Are you looking for a quality dog crate for your puppy, but can’t quite find what you’re looking for? Then it is time to design and build your own. Do not be intimidated; this is a DIY project that will not be left half-finished out of frustration! Simple wooden dog crates are easy to build and can cost less than their premade counterparts. Another benefit of making the crate yourself is that you can ensure that it fits your space and matches your style.
There are a few important details to go over before you get started with your design, so keep reading. In this article, we will walk you through all the steps you need to take to design the perfect crate for your dog. We will also give you a few tips and design ideas to plan a crate that will blend seamlessly into your home decor.
Sizing Up The Situation
The first step in the process is finding out what size the crate should be. For this step, you will need to know the amount of space your dog needs as well as the amount of space you have in your home to accommodate the new crate.
Why is it essential to have the right size crate? This crate is going to be your dog’s personal space, and they will spend a fair amount of time there, so you want it to be comfortable. With that in mind, you’ll want enough space for her to stand up, wag her tail, and stretch a little, as well as lie down comfortably.
You do not want too much space, though, especially if you’re trying to crate train a puppy. If the puppy has too much space, she may feel comfortable soiling the far side of the crate because there will still be plenty of room to lie down in the clean area. A smaller space will encourage your dog to keep it mess-free, plus she will feel more secure.
What To Measure
If you’re like most of us, you probably do not know your dog’s exact height, so it is time to grab the tape measure. You’ll need to know your dog’s length from the tip of his nose to the end of his tail. Then measure his height from the floor to the top of his head, or the tips of his ears if his ears naturally stand up. Add 2″ to each measurement for small breed dogs or 4″ for large breed dogs. This will give you the length and the height you need. The width can be adjusted according to what you think will work best, but a good rule of thumb is to make the width 3″ less than the height. For example, if your dog is 22″ long and 19″ tall, you would build a crate that is 24″ L x 18″ W x 21″ H.
Puppy Tip: Remember to add room for growing puppies! If your puppy is not yet fully developed, you will want to build your crate based on the size he will be as an adult. If your dog is going to grow substantially, you may want to consider adding an adjustable divider to the crate. The divider can block off the unneeded section of the crate, keeping the crate small enough for proper potty training. Once your dog is adequately house trained, the divider can simply be removed.
Fitting Your Space
As we mentioned in the beginning, one of the great things about designing your dog’s crate is that you can customize it to fit your space. Now that you know how much room your dog will need, you can decide where the crate will be located in your home and make adjustments to fit the space.
When choosing the perfect spot for your dog’s crate, consider things like ventilation and sun exposure as well as surrounding furniture, electrical outlets, and other household fixtures. Make sure the space is safe and comfortable for your dog as well as convenient for you. Once you’ve chosen the perfect place, it is time to do a bit more measuring. Measure the available space and note things like where the crate door should be located and which way it should open. Now you have the foundation of your crate design.
Now it is time to determine any other design elements you want to include in the crate. For example, do you want this crate to serve as just a crate, or will it be a piece of furniture as well? Just like for a pet kennel, dog crate furniture has gained a lot of popularity in the last decade or so and for a good reason. Why have two pieces of furniture taking up space when you can have one piece serving as two?
Depending on the size you need, your dog’s crate could double as an end table or entryway table. Some DIYers have built crates that serve as extra work surfaces for the laundry room or craft room. If you’re building a particularly large crate or a double crate, it could even serve as an island in your kitchen. There are thousands of design ideas online that you can use as inspiration.
Don’t want to design your crate from scratch? That’s okay too! There are many woodworkers and home builders who have shared their designs so that you can skip the design process and go right to building your crate.
Puppy Tip: Even the best-behaved puppies have accidents sometimes. Be sure to add a waterproof liner to your design if your puppy isn’t quite housebroken yet. You may also want to consider hinging the top of the crate. This will allow better access to the interior for major cleanups.
What You’ll Need
The materials you need will depend on the type of crate you want, but here are a few basics to consider.
Tools and Supplies
At a minimum, you will need a few basic tools for this project, such as:
- Tape measure
- Screwdriver or drill
- Framing square
- Sander or sandpaper
You may also need supplies such as:
- Nails or screws
- Wood glue
- Safety gloves and glasses
More complicated designs will require more tools and supplies, but these are a good baseline for what you’ll need.
The type of wood you choose to use is up to you; just be sure to choose something sturdy. Pine is a sturdy wood that is relatively inexpensive, available at most hardware stores, and easy to build with, so it would be the right choice for those who aren’t sure what to use.
You can use wooden planks of different sizes to build the entire crate or use a combination of materials. Laminated project panels or plywood can be used if you would prefer to have solid pieces for the top and bottom of the crate. The sides of the crate should provide plenty of ventilation. You can achieve this by using wooden slats, wire mesh, or even pieces of rebar for a more industrial look.
For those who may not want to start from scratch, but still want a unique crate, you could repurpose old furniture.