Oh my dawg, furfriends! Look at this stack of cute and comfy dog beds! Wanna cuddle? Or wanna craft? They’re all homemade, and we’re sharing the full details for making your own DIY fitted envelope style pet bed covers. Check out our water-resistant, durable, removable, washable, stylish DIY dog bed cushion covers with custom homemade foam cushion inserts.
Refreshing Our Collection of Comfy Dog Beds
Our old water resistant dog bed covers have worked 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, especially considering they were made with clearance bin table cloths, though.
More important than just looking a bit shabby, the scratched and worn tops had compromised their water resistance. With senior dog Oli’s bladder issues, water resistance is extra important to use these days! In addition to the old beds, I also had foam offscuts from the making of our fitted window seat and a few other projects that could be put to good use if covered. Dog bed cover making was added to the to-do list. I watched for a great sale and then picked up some durable outdoor fabric for my covers in my go-to shades of grey, black and white, coordinating with the rest of our home. Time to sew. And then snuggle.
DIY Dog Bed Supplies and Materials
Custom Cushion Insert Materials
The inexpensive DIY dog bed inserts were all made from foam pieces cut from a single 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 cushion. It was my first time attempting to join foam, and in lieu of buying adhesives, I used the low-temp hot glue method. It takes a little patience to work it incrementally together, but it worked very well and I can’t even feel it in the finished bed.
Custom Fitted Dog Bed Cover Materials
- 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 and 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.
Each on my covers were made with water-resistant outdoor fabric, with an overlapping rear closure through which the cushion could be inserted and removed if the cover needs to be cleaned. I opted for Velcro-style hook-and-loop in lieu of fitting a zipper, using some of my large rolls from AliExpress (referral link). 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.
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 is 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.
If you don’t care about seam positioning, when used with a rectangular insert, there is very little difference in the look of a finished cushion. When making these beds I opted for the latter. There are fewer seams (more water-resistance) and envelopes are way easier to make than cutting and piecing. Getting a good fit does require careful cutting and sewing, though. There is little room for correction after committing to size and closure placement.
✂️ No matter how many times I’ve done a 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 a Custom Fitted Envelope Style Dog Bed Cover
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 will 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 (no need to waste more by going all the way to the edge). 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!), want added durability for frequent washing, or just want a cleaner finish, you can finish the raw edges by 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 at the point where it is the depth you want for the boxed corner (in this case, the cushion 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 Dog Bed
- 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: If you aren’t confident with the precision needed on 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 your measurements before doing final cuts, edges, and Velcro on the rear closure. Make sure you line your stitch path up when you finish closing out the sides. I’ve tried, and when done with care, the results look the same either way, so go with what feels right for you! You can also make the complete 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 add the cushion (of course). See below for making and adding matching handles. Note that thin fabrics may need interfacing to be sturdy, so use at your discretion. Alternatively, you can use a pre-fab material, 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, so instead of buying more fabric and being left with more offcuts for the fabric stash, my small bed cover was made by joining two pieces so that I could get all three large pieces from a shorter length of fabric. The centre seam is sits flat and was blended as carefully as the remnants and pattern allowed to reduce visibility. The handles used most of the remaining offcuts, leaving just one small rectangle of leftover fabric, which I made 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, just a big overlap at the rear to hold together snug once 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 the outdoor fabric is thick and water resistant, a little back-up water/wee protection never goes astray, just in case. This is especially true in our house with a senior dog and occasional LBL. It’s also handy for puppies, other health issues, or just general messes. It’s a lot easier to clean a cover and insert than manually clean and then wait for a full bed insert to dry!
Protecting a Pet Bed Insert
A no-sew pet bed protector layer was added to the inside of the covers, and position so that it sat smoothly atop the insert. The snug fitted covers sandwich it and hold it firmly in position inside the bed over the foam. Our beds usually have a blankie or two on top as well, both for easy of quick washing as well as snuggling in cosy comfort. It is a dog’s life indeed!
In addition to comfort, protective bed toppers and blankets can help reduce the wear and tear of sharp claws on bedding materials. This can be particularly helpful for extending the functional water resistance of a pet bed material. 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.