diy project: vintage elevated dog feeder

today’s first diy project has gone to the dogs- well, pampered dogs that is. if you love your pet as much as julia custer norris does, you might be interested in building a custom diy feeder like she did. julia explains, “when my dog auggie became big enough that we needed to raise the feed bowls off the floor, i came up with this design for an elevated feeder. it’s a great way to re-use wooden crates, and auggie insists on vintage, so we chose an antique wooden crate for the project.” i love any project that lets you reuse found materials in a clever way so i thought this would be a fun project for the pet-lovers in the audience. julia has shared her full instructions below so just click here for the full post (or click “read more” below). if you’d rather buy something pre-made, julia sells her dog feeders right here at the handmade green. [thanks, julia!]

Julia’s Vintage Elevated Dog Feeder

Note: There are plenty of wooden crates out there, but you’ll need to hunt a bit to find one that fits the size of your dog . Wooden cigar crates (hit up your local smoke shop) are great for small dogs and usually have hinged lids for storage. Bigger dogs will require something more substantial, such as an old soda crate or milk crate. Or you can scour the antique shop for one like ours. For anyone curious about elevated bowls: elevating your dog’s food bowls reduces the chances of bloat and stress on joints. It’s good for them!

What You’ll Need:

-Wooden crate (sanded well to prevent splinters)
-Stainless steel food bowls ( and Pet Food stores have affordable options)
-Jig saw
-Drill with large wood drill bit
-Wood sealer


1. You will need two dog bowls with a lip (one for water, one for food). The lip will keep the bowls resting in the top of the crate. I used 2-quart stainless steel bowls that I got at my local chain pet store.

2. Measure your dog bowls to determine how much surface area you need to hold them. Allow an extra two inches on each side of the bowls and two inches between the bowls (total of an additional 6 inches in length and 4 inches in depth). If you don’t leave enough room around the bowls, the integrity of the box may fail the first time your dog accidentally sits on it.

3. Scour your local antique shops for a wooden crate that suits your style. It needs a top, obviously, but having a bottom is optional. Our crate is 26 inches by 13 inches and 9 inches tall.

4. We leave ours unpainted, but I recommend protecting the wood with a clear sealer. Auggie is a slobbery dog, and protecting the wood against water damage will keep it looking good.

5. Measure the inside diameter of the bowls and make paper templates. Lay the templates on your crate until the layout is symmetrical. Trace the templates onto your crate top.

6. Use a wood drill to make a hole inside the area that will hold the bowls. This hole will be a starter place for the jig saw blade.

7. Use a jig saw to cut out the holes. I once used a handsaw to do this, and it took a couple hours. But if that’s all you have, it will work. Use what grandpa calls elbow grease. Once the holes are cut sand the crate and holes again to prevent any splinters for your pet.

8. I also put little protective feet on the bottom to keep the crate from scratching the wood floors. You can pick these up at your local hardware store.

9. If your box comes with a lid you can easily add hinges from your local hardware store to create a unit that acts as storage as well as a feeder.

10. Place your bowls in the feeder, fill with food and let your pets enjoy!

  1. Jennifer says:

    Sadly, I don’t have a dog, but if I did, I would definitely make this. It’s really clever. I love the mix of materials.

  2. I love this! I think I might just have to make one for my own dog. =)

  3. abby says:

    Cute! You could do something similar with an empty, reycled speaker cabinet too — they’ve got pre-cut holes!

  4. leslie says:

    Yes very clever and great for dogs. Maybe I’ll make one or maybe order one.

  5. Rhea says:

    That’s the nicest doggy dish setup I’ve ever seen. Alas, my 12-pound Lhasa apso couldn’t reach that high.

  6. Jane says:

    what a great idea! I like this so much better than the elevated feeder I purchased.
    Its also nice that water drips would prob. not show in the aged wood.
    My dog has a droopy mouth that drips water everywhere.

  7. Leah says:

    I’ve done something similar with two wine crates. Just make sure you do put a coat of poly on the top. If you have a dog big enough to need an elevated food bowl then you have a big drinker with lots of drips. Those drips over time will cause the top of the crate to warp if you don’t put some poly on it.

  8. Tracey says:

    Sadly, my Cock aPoo would not be able to reach the top of the crate, but I am now inspired to do something with his bowls. I think I will , however, use the wine crate idea and put 2 potted plants in lieu of doggy dishes for on my patio. Thanks for the great idea!

  9. Jen says:

    I love this idea! No I just need to find a crate of some kind. I have a ton of bowls : )

  10. Renee says:

    If you have smaller dogs, try a smaller crate, like a cigar box. Julia made some smaller ones that already sold ( I know she used them for a maltese and they worked great!

  11. stacy says:

    Hands down, one of the coolest things I’ve seen

  12. kari says:

    What a brilliant idea. I even have crates like that sitting around that aren’t doing anything nearly as useful!

  13. ooo! this is just what my hound needs!
    very cool.

  14. love the idea of using an old crate here. Just love this. I am headed out to get one at my local antique store.

  15. Tanya says:

    aww i wish i had seen this before i dished out (punn unintended) for the expensive steel stand i now have. although a couple smaller crates would be better for my cocker spaniel. cute idea.

  16. julia Custer says:

    thanks for all the support! when i get back from traveling i’ll scout out some more crate and stock up!

  17. LCI Paper says:

    Very cool. This would look great in a rustic room with hardwood floors. Very creative idea. I like the wine crate idea in one of the comments as well…

  18. Such an innovative product! Thanks for the tips. It seems easy to do. :D

  19. julia Custer says:

    I finished a new batch of feeders, fresh from san diego

  20. Leigha Oaks says:

    Quite seriously – the cutest project ever. Thank you Design*Sponge and Julia!

  21. Winepine says:

    The wine crate feeder looks great. You do make it look easy, but it really isn’t! Your instructions are very clear and easy to understand though. Thank you for sharing!

  22. Betsy says:

    Did the boards in the crate become unstable after you cut them? It looks as if they aren’t even connected anymore.

  23. Peta says:

    Wonderful. I’m going to ditch the vintage children’s chair I’ve been using {my Uncle Dan made it years ago} for this beauty.

    Plus, there are lots of lovely vintage crates on Etsy.

  24. Meesterkaart says:

    Cool. When i was younger my folks and me created a dogfeeder from Epoxy, which was pretty unique and shinny:)


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