This raised dog bed was my first project after we moved into our house. I did not think through pictures or a post at the time, so please forgive the lack of pictures and detail. I also used this as a chance to test solid wood vs. plywood.
1 – Measure existing dog bed
In order to solve our problems, the bed needed to meet four main criteria:
- Be raised off the ground
- The color should coordinate with the room
- Dimensions must accommodate the existing bed
- Hold the weight of our lab plus a cat or two
Fortunately, the raised factor and color would take care of themselves in the preliminary design phase. Accommodating the existing bed was as simple as measuring it. This is where the dip in the middle originated. We made sure to measure not only the basic width and depth, but also the height of the main bed and taller pillows to gauge the rough dip dimensions. Holding the weight was solved by choosing to use 3/4″ material.
The interior width needed was 22″. At the time, I did not have the tools to rip material to width. 1×6 boards were the perfect candidate to give me the width without requiring any rip cuts.
2 – Cut material to size
The bottom panel came first. The design had the frame surrounding it, so this was identical to the basic dimensions of the existing dog bed. Since no rip cuts were needed, I used my circular saw to cut the 1×6 material to length.
I used a speed square to keep each cut square. Only the first piece was measured, then it was used to measure the next three cuts to ensure they would all be close to identical.
Once the bottom four pieces were cut, they were dry-fit and measured for the front and back dimensions. The front and back were both 1×6 as well, so the same circular saw and speed square technique was used.
The sides were cut out of plywood. I clamped a scrap piece of wood to use as a fence to rip the ply to size before cutting both pieces to length.
For the front dip, I marked the height of the short part of the bed and the width of the main part from center. This gave me a rough area to cut out. Instead of square cuts, gentle curves were added to both sides. With everything marked out, I could use my jigsaw to cut this out.
With all the cuts made, everything was sanded with a random orbit sander up to 220 grit.
3 – Drill pocket holes
For the project, I wanted to hide screws as much as possible. While there are other methods to create strong, hidden joints, pocket holes and glue are a great method. This is especially true when beginning as I was with this project.
I started with the bottom panel. For this, I wanted to have pocket holes on both sides of the joined panel boards. I also wanted to have them along the perimeter to secure the panel to the frame.
The frame was designed so the front and back boards span the whole width and the sides butt up against them. Pocket holes were added to the side frame pieces. These will ultimately go on the inside of the frame and be hidden by the pillow parts of the bed.
4 – Assembly
Assembly was easy once everything was laid out. I started with the bottom panel and dry-fit everything together. On the inside edges, I added glue before screwing together with pocket hole screws and my Impact Driver.
With the panel complete, I moved on to the frame. Again, using glue and pocket hole screws, I attached one short side to the back board. This gave a secure base to secure the bottom panel to. I made sure the bottom pocket holes were facing down, and glued/screwed it to the two frame pieces.
The other side piece was assembled next, and last the front piece was added.
At this point, I did not like the bottom part fence post toppers. I clamped each one and used the jigsaw with a longer blade to cut the bottoms off and leave only the round top. Fortunately, this still left a flat surface to secure to the rest of the bed.
I marked the location of the feet on the inside of the bottom panel, then drilled and countersunk pilot holes for three screws into each. The feet were glued and and screwed into place with the 2″ screws.
5 – Apply finish
We used leftover paint from our bedroom’s accent wall for a main finish. Two coats were applied to both the inside and outside of the frame as well as the feet. The bottom panel would be covered by the bed, so we didn’t waste the paint there.
Fortunately, we purchased a high-quality plywood. In hindsight, it would look better if we sealed the plywood edges with spackle or edge banding. It turned out all right for our purposes with a second coat of paint, but it would be easier in the future.
Our dog (and cats) love this bed. We’re not sure why, but it gets more use now than without the frame. If I were to make another one now, I would make the bottom panel out of plywood and sides out of lumber. I would also miter the corners on all sides so there were no exposed edges.
I am very happy with this, especially because it was my very first big project. I currently do not have any plans for this build, but if you would like some, I’ll be happy to provide. Just send me a note from my contact page.