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Recently, my sweet dog and work companion Currie decided it was time for a change, ripping holes in the top of her bed. Rather than getting mad, I decided to spoil her even further, making Currie a custom dog bed. Dog beds can often be overlooked in the grand scheme of taking care of your dog. Dog beds give your dog a place to call their own, which can be important for behavior in addition to keeping dog fur off the ground. Raised dog beds can enhance a dog bed’s benefits, creating an higher surface that makes it easier for older or special needs dogs to get up off the bed, as well as making the area around and under a dog bed easier to clean. Dog beds, especially raised ones, are becoming increasingly more expensive ranging between $50-100.  I was lucky enough to have some spare scrap metal that could be adapted into an affordable and quality dog bed. I used my Forney Easy Weld 140 Fc-i to complete this project, but any Forney Stick, MIG or TIG machine can easily perform the welds needed for this project

Required Materials:

Nice to have:

Step 1- Find Metal

Find a suitable scrap steel pile, or purchase necessary metal. I used some spare metal I had left over from building our deck guard rail.

 (Pro Tip: try to find things that are as close to bare steel as possible, as paint and rust will have to be removed before welding. Zinc coated scrap steel should be avoided due to the noxious gasses and weak welds they produce.)

Step 2: Plan

Develop a design that uses the available metal. I had two metal sections that had a center rail and perpendicular upright sections for legs, perfect for two sides of the bed. These two sections could be easily connected with two more rails to form the main square frame of the bed. I decided on this design to reduce the ultimate prep and welding, as well as trying to make it as strong and as straight as possible.

Step 3: Cut to length

Measure and mark where cuts need to happen. I needed to remove upright sections from existing scrap metal so I had bare straight bars to add to the sections I had identified in step 2. Use a cutoff disc to cut where marks were made. I used Forney’s popular 71487 cutting wheel to make this happen. The offset connection allowed me to use more of the disc before having to replace it with another

(Pro Tip: use a vice to ensure clean and safe cuts.)

Step 4: Grind to bare metal

Prep the metal. Anywhere you plan to weld should be ground down to the bare metal to ensure the highest weld quality. If the material you pick is painted, removing a large circumference around where you plan to weld will ensure that the paint is not heated when welding, reducing the fumes and possible fire from being produced. I used Forney’s double sided flap discs (71925) to do this, which were easy to exchange from the cutoff wheel with the built in threads.

(Pro Tip:  Grind an area to connect the ground clamp to prevent having to move the clamp as you weld.)


Step 5: (optional) spray joints with anti-spatter spray

Step 6: Tack

Align the metal with magnets, being careful to get the metal as straight as possible. Tack to make semi-permanent.

(Pro Tip: Use a square after tacking the metal to ensure the bars are straight. Adjusting while tacked is far easier than later in the project.)

Step 7: Weld

Burn in the tacked joints, making them permanent.

(Pro Tip: use tip dip to improve the weld quality and extend your consumables life.) 

It is great to see scrap you had sitting around finally become something useful!

Step 8: Grind

Clean up existing welds and spatter with the flap disc. This is a perfect time to find and revisit any missed areas, burn throughs or cracks.

Step 9: Cut and weld post caps

Add metal caps where needed. The areas that held the legs had open tops, which looked still like scrap metal and can pose danger to a dog. I grabbed some spare  1/8in bar that I had, and cut small caps for the tops. I again used magnets to hold the caps on and tacked them in place. I then ensured that they fit with the flap disc, removing any hangovers. I then fully burned the caps in.

Step 10: Make any last-minute adjustments!

This is the last chance to cut and re weld ill-fitting joints before they are finished!

Step 11: Get the metal ready for paint

Grind each weld to remove slatter and ensure a smooth surface for paint.

(Pro Tip: use acetone or paint thinner to clean the welds for better paint retention)

Step 12: Correct Height (optional)

The legs that the frame had were 2 inches high. I wanted to recreate the elevated dog bed style that is 6-10 inches off the ground. I found some wood that would fit perfectly into the leg holders, allowing me to adjust the height of each leg. To ensure that was possible, I drilled holes on each leg, and tapped them to accept bolts I had. This would allow me to tighten the bolt into the leg itself. Self-tapping metal screws would also work in this situation.

Step 13: Paint

Set up a paint station including a tarp for overspray. Lay the dog frame, bolts and wood legs out to get a generous coat of spray paint. I used some left-over paint from another project as the majority of my frame still had the outdoor paint they came with.

Step 14: Find bed topper material

This is where I started to have to purchase things. I needed a material to go on the top of the bed that would resist stretching so it could hold my dog as she laid there. We went to a fabric store and got outdoor fabric that was on sale. 


Step 15: Create the dog bed topper

With the fabric in hand, I went home to sew up the top. I created a fabric piece that had pockets on each layer allowing me to run paracord through the pockets.

Step 16: Attach fabric topper

Run the paracord through the pockets, pulling opposite ends at a time. I used a belt to pull the line through (pictured). Then use a taught line hitch or similar knot to make lines with adjustable tension. The more tension on the lines, the more support it will give your dog.

Step 17: Final assembly

Assemble legs and any remaining parts.

Step 18: Throw the bed on the ground and let your dog enjoy!!

Build Timelapse videos: