DIY Crib Dog Crate – The Ultimate Upcycled Dog Kennel (2 Versions)
I really hate the way most commercial dog crates look.
They’re just UGLY – usually they are black wires and not much else.
There are also some “alternative” furniture type dog crates on the market, but most of them aren’t very well made OR they are crazy expensive.
This project will have you creating a GOOD looking dog crate out of a baby crib. You can even reuse the baby crib mattress in this project.
You can often find cribs at yard sales or on Craigslist for good prices – so if you don’t have one, sourcing one used is a great way to both upcycle and save money.
TIP: I do recommend that you get a waterproof cover (or two) for the baby mattress before you put it in the dog kennel. That way if your pup has an accident all you have to do is wash the cover and the mattress will be fine.
Video & Instructions: How to Convert a Crib to a Dog Crate (version 1)
This video gives you a good overview of how to create a homemade dog cage out of a baby bed.
One of the things I like the best about this version is that you are only removing 1 set of bolts, cutting down legs, and adding a top. So construction is super easy.
For this version you’ll need the following:
- Baby crib with mattress – it needs to be pretty basic, nothing fancy here.
- 2 slide bolt latch sets
- 1 Handle
- 1 Piece of plywood the same size as the opening of the crib
- Stain, varnish, or paint for the plywood
- Screws deep enough to fasten the plywood to the frame of the crib
- Felt furniture “stickies” for the bottom of the legs
- Waterprooof cover and crib sheet for crib mattress
- Cut down the legs of the crib so that they are about 2 inches tall
- Put felt “stickies” on the bottom of the cut down legs
- Attach slide bolt latches to either side of the cribs post and panel where you want to open the crate.
- Remove the screws from the bottom of the panel to allow you to swing that panel out. Sometimes these screws need an allen wrench and sometimes they need a screwdriver.
- Close the latch on each side with the slide bolts
- Add a handle to the bottom of the panel with the slide bolts
- Cut your plywood to size – it should match the measurements of the opening of the top of the crib
- Stain or paint the top panel
- Pre-drill your plywood and attach to the top of the crib
- Cover the crib mattress with waterproof cover and add to crate
Step By Step DIY Crib Dog Crate (Version 2)
This version is a little bit more work, because it has swinging doors and rolling casters for feet.
Choose the version that works the best for you.
You may need to adjust the material list a bit depending on the original crib you start with.
- Old Crib – cleaned
- 2 sets of hinges
- Planks or other material to create a cover
- Casters – if desired
Step 1. Finding the right dog kennel size requirements
The first thing I needed to do was determine my crate size.
I looked online at extra large crates to see how big they were, and let me tell you they are HUGE! Seriously.
I went for the smallest XL option because it had to be able to fit through the doorways in my house.
I made it 27 inches wide, 46 1/2 inches long, and 33 inches tall.
I cut the crib ends above to 27 inches wide. I cut one crib top off and then measured where to cut the second.
Step 2. Get Rid of Long Crib Sideboards
I got rid of the long side boards as well, they made it too wide to fit through the doors.
Step 3: Cut Frame for Crib Sections
Once the ends were cut to size I was able to figure out how to make the sides.
I placed a crib rail over the end piece and added boards until I had what I wanted. I was using the cut end to know how tall to make the sides since they need to be the same height.
The top white board (a 1×3) came with the crib, and then I used 1×2’s for the side and bottom. Luckily I had these in my stash.
I promptly went out to make my cuts. I cut down the crib rails and my 1×2’s and 1×3’s to make the sides.
I laid it out on the lawn and was so proud of my self until I realized what I had done.
Hello?!! Can you guess what I did wrong? Ok…
I forgot to measure with my crib end and I cut my side 1×2’s too short, see the gap.
Ugh! This is why you have to be very careful when you are winging it. I thought I would have to get to the store, but I barely had enough 1×2s to re-cut.
This is what I was supposed to do in the first place, I am using the crib end to make sure my cuts are the right height.
Lesson learned. Until I forget and do it again, which I am sure I will.
Step 4. Create Pocket Holes
Next up? Pocket holes!!
I know when I am drilling pocket holes it is almost time to build and I get excited. I used my Kreg Jig to drill all the frame pieces. I also added pocket holes on the long pieces for attaching my top and bottom boards.
Step 5: Cut front rail in half
I only drilled pocket holes in the back crib rail.
The front rail will be on hinges, so it didn’t need them, but it did need to be cut in half. I measured and used my miter saw to do the job.
Step 6. Attach frame to crib sections
Using my Kreg Right Angle clamp to help me out, I attached the frames with gorilla wood glue and 1and 1/4 inch pocket hole screws.
I have done this so many times and rarely have my wood split, but this time I had several splits. I am pretty sure these furring strips were the reason, they were scraps and weren’t in the best condition. I had to do some gluing, clamping, and waiting…not fun.
Here I am adding the crib rails. The photo on the left is the back piece, and the right photo is the front with the gate. I added hinges on all four ends, so both sides open.
Step 7: Attach Sides to Ends
Next, I attached my sides to the ends, again using the right angle clamps.
Not sure how I used to build without these!I also had some wood splits here too, but in the crib wood, more gluing and clamping. I always check my settings when I drill pocket holes, so I know that isn’t the reason.
Hmmm, maybe the cold weather? Who knows… thank goodness I could fix it.
My father in law gave me some free plywood that his neighbor was throwing out and I used my biggest piece for the bottom of the crate. I set the crate on top and traced my cut lines.
After I cut it with my circular saw I brought it in to see how it fit. I just popped it on the top. I guess if I didn’t want a bottom for the crate I could have been done…
Step 9: Create the Top of the Crate
Since I didn’t have any wood big enough for the top of the crate, I had to improvise. I am sure some of you recognized my barn wood top.
Anyway, I used it for this crate too. I made sure to cut my pieces to the same size as my plywood bottom. I had to cut one piece in half to make it fit (middle photo).
Step 10: Create stopper for gate
For my gate, I needed a way to make it so the doors didn’t swing in or out. I put a piece of wood on the bottom with a screw and washer (left) so I could turn it up to help keep the doors closed.
I also put a stopper on the top inside to keep the doors from swinging inside the crate (right).
Step 11: Paint the project (if desired)
Then I painted it white.
While the paint was drying I glued and used bar clamps on a couple of my top boards that needed some TLC. Oh, the joy of working with reclaimed wood. It is totally worth it.
Here I am attaching my plywood bottom piece with the pocket holes I had previously drilled. I painted the edges of the plywood but not the middle.
Step 13: Cover floor with peel and stick vinyl
I could have just painted the crate floor with floor and porch paint. But, A friend of mine said they had lined the bottom of her puppy’s crate with peel and stick vinyl to cover the wood.
It not only protects the wood but makes a quick clean up if there was an accident.
I knew Sunny wouldn’t have an accident but wanted to have the nice surface for easy cleaning.I got these at Home Depot for 99 cents each. There were some that were cheaper, but I wanted the thicker vinyl so I splurged.
Nine dollars total wasn’t too bad. I simply placed them in the crate on the plywood, super easy!
Step 14: Add casters
At the last minute, I decided to add casters. I have had a stash of them hiding in my garage for almost 2 years. I found them on the curb in my city’s spring clean up, sa-weet! They just needed a good scrubbing before I attached them to the bottom of my crate.
They look much better! And it is so easy to move the crate where I need it, I am glad I added them. See the Graco symbol? I couldn’t get the dang thing off!
Step 15: Nail in the top
I ended up just nailing the top wood pieces on. I sanded them and sealed them with 3 coats of poly, no need for staining on this old wood. I also nailed support boards on the underside to attach them together.
Step 16: Enjoy the finished project!
Here are some shots of how we get Sunny in and out. I spent less than fifteen dollars for the hinges and this bolt thing. So I guess my total for this crate was just under $25 dollars.
I am actually loving the bottom piece of wood that I just turn, it would have been fine to have one on the top too, that would have saved me 5 or 6 bucks.
And a close up of the nice marble vinyl floor! It is super smooth I am really glad I put it in, even if I can’t lay it totally straight, lol! I filled in the small Tcracks with spackle, an easy fix.
Thank you to MyRepurposedLife.com for these instructions!
Summary: DIY Crib Dog Crate Project
I personally love this project! It’s an inexpensive way to create a high end furniture type of dog crate.
My personal preference for a baby bed dog crate is version 1, simply because it’s easier to put together and I spend a lot of my time creating great new content for you.
But if you want something a little fancier then version 2 of the Crib Dog Crates is also a great project to build.
Whichever one you go for, it will be a lot of fun to build and to use!