Oh my dawg, furfriends! Look at this stack of cute and comfy dog beds! Wanna cuddle? Or wanna craft? They’re all homemade! Today we’re sharing the full details for making your own DIY fitted dog bed covers. Our new homemade dog beds have water-resistant, durable, removable, washable, stylish envelope-style cushion covers with custom homemade foam cushion inserts. Pawfect!
Refreshing Our Collection of Comfy Dog Beds
Our old DIY waterproof fitted dog bed covers have been fantastic. But after several years of hard wear under paws and claws, shuffling around indoors and outdoors, and ferrying through our move, they were rather worn. Pretty doggone great durability though, especially considering they were made with cheap clearance bin tablecloths. More critical than just looking shabby though, the old scratched covers had compromised water resistance. With senior Oli’s bladder issues, that’s extra important to us.
In addition to foam inserts from our old beds, I had foam offcuts from making our window seat and other projects that could be put to good use, if covered. Making DIY fitted dog bed covers was added to my to-do list. I watched for fabric sales and I bought durable outdoor fabric in my go-to shades of grey, black, and white to coordinate with the rest of our home. Time to sew some dog beds. And then snuggle, of course.
DIY Dog Bed Supplies and Materials
Options for DIY Dog Bed Cushion Inserts
Anything comfy is fair game for dog bed cushion materials, but rectangular foam inserts are great for box cushions. The inexpensive dog bed inserts used inside our DIY fitted dog bed covers were made with foam pieces cut from a mattress. Two were reused from the old dog beds, and a third was created by joining two smaller pieces of foam left over from our window seat. It was my first time attempting to join foam. Instead of buying special adhesives, I used the low-temp hot glue method. It takes a little patience to join the foam incrementally together, but worked nicely. I can’t even feel it in the finished bed.
Materials for Making DIY Fitted Dog Bed Covers
To make a similar DIY fitted dog bed cover, you will need:
- Straight edge (either as a cutting guide or to mark a guide line)
- Measuring tape
- Complimentary coloured thread
- Velcro / hook and loop tape (closure)
- Sewing machine (affiliate link)
- General cutting / sewing supplies
- Iron and ironing board (optional, but recommended if fabrics allow)
As with all things pet-friendly, removable and washable covers make life easier and cleaner. Depending on your pet and the type of bed, you may also want (or need) a fabric that is waterproof and/or stain-resistant. These DIY dog bed covers were made with waterproof (water-resistant) outdoor fabric for comfortable protection. The covers have an overlapping rear closure through which the foam cushion can be inserted and removed for cleaning. I opted for Velcro closure instead of fitting a zipper, using some of my giant bargain rolls of hook-and-loop. If you’d 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.
Boxing vs. Boxed Corners on Wrap-Around Cushions
As noted in out post on shortcut boxed corner pet bed cushion covers, boxing the corners of a wrap around cover is an easy alternative to full boxing. Fully boxed cushions use a carefully sized and pieced gusset to create the boxed shape. It’s a tailored, sharp, stylish look. Boxing the corners of a wrap around cushion required less cutting, less matching, and less sewing. There’s a visible side seam from where the wrap-around fabric is sewn together. The cushions may also have a more rounded shape without the sharp box seams. This is particularly true for squishy fillings, soft inserts, or tight covers as the fabric wraps and squeezes the edges of your cushion insert. Foam hold shape well.
If you don’t care about seam positioning, there’s very little difference in the look of a finished cushion when used with a rectangular foam insert like these dogs beds. For simplicity and efficiency, when making these beds I opted for just boxing the corners. There are fewer seams (more water-resistance) and envelopes are far easier to make than cutting and piecing boxing. Getting a good snug fit does still require careful cutting and sewing, though. In either method, there’s little room for correction after committing to size and closure placement.
No matter how many times I’ve done a similar project over the years, I still like to check, check, and triple check. When making cushion covers, I like to do a check fit at each stage as I work, just in case. Mistakes and rework suck, but better when minimised if ever needed.
Sewing DIY Fitted Dog Bed Covers
Measuring and Cutting
- Measure and calculate the fabric requirements to fully enclose the cushion on all sides.
- Add additional allowances for the seams, finishing the edges on the rear panels, and overlap of the rear closure.
- Double check all measurements and calculations prior to cutting.
- Cut fabric to required dimensions.
The rear closure overlap can be as large as you wish, but at minimum will need to allow for the width of the hook and loop strips to be overlapped and secured closed.
If you’d prefer a bottom overlap closure to self-hold (like our basket pet bed cushions), you’ll need a larger overlap than if using hook and loop. The instructions below assume you’re using a hook and loop rear closure, but the DIY can be easily adapted to other closures.
Preparing the Rear Closure Flaps
- Finish rear closure edges using your preferred style of hem.
- Double check your measurements and confirm placement for hook and loop.
- Position and sew hook and loop into place (see alternative assembly notes below), ensuring that the cushion cover will fit tightly when enclosed and fastened.
You can run the hook and loop so that it encroaches on the area to be sewn and boxed, but there’s no need to waste more by going all the way to the edge. It will just end up in your offcuts. Alternatively, you can stop shorter for less use (and potentially easier sewing and boxing). There will still be plenty of hold with a small gap at each end. The difference can also be sewn, if you wish.
Sewing the Case
- Close the rear as it would be in a finished cover. Flip the loop of fabric so it faces wrong side out.
- Double check your measurements, then carefully position the cover right side in in preparation for sewing the sides. Laid flat, the closed loop of fabric should be folded PRECISELY where you want the middle of the front and back sides to be when complete. The fold lines will be the middle of the front and back (closure panel) in the finished cover once sewn and boxed. Pin to secure.
- Sew the sides together along the seam allowances. Trim excess, if/as needed.
If you have ravel-prone fabric (like mine) you might like to do an optional extra edge finish. For added durability for frequent washing or just want a tidier finish, you can finish the raw edges with over locking or alternative method of your preference.
Boxing the Corners
- Starting with one corner:
- Position by pulling the fabric sideways from the seam so that the seam line is centred evenly from the point, forming a triangle. Ensure that it is flat and even. If the fabric allows, iron to ensure that the seam is pressed flat and the square holds position.
- Measure across and mark a straight line across your folded fabric at the depth for the boxed corner. (In this case, our depth for the boxed corner is the foam cushion insert thickness.)
- Sew across the marked line.
- Trim loose threads and excess.
- Repeat for the other corners, taking care to ensure that the shared seams are flattened to fall in the same direction for a smoother line in the finished cover.
Extra care is required when boxing the corners with your overlapping rear panels and hook and loop. Ensure everything is fitted smoothly in the as-closed position before sewing. Double check that nothing has been accidentally shifted or bunched before trimming.
Filling and Using the DIY Fitted Dog Bed Covers
- Open the hook and loop closure and reverse the cover right-side-out.
- Squeeze the foam and wrangle it into the cover through the opening, taking extra care to ensure the corners are tightly in position.
- Close up the cushion and enjoy!
Alternative assembly options: If you aren’t confident with the measurements/fit for finishing the rear first, you can half sew the sides from the front fold-over, box the front corners, and do a fit-check to confirm before final cuts, edges, and adding Velcro. Make sure to line your stitch path up when you finish closing out the sides. When done carefully, the results look almost the same either way, so go with what feels right for you. You can also make the full envelope and then sew the Velcro after, if the cushion is large enough to freely access the flaps.
Adding Matching Handles (Optional)
If you’d like to add handles, do this before you insert the cushion. See below for making and adding matching handles like teh ones on our DIY dog beds. Thinner fabrics might need a little help from interfacing for sturdy handles, and you can layer that inside at your discretion. Prefer a shortcut? Alternatively, you can use a pre-fab materials, like webbing, to make easy handles.
To make matching handles:
- Cut fabric 4x as wide as your desired handle width at desired length plus an allowance for finishing the end edges.
- Double fold lengthwise, like making a binding tape.
- Invert to finish the ends, then reverse right side out.
- Topstitch the lengthwise edges.
- Position in the desired location(s) on your bed cover and sew to secure (crossed boxes work nicely).
I was using up my offcuts, so added long strips with three attachment points to make double handles on each side of the bed covers.
Fabric Efficiency and Offcuts
Planning and Piecing
I’ve been trying to be more efficient with my sewing projects. When I was making these dog bed covers, instead of buying more fabric and being left with more offcuts for the fabric stash, I spent a little extra time planning before shopping and cutting. My small bed cover was made by joining two pieces so I could make all three bed covers from a shorter length of fabric. The centre seam sits flat and was blended as carefully as the pieces and pattern allowed to reduce visibility. Handles made good use of most of the remaining offcuts, leaving just one small rectangle of leftover fabric. I made that into an envelope pillow case for one of the many orphaned pillow inserts in the linen cupboard.
DIY Easy Envelope Style Throw Pillow (Dog Chin Rest)
The general method is the same, but no boxing or Velcro on this envelope. It just has a nice big overlap at the rear to hold everything snug after the insert is added. Humphrey rather likes having something in his nest for leaning his head on while he watches the world through the windows. Extra comfy, coordinated, and no leftover fabric. Yay!
You can see the full instructions on making easy envelope style throw pillows in our archives. They’re a snap to make and a great way to add a little custom personality to your home decor. I’ve also don’t the opposite with past offcuts and made people pillows that match our dog beds. It’s a great way to help things blend together in the pet-friendly home decor chaos!
Extra Waterproofing for Pet Beds
Senior Dogs, Puppies, Pee, and Other Messes
Even though these DIY fitted dog bed covers use an outdoor fabric that’s sturdy and water resistant, a little back-up water (or wee) protection never goes astray, just in case. This is especially true in our house with a senior dog and occasional LBL. Easy cleaning is also handy for puppies, other health issues, or just general messes. It’s a lot easier to clean a cover or a protector than to manually clean and then wait for a full bed insert to dry! It’s really difficult to clean a big dog bed insert compared to just washing the covers and any extra protectors.
Protecting a Pet Bed Insert
A no-sew pet bed protector layer was added to the inside of these of the covers, and positioned it sits smoothly atop the insert. The snug fitted dog bed covers sandwich it, holding the protector firmly in position inside the bed over the foam. Our dog beds usually have a blankie or two on top as well. They’re great for quick washing as well as snuggling in cosy comfort. It’s a dog’s life indeed! In addition to comfort, protective bed toppers and blankets can reduce the wear and tear of sharp claws on bedding materials. This can be particularly helpful for extending the functional water resistance of the material in your pet bed covers.
Worried about whether your water-resistant pet bed cover is still up to the task? We have tips on quick checks for water resistance in our DIY waterproof furniture pads and dog bed toppers post, if needed. Depending on the materials, if the water resistance has degraded over time, you may be able to reapply a protection or rely on boosters like pads, protectors, and blankets for extra help.