7 Affordable Homemade Dog Bed Ideas

Dog bed with bolster from old couch cushions.
Buddy the Cocker Spaniel on a dog bed made from old couch cushions

Dog beds can be made from recycled materials you have lying around the house or pick up at a thrift store or yard sale.

If they wear out, they’re very easy to replace.

Of course, you can also buy brand new fabrics to match any decor, giving you endless options!

How to Make Dog Beds Out of Old
Couch Cushions – Basics

It’s quite easy – simply scrounge one to four discarded couch cushions with covers made of any kind of heavy duty fabric including vinyl. 

  • For small and medium-sized dogs, the first cushion forms the base of your bed; the second provides the fabric for the bolster or tube that goes around the back. 
  • Do you have only one cushion? Use it for the base and use a matching or contrasting fabric for the back tube.
  • If the cushion fabric is too torn up to use and all you have is foam from the cushions, find enough fabric from a different source to cover the area you need. (We used curtain material to cover the foam for the above bed. 
  • If you can’t find enough of the same fabric for the back tube, a contrasting or coordinating material can be used.
  • Add a pocket or two in the corners to hold your dog’s toys and/or grooming equipment. See the free dog bed with a pocket for instructions on adding pockets to the basic design below.

Before You Start

Before cutting or sewing anything, make sure the bed will fit your dog! Have him or her lie down on one of the cushions. 

If the dog fits in the middle with about four inches (100 mm) to spare on three sides, the cushion is big enough.

For a larger dog, get an old sheet or quilt and have your dog lie down on it in a curled position. 

  • Measure and make a mark at the points shown by the arrows.
  • Mark the point in the middle of the dog’s back on the sheet as well.
  • Draw lines to form a rectangle around the points.
  • Add 4 inches (100 mm) to each measurement and draw the larger rectangle. That will be the area needed for the base.

Complete Instructions

ESTIMATED TIME – Two to four hours

MATERIALS AND TOOLS

  • One or two discarded couch cushions
  • Fabric for the tube if you only have one cushion
  • Stuffing from an old pillow or quilt
  • Sewing machine or sewing needle with heavy duty thread
  • Straight pins or safety pins
  • Cloth scissors

PREPARATION FOR DOG BED USING ONE CUSHION FOR THE BASE

  • Decide on your base cushion (Cushion #1).
  • Remove the fabric from Cushion #2* and cut into four lengths 14 to 16 inches (355-410 mm) wide for the tube. (*Or use fabric that matches your base cushion.)
  • Tip: Save the zipper (if it has one) for another project.

PREPARATION USING MORE THAN ONE CUSHION FOR THE BASE

  • Join cushions together by hand sewing the fabric. If all you have is foam pieces, use a foam friendly glue to glue them together. Fill in any depressions or cracks with extra foam that is glued in place.
  • Get another piece of fabric (either off the couch or another scrounged source) to cover the entire base and to form the tube.
  • Cut several tube pieces the same width as described above.

SEWING THE TUBE

  • Sew two or more pieces end to end until you have a long strip.
  • Lay the strip in an arc along the sides and back edge of Cushion #1.
  • Allow two inches (50mm) to spare on either end and cut off the rest.
  • Fold the strip over, right sides together and pin.
  • Leaving two inches (50mm) on either end unsewn, sew edges together, making a tube.
  • Add an extra row of sewing for additional strength.

STUFFING THE TUBE

  • Turn the tube inside out so the right side faces out.
  • Start stuffing the tube, pushing the material to the middle.
  • Try to pack it uniformly, adding material from either endWhen fully stuffed, pin the ends closed.
  • Arrange the tube in a semicircle on Cushion #1.
  • Keep the wrinkles evenly spaced and hide the seam if possible.
  • Pin the tube in place with safety pins.

FINISHING STEPS

  • With needle and double thread, sew the back side of the tube to the base, removing safety pins as you go.
  • Sew the ends closed so that each end looks similar to the other.
  • Sew the tube ends to the base and you’re done!

Dog Bed Care

We recommend using your dog’s favorite blanket as a cover since it’s easy to take off and wash. As a bonus, the blanket will hide any imperfections in the fabric you use.

However, if your cover is made of vinyl, then you can simply sponge it down once in a while with some warm, soapy water. Wipe off the soap with the sponge or cloth; then dry with an old towel.

Some Recycled Dog Bed Project Ideas

One homemade dog bed idea is to make a washable dog car bed or dog pad for a crate or kennel by using an old quilt or sleeping bag. 

You can also form a pad by making an extra-large pillowcase from any type of fabric to encase a piece of foam.

Another DIY bed from all recycled materials is the Free Dog Bed (per above photo of Buddy).

This is sewn together for practically nothing from used couch cushions.

It has a rounded bolster to fit a small to medium size dog snugly.

Add a pocket or two for dog toys or grooming tools.

We’d like to thank an anonymous contributor for sharing the following:

Dog Bed from Old Recliner 

We had an old recliner that was ready for the landfill.  We noticed the back was still in good shape even though the foot mechanism was broken and the seat and arms were worn.  We simply removed the back (two clips on either side held it on) and placed it on the floor.  It was big enough for our 70 pound Lab to lay on.  5 years later (with regular cleaning) our 3 Shih-Tzus have designated this the bed of choice over all the other beds we have purchased for them.


Basic Measurements

Before you begin, I suggest you take some measurements:

  • Measure the dog’s length, head to tail, while stretched out
  • Measure your dog’s width at the widest point while curled up
  • Add 2 inches (50 mm) each to the length and the width
  • These will be the minimum rectangular dimensions for your dog bed
  • For a circular bed, use the dog’s stretched out the length for the diameter unless otherwise specified

More DIY Dog Bed Ideas

  • Take a foam pad of any size or shape and make a cover out of fabric for it. This cover can be made waterproof using a thick vinyl if you have a dog that is leaky.
  • For an Orthopedic Dog Bed, use high-density foam that is at least 7 inches (180 mm) thick.
  • If you’re looking for a printable pattern to create your own unique dog bed shape, check out our FREE Dog Bed Patterns here! We provide instructions for measuring your dog for these, enlarging the pattern, materials to use as well as assembly instructions.

Ideas Contributed by Visitors

Generous visitors have contributed their own dog bed suggestions.

Super Easy Cedar Dog Bed from Kelly in Alabama

Just remember that a homemade dog bed doesn’t have to be perfect. Your dog is likely to be much more concerned with comfort than looks!

Along that vein, here’s Linda Montgomery’s idea (Russellville, AR):

How to Make an Enclosed Dog Bed
I took a small trunk bought at a yard sale and cut a small opening in the front using a power jigsaw. I painted the trunk and put a small dog bed inside the trunk. My Chihuahua gets cold from the A\C. With the top hinges closed on the trunk and a small blanket, he now stays warm. He also likes having an enclosed space inside his crate at night to sleep in…he feel much safer and secure.


Other Homemade Dog Bed Ideas

  • Make an extra-large bed accommodate more than one dog by sewing two to four old couch cushions together with thick thread or twine. Fill in any gaps by gluing in pieces of extra foam. Add the covering of your choice.
  • Take PVC pipe and canvas or mesh to make a cool outdoor bed for those hot summer days.
  • Build a wooden frame to make a small sofa bed, using old couch pillows or a foam mattress for the pad.
Comet the German Shepard snoozing on the couch.
Easiest dog bed of all – the human couch; it kept Comet out of the way in our RV.
  • Use an existing small sofa or love seat – look on Craiglist for freebies. 
  • Cover the couch with something that pleases the eye.
  • For removable, washable covers, throw over an old sheet or blanket or make a fitted dog bed sheet.

Finally, if you’re looking for even more photos and ideas, head on over to our Pinterest board on Dog Beds and Crates.