Wednesday, July 9, 2014

DIY Wooden Dog Crate [That Doubles as a Tabletop]


Everybody has a part of their home that they can’t stand. One of my ambitions as a do-it-yourselfer is to annihilate such spaces in my own home. One of these places is our giant, hulking, black, wire, dog crate. This crate is usually covered with a polka dotted sheet or three so the doggies can sleep in the peace and dark while we’re away. I hate this thing! It’s just so ugly and such an eyesore. When you walk into my living room, it’s the first thing your eye is drawn to, and not in a good way. My goal was to change that. Adapting
Ana White’s wooden dog crate plans, Randy and I set out to change the focus of our living room. We wanted something that would give our living room desk more workable space, like a place to rest our printer, and maybe some binders. We also wanted it to provide a pop of color that our living room is sorely missing. Everything in my living room is pale green, blue, or grey. We decided to make the crate a bright yellow with the barest hint of orange.
Randy and I have actually wanted to build this crate since we got Basil as a very young puppy two years ago, but we could never bring ourselves to shell out the 100 dollars for the kreg jig (you cannot do this project without one… but you won’t regret buying it. I promise!) But we decided to do it after Basil had surgery on both of his knees and needed a small comfortable space to spend his recovery. We built this thing in three days, which is exactly how many days he spent at the vet after his procedure.

Here’s some eye candy to motivate ya… 

So let’s get started… 

When purchasing the Kreg pocket hole screws, make sure to purchase coarse thread screws if you are using MDF or soft wood such as pine. Use fine thread screws if you choose to use any hard woods.

We're going to turn this pile of wood into a dog crate, crazy right?

You may choose to drill all of the pocket holes before assembling all of the pieces if you would like. Make sure that you place all of the pocket holes on the same side of the wood so that they will all be on the inside of the crate. The inside of the crate will look like swiss cheese so you may choose to fill the pocket holes in with wood filler, but it will not be visible from the outside so it doesn't really matter. I’m sure Fido won’t mind either way.

If you do not have the tools to cut your own wood or if you don’t have any way to transport the large pieces of wood, they can cut them for you at the store. Lowes charges 25 cents for each cut after the first 2 cuts. We had them cut all of the wood except for the 6” rails which I cut at home with a circular saw.

Find a flat, sturdy surface on which you can clamp down the kreg jig and the wood you are working with. We have a cheap old dining room table from Walmart that we now use as our work table. We screwed the Kreg Jig directly onto this table which freed up the included Kreg Face Clamp. This allowed us to use it to clamp down the wood without constantly having to remove it from the kreg jig. It is very important to clamp down the rails you are screwing together to ensure they do not shift around.

STEP 1: Build the side rails. Use the 1 ¼” pocket hole screws. Simply place one pocket hole in the center of each end of the rails, then screw them all onto one of the 30 ½” side rails, then attach the other side. Make sure to space them evenly. You should mark where the rails will go with a pencil to ensure even spacing. You will also want to drill two or three pocket holes in the top piece, along the top. Place them about 6 inches apart. These pocket holes will be used to attach the 24”x36” Project Panel to the top of the crate seen in step 9.

STEP 2: Attach the 26 ¼” x 2 side pieces and the 30 ½” x 3” bottom piece. Also, drill one pocket hole in the center of each of the 26 ¼”x2” pieces at the very top. This will be used to attach the 24”x36” Project Panel to the top of the crate seen in step 9.
Its actually beginning to look like something..
STEP 3: Add the ply wood to the sides. Make sure you place the plywood on the inside (the side with the pocket holes showing). Use the ¾” screws to screw it into the rails. Make sure not to screw too close to the edge of the plywood or you will risk splitting it. Place screws roughly 6 inches apart. Doesn't need to be exact.

STEP 4: Build the back of the crate. It is similar to building the sides, just not as wide and with fewer rails. Also, drill one pocket hole in the center of each of the side pieces, toward the very top. Then place two more pocket holes along the top of the 1x3x18” top rail. These will be used to attach the 24”x36” Project Panel to the top of the crate seen in step 9.
STEP 5: Place the smaller 17 ¾” by 21” sheet of plywood on the inside of the back, again the side with the pocket holes showing. There should be 1” of space on each side of the sheet of plywood. This will be important when you are joining the sides of the crate to the back.

STEP 6: Build the door. You will use the 1×3 @ 17 1/2″ pieces for the top and bottom, the 1×2 @ 15 3/4″ pieces for the sides and the 1x2 @ 15 ¾” pieces for the rails. First attach the sides and rails to the bottom of the door using pocket holes and pocket hole screws, then attach the top. Make sure you continue to clamp down each piece you are working with to ensure the rails don’t move and your edges are flush.
Just gotta display my beautiful car that I have had since high school
STEP 7: Build the door frame. Pretty simple, just attach the top and bottom pieces to the sides. Once that’s finished, place a pocket hole in the center of the very top of each of the 26 ¼” side pieces. Then place two more pocket holes along the top of the top rail of the door frame. These will be used to attach the 24”x36” Project Panel to the top of the crate seen in step 9. You can also go ahead and attach the hinges and the latch if you would like, but you may want to wait if you plan on painting the crate. Try to find where you will end up placing the crate in your house as this may help you decide which way you would like the crate door to open.

STEP 8: Assemble the crate. Try to clamp the sides together to ensure they are flush. Use three of the corner brackets in each corner of the crate to join them together. Place one toward the top, one in the middle, and the last one toward the bottom. It may help to drill pilot holes before screwing in the brackets. To do this, simply hold the bracket firmly in the spot you want to place it, then drill a small shallow hole in each of the holes of the bracket. Then screw the bracket in.

STEP 9: Place the top panel of the crate on the ground. Whichever side has more dents or pits or any other flaws should be on the inside of the crate. Flip the assembled crate onto the project board on the ground and screw it on using all of the pocket holes we placed toward the top of the crate in previous steps.

STEP 10: Screw the 23x 35” panel of ¼” plywood onto the bottom of the crate using the ¾” wood screws. Again, be sure not to screw too close to the edges of the plywood to prevent splitting the wood. Place screws roughly 6-8 inches apart.                                                                                                                  

So we’ve built a dog crate! Woohoo! Yay! The hard part is over. Now comes the fun part, customizing it to fit in your own home! You can always paint it with the incredibly easy to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, or you could venture for a more traditional finish such as latex paint. If you find really nice unblemished pieces of wood, you can always stain it, or leave it be and seal it with a clear coat. That is what is so great about this project; you can get exactly what you want, without dropping 500 dollars, and it’s an extra surface or tabletop for your home. This crate is just big enough for our sixty pound mutt. I would say it would be a great two dog crate for a couple of dogs under 25 pounds. You can always adjust the size to fit your needs. This project cost us around 100 dollars, with the wood, screws, hinges, and latch, pretty much everything.

I’d say he likes it. 

Until next time


(The photo at the top was taken by my friend Princess who is a professional photographer [I am obviously not, haha] this is her facebook page, and her website, you should check her out!) 


  1. Hey Christine! I absolutely LOVE your dog crate/end table design. Can you please give me the dimensions of the final product? Wpiuld be GREATLY appreciated!


  2. I love this!! Can you tell me the dimensions of the pillow inside? Thanks!!

  3. Great job on claiming someone else's design as your own.
    The original can be found below.

    1. It says right there in the text thats where she got the plans from, with a link and all? Reading is essential!

    2. Says it was adapted. Some synonyms of adapt: modify, alter, change, adjust, readjust, convert, redesign, restyle, refashion, remodel.
      She did none of those things.
      If you are going to give credit, do it plainly, don't bury it in a paragraph.
      I agree. Reading is essential.

    3. Apparently you don't read because it's right there. I'm a skimmer and even I saw it. So sorry she didn't use the exact words YOU thought she should use. She didn't claim it. Some people's kids, I swear.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Basil looks really happy with the new dog crate Great Job!