Tuesday, May 7, 2013

DIY Jumbo Dog Bed Under $30

My latest DIY project was one born of necessity, not just the urge to be crafty. And it wasn’t even to benefit me – it was for the fur-kids.

We have a boxer and a big mutt (I say that with love), and at about 45 pounds and 75 pounds respectively, they require a sizable dog pillow. In fact, up until recently we had one 30” x 40” pillow for each dog, which took up a lot of space on the floor of our small living room. And half the time, they just ended up squeezing onto the same pillow anyway (they love to snuggle).

Overall, our dogs are pretty good about not chewing things up. But something must have gotten into them because they started chewing on one of the corners during the day while the hubby and I were at work. And once they discovered the stuffing inside, it was all over. We would come home to pillow guts all over the living room. Not good.

The other pillow also had raggedy corners and was wearing thin in the middle, so it was in bad shape too. Something needed to be done, but I didn’t just want to go out and buy another pillow (or two). First of all, those big pillows get expensive. Second of all, I wanted just one pillow that would be bigger than 30” x 40” yet smaller than having two 30” x 40” pillows.

A couple of weeks ago I conveniently stumbled upon this pin featuring a great tutorial for a DIY dog pillow. Better yet, a no-sew DIY dog pillow! The basic premise was to cut slits all around the edges of two fleece blankets, then tie the slits together. All I needed to find was a couple of blankets, since I could just re-use the stuffing from our existing pillows. The cheapest I found was at Wal-mart for a whopping $2.88/ea. Score!

I laid the two blankets on top of each other and got started cutting my slits. This part was pretty darn easy, and I wasn’t even precise about measuring my cuts (width or length). The hardest part was trying to keep two very curious and determined dogs from laying on the blankets while I was trying to work. My efforts were futile, so I eventually just gave up.

Once I was done cutting, I just tied both layers together on three sides (that part took awhile and gave my fingers a good workout). Then I proceeded to pull all the stuffing out of the old pillows and transfer it into the new pillow. Finally I tied the remaining side shut.

A little lumpy, but it would do the job.

The dogs were digging it already (especially Dudley), but I wasn’t foolish enough to just call it good at this point. All those ties were just begging to be tugged at and ripped back open. I needed a pillowcase of sorts, but it needed to meet two criteria: Removable (for washing) and close-able (to prevent the dogs from discovering/destroying the inner purple pillow). It was time to get more creative with my no-sew skills.  (Yes, I realize that my life would be much easier if I would just buy a sewing machine and learn to sew.)

I knew my trusty Steam-A-Seam would come in handy for three of the sides, but I had to figure out a way to open and close the remaining side. I don't have any experience with zippers, much less "no-sewing" a zipper, so the next logical solution in my mind was Velcro. I went to Michael’s to check out all the different types of Velcro, and lo and behold I found one that was especially for no-sew projects. Good thing they make these kinds of products for non-seamstresses like me!  Since it was a specialty Velcro, that also meant it was more expensive than the standard stuff: about $13 for a 5-foot roll. But, it was exactly what I needed.

Finally, I had to find the fabric for my cover. I rummaged through the clearance table at Hancock Fabrics and found a basic cotton fabric for about $2/yard. It was denim-colored with a fun leopard print. (I could have bought something more durable but I didn’t want to spend a lot of money in case I screwed it up or in case the dogs destroyed it.)

Back at home, I measured out my fabric and cut two rectangles big enough to cover the pillow. It was time to rekindle my deep and meaningful relationship with my iron as I steamed all three seams shut with the fusible webbing. 

Then I followed the directions to iron on the Velcro to the remaining side on each piece of fabric, basically creating a flap. This probably took another half hour. After letting it all cool down for a bit, the bond seemed pretty strong when I gave it the ol' tug test.

So I anxiously stuffed the purple fleece pillow inside the pillow case and pressed the Velcro together. Voila! 

Not too shabby for a makeshift, no-sew doggie bed!  And more importantly, it’s plenty big for Roxy and Dudley, who both gave it their seal of approval right away. I think they were just happy to have a new pillow again. 

Since I already had the Steam-A-Seam and pillow stuffing on hand, here’s the 
Budget Breakdown:
Blankets - $6
Velcro - $13
Fabric - $6
Total - $25 (for a pillow approximately 46” x 50”)

It's been about a week and a half and the dogs are still enjoying their pillow and haven't tried to destroy it, so it looks like it'll last awhile. I haven't tried washing the cover yet but I don't foresee any problems with that. 

So, how do you think the pillow turned out? And, would I have saved myself a lot of time, effort, and money if I could just sew?

1 comment:

Oona Johnson said...

I think it turned out pretty great. I'm not sure learning to sew would save you much time... You still have to measure, cut, assemble, blah, blah... I hate ironing, so for me it's easier to sew.


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