Home Ecpets

Home Ec: 8 Ways to Make Your Own Pet Toys and Beds

by Grace Bonney

The other week I decided to sit down and do a little financial reckoning to get myself in order for the rest of the year and see if I can afford to spend a little more on plants for our garden. Sitting down with your bills can always be a little overwhelming, and I was blown away (although not entirely shocked) to see how much I spend on dog toys, beds, grooming products and the occasional cat tower. Our pets are like our children and I apparently spare nothing when it comes to something I think they’ll like. Thankfully, DIY is part of my job and I decided to figure out the areas I spend most on (outside of food), which are: toys, beds and pet furniture.

From Turk’s scratchers and towers to the girls’ ever-growing pile of toys, it’s time for me to stop spending and start making something instead. Julia has been excellent at turning old wood scraps (combined with pieces of old carpet padding) into scratchers for Turk, so I took that as inspiration today to show just how cute — and functional — DIY pet projects can be. Pets are very much a part of our families and our lives and putting a little extra time into their happiness (outside of daily walks, play time and regular vet visits) is always worthwhile — and it can even save you a buck or two. Hopefully you’ll find something in this list to inspire a creative home project that celebrates your family’s fuzziest members. xo, grace

*If you want to wear your love of your cats on your hands, check out last week’s DIY cat nail art how-to!


This post and the Home Ec section are brought to you by Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day. Visit the Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day Home-Grown Inspiration section featuring 20 DIYs, including seven from Design*Sponge!

DIY Cat Toys at Design*Sponge
DIY Cat Toys: Although I'm a recent dog convert, cats will always be my first love. So I'm starting with this project that shows you how to make your own cat scratchers and play toys that make use of scrap materials or inexpensive things you can find around your house or at a local hardware store. You'll save money AND get Felix off the couch for a little play time.
DIY Dog Bed on Design*Sponge
DIY Dog Bed: I've gone through more dog beds than I care to admit, mainly because Hope used to get so carsick that any trip to the vet meant staining her favorite bed or blanket on the way there. I washed them so many times they fell apart, so I decided to try this tutorial to make something soft, but of a more durable (spray-down friendly) fabric.
DIY Leather Pet Name Tags at Design*Sponge
DIY Leather Pet Name Tags: In addition to having your pet chipped, you can make your own beautiful dog collars or tags using this simple tutorial. Be sure to add your phone # on the back so people can call if you if (heaven forbid), your pet gets loose!
DIY Dog Freshener: If your pup is getting a little ripe and there's no time for a bath, this DIY all-natural dog spray is a great way to get them smelling nice in no-time. Sprays like this in stores can cost a lot, so this is a perfect project to try at home. (Be sure to test on your skin and a small patch of your dog's before using all-over, just in case your dog has sensitive skin.)
DIY Dog Treats at Design*Sponge
DIY Dog Treats: I like to invest in high-quality dog food that doesn't use by-products, so the majority of my pet money goes to food these days. I've never wanted to cross the bridge into making ALL their food, but it is fun to make homemade treats instead of those all-natural treats that cost $10 for a bag mostly filled with air. These are favs and can be made while you take a TV break!
DIY Cat Treats at Design*Sponge
DIY Cat Treats: Not to be outdone by the dogs, the cats have had their way with these tasty DIY treats. Joy the Baker is known for making delicious baked goods for people, so this recipe she shared for cat treats is equally crowd (or cat) pleasing.
DIY Pet Feeder at Design*Sponge
DIY Elevated Pet Feeder: Fancy dog or cat feeders can cost a lot (well over $100 for the high-end design models), but this vintage-inspired project will cost you a tenth of that (or nothing if you already have a box handy!) and look just as cool. Please be sure to fully sand your box and remove any rough metal or nails if you're using something vintage!
DIY Recycled Cardboard Cat Scratcher: Cats love to scratch, so why not kill two birds with one stone (not literally - no animal harming here!) and use your leftover shipping boxes to create a colorful scratcher for Felix?

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  • The raised pet feeder is wonderful, I have a couple of vintage crates now I have a use for one. I had a neighbor who cut down a butternut tree a few years ago and he wondered if I wanted the wood. One piece of branch was about 6.5 feet high with a couple of more branch arms. I made a ‘real cat tree’ out of it with a turned wood bed at the top. Sits in front of my kitchen window, bracketed through an old vent hole in the floor over the cast iron rad for warmth in the winter. The kitties LOVE it, they scratch the bark and love to sleep high on the top or just watch the activity in the kitchen or out the window, they may enjoy watching me make the ‘kitty treats’ this weekend. Thank you, love this post and it is ‘Hug Your Cat day!! perfect.

  • Wow – it’s like you read my mind! I just adopted a cat and the scratching post I bought him is great, but not aesthetically pleasing at all. I love this post! Thank you!

  • The scratching post is perfect!
    Who makes the throw in the first photograph?
    Thank you!