Dog crates are ugly. They are big giant cages in the middle of our living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens and if you have two dogs . . . it’s even worse. I know there are some dog owners that are anti-crate, but for my girls the crates are a safe place to snuggle for the night, eat a treat, or just hangout. While standard dog crates are not pretty, they are affordable. I had tried to find double dog crate furniture at an affordable price, but everything was in the $1000+ range. So, I decided that I was going to use our existing wire crates and create a DIY double dog crate table around them.
However, all of the online plans for two crates had the longest sides facing forward (which does look really pretty). They look like lovely buffet tables or sideboards. Sadly, that orientation just wouldn’t work in our bedroom. Also, most of those plans looked like they required more time, money, and skill, then I was ready to put into this project. So, I took what I liked from several plans and put together my own version of a super easy DIY double dog crate.
One of the challenges during this DIY was that I could only use materials that I already had on hand. Who made up this rule, you say? Well. . . Thrifty Ellen and I had challenged each other to a “Use what you’ve got” Design Challenge. This was mostly because it was in the middle of the pandemic and we didn’t want to go to anywhere.
For your reference, this crate cover was made to go over two 36 inch crates. While I will give my measurements, you should definitely measure everything for your situation. If you want to be able to slide the crates in and out from under the crate furniture, you should add on a few inches to all of your measurements. You could also modify these plans to go over just one crate as well.
Cutting the wood for your dog crate:
For the legs, I cut the following out of ¾ inch Nelson* wood:
- Four 2.5” x 26” (part A in diagram)
- Four 1.5” x 26” (part B in diagram)
For the top braces:
- Three 2.5” x 47” (part C in diagram)
*Nelson wood is wood that Home Depot delivered to us by mistake with another lumber order in the middle of the quarantine. I would have taken it to Nelson, but figured they might not want wood that had been hanging out in a stranger’s garage for a few days until they discovered it with a sticker saying “Nelson” on it amongst the rest of their lumber. Nelson—if you are out there: I hope Home Depot brought you a new delivery and know that your original wood did not go to waste.
For the crate top surface I used ½ inch thick plywood that had once been part of the base of a platform bed. It was already cut into planks that were 3 ⅞ inches wide. I needed 13 planks to cover the top of the two crates. I stained it with minwax special walnut 224 and then added two coats of minwax polycrylic finish (which were both leftover from my nightstand project).
Constructing the frame:
First, I placed A & B together at a right angle (see diagram) and then attached with three wood screws—one at the top, one at the bottom, and one in the middle. Before I put in the screws, I did pilot holes with a drill bit slightly smaller than the screw. Create four of these posts, by combining your remaining A & B pieces.
Next, take two of the posts and place one of your C pieces on top of them (kind of like a bridge). I oriented mine so that side A would face out when I put it on the crate (see diagram). Drill pilot holes and then screw C to the posts. Do the same thing for the other leg posts and one of your other C pieces. Your basic frame is now constructed. I recommend painting or staining it at this stage, as it will be harder to do once it is attached to the crate cover.
Constructing the wooden crate top:
Note: You could stain all of the top planks before this next step. I stained mine after putting them together, and only stained the parts that would be seen.
Carefully, line up all of the planks and get the edges as even as possible. I used a carpenter’s square to even mine out. Place the remaining C piece across the boards in the middle. Then using small nails, add a nail through C and into each plank. Before you hammer, make sure that the nails won’t go all the way through. This top piece is really unwieldy. Each plank acts as its own teeter totter. If we had more wood, we might have done two cross beams, but once it is attached to the frame it is very sturdy. If you haven’t painted or stained your top planks, do so before the next step.
Final assembly of your Double Dog Crate
Complete the final steps around your crate, unless you sized yours up and can slide the crates in afterwards. Ours fits snug enough to hide more of the crate. If we need to get the crates out, we either lift it up and over, or remove the four screws in the top cover.
Place one of the two “bridge” pieces at the front of the crates and the other at the back (see diagram). Carefully, place the top cover over the two bridge pieces. It should rest with one end on each of the bridge pieces and the middle brace should keep it from sagging or bowing in the center. Drill your final pilot holes, add one screw at each corner, and TADA . . . you have completed your own DIY Double Dog Crate!
So, this was my “Use what you’ve got” Design Challenge Entry. You can check out Thrifty Ellen’s Entry here. Let us know who you think won, or better yet share your own version!