Super Comfy Dog Kennel Bed





Introduction: Super Comfy Dog Kennel Bed

About: I am a perpetual student, researcher, and hopelessly dedicated skill collector. I hope that you can find something inspiring or useful in the instructables I publish.
My dog, Mac, spends about 10-12 hours at night in his kennel (it's OK - he likes it) - so I want it to be a comfortable place for him to be. Mac's old dog bed was getting a bit frazzled, and instead of dumping a bunch of money into another one that would have a limited life span due to questionable design and materials,  I decided to build him one structured more like a piece of furniture - one with a durable, washable, replaceable cover that could handle the occasional sickness and accidents without showing much wear and tear.  I never have understood why pet beds are made of fuzzy or soft fabrics - most pets (that you'd be building a bed for) are likely covered in fuzzy, soft, material already and probably can't tell the difference.

I also wanted to build the bed out of scraps and found materials - along with some supplies I had lying around - i.e. I didn't want to have to buy anything to make it.  Now, I realize that very few people are going to have most of these supplies "lying around" (what can I say?  I'm a pack-rat)  - but they would be readily available from most upholstery supply shops.  I buy a lot of my supplies from here: as well as from local suppliers.

Total cost, if you were to buy everything, would probably be around $100 - which is half what I've spent in the past on beds that didn't last much more than a couple of years.  In addition, this bed can be easily cleaned (most can't) - and if the need should arise it can be recovered for about what a cheap dog bed would cost.

  • 1000-Denier, urethane-backed Cordura - I picked up some on clearance a few years ago (hence the cammo pattern).  It's waterproof, abrasive resistant, and tough - and was pretty inexpensive.
  • 1/2" Dacron batting
  • Scrap 2"x4" lumber for the frame
  • Scrap 1/2" or 3/4" plywood for the bolsters
  • Elasbelt Webbing - like very strong elastic - used as a replacement for springs in furniture
  • Urethane Foam - good furniture-grade foam will last a lot longer and be more comfortable
  • 1" Hook and Loop fastener - about 6 feet should do it
  • Staples, Foam Adhesive, Screws

Step 1: Build the Frame

While it IS possible to use lumber as-is, I find that taking the time to true/dimension lumber pays off in ease of construction and accuracy - so I do it.  The final dimensions on the frame sides is 3" x 1-1/4"  and the stretchers are 1" x 1-1/4".

This frame is assembled entirely with screws - no glue.  If you have a pocket-hole jig, this would be a great use for that as well. 

The goal here was a strong, square frame that could handle the continuous tension of the webbing as well as the weight of Mac.

Be sure to drill pilot holes for your screws - Why?  Because pine is notoriously easy to split.  The only time I don't drill pilot holes is if I'm using a self-drilling screw like a "Spax" brand screw - which I used to install the corner braces.

As for the rest of the description, I'll let the pictures do the talking.....

Step 2: Install the Webbing

Elasbelt Webbing is like really strong elastic - it makes great spring materials for seating surfaces - and in this case - dog beds :)  It's pretty easy to adjust how "firm" it is by how much you stretch it when installing it.  For this application, I wanted the bed to have a decent amount of "give" so I only applied about 1/2" of stretch to the webbing when I attached it.  Basically, to attach it, you staple down one end, pull it taught, mark your installed length, stretch it to that length, staple it down, cut it loose and do it again. 

Step 3: Upholstery

I used scrap foam from another project, so I had to do a little bit of splicing to get the sizes I needed.  If you use a good quality foam adhesive, there isn't any problem with the bond breaking or becoming stiff - and often the glue-line is stronger than the foam.  As with most contact adhesives, you get one chance to line things up - so - a little trick is to lay the two pieces you intend to bond on top of each other with the edges you intend to bond lined up.  Next, spray the adhesive along the exposed edges - give the adhesive time to dry a bit (usually about 5 minutes) - then just rotate the top piece over like a hinge.  There will probably be a little glue on the common edge that will act like a hinge to make it even easier to keep things aligned.

Once it was all assembled, I made sure I wasn't going to have any problems getting it in or out of the kennel - and had Mac test it out ;)

Step 4: Side Cushions

Mac, like most dogs, is a "lounger" - and he likes to lean against something while he lounges - so I wanted to build some side cushions for the bed.  One problem, of course, would be that if the side cushions were attached, they would make the bed too tall to get in and out of the kennel - so I decided to make them basically loose and have them attach to the wire frame with hook-and-loop fasteners.  I was also conscious of the fact that I didn't want them to eat up too much "floor space" - so they are relatively thin.

I had to cut up a bunch of scrap foam to make the side cushions - a bandsaw with a narrow blade is *perfect* for this.  You can also use an electric knife, or in a pinch, a hacksaw blade - but the bandsaw is the way to go if you have access to one.

I also tapered the thickness of the foam top-to-bottom by about an inch - although I'm not sure how much difference it made.  The best way to do this is to glue the foam to the backing board, and then cut the taper on the bandsaw.

Step 5: Field Testing

The final result is pretty nice.  I've already had occasion to test it's "accident worthiness" twice (Mac was sick for a couple of days) - and so I can attest to how easy it is to clean and maintain.... and Mac seems to like it, too :)



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Stick It! Contest

      Stick It! Contest
    • Backpack Challenge

      Backpack Challenge

    24 Discussions

    Just a rough estimate - based on the size of bed I built - is about 2 1/2 Yards of cover material.


    4 years ago

    My boyfriend and I just finished making a version of you dog bed. Love it! So does our 4 month old lab Bo.

    13, 7:10 PM.jpg
    1 reply

    Awesome! It looks great! Thanks for posting a picture :)

    What a fantastic idea. I LOVE the cushioned sides to separate the doggie from the metal crate . Our beagles spend about 8 hrs at night in their crates and it would be great for them to have this extra "plush" to sleep against. thank you!!!

    Nice bed, your dog looks happy in it--BUT I hope he gets out during the "10-12 hours at night in his kennel." I mean, dogs gotta pee sometimes during the night too! 10-12 hours is a LONG time to hold it!

    4 replies

    It actually depends on the breed and what they've been trained to do. Some people inadvertently train their dogs to go constantly - and then some dogs just don't have much "capacity" (baby-bladder syndrome). Malinois are known for their ability to "hold it" and sometimes Mac will get out in the morning and go lay in his bed in the kitchen and won't ask to be let out for a few more hours. I call him the "pee camel" - lol. He's gone more than 24 hours a few times in the past - which kind of freaked me out at first - but he gets to go when he wants, so I had faith he'd let me know. Then again when he DOES go, he goes for a looooooong time... it's like draining a swimming pool - lol.

    Our little dog survives fine for the night, but I always try to get her out before bedtime for me. If she is really desperate, she will whine (rarely) for us to let her out. She is quite patient when asking to go out.

    I guess I am used to females (being a female myself)--I know you guys can hold it longer!

    Has your dog ever asked to go out while still in his crate? And if he is crated at night, why is he crated?-- or should I ask, is he locked in his crate for all night, and if so, why? is he especially destructive or something? Once our dogs are house trained, they got run of the house, ( and some were biggies, up to 90 lbs or so, female all).

    Jus' wondering. . . ;-) We had kittens that we had to crate at night because they would get on counters and knock all sorts of stuff off. They were just too kittenly-destructive to be allowed to race the house at night (and we needed our sleep!).

    Mac isn't destructive - at least not any more (unless you're a stuffed toy). When I rescued him (he was about 5 years old) he didn't know how to behave in the house - he'd had a pretty rough life up to that point - so - I kenneled him to keep him from making mistakes and to help him feel safe. Now, he likes being in there, and he feels uncomfortable if the door isn't closed when he's put down for the night - although latching the door is unnecessary. His kennel is *his*space.

    There have been times when he's whined a little at night (he's not very vocal) to get out, and there are times I've heard him "circling" so those are his way of saying he wants to go outside - but it's rare - maybe once or twice a year.

    He didn't know how to behave in the house--this is what I guessed as Mac looks like he is a happy dog now!

    Our dog thinks she wants to sleep with the big dogs (us) and tries to hog the bed, but the big dogs win! My sister says she wants to sleep in a big dog pile with us, but ah needs mah sleep.

    Being waterproof is nice but where does the pee go when Mac has an accident. My dog Phil has a peanut bladder and has accidents about once a week. I use blankets in his crate because they soak up the pee and are easy to toss in the washer but not nearly as comfy as your bed looks.

    1 reply

    Mac has never actually peed in the house. His accidents usually happen when he gets sick - usually from something he eats - and they tend to be diarrhea (gross, but it happens).

    You could still put a blanket or towel over this kind of mattress - or even a crib pad of some sort, I would think. The Cordura "grips" towels and other materials pretty well. The nice thing is that this mattress can be hosed off outside, or, in the bathtub when it's too cold out.

    very cool
    I am thinking about making something to fit in the passager seat of my pickup truck for my dog she is always slipping and sliding

    I'm assuming the final material covering is tacked or stapled down the same way as the batting? Did you cover the sides as one continuous piece or are they 3 separate pieces? Is the bed frame covered on the bottom or did you leave it open?

    2 replies

    Yes - the cover material is pulled down around the sides and stapled all around the perimeter along the bottom edge. The cover is one contiguous piece of material. If you look at Step 3, the 8th image shows the cover material in place. The frame on the bottom is left open - there's not real reason to cover it.

    Apologies - I didn't see those other images. I kept thinking the arrow button would take me to the next set of steps. Now I know, otherwise. Thanks for the great instructable - my next project.

    fabulous! although i admit, when i first saw the picture, my thought was "finally! a use for all those useless crib bumper sets!", lol