If the limited variety of dog kennel styles at the local big box pet supply stores leaves you feeling decidedly underwhelmed, rest assured, you are not alone. The vast majority of commercial dog crates are well-built, durable, and do a great job of keeping your canine companion out of trouble and anxiety-free when they are home alone. The commercial crates perform the job they were designed to do beautifully — they just don't look beautiful while doing it. If only there were a DIY dog crate alternative.
Before you throw that lovely floral sheet over the dog crate, there is another way. If you are reasonably handy with a hammer and saw (or have access to someone who is) you can construct your own DIY dog crate and customize it to complement your existing decor. We will walk you through the steps to construct a wood DIY dog crate that disguises itself as an end table. We'll also take a look at a few ingenious ways to dress up what you already have.
The Planning Stage
Before you get started on any DIY dog crate project, you will need answers to the following questions. This is a crucial first step. It will help you catch any potential pitfalls before you invest time and money into creating a DIY dog crate that doesn't work well for your particular breed of dog.
What are your dog's measurements?
What are the measurements of the space where you intend to set up your DIY dog crate?
What type (breed) of dog do you have?
How old is your dog?
What is your dog's personality?
Building Your DIY Dog Crate
Once you have answered all the questions from the preceding section and you are confident the DIY dog crate project you have chosen is the best choice for your dog's size and activity level, you are ready to get started.
Look over the lists of required tools and materials below and take an inventory of what you already have and what you will need to buy from the home improvement store.
Wooden Dog Crate
- Safety glass
Required Raw Materials
(4) Four pieces of 1" X 3 lumber - 29 1/2″ long
(4) Four pieces of 1" X 3" lumber - 26″ long
(2) Two pieces of 1" X 2" lumber - 29 1/2″ long
(4) Four pieces of 1" X 3" lumber - 19″ long
(4) Four pieces of 1" x 3" lumber - 26″ long
(6) Six pieces of 1" X 2" lumber - 19″ long
(2) Two pieces of 1/2″ plywood - 24" wide X 36" long
(2) Two pieces of 1" X 2" lumber - 20.5″ long
(4) pieces 1" X 2" lumber - 17 1/2″ long
(2) pieces 1" X 2" lumber - 15 1/2″ long
General Construction Tips
Cut the components at the right size by using a circular saw and smooth the cut edges with sandpaper
Attach frame pieces and slats flush rather than attaching to front or back surface of frames
Drill pocket holes at both ends of the horizontal components before inserting screws to prevent the thin wood from splitting
Use waterproof glue at the contact point of each slat and the frame before screwing pieces together to strengthen the construction
Use a carpentry square to ensure each joint is square when assembling the crate's sides to the front and back faces
All attachments will be secured using 1 1/4″ screws and/or finishing nails
Front and Back Faces
Each face will consist of a frame constructed from four of the 1" X 3" lumber slats
- Construct a frame by laying out (1) 21" slat and (1) 26" slat for the sides of each frame with (1)19" slat as the top of the frame and (1) 19" slat as the bottom.
- Use wood screws to connect the slats to one another with the edges flush, forming a frame.
With the frame is completed, the next step is the attachment of the slats. The slats will use the 1" X 2" lumber 19" slats.
3. Use a pre-measured wooden piece to measure out a uniform 1 & 3/4 " gap between each of the slats.
4. Attach each slat flush with the inside of the frame. (Do not attach slats to the front or back surfaces of frames.)
- Use the same technique used to construct the faces to now construct sides.
- The sides will use (1) 21" slat and (1) 26" slat for the sides of each frame and (1) 29.5" slat as the top of the frame followed by (1) 29.5" slat as the bottom of the frame.
- The slats will be inserted following the same directions used for the faces but this time you will be using 1" X 2" lumber in 29.5" lengths spaced 1 & 3/4" apart.
The front door of the dog crate will be constructed in the same manner as the faces and sides.
The door will be framed using 1" X 2" lumber slats in (1)17.5" and (1) 20.5" length as the sides and (1) 15.5" slat at the top and bottom
- Center the completed door inside the last open frame and use appropriately sized metal hinges to securely attach the completed door inside the last remaining frame opening.
- Leave approximately 2″ between the rails.
- Finish by adding a latching mechanism to the door, allowing it to be securely closed when required.
Top and Bottom
The final step is the attachment of the top and bottom. 1/2″ plywood sheets will be used for the top and bottom.
- Align the plywood sheet with the edges of the crate.
- Apply a generous bead of wood glue to all contact surfaces and secure the attachment using 1 & 1/4" finishing nails.
- Repeat this process to apply the bottom surface/floor
Clever Alternate Options
If the plans and construction skills required for the DIY dog crate above are out of your comfort zone, there are some less labor-intensive options as well. The following ideas are merely examples of what others have constructed and are intended to spark your creative juices and get your mind thinking outside the box.
Re-Purposed Cabinet, Entertainment Unit, or Baby Crib
Quite a few owners have created some truly beautiful and cleverly disguised DIY dog crate projects using a pre-existing cabinet shell for all or a significant portion of the framework walls. These DIY dog crates really blend in well to the human decor since they were originally finished pieces of furniture.
Each project will vary in the amount of skill required to complete. Just how simple or how complicated a project becomes will depend largely on the bones of the furniture or cabinet used as the foundational shell of the kennel
Curated sites like Pinterest, We Heart It, and Instagram are excellent resources for researching and collecting innovative, creative, out of the box ideas.
Skirted Table Hide-Away
This project makes use of the classic black metal wire crate but gives it a clever disguise by assembling a basic table structure with components sized to fit snugly around the dog crate. A fabric panel is attached inside the top table frame along each side using a tension rod. to hold it in place.
Medium-sized standard commercial pet crate or kennel (the black metal wire variety)
(2) Two tension rods capable of extending to at least 36″ in length
(4) Four 28″ table legs (standard pre-made stock)
(5) Five 1″ X 4″ pine boards for the tabletop
Cafe style curtains (or any material of your choice sewn to accept a cafe curtain rod for hanging
Construction is a simple matter of constructing a frame large enough to cover the crate entirely and attaching one of the pre-made table legs at each corner.
The table top can be constructed of the wood planks or any alternative flat table-like surface you desire.
The simple, uncomplicated design and basic construction allow for easy resizing or re-use in the future. For example, the table top could be crafted from a total of (7) seven 1" X 4" boards rather than 5. This would result in a significantly larger table surface and allow the metal crate hiding beneath its surface to be removed easily for deep cleaning.
The beauty of this project is in its ability to be easily customized and personalized to meet the precise desires or needs of the homeowner (and of course, the dog)!
Whether you opt for the full DIY dog crate construction project and design and build your crate from scratch, you go for the simple table-top design used to disguise a standard black metal wire crate, or you were inspired to think outside the box and try one of the repurposed furniture ideas, you will have improved your aesthetic by leaps and bounds beyond the plain wire crate.