple tires for a taller bed, stuff each one with paper, stack them up and wrap them with tape or jute rope to keep them together. Proceed with the rest of the steps like usually, just keep in mind that you'll need to adjust some measurements.
Step 9: Make the Tire Cover
If you're using a fitted sheet, cut the rim of elastic with some of the fabric around it. If you're using regular fabric, just take a long strip of it. Either way, you should have enough to wrap around the tire and have some slack that you can glue to the bottom. You can see my measurement for a rough estimate.
To measure the width, press the fabric next to the inside of the tire, where it will be attached, and make sure you have enough to wrap around the tire and reach the bottom panel. You can see my measurement for a rough estimate.
Once you have your strip of fabric measured out, sew it into a loop.
Step 10: Attach the Tire Cover
To attach the tire cover, put it in place, take a section of the fabric and push it back to nearly where the tire ends. Holding it in place, poke the needle through the fabric on the bottom and then the fabric you're holding back. This is a bit tricky to get, but once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy.
If you absolutely hate hand sewing this, you can try to hot glue it in place. I decided against it because my cat likes to scratch and chew the hardened hot glue.
Sew the tire cover to the bottom in small sections of a few inches and alternate the side of the circle on which you're sewing. This way you can ensure that the fabric is stretched out evenly, especially if you're using a fitted sheet with an elastic band.
Also, if you're making this bed for a cat, by this point they will be acting as if they committed the thing. You can see mine trying out the fit and silently judging me.
Step 11: Glue the Cover
Now we're going to glue the tire cover to the bottom part of the velcro panel. Fold the tire cover under the tire and pull the fabric gently to position it. If your draping is a bit uneven, now's the moment to fix it.
Carefully flip the whole thing and start glueing small sections of the tire cover fabric to the fabric on the bottom panel. Let the glue cool down and harden completely before you proceed to the next step.
Step 12: Assemble the Bed
Take the remaining cardboard circle and place it face down. Align the panel with the tire on top of it. Gently lift the top panel and apply hot glue in large sections. Work quickly and press the two parts firmly together. Put some heavy objects around the edge of the bed to hold it down if necessary.
Step 13: Trace the Pillow
Take your old pillow and cut along the stitches on the sides. If you have the patience, you can carefully cut the thread and start pulling it out to unsew the pillow. This would give you a bit extra slack to work it, but is not necessary.
Flatten the fabric, fold it in two and place it over the bed. Trace the inner circle of the bed and cut the two pieces. You can use non-matching fabrics for the two sides, like I did – my pillow wasn't big enough to cut two circles, so I used different scrap for the other side.
Step 14: Optional Step: Make a Catnip Pocket
My cat loves catnip, so I decided to add a tiny pocket to stuff some in his pillow. You can skip this step if you're not making it for a cat.
Cut two small pieces of fabric like the ones you see in the photo. They should both have the same width, so they can overlap and prevent the contents of the pocket from spilling. Sew the larger piece on the sides and bottom. Then add the other piece above the opening you have on top. Place it so the two pieces overlap a bit and sew the top and sides. You should have a small pocket which closes neatly and can still be accessed.
Step 15: Sew the Pillow
Place the two circles on top of each other. If you made the catnip pocket, make sure it's on the inside now, sandwiched between the fabric circles. Sew the together almost all the way, but leave a hole big enough for your arm. Put your arm in the hole, reach for the bottom of the fabric and pull it out gently to turn the pillow inside out and hide the seam.
Step 16: Stuff the Pillow
Take the stuffing from the pillow you gutted and stuff in into your case. Before sewing it shut, make sure you test it inside the bed. Adjust the amount of stuffing to get your desired pillow size.
Step 17: Trace the Pillowcase
Now it's time to make a case for your pillow. This includes velcro straps to fasten it to the bottom of the bed and a zipper which allows the case to be removed and cleaned separately.
Take your fabric again, fold it in two and place it inside the bed. Center the pillow on top of it and outline it. Trace a second, slightly larger circle around the first outline and cut along this line.
Step 18: Add the Velcro
Now we need to outline and sew on the other sides of the velcro straps. You don't need to stick the pieces to the ones on the bottom of the bed, I'm not sure why I did it.
To trace the velcro pieces, align your round piece of fabric inside the bed, find the locations of the velcro strips and trace around them with tailor's chalk or pencil. Sew or iron the velcro pieces on.
Step 19: Assemble the Pillow
Place your zipper on either piece of fabric and measure the length by making two small marks. Now take the plain red circle and place in face up on a flat surface. Align the piece with the velcros on top of it, making sure they are on the inside. Sew around the circles, leaving an opening matching the size of your zipper.
Step 20: Add the Zipper
Turn the pillowcase around so the velcro is on the outside. Align one side of the zipper with one of the flaps that form on the rim. This is a bit tricky to explain, refer to the photos for the alignment here.
Pin the zipper and fabric and stitch them together. You can see how it looks from the outside and inside after it's done. Repeat the process on the other side of the zipper. Make sure there's no loose ends of thread and reinforce the stitches around the ends of the zipper.
Step 21: Put It All Together
Put the pillow inside the pillowcase and attach it to the bed with the velcro strips. This is it! I hope you and your pets enjoy this project. =^.^= :)