Clean and Cosy
Removable Washable Pet Bed Covers
No matter what style, shape, or size of pet bed you choose, being able to wash (at minimum) the outer cover is incredibly useful. Removable washable cases are very handy for pet beds. Depending on your pet and the type of bed, you may also want (or need) a fabric that is waterproof and/or stain-resistant.
Protecting Pet Bed Linings and Cushions
Although its great if you can wash the inner lining or cushion, these can be prohibitively big and/or take a long time to dry. Not something you want to have to do after every little mess. Using a waterproof or water-resistant material is one option for protecting pet beds from messes and spills. If you want a plush bed that is still protected, you can also layer a waterproof inner and/or protective bed topper with a plush outer. You can add a pretty blankie on top of any bed for easier clean-up and cosy nesting. It will help protect the bed from wear and tear, too.
Fur, Fur, and more Fur
Some fabrics are more difficult than other for holding onto fur. If your pets are shedding machines, fabrics that are less clingly and/or easier to defur can also be handy.
Supplies and Materials
Our DIY Water Resistant Dog Bed
This red large box cushion floor bed was made by upcycling a clearance sale spill-proof table cloth, which is great for dirty dogs and Oli’s occasional leaky wee LBL. Upcycling a high-quality fabric shower curtain or using water-resistant exterior fabrics are other options. Avoid anything that crinkles when looking at waterproof materials. Pets (and people) may not like the sound. We have tips in our bed protector post on testing materials for water resistance, if needed. Of course, water resistance is optional. The same DIY cushion cover can be made using any suitable sturdy fabric.
I am not an exceptional seamstress, so if I can do it, you can do it! All you need are a few basic sewing supplies and some time. All totalled, including the insert and assorted supplies, this big water-resistant dog bed cost around NZ$35 (That around US$24 at current exchange rates). Bargain! I’ll share the details for making custom foam bed inserts later in the mini-series.
DIY Box Cushion Pet Bed Cover Supplies and Materials
To make a similar DIY box cushion pet bed cover, you will need suitable fabric, coordinating thread, hook and loop (Velcro), and basic sewing supplies including cutting supplies and a sewing machine.
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Sew-In hook and loop tape (Velcro)
- Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board (optional)
- Interfacing for handles (optional)
I used Velcro for cost and convenience. If you would rather use a zipper, you can easily adjust the rear panel flaps to suit the size/type of your zipper. The rest of the DIY is the same.
For washable fabrics, wash, dry and iron (unless heat sensitive) prior to making your cushion case to reduce the risk of shrinkage issues later. When your case is sewn, you may also want to trim and overlock (or otherwise finish) the internal raw edges before inverting to help reduce ravelling over repeat washings. This is especially helpful for ravel prone fabrics (like the one used here).
DIY Full Box Cushion Water-Resistant Pet Bed Cover
Box Cushions vs. Boxed Corners
This particular cushion cover is sewn as a full box cushion, using side boxing panels for the loft of the bed. It is a “real” boxed cushion cover, but (arguably) one of the more complicated options for sewing a rectangular cover. I usually prefer to cheat instead, and box the corners of a wraparound bed. See our other DIY dog beds for alternate methods of sewing pet bed covers.
Making a DIY Boxed Cushion Cover with Rear Velcro Closure
Cutting the fabric pieces:
If you are working with a strong pattern, like mine, you may wish to take extra care when cutting and piecing so that the patterns align nicely. This takes extra effort and may require you to use extra fabric. Alternatively, you can use a plain fabric on the sides to negate the need for matching. Check out our envelope cushion covers for a sneaky way to simplify working with patterns.
- Cut two pieces to size (plus seam allowances) for the top and bottom.
- In the same widths, cut a piece to loft height (plus seam allowances) for the front of the cushion cover and each of the sides.
- In a slightly smaller height, cut two additional pieces for the over lapping rear Velcro closure flaps. The degree of overlap is at your discretion for finished look and style. At minimum, the overlap needs to allow for the hook and loop (Velcro) closure.
Preparing the rear closure panel pieces:
- Sew to finish the exposed edges of your Velcro closure flaps (the open edges through which the filling is inserted). This will be one width-wise edge of each rear flap.
- Sew Velcro to the unfinished side of the top closure flap, near the finished edge. The stitching will be externally visible, so use a threat that compliments the fabric, not the Velcro. Sewing Velcro can sometimes be a bit fiddly, so I personally prefer using the loop side on this exposed position as it is the easier sew and will have neater looking stitching on the outside.
- Check positioning for alignment. Pin (or tape) Velcro to the finished side of your other rear panel, taking care to ensure that the finished closed rear panel will be an equal height to the other sides. Sew Velcro into place.
Adding (optional) handles to side panel(s):
The handles made for this bed use interfacing to stiffen and reinforce the otherwise quite supple tablecloth fabric. Thicker fabrics may not need full interfacing or any at all for a sturdy handle. Use at your discretion. Alternatively, you can use a pre-fab material, like webbing, to make easy handles.
- Cut fabric and interfacing 4x as wide as your desired handle width at desired length plus an allowance for folding under the raw end edges.
- Fuse the interfacing to the unfinished side of the fabric. Trim if/as needed.
- Fold lengthwise at 1/4 width from the edge to meet in the centre and iron flat. Fold in the centre so that the raw edge is concealed in the middle and iron flat.
- Sew lengthwise on both edges to secure.
- Place, folded edge down, into position on your side panel(s), ends raw ends folded under, and sew to secure (crossed boxes work nicely).
I was making a big bed, so I made a double handle for each side (extra long handle strips sewn on in thirds) to make grab-and-go movement extra convenient.
Joining the boxing to create a gusset:
- Pin on the unfinished edges and sew the front, side, rear, and side panels together to form the gusset. Take care to leave the seam allowances separate and free at the ends of your joints.
- Slip over your foam to double-check sizing – just in case! Easier adjusted now than later.
Attaching the boxed gusset to the top and bottom panels:
- Pin the gusset to the top panel on the unfinished edges. Sew along the seam allowances to join. Take extra care when turning your corners to make sure your seam allowance corners remain outside of the sewn edge to be nice and pointy when inverted.
I like to start from the front, just in case, especially if lining up a pattern. You can stop and check at any point you wish during sewing and when finished. It’s always easier if you catch a problem early rather than having to unpick and re-sew huge lengths of a project.
- Pin the gusset to the bottom panel on the unfinished edges and sew as above.
- Invert through the Velcro opening so that the fabric is right-side out.
- Insert cushion filling. Velcro closed, and enjoy!
Our DIY Dog Bed and Custom Bed Cover Mini Series
- The Background + Our Dog Beds
- Sewing a Box Cushion (Water Resistant) Dog Bed Cover
- Sewing a Shortcut Boxed Corner Cushion Style Dog Bed
- Making Your Own Dog Bed Insert Cushions for Easy Removal/Insert
- Making Matching Easy Envelope Style Throw Pillows
Update: There’s been a lot of nesting and resting since these posts were written may years ago. We’ve also moved homes and changed our needs in some spaces. There are a number of new pet beds in different shapes and styles here on the blog, including fitted window seat cushions, custom basket cushions, and more! You can find all of our DIY dog bed and blanket posts using the archive tag or sniff around for something specific using the internal search function. Woofs!