Introduction: Ultra-Light Dog House
The goal of this project is to build a functional dog house that is relatively light, inexpensive, and easy to build. Most of the materials needed for this project can be bought at Menard's or any general hardware store. If you are looking to cut down on cost, a trip to the local scrap yard can help fit any budget. I found all of my metal siding and dog door at a scrap yard and bought the lumber and screws from a hardware store.
These doghouse dimensions will fit up to a large size dog.
- 4 - 12 foot 2'' x 2'' wooden boards
- 6- 32" x 24'' metal siding
- Self Tapping Wood screws (2")
- Sheet Metal screws
- Dog Door (I used a heavy rubber mud flap)
- 2 - 2" brass hinges (with attaching screws)
- 11 feet of metal cornering
- Miter Saw
- Drill Press
- Metal Cutter
- Metal Snips
- Marking Tool (Sharpie)
- Impact Driver (to drive screws in
Step 1: Cutting Lumber to Size
Successfully cutting lumber requires the use of a miter saw (2nd and 4th images). This saw will be used to shorten the four 10' lengths of 2" x 2" lumber into the correct size for this project.
- 32 inches - 4 pieces
- 24 inches - 9 pieces
- 22.5 inches - 3 pieces
- 10 inches - 3 pieces
- 3 inches - 6 pieces
Once all the lumber is cut to size, angles will need to be cut into some of the pieces. These angled pieces will be used to help stabilize the roof. Unlike most other saws, many miter saws allow rotation of the blade to produce angled cuts (4th image). Cut 45 degree angles into one side of the 3 inch pieces (6th image). Cut 45 degree angles into both sides of the 10 inch pieces (7th image)
Step 2: Putting Together the Frame
To put together the rectangular frame, set out two of the 32 inch wood pieces and lay three of the 24 inch pieces inside, equally spaced, and clamp them together. Drilling "pilot holes" (pre-drilled holes) will help ease the screws into the lumber to avoid splitting any of the pieces. Drill one screw attaching each end of the 24 inch pieces into the 32 inch piece. Repeat this a second time to create 2 side frames (1st image).
Next stand the two side frames upright and lay three more 24 inch boards along the bottom of the two standing walls and space them equally along the sides (4th image). Drill 6 screws attaching each through the 32 inch boards and into the 24 inch boards. You may have to drill at a slight angle to avoid the previous screws. Flip the rectangles over and repeat this process with the other side (6th and 7th images). You should now have a free standing structure and are ready to attach a roof!
Step 3: Attaching a Roof Frame
The building for the roof frame is one of the more technical steps in the construction of your dog house. The first step in the construction is to build 3 A-frame pieces. The A-frame pieces will be a 22.5 inch piece butted up to a . 24 inch piece. Note that when each side is measured it should be 24 inches. Screw these together so that the screw goes through the 24 inch board and into the end of the 22.5 inch board. Screw a 10 inch angled board into each of the boards just attached, making sure that the angle is flush with the other boards. (1st image). Repeat this to create 3 A-frame pieces.
Next to help support the roof and keep its general shape drill the 3 inch angled pieces onto the upper rectangular frame, equally spaced along the 32 inch sides (2nd image). These should match up with the 24 inch stabilizing pieces.
Finally attach the A-frame pieces onto the 3 inch angle pieces making sure the screws firmly grip into the rectangular frame (image 3). Repeat this for all A-frame pieces (image 4).
Step 4: Adding Siding to the Frame
Metal siding provides a much lighter method to enclose the dog house. Many other dog house designs use a wooden walled exterior which can be several times heavier than using metal siding. Cutting metal efficiently requires the use of special tools such as a metal saw and metal snips.
- 27 x 32 inches - 2 (side panels)
- 27 x 40 inches - 2 (front panels)
- 36 x 28 inches - 2 (roof panels)
- 27 inch cornering pieces - 4 (corners)
- 36 inch cornering pieces - 1 (roof)
Use the metal saw to cut these pieces to the correct rectangular size. Since the roof is angled, the front panels will need to be cut at an angle to fit the slope of the roof. It is easiest to line up the roof on the frame and use a marker (Sharpie) to outline where your cuts will need to be.
Once you have the sides fully cut, screw both of the side panels, both roof panels, and one front panel on making sure to tap into the wooden frame (4th image). Then screw on two of the 27 inch cornering pieces to the side panels(8th and 9th images) and the 36 inch cornering piece to the roof (10th image) to seal off and "cover" the rough ends of the siding.
Step 5: Creating Flooring and a Door Frame
For the flooring in this project I had some left over wooden laminate. This may be outside of the budget for some people, although the process will work the same for any other 24 by 32 inch wooden board. Since I had 3 pieces of wooden laminate, I first merged them together at their seams and drilled the center of each laminate board into the 24 inch bottom cross bars (6 screws), firmly securing it into the structure (2nd image).
I measured out the width and height of my rubber dog door and installed my door frame by drilling the last two 24 inch boards into the front side of the structure making sure that they were a half inch further apart then the width of my dog door. After screwing the hinges onto the top of the rubber door, I attached a cross beam between the two 24 inch boards making sure that it was above the wooden floor by the door height (with hinges) plus a half inch. Finally, attach the hinges to the cross bar drill making sure that it is centered and swings smoothly. (4th image)
From the previous step there should be an additional front section of the metal siding. This will need to be cut again using the metal saw. The easiest way to ensure that the cuts will be the correct spacing is to trace the frame onto the metal and cut along the lines. This will ensure that anyone using different size dog doors will still have a quality cut. Attach the final front panel on top of the door frame using the same techniques as step 4 and covering the rough corners with the final two 27 inch cornering pieces.
Step 6: Enjoy Your Dog House
*note that insulation will be needed in colder temperature climates with a wall board separating it from the dog's space. Vents may need to be cut as appropriate in hot climates so that the shelter does not become and oven. Insulation may also be effective in hot climates, though this will be very locale dependent.