I was asked if I would make a dog related craft. I gave it some thought and decided I wanted to stretch my crafting chops and make a doghouse. This is by far the largest project I have tried. I wanted it to be a Key West beach house inspired doghouse - like someone built a colorful cottage, right there on beach. I wanted it to be sturdy, but I wanted it to look like someone just decided to put it there. And of course it had to be colorful!
I want to give a little background on Coco. Coco was rescued from a home where she was kept outside in a cage. She was malnourished, had mange, was timid and one of her rear legs is a little shorter than the other because of the conditions she was living in. She was rescued and cleaned up. My sister and her family fostered her and fell in love with her. She was officially adopted, is now part of the family and receives a lot of love! She has come a long way! Therefore, she is the recipient of the dog house because she seemed more than deserving.
Step 1: The Best Way to Understand How I Made It Is to Watch the Videos, But I'll Do My Best to Explain It!
The main tools I used were:
- Rotary tool
- Nail gun
- Staple gun
- I used resin mixed with the sand to create the yard.
- I tried to use a lot of recycled materials and the main structure was made from an old table and three pallets.
- I made the roof out of shims.
I will run through how I made it, but you will find more detailed instruction in the videos above.
I used an old table I found sitting next to a dumpster, that had been sitting in my garage for six months, just waiting to be repurposed. I purchased a 2x4 sheet of plywood at Home Depot. I sealed the plywood - any product that will seal the wood will work. If you are putting it outside, just make sure the products you use will withstand the elements.
I cut out the bottom of the table - it had a false bottom. I originally tried using a rotary tool to cut it out, but the realized a handheld jigsaw would work much better!
I used an industrial strength glue and put it down on the plywood, where the table was to sit. Then, I also screwed the table to the plywood, for extra security.
We were able to get some pallets. We took the pallets apart, which as it turns out, is a bigger job than I realized. It ended up that my husband took the pallets apart and I pulled out the nails.
The pallet pieces were used as the siding. If this was going to be a main source of shelter for Coco, I would have used plywood on the sides first and then added the siding. However, since she lives indoors and this is just to be her space, it wasn't necessary. I attached the siding with a nail gun. I cut off the excess with my jigsaw.
I added more pieces from the pallet to size the door correctly. I added siding and cut away any excess with the jigsaw.
At about this time, my cat, Spooky, came along to critique my workmanship and color choices.
I used multi-surface acrylic paint and watered it down. I used two different shades of blue and added a little white as well. I did not mix them, but I applied them at the same time with the same brush. It gives it a nice washed out effect.
Time to build the roof. I used more wood from the pallets and created a truss roof. I cut pieces at a 45 degree angle and had a center beam. I nailed it together. In the pictures you can see that the roof framing just sat on the base of the doghouse. I notched out pieces - with jigsaw - to have it sit nice and securely on the frame, before I nailed it all together.
With an extra set of hands to help me out, I nailed on thin plywood to the roof - I sealed those plywood pieces before nailing them on.
I drew and cut out a paper template of the front panel, before cutting it out of wood. I wanted to make sure it worked! I cut out the wood piece and temporarily screwed it in place. Because I wanted an arched opening, I took a pencil tied to the end of a string. I found the middle of the opening and measured - with the string - how long it needed to be, to make sure it lined up with the sides. Then I unscrewed it and cut out the arch with the jigsaw. I created a similar piece for the back, but I did not have to cut out an arch on that one.
I found shims at Home Depot. I liked the varied sizes and thicknesses. I wanted it to look like someone used found wood to make the roof. I nailed on all the shingles, by hand. Then, I used a multi-surface acrylic paint in white and gray. I watered it down quite a bit and gave the roof a wash, similar to what I did on the siding.
On the two panels I cut out to finish off the front and the back, I added glue and small shingles (broken and cut leftovers from the roof) to create a shingle pattern. I added some staples and then painted it with the white multi-surface acrylic paint. This was regular strength, not watered down. I also painted the outside of the front beam and the rear beam, as well as the eaves. Later you will see I decided to paint that front beam pink. There was too much white going on.
I spent a little time inside the doghouse, cutting off any nails that might have been poking through, from the roof installation. I also wanted to make sure Coco would fit into it. So far...so good!
The main construction is over, but there is still lots to do! I have to decorate the front yard and add some decorative elements. Using more pallet wood, I cut three to length to create a wood pathway. I did the same gray and white wash on them, as I did on the roof. I also used the pallet wood to crate two fish, a dog bone and a palm tree. I would draw the shape on a piece of paper, then trace it onto the wood. I used my trusty jigsaw to cut out the shapes. I gave the edges a light sand and then gave them all different colored washes as well. I stenciled Coco's name on the bone.
I screwed the wood slats for her walkway onto the base. I screwed on the fish and the front and back shingled panels. I screwed the dog bone onto the front panel, above the arch. Now it's time to tend to the front yard. I placed shells, coral and beach glass down for a rough placement. The palm tree is not attached, but will be.
For the front yard, I mixed resin, fine play sand (from Home Depot) and chunky white glitter. The resin mixed with the sand will darken the sand. The addition of the white glitter, will brighten it up again. I don't have specific proportions. I mixed enough of the sand and the glitter with the resin to make it chunky. I made sure it was all covered and well mixed, but it had to be able to keep shape, or else the sand would sink and there would be a layer of resin on top. I put parchment paper under the edges of the base, so any resin/sand mixture would not get stuck to my floor. Then I started applying it to the base - remember the edges. I put a bunch around the palm tree, between the wood walk. I then added the sea shells and beach glass. I had also made a wood sign, with a point, stenciled To Beach on it and some paws and glued on two flamingo buttons. I embedded that in the sand too. I had an old key, that I embedded behind the sign (everyone hides a key somewhere, right?).
I wanted to make it look like beachy things just washed up in her front yard. I added more beach glass, a starfish (I sealed it with a couple of coats of Mod Podge first) and a fishing lure. I snipped the hooks off before embedding it. FYI - If you don't seal star fish or sand dollars, the resin will make them blotchy.
Since this was a beach house, it had to somehow incorporate water, or the sense of water. I indented a sandy area near the front, to create a small tide pool. In the bottom, I added different kinds of glitter and some confetti glitter flakes I found and pressed it all into the sandy resin mixture. Then I added shells, a little resin crab, another sealed starfish and a fishing hook. I let that all sit overnight, undisturbed, so it could cure (at least 12 hours).
The next morning, back in the dog house I went, to do some interior decorating!
Originally I was going to make a cushion. However, for ease of maintenance, I decided to cut a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet to line the bottom. If it gets dirty or muddy it can be washed and put back.
The inside looked a little drab and needed a homey touch. I looked around to see what I had. I had a button frame I made before, so I added a picture of her big crush - Scooby Doo! I added a toilet paper roll stamped frame, with a picture of me (of course!). Don't worry, I made it reversible....her parents can flip it around to palm trees when she gets tired of looking at me!
I added a metallic fish, which also happened to be beachy colors!
I attached all the items with that sticky tack stuff. Just incase she's a chewer and her parents want to remove it, they can do so without damaging, or having to repaint the walls.
I also stenciled some paw prints and a heart inside.
***I'll attach the videos for the frames and the fish at the end, incase you want to give them a try.
I mixed some resin and added some clear blue pigment dye to give the illusion of water and the poured it into the tide pool. You want to make sure everything in the tide pool is covered, especially the hook. That needs to cure a minimum of 12 hours. Also, along the ridge of the roof, I added a dowel rod to finish it off.
At this point it is finished and looks great! Here are two points worth mentioning:
#1 - It's heavy. You will need help to move it. In my case, I had my husband and dad move it.
#2 - When you are thinking about making something big, measure the doorway to make sure you can get it out of the room. I made this in my craft room and once it was finished, I had a huge panic attack realizing I hadn't thought to measure the doorway and began to think Coco was going to have to come live with me, in my craft room.
Luckily, moving some furniture, removing the door and having my husband and my father carefully twist and turn it out, saved the day!!! They also had to carry it up a hill for me :) -- I'm very lucky and appreciative!!
So that's the story of Coco's dog house. She had some rough beginnings, but now has a loving home and a beach house!!
Thanks for stopping by my instructable!