BigDog Murphybed and Fold-Up-Kennel





Introduction: BigDog Murphybed and Fold-Up-Kennel

About: Me? I just love building this, fixing that, and on the rare occasion creating stuff. I really enjoy repurposing the things I find and collect while working. Pre-enrolled into the Ohio State Engineering ...
My younger sister has an energetic pitbull Elwood, not a mean bone in his body, that tends to get into trouble if he's left free while she is gone.  She has a kennel for him that is huge and unsightly, but necessary.  I thought it would be nice for the both of them if they had a kennel that could be hidden when not in use, and blend in with the rest of the furniture.  Then i thought why not have its bed and cage seperately accessable.  I thought of Murphy's Beds and how they fold up, and decided to make one for Elwood with an integrated cage.  I don't have a shop or a large bank account, but i think it came out quite nicely.  This is my creation and i would like to tell you how it's made, I think many people and thier dogs would appreciate having one in the house.  It cost about $65 total, much cheaper than a store bought  kennel of the same size.

Update-  Its been several days since I completely finished this project and am happy to say that Elwood loves his new bed.  He loves having his very own piece of furniture to lay on. 

Step 1: Materials and Tools You Will Need

Ok. As I said, I don't have a shop so don't feel like you will need one to to build this, its fairly simple and only a few power tools are necessary. Mostly what you will need is your creative mind.

- drill, cordless is nice but not necessary
- selection of drill bits for making pilot holes
- phillips head screwdriver
- table saw - if you don't have one a circular saw will work, at the very least a crosscut handsaw and lots of muscle
- a jigsaw
- yard stick and or tape measure
- T-square
- level
- 2 sets of pliers
- dykes (diagonal wire cutters)
- pencil and a sharpie
- compass
- sander and paper, or just paper

Materials needed might be subject to change depending on the size of your dog. Ellwood is about 70lbs, enough said! It should also be said that I used Pine because, besides the fact that its cheap, it blends in with my sisters low cost furniture. If you have hardwood furniture you might want to spring for a better quality of wood, Oak isn't too, too expensive.

- 1"x12"x 4 feet
- 1"x 6"x 18 feet 3- 6 foot boards
- 1"x 2"x 24 feet 3- 8 foot boards
- 1 4x8 sheet of 5mm sub-flooring plywood. You can use thicker wood if you want but you won't need it, and it will only make your finished product really heavy.
- 1 4x8 sheet of remesh. Its a sheet of wire grid used to reinforce poured concrete. We'll use it for the cage. There are many other options for cage material at the hardware store. I liked the 6"x6" grid that this has, and it was only about $8.
- 2 - 1 1/2" lag bolts and nuts
- box of 1 1/2" woodscrews
- box of 3/4" woodscrews
- 8 L-brackets
- box of plastic "cable mount" brackets
- 2 hinges, any style or color

Step 2: The Cage Frame

We'll start with the rear section of this piece, which will house the fold-up cage and support the fold-down bed.  Grab one of your 1"x6" boards and cut two 30" pieces.  Cut your 1"x12" down to 42".  We'll be building the bed and cage 3 feet wide, so measure 3" in from each end of your 1"x12" and mark each.  Attach an L-bracket on each mark, and then a 1"x6" to each L-bracket.  they should be flush with one side of your 1"x12", and we'll call this the "back side".  You should now have two "legs".  Measure and cut a 3 foot length of 1"x2", and secure it near the bottom of the legs, flush with the "backside".

Now cut 2 -13" pieces of 1"x6".  Attach one to the end of each leg of your frame, on the outside of each leg.  They will be perpendicular to each leg, forming "feet" at the bottom.  Use your T-square when lining these up, so your frame will stand up nice and straight.  Now stand it up and use your level to verify that it stands level, make adjustments as needed.

Step 3: The Bed Frame

Ok, now we will make the bed frame.  Cut two 29" lengths of 1"x6" and a 36" length of 1"x6".  Use your compas and draw a round end on each 29" board, cut these round ends with your jigsaw.  Attach a 29" board at each end of the 36" board using L-brackets.

Step 4: Create a Hinge

Now we will want to join the Bed frame with the Cage frame.    Drill a hole through the center of the rounded ends of your Bed frame, large enough to accomodate the lag bolts you have.  Measure and drill corresponding holes on the "feet" of the Cage frame.  Make sure to measure for a 1/4" gap between the Cage frame legs and the Bed frame legs.   Use your 1" hole saw to make countersink holes, so that the lag bolt head will sit flush.  Use your lag bolts to join the two frames.  Don't over tighten the bolts, we want to allow some movement.

 With this, youre basic frame should be complete and fit together nicely.

Step 5: Cut the Back

OK, we'll seal up the back side now.  Expose the back side, measure and cut a piece of the 5mm plywood to fit. Attach the plywood. 

Step 6: The Bed Support

As you've seen from the pictures of my finished product, there is a nice looking wooden grid on the front.  As well as looking nice, this grid also supports the bed where your dog will be laying.  The design of this support is up to you, make your own unique pattern.  What ever you choose to do, make sure it will be appropriately supportive for the size of your dog.  The pattern shown is strong enough to hold me at 150lbs, even with the 5mm plywood.  I recommend notching your wood at each intersection, as this adds a great deal of strength.  This can be done very easily by setting the depth of your tablesaw blade (or circular saw) to half the depth of your wood, and making multiple cuts.  You can see the many cuts I made in one of the pictures. 

When your supports are cut and fit together, attach the structure to the front of your Bed frame. 

Step 7: Cut the Front

When your supports are securely attatched to the Bed frame, measure and cut a piece of plywood to fit the inside of your Bed frame.  Secure that to the supports.

At this point, you should have a fold down bed frame ready for a nice plush doggie bed.

Step 8: Fold-up Cage

To attach the fold up cage, we'll use two hinges. they can be any style you wish.  Mark a line on the underside of the 1"x12", from leg front to leg front.  Attach the hinges, oriented as shown, near each leg.  You want the free side of the hinge to swing forward and up.  Now measure and cut your last piece of plywood to fit.  It should be roughly the same size as the front piece of plywood.  Attach this piece of plywood to your hinges.  You will want to attach it to the back side of the hinge; in other words, when the board is hung, you should still see the hinges.

Now you're ready to measure and cut the cage material.  Whatever you have chosen to use, you will need two side pieces, a front piece, and two doors.  Make sure the door opening you cut is large enough for your dog.  I used Cable anchors, the little plastic things you secure audio/ video cable to the wall with, as hinges;  see pictures.

Because there are so many choises of cage material to use, I have basically just given you some pictures of how mine works and how it's secured to the plywood.  Depending on what you use, you may have to be a little creative when putting yours together.  You can do it!

Step 9: Catch Release

I came up with a very simple way to secure the cage material to the plywood while its folded up.  I used a wooden hook to support the folded up cage, attached to a knob on the other side of the plywood.  When you want the cage to open up, simply turn the knob, which turns the hook out of its supportive postion. 

Step 10: So, Hopefully I Have Instructed You Well Enough That Yours Works Like This

I have left you with a lot of room for personalization in this instructable, but I think I have layed out how the basic design goes together.  With a little tweeking of your own, yours should work like mine does in this short video.  I would be very happy to answer any questions you might have, should you choose to construct your own.  Good luck and thanks for reading. 

 Can't seem to figure out how to upload my video,  can anyone help?

Step 11: Finish the Wood

Finishing the wood will be a personal preferance.  As I said earlier, this project is supposed to help your pets needs blend in with your house.  If you have nice hard wood furnishings, a matching stain and polyurethane will look great; painted walls and trim, a painted finish.  My sister asked for a solid black finish to match some shelves I made for her some time ago. 

Step 12: The Bed

Basically, i made a big pillow case.  It will hold any kind of padding, and is easily washable.  An unused comforter/ blanket makes great padding and is also easily washable.  I used stick-on velcro on the inside of the bunk, and its matching piece sewed to the pillow case, to keep the bed in when its folded up.



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    17 Discussions

    This is SO AWESOME! Very well made & your steps are clear & easy to follow. I would love to make one of these for our cats. If the size is scaled down, do you think it could be wall mounted? Ellwood looks sooo happy & comfy! :) I love Pitties! They really are great with kids & other animals-even cats! You should check out They've got really cute pics of pitbulls & their families. Also, they're goal is to educate people about the misconceptions surrounding pitbulls & quell some of the fear. Did I mention that they also have very cute stickers-for free?

    1 reply

    Thank you very much! Yeah, I think it could be both scaled down and wall mounted. Did you see the picture of my cat sneaking a nap on it? Too funny.
    It's nice to know that someone is working to educate people about pits, they really are very friendly and loving. Well good luck with your cat bed. I'm sorry it took so long to respond but I really do appreciate you writing.

    Sorry, I didn't mean to sound anti-DIY. That's why were all here. Yes I think you could easily translate this I'ble into a cool Murphy bed of any size, it would be a fun project.

    You mean for people? Sure, you could build one like this in a king or queen size, but there are many human sized Murphy Beds you can buy as well.

    Wow this such a beautiful bed/ kennel man why can't have someone with your intelligence . I'm jealous

    haha, pitbulls are really nice dogs but people give them bad reputations
    they use pitbulls for fighting but pitbulls really likes to play with kids...

    I have 3 pitbulls at my house and never hurt some to
    I name my pitbulls after my bestfriends who past away
    the 2 years old pitbull is named after Camille my oldest friend the 1 year old pitbull is after christian and the youngest pitbull is named after sandy

    nice instructables :D

    1 reply

    wow, 3 pitbulls. you must have lots of energy.. lol sorry to hear about your friends though.

    thank you very much.

    Yes, he's a pitbull. A 70lb ball of energy and slobber. He'd never hurt anyone but he might lick you to death. lol

    This is an excellent instructible. I have a similar Murphy bed for our dog, but your cage idea makes this a winning idea.

    2 replies

    hey thanks for the pictures, it looks really nice. i'm sorry theres no dog in your home to enjoy it.

    thanks. i'm glad you like it. i would love to see a picture of your pet murphy bed.

    Great looking daybed/kennel! I really like the design.

    (If you want to embed video, you need to first post it on youtube or other video hosting site, then follow the instructions here.)

    1 reply

    thank you both. you were very helpful and i think i've got it now.

    It looks good. You've got lost of in-focus pictures to illustrate each step and clear directions. I like that you show counter-sinking the bolts so they aren't sticking out to snag on stuff.

    As for the video (which I assume shows how the bed/cage folds and unfolds) I had trouble embedding video too. I ended up following some excellent advice found in one of the Q&A forums. Post the video to YouTube, then paste the link into your instructable. Ignore the "embed this video" tab and just copy the video link from the address bar. Even if you have to go to the trouble of setting up a YouTube account, it will work better than putting the full video file into Instructables. Hope this helps.

    1 reply