Friday, March 25, 2011

An Upcycled Pet Bed

Berkeley checking out her new digs.

Question: What do you get when you cross a cardboard box, a men's shirt, 
and a whole lotta shelf liner?
Answer: A pet bed!

And, no, that's not a very pathetic attempt at a joke. It's today's project.

I said to my husband, Seán, that our poor little kitties needed a place to sleep after seeing them all huddled on top of our clothes dryer one evening. And, considering their destructive nature (there isn't a piece of furniture or a wall in this house that doesn't have claw marks) and considering my craftiness, Seán thought that maybe I could come up with something instead of buying something they'll have ripped to shreds within a week. He had a good point. I started brainstorming and this is what I came up with.

The ingredients for the box.

  • Cardboard box (3.25" x 19.5" x 15")
  • Men's button down shirt (I used a medium sized one.)
  • 2 bath towels
  • Elmer's Glue-All (or any glue, really)
  • Self adhesive vinyl shelf liner
  • Needle & thread (or a sewing machine)
  • Box cutter
  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears
  • Cutting mat
  • Pins

The first step is to trim the flaps of the top of the box to fit snugly inside the box. I set the box on its side (on a cutting mat) with the flap tucked under the box. Using a box cutter at an angle, trim off the excess. The flap should now be the perfect size to fit inside the box. If it's too tight, trim off a bit more. Do all four sides.

Tucking the flap and trimming it this way ensures you won't have to measure anything.

 Glue the flaps in place. (No need to get as gloppy as I did with the glue. It's hard to glue with one hand and photograph it with the other.)

Gluing the flaps down just makes everything a bit more secure.

Take the pieces of cardboard leftover from the flaps to fill in the space at the bottom of the box. Trim them to fit and glue them down.

Patched box bottom.

Cut a piece of shelf liner to fit all the way around the box lengthwise and add a bit more so the seams will overlap. Follow the directions on the package. I went with a Faux Bois finish, feeling very Martha Stewart about the whole thing. Not sure that Martha shops at dollar stores, but if she did, I'm sure she would have gone with the same thing. Or not. Whatever.

Cover the box lengthwise first, then fill in the sides.

It just so happened that the bit I had trimmed off the large piece filled in the sides perfectly. I only needed to cut two more pieces for the interior of the box. Now we're ready to move on to the bed part.

The finished box.

I decided to use a men's shirt because I wanted this bed to be completely washable with the least amount of effort on my part. Using the buttons already there, it's super easy to remove and replace whatever filling you use. I buttoned the shirt up, turned it inside out, and laid it over the box to get an idea of how big the cover needed to be. I made it a bit bigger than the box to accommodate the filling. I used a ton of pins to mark just outside of where I wanted to sew.

Pins, pins, and more pins!

And, yes, I'm sure there's easier ways to do this, but I don't actually sew. I hate sewing. My machine hates me and I hate it. I messed around with my machine for an hour and a half before giving up and doing it by hand. It took me half an hour to sew by hand. Seán says there's a lesson in there somewhere.

So, I sewed the two lines and used pinking shears to cut off the excess. I left about a half an inch on both sides because the next time my Mom visits, I'm going to put her to work sewing those seams on the machine. It works for her. I'm not kidding when I say that thing hates me.

Trim off the excess

Now you have what's essentially a pillowcase. Turn it right side out and poke the corners out. Now stuff it. I used two old ratty bath towels that I had lying around. I was using them for cleaning. I wasn't hoarding. I swear. You could use an old pillow, rags, or whatever you have around the house that's soft enough to make a bed.


Now you have yourself a handy-dandy nearly free pet bed made from things that would have otherwise been tossed out.


Staring out the window in style.

I think she likes it.

It didn't take long for Berkeley to stake out her territory. I hope this doesn't mean I have to make two more for Timandra and Caius.

*edit - This has post been a Featured Spotlight at Make and Takes!

Featured at Make and Takes


  1. You creative little thing you! What a great idea. My cats would love this. I like how you covered the box first. Nice job!

  2. Going to do this!! I will need 4 though!!! :)


Thanks for stopping by. I'd love to hear from you.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...