Friday, February 22, 2019

DIY Upcycled Drawer Pet Bed

cat drawer day bed
Grizzly was quick to call dibs on this new drawer daybed.
One of the ways I express love for my animals is by making them things.  I'm always on the lookout for fun DIY projects for my kittens and pups.  While cruising Pinterest for inspiration, I came across something I could not wait to try: making a cozy pet bed by upcycling a drawer.  At the time I didn't have any old drawers, but then, like it was meant to be, I came upon a dresser that someone had abandoned.  Just like that I had four oak drawers that needed to be saved from a premature trip to wherever unloved drawers go.  I'd like to share with you how I took those vintage discarded drawers and gave them a new purpose in life. This is a simple weekend project that anyone can enjoy.

empty drawer

First, pick up a used drawer that will fit your pet.  You may find one at a garage sale or thrift store.  Since my pups are too big for a drawer, I'm making these beds for my kitties.   Given that they sleep most of the time—well, except for my wild child, Minnie—a custom bed is the gift they will use more than anything else.

painted drawer

Next, remove the hardware and sand the surfaces in preparation for your choice of finish.  At the moment, I'm in love with chalkboard paint, so I primed my drawer with it (Tip: Use the spray paint.  It goes on much smoother.).  Though a chalky soft black color may seem like an odd choice, I knew that I wanted to cover it with a white paint that would give it a stylish grunge look.  The nice thing about a dark primer is that it immediately enhanced the drawer's imperfections.

mini trellis and glass candle holders

Now it's time to use your imagination to come up with a unique twist on decorating your pet bed.  When I came upon this cute mini trellis at Dollar Tree, I knew exactly what I wanted to do.  It became the muse for a kitten daybed.  On the same shopping trip, I found these fluted glass candle holders.  They gave me the idea for an unusual set of legs for the daybed.  This is my MO as a maker: using things in unexpected ways.  Never one to be a copycat, I get my thrills from coming up with something really different.

mini trellis

Here's where sizing adjustments happen.  After determining the desired height of the daybed ends, I used my cordless Dremel with the cut-off wheel to shorten the trellis.  If you don't have a Dremel, you can use a hacksaw for this step.  I tried it both ways and the Dremel is definitely the easier and faster method.

drilling holes in drawer sides

Time to drill some holes to insert the trellis into the drawer's side panels.  I used a 1/8th inch bit to drill holes that are 3 1/2 inches deep.  This step required some care, as the wood panels are pretty narrow (about 1/4th inch wide).  I didn't want to accidentally drill through the side of the drawer.  By taking it slowly, I kept the holes where I wanted them to be.

white caulk

So, let's get back to those glass candle holder/wannabe legs I mentioned earlier.  After spray painting them with chalkboard paint, I used white chalk to highlight the fluted edges, creating a kind of pinstriping.  An important last step is to spray the containers with a clear matte sealer to keep the chalk from smearing or wearing off.

canning jar lid

At this point, I needed to screw lids for the jar legs onto the bottom of the drawer.  I replaced the candle holder insert with a regular mouth canning jar lid.  Because drawer bottoms are very thin, I bolstered the thickness by attaching strips of wood lath.  This ensured that the sharp points of the screws wouldn't poke through inside the drawer and pose a hazard to my kitten.  Once the lids were in place, it was just a matter of attaching the fluted legs.

cat drawer day bed

The final steps included creating a name plaque for my kitten and placing luxurious bedding inside the drawer.  I chose a silky faux fur rug for the mattress.  It will be easy to clean by just tossing it in the washer.  As for the pillows, I simply rolled up a comfy fleece blanket.  Easy peasy.

cat in cat drawer day bed

I was anxious to get up this morning to see who might be snuggled up in the drawer daybed.  Though I created the bed for Minnie Pearl, the kitten I rescued last August, I didn't think I would find her snoozing.  I haven't actually ever seen her sleep.  She is way too busy with her kitten shenanigans.  I was very happy to find my senior cat, Grizzly Girl (aka Miz Grizz), curled up in Minnie's place.

cat and mouse game

All throughout the day, my girls have been vying for a spot in the new bed.  Mission accomplished.  My heart is full.  I decided I better get a head start on converting another drawer.  While I was working on it this afternoon, Sugar Bear was "helping" me.

cat in cat drawer day bed

This bed has a cathedral theme.  I found a gothic garden fence for the headboard, which reminds me of stained glass windows, and experimented with an antique crackle finish for the front of the drawer.  I'm actually using plant hangers for the legs.  Go figure!  I invite you to stop back by for updates and additional photos, as I still have two more drawers to go (and two more lovely felines to feature).  Crazy cat lady?  Nah.  I'm still one cat short of crazy.

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  1. You have created some pretty fancy feline recliners, my dear Diana. Bedding fit for the Kings & Queens we all know them to be ~ just ask any cat... LOL. Now, isn't the black one my sweet Boo? I didn't know about Sugar Bear. I'm sure all the kitties in your home will enjoy relaxing in their new 'drawer' beds. Wonderfully clever of you and thanks for sharing your DIY expertise.

    1. Thanks for asking about Boo. She didn't actually pose for a photo op this time around. Boo looks nearly identical to Miz Grizz. The main difference is that Boo is now two years old and Grizzly Girl is 12. GG immediately adopted Boo as her own when I brought the abandoned kitten into our household. You would think they were mother and daughter. You didn't know about Sugar because she avoids photography sessions at all costs. She showed up at my home in the middle of a blizzard 11 winters ago. I still have one cat, a medical foster, that needs to be featured here. I made the cathedral bed for her (Grace aka Gracie). Gracie was mauled by the neighbor's dog and nearly died. She has had three surgical procedures to save her life and her badly damaged leg. I figure Gracie deserves more than a little comfort after all she has been through. Thanks for appreciating my feline creations.

  2. Awwww, you kitties are beautiful! I love that Miz Grizz. in that photo, she looks like I feel. I have no doubt we would get along great and understand one another well. You drawer pet beds are fabulous and extremely creative. I am always amazed by your ingenuity. The beds are beautiful too. I never would have guessed that the pillows were simply rolled up fleece blankets. I love the looks of your cathedral backs too. Very, very cool! Lucky cats!!!

    1. Thanks for your kind comments. Wish you could meet Miz Grizz. She is a wonderful girl. I picked up that cathedral style garden fence at Lowe's. I love the design shows on HGTV where they take contestants to an unorthodox store where they must buy items for decorating a home. One time, the eventual winner of Design Star, had to go into a pet store to purchase everything for a room makeover. That inspired me to find the items I used to decorate these pet beds from the garden section of a big box store. It was fun to think outside the drawer.

  3. These are so cute, just like the kitties that are enjoying the fruits of your labors. What a lovely idea and so unique. I like that you can customize the design to suit you or your kitty's preferences. Thanks for this great idea.

    1. Thank you! I need to post a pic here of your Boo. I'll have to make it a priority to get her drawer bed made since Grizzly and Sugar haven't given her a chance to try out the first two kitty beds. They left their new beds just long enough to eat breakfast this morning. Then, they hurried right back to make sure to stake their claims.

  4. That is so creative and beautiful. Great idea to use extra drawers. Very smart. The designs of them are so pretty too!

    1. Thank you! I hate to see things go to waste. My cats are very enthusiastic about these beds. I better get another one made this weekend so nobody is left out. There was actually a waiting line for one of the beds last night.

  5. I'm not very good at DIY, but cats are. When we were caring for my nephew for a year, he often left his bottom drawer full of clothes open wide. Our cat Snowflake knew exactly how to make a cat bed of it. We often found her there. So really, drawer beds for cats have been cat-tested for appeal.

    1. I love it! Cats really are very good at finding, or making, a nest. I wonder what Snowflake would think of Minnie's new daybed. If Snowflake were here, I would make her a custom drawer bed.


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