What’s more earth friendly than those three little letters, DIY? Doing “it” yourself, no matter what the “it” is, doesn’t have to be daunting, especially when you’re making something for a pet! Our little friends tend to be forgiving audiences, even if our craft skills leave much to be desired. Here's how to make a dog bed at home.
Making pet beds from common household items is a smart way to be a great green citizen of the world. It’s also bound to save you money!
What’s Not Green About Your Average Dog Bed?
Some dog beds are made from organic or renewable sources and are manufactured locally in clean and ethical factories. We give those the thumbs up. Many dog products, however, are made from fabrics that have been treated with chemicals, either to make them flame retardant or water and stain resistant. The batting, or stuffing, in many dog beds, is polyfil. While the jury is out on whether polyfil is toxic to humans and pets, it can’t be argued that it’s a petroleum based product, made from nonrenewable sources. Not very green!
Many beds are dyed fun colors to match our home decor, but those dyes can be chemically derived and toxic, especially if your dog tends to lick and chew. Finally, many commercially produced beds come from across the world, in far flung places. The items must be packaged and shipped halfway around the world. All in all, the process is not very Earth friendly. The good news is that it takes only a little bit of time, and a few simple supplies, to make your own.
Three Ways to Make an Earth Friendly Dog Bed
If you’re willing to give doing it yourself a go, nothing is more earth friendly than taking items you’d otherwise be tossing in the trash and turning them into something new, like a bed for your beloved pet.
Remember, what to us might look like an odd, lumpy mess could be a bed Valhalla for your dog. So don’t worry if your project turns out looking a little funny.
Dog Bed #1: Old Clothes and a Pillowcase or Bed Sheet
Ever notice how house pets manage to find their way into the clean pile of laundry? They’re likely enjoying residual dryer heat. But don’t be fooled. No noses are turned up at cool piles of clothes either.
- A pillowcase (for small dogs) or an old bed sheet or towel (for medium and larger dogs)
- A substantial pile of old clothes you’re ready to part with
- A sewing needle
- Sturdy household thread
- Cut your old clothes -- jeans, unders, baby clothes, bibs, t-shirts, anything at all -- into big, loose shreds. Strips can be as wide as 8”-12”. No need to be neat. Just snip and tear till you’ve got an armful of shreds.
- Stuff the shreds into an old, soft pillowcase. If your dog is bigger than a pillow case, fold a bed sheet or towel in half, sew 3 edges, and use that as your case.
- When your sack is stuffed full of shreds, sew up the open edge with a common whip stitch. You want the casing to be fairly full. So if it’s a bit empty, put the project away for later when you’ve saved up more rags. Old towels and bedding works well, too.
- Once the sack is stuffed and sewed up, place it on the floor where your dog will lay on it. Use your hands to make a dip in the center, creating a sort of nest. Your dog may also “dig” to create his own version of the nest. If the sack is too empty or too full, pull out your stitches, adjust the stuffing, and restitch. Simple!
Dog Bed #2: Old Mattress Toppers and a Bed Sheet
People love to top their mattresses with egg crates and large swaths of foam, but these eventually wear out and need to be replaced. Instead of tossing them, cut them into layers for a truly luxurious dog bed.
- An old egg crate, foam mattress topper, or large piece of flexible foam
- A bed sheet
- Tape measure
- Permanent marker
- An electric turkey carving knife, a serrated blade, or heavy duty scissors
- A sewing needle
- Sturdy household thread
- Based on the size of your space, the size of your dog, and the way they prefer to sleep (curled up or stretched out, for example), determine what size will be best for your dog bed. For a 45 lb dog who sleeps curled up, a two-foot square or circle should work.
- Lay your foam out, and mark your shapes with a tape measure and permanent marker. It doesn’t need to be perfectly square. Fido won’t know the difference.
- Cut 3 pieces of foam into the exact same shape, in the desired size, using your chosen cutting implement. An electric meat carver works great on foam, but scissors or a serrated knife will also do the trick.
- From one piece of foam, cut a circle from the center. The circle should be slightly smaller than the size of your dog. This will become the centerpiece of three foam layers, and will create a nest-like dip in the dog bed.
- Align all three pieces of foam with the hole-cut piece in the center. Wrap the 3 layers of foam in a bed sheet, as you’d wrap a birthday present in wrapping paper. Stitch all the loose edges with a common whip stitch. You’re done!
Dog Bed #3: Blankets and a Bed Sheet
Follow the same essential structure as we used for the mattress topper dog bed! Use old blankets, or purchase some at Goodwill or another local thrift store. Choose a bed sheet or piece of fabric that pleases your aesthetic. Fold the blanket into the right size. Wrap the bed sheet or fabric around the folded blanket to make a sort of pillowcase. Sew seams by hand, or with a sewing machine. The fabric will keep the blankets nice and tidy.
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