How to Make Dog Beds

Talk about how to make dog beds that are cheap but durable! 

On our main dog bed page, we offer several ideas for making your own dog bed out of recycled materials.

On this one, I teach you how to make dog beds for small as well as larger dogs, out of discarded couch or sofa cushions.

Reusing materials makes this an ecofriendly project!

How to Make Dog Beds Out of Old
Couch Cushions - Basics

It's quite easy - simply scrounge one to four discarded couch cushions with covers made of any kind of heavy duty fabric including vinyl.

  • For small and medium size dogs, the first cushion forms the base of your bed; the second provides fabric for the bolster or tube that goes around the back.
  • Do you have only one cushion? Use it for the base and use a matching or contrasting fabric for the back tube.
  • If the cushion fabric is too torn up to use and all you have is foam from the cushions, find enough fabric from a different source to cover the area you need. (We used curtain material to cover the foam for the above bed. 
  • If you can't find enough of the same fabric for the back tube, a contrasting or coordinating material can be used.
  • Add a pocket or two in the corners to hold your dog's toys and/or grooming equipment. See free dog bed with a pocket for instructions on adding pockets to the basic design below.

Before You Start

Before cutting or sewing anything, make sure the bed will fit your dog! Have him or her lie down on one of the cushions.

If the dog fits in the middle with about four inches (100 mm) to spare on three sides, the cushion is big enough.

For a larger dog, get an old sheet or quilt and have your dog lie down on it in a curled position.

  • Measure and make a mark at the points shown by the arrows.
  • Mark the point in the middle of the dog's back on the sheet as well.
  • Draw lines to form a rectangle around the points.
  • Add 4 inches (100 mm) to each measurement and draw the larger rectangle. That will be the area needed for the base.

Complete Instructions

ESTIMATED TIME - Two to four hours


  • One or two discarded couch cushions
  • Fabric for the tube if you only have one cushion
  • Stuffing from an old pillow or quilt
  • Sewing machine or sewing needle with heavy duty thread
  • Straight pins or safety pins
  • Cloth scissors


  • Decide on your base cushion (Cushion #1).
  • Remove the fabric from Cushion #2* and cut into four lengths 14 to 16 inches (355-410 mm) wide for the tube. (*Or use fabric that matches your base cushion.)
  • Tip: Save the zipper (if it has one) for another project.


  • Join cushions together by hand sewing the fabric. If all you have is foam pieces, use a foam friendly glue to glue them together. Fill in any depressions or cracks with extra foam that is glued in place.
  • Get another piece of fabric (either off the couch or another scrounged source) to cover the entire base and to form the tube.
  • Cut several tube pieces the same width as described above.


  • Sew two or more pieces end to end until you have a long strip.
  • Lay the strip in an arc along the sides and back edge of Cushion #1.
  • Allow two inches (50mm) to spare on either end and cut off the rest.
  • Fold the strip over, right sides together and pin.
  • Leaving two inches (50mm) on either end unsewn, sew edges together, making a tube.
  • Add an extra row of sewing for additional strength.


  • Turn the tube inside out so the right side faces out.
  • Start stuffing the tube, pushing the material to the middle.
  • Try to pack it uniformly, adding material from either endWhen fully stuffed, pin the ends closed.
  • Arrange the tube in a semicircle on Cushion #1.
  • Keep the wrinkles evenly spaced and hide the seam if possible.
  • Pin the tube in place with safety pins.


  • With needle and double thread, sew the back side of the tube to the base, removing safety pins as you go.
  • Sew the ends closed so that each end looks similar to the other.
  • Sew the tube ends to the base and you're done!

Dog Bed Care

We recommend using your dog's favorite blanket as a cover since it's easy to take off and wash. As a bonus, the blanket will hide any imperfections in the fabric you use.

However, if your cover is made of vinyl, then you can simply sponge it down once in a while with some warm, soapy water. Wipe off the soap with the sponge or cloth; then dry with an old towel.

For other ideas on how to make dog beds that won't cost you much, see make a dog bed with a sewn cloth cover.

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