Introduction: Outdoor Dog Bed and Portable Tent

About: My love of making things started young, with a mom who was always coming up with projects and a dad whose tool collection still gives me envy. I got my love of bright colors from mom and my love of working wi…

The dog days of summer are coming! Make your patio pup approved with this paw-some DIY outdoor dog bed and tent. Best of all, the tent is collapsable for easy storage or transport, so your furry friend can even have shade on the go.


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1x6 Poplar for the outsides

1x2 poplar for the rails, slats and tent

2x2 poplar for the legs

5/8" dowels

1" dowel scrap for the caps

Fabric (we used an old shower curtain)

Ribbon (we actually used an old PJ drawstring)

Dog mattress

Stain (we used Flagstone) -

Spray paint (we used Midnight) -

Spar Urethane -

Miter saw -

Random orbital sander –

Pneumatic nail gun -

Air compressor -

Drill -

Sandpaper -

Forstner bit -

Wide painter's tape -

Wood glue -

Super glue -

Measuring tape -

Pencil -

Wood filler -

Paint supplies -

Yard stick -

Cutting mat -

Rotary cutter -

Straight pins -

Sewing machine -

Thread -

Fabric tape -

Fray Check -

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Step 1: Cut Wood for the Bed

We started with making the bed. We already had a mattress that we knew we wanted to use, so we built the bed to fit those dimensions. However, you can obviously scale this for any side dog or bed.

Gather the following materials: wood of your choice (we used poplar), sandpaper, miter saw, sand paper.

Follow these steps:

1. Cut the wood for the outside of the bed at 45 degrees on each end.

Our long sides were 25.5" x 3.5" x .75" and our short sides were 17" x 3.5"x .75"

2. Cut 1/x2s for the long rails for the inside of the bed.

Ours were 23.75" long

3. Cut a 2x2 for the 4 legs.

Ours were 3.5" tall.

4. Cut enough slats out of 1x2 for the mattress to lay on.

Ours were 15.5" long, and we used 9 in total.

5. Sand all wood until smooth.

Step 2: Assemble the Bed

Now that your cuts are made, it's time to assemble the bed!

Gather the following materials: wood cuts, painter's tape, wood glue, nail gun/air compressor, clamps

Follow these steps:

1. Stand the outside of frame of your dog bed up and put painter's tape on each of the corners.

2. Open one side of your dog bed and apply wood glue where the two boards meet (we did this glue up standing up to keep everything nice and level).

3. Close the glued pieces together and tack with a nail gun on each side of the corner.

4. Repeat the steps above for the rest of the corners.

Note: You'll want to glue the last two corners at the same time, as once the 3rd one is in place, you won't be able to open the wood pieces again.

5. Lay two of the short slides on either side of the dog bed frame (on the inside).

Note: These will not stay there, they are just to ensure that the inside rails are placed at the right height.

6. Glue the first inside rail in place and tack from the outside.

Tip: It may be helpful to use another short rail as a guide for the height of your nails.

7. Repeat the previous step to secure in the other inside rail.

8. Remove the two support slats and glue the feet in place on each of the four corners.

9. Tack the feet in place using a nail gun.

10. Evenly space the slats on top of the side rails and glue in place.

11. Clamp and let cure.

12. Use wood filler to fill in nail holes, if desired.

Step 3: Cut Wood for the Tent

While your bed is curing, let's move onto the tent!

Gather the following materials: 1x2s, two sizes of dowels, miter saw, drill, forester bits

Follow these steps:

1. Cut the 1x2 to the desired height. Ours were around 4ft tall.

2. Cut the feet of the 1x2s on an angle to ensure they sit flat on the ground when the tent is open.

Note: Our tent feet were cut at a 15 degree angle.

3. Mark where your tent poles will cross and drill a hole large enough to snugly fit the 5/8" dowel through.

4. Drill holes on the bottoms of the tent feet, approximately 5-6" from the ground.

5. Cut the dowels to the desired width to fit your bed. You will have two long dowels, and one that is 3" shorter.

Note: We wanted the tent to cover the long sides of the bed, so our dowels were 31.75" for the long ones and 28.75" for the short one.

6. Cut 6 1/2" slides out of the 1" dowel. These will be your end caps.

7. Sand all wood until smooth.

Step 4: Paint and Stain

We opted to go with a natural wood look for our dog bed and tent, accenting the cats in a color that coordinated with the fabric we planned to use for our tent.

Gather the following materials: stain, brush, rag, spray paint, spar urethane

Follow these steps:

1. Stain the dog bed and tent pieces in the color of your choice. Be sure to watch for drips and follow all instructions on your stain for drying and recoating.

2. Paint the dowel caps a color of your choice.

3. Finish everything with a few coats of Spar Urethane to protect them from the elements. Follow the instructions on the bottle/can.

4. Let everything dry.

Step 5: Assemble the Tent

Now it's time to assemble the tent! As we wanted ours to be collapsible, we ensured that the inside legs were glued in place, while the outside legs moved freely.

Gather the following materials: all tent pieces, super glue, wood glue

Follow these steps:

1. Insert one of the long dowels through the holes in the top of all tent legs.

2. Insert the second long dowel through only the two outside legs at the bottom.

3. Insert the short dowel through only the inside legs at the bottom.

4. Drill a recess in the caps using a forester bit, ensuring that you do not go all the way through them.

Note: The recess should be large enough to fit snugly on the 5/8" dowels and around 1/4" deep.

5. Glue the caps onto the end of all dowels, being careful to not glue any of the legs in place just yet.

Note: We used wood glue inside the caps and a line of super glue on the dowels themselves (super glue will provide a nice clamp while the wood glue cures).

6. Starting at the top, move the outside of the leg close to (but not touching the cap) and move the inside leg back a little bit.

7. Lay a strip of wood glue where you want the inside leg to be and position the leg over the glue.

Tip: Ensure that the legs are not touching when the inside leg is moved in place. You want the inside legs to be stationary, while the outside legs move freely.

8, Repeat on the other side of the top.

9. Moving to the bottom of the tent legs, place a line of wood glue on the dowel, closest to the cap and gently move the leg over the glue and against the cap.

10. Let all the glue cure while you move onto the next step!

Step 6: Sew Removable Tent Cover

We opted to use an old shower curtain for our tent cover, and we kept this part super simple.You definitely don't have to be an expert seamstress to make this tent happen! We made sure that this tent is removable, as anything that goes outside needs to be able to be washed!

Gather the following materials: fabric, measuring tape, ribbon, sewing machine, rotary cutter, cutting mat, yard stick, straight pins

Follow these steps:

1. Measure your tent from bottom dowel, over the top one, to the other bottom dowel. Add a few inches to ensure that the fabric will hang down.

2. Cut and hem the sides of your fabric using a sewing machine.

Note: We double rolled the hem to ensure that no frays come out.

3. Cut ribbon into 6 equal strips. Ours were around 5".

4. Apply Fray Check on the ends of your ribbon to stop fraying.

5. Space three ribbons out on the inside your fabric, at the height where you want the tent cover to attach to the dowel.

6. Pin the ribbons in place and repeat on the other side of the fabric.

7. Sew ribbons in place, either by hand or with a machine.

8. Attach the tent cover to your tent structure using the ribbons as ties on the bottom dowels.

Step 7: Put Outside and Enjoy!

Now you're all set for the dog days of summer!

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