How to make a four-poster bed for dogs

If you like to spoil your dog (who doesn't?), you can make him a four-poster bed for very little money if you have the proper tools. You can make a four-poster bed from wood, metal or PVC---all available at your local big-box home and garden store. For metal and PVC bed frames, you'll find supplies in the plumbing section. For decorative wooden four-poster beds, look in the building materials section or wherever the store displays decorative posts and table legs.

Measure the dog from the top of her head to the ground, and from the tip of her snout to her rump. Add 12 inches to both measurements. This will determine the size of the frame for the four-poster dog bed.

Purchase the requisite amount of materials for the dog bed. If you are making a metal or PVC frame, you need to purchase the proper Ts or metal clamps to form a square frame. If you are making a wooden dog bed, you will need eight small dowels for each bed post.

Purchase the material to create the mattress, or purchase a dog bed the size of the frame you are making. Sew the mattress together if you are making the mattress. You can find instructions for making a dog mattress in "Resources."

Determine the height of the dog bed. Measure and mark the areas for the dowels. You'll need to place four dowel pins (1 inch long each) on each side of the post that will support the frame (for a total of eight per bed post). Mark where the side boards will be placed. In the centre of the marks and 2 inches in from the top and bottom of the marks, mark four staggered dots. Drill out the holes for the dowel pins on these dots. Make sure you use the proper size drill for the size dowel pin you are using. Do this for all four bed posts.

Drill dowel pin holes in the ends of the 1- by 6-inch boards to be used for the sides of the frame. They should be marked the same way as you marked the holes on the posts (as outlined in Section 2, Step 1).

Put a drop of wood glue into each of the four dowel pin holes on one of the posts. Insert the dowel pins. If you cannot push them in easily by hand, use a rubber mallet to tap them in. Repeat this procedure for the second post. Smear wood glue on the end of the board that will go between these two posts. Put a drop of glue into the dowel pin holes on the board. Fit the posts onto the board. Clamp the pieces together. If you do not have a long-enough clamp, stand the glued pieces on end and support them so they stand up. Put a few textbooks or other moderately heavy items on the post so that the pressure is pushing the posts into the board. Allow this to set overnight.

Repeat Section 2, Step 3 for the opposite side of the bed.

Remove the clamps or weights from the sides created in Step 3. Put a drop of glue in each of the other four dowel pin holes on the posts. Insert the dowel pins. Glue the ends of the other two boards and put a drop of glue into the dowel pin holes on the boards. Fit the boards onto the posts. You should now have a square frame. Clamp the new boards or turn the frame on its side so that the newly glued boards are vertical. Put weights on the newly glued corners and let sit overnight.

Flip the frame upside down if you are going to use wood to make the bottom of the frame. Measure the short width of the frame. Cut the 1- by 4-inch boards to fit the short width and nail them onto the bottom of the frame. You should now have a box with a bottom. Sand all rough edges and paint or stain the frame. Allow it to dry pursuant to the instructions on the medium you used, then fit the mattress to the frame.

Drill holes every 6 inches along the long sides and ends of the frame. Make sure the holes are directly across from each other on each of the sides. The holes should be drilled 1 inch up from the bottom of the 1- by 6-inch frame board.

Tape off the end of the rope you will use to create the bottom of the bed. Starting on the inside (so you won't see the knotted rope), go back and forth through the holes. Once the rope is through all of the holes, knot off one end of the rope. Pull the rope as tightly as possible at each hole. When you get to the last hole, pull the rope tightly and knot it off.

Repeat Step 8 going from end to end of the frame this time, and weaving this rope through the rope that is already tightened and tied. When finished, you should have a checkerboard pattern. Sand any rough edges and paint or stain the four-poster dog bed. Fit the mattress in the frame.

Build a frame with the metal or PVC piping. If you are using metal, simply screw the pieces together. If you are using PVC, use PVC glue to help hold the pieces and make a sturdier bed.

Tie a rope to the end of one of the long sides of the bed. Make sure the knot is strong enough not to come loose. Wrap the rope over the top of the opposite side, bringing it up through the middle of the bed and over the top of the knotted side. Wrap the rope under and up through the middle of the frame and over the top of the opposite side. Repeat, keeping 4 to 5 inches between the rope as you work your way from one end of the bed to the other. Tie off the rope, pulling it as tightly as you can.

Tie a new piece of rope to the end of the short side of the bed. Repeat the process for Step 2, except weave the rope through the first rope. You will end up with a checkerboard pattern of rope across the bed. Fit the mattress on the ropes. Because the mattress can slide around on this type of frame, the dog bed should be placed into a corner, where the walls will prevent this.

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