DIY Waterproof Furniture Pads and Dog Bed Toppers

DIY waterproof and pee resistant furniture pads and dog bed toppers

It’s very easy (and inexpensive) to convert mattress protectors into custom sized and shaped furniture and/or dog bed protectors. Waterproof and pee resistant, washable, comfortable, and affordable too! Here are three different DIY methods we used to make our house more senior dog friendly.

Making Our Home More Senior Dog Friendly

Senior dog Oli’s increasing issues with bladder leakage have led to us upping our game on making his favourite places around the house more pee-tolerant so he can continue to enjoy his golden years (pun totally intended…hehe…) in comfort.

I spent so much time looking for suitable bed sheets and protectors that Facebook and Google ads started serving me targeted ads for incontinence products. There are some great products out there, but I couldn’t find the sizes or shapes I wanted to suit Oli and his nesting places. I decided to make my own by adapting some simple ready-made products to perfectly sized (and styled) custom water/pee resistant toppers for the sofa and our two non-waterproof dog beds. They’re pretty, but vulnerable.

Sourcing Materials for Upcycling into Protectors

Sourcing Supplies to Make Protective Toppers and Pads

The furniture pads and bed toppers in this post were all made by hacking mattress protectors. The sofa cover and two dog bed toppers were made from one quilted protector. The four back-up foam protectors were made from one laminated protector. Bargain!

Tip: Shop for clearance items or super sales to buy quality at low prices. All seven of these custom protectors were made for less than NZ$40 total in materials. That’s less than the cost of a single ready-made pet protector. You can also repurpose an old cover or one that doesn’t fit your current beds to make this DIY almost no-cost. 

Checking Materials for Waterproofing and Water-Resistance

Whether it’s for protectors, bed covers, blankets, jackets, or any number of projects, it can sometimes be helpful to test the water performance of materials. You can also test pre-loved items to see if they’re still performing as expected.

A quick and easy way to do this is with a simple water test, layering the material over an absorbing material (usually a tea towel for me) that readily shows a colour change if wet. I apply water and then do an initial check for surface resistance (beading, run-off) and immediate wick through (if the cloth underneath is wet). If that passes, I re-apply water and do a press and rub test to see if the material is genuinely waterproof or will seep through either with prolonged exposure time or applied pressure.

  • Truly waterproof materials won’t let any moisture through. They hold the water out no matter how long it sits, or if it is loaded under pressure or rubbed.
  • Water-resistant materials do a good job at holding water on the surface, but can’t handle prolonged exposure and/or pressure. Water will pass a pour test, bead and roll, but will eventaully seep through, especially if rubbed or pressed.
  • Others may have partial water-resistance. Small quantities will bead, but volume will soak through and/or the beads will absorb with rubbing or pressure. Many polar fleeces are good examples of this partial resistance. Thin microfleece will soak straight through immediately (it makes a great stay-dry inner for diapers) but the thicker and tighter the weave, the more resistant it becomes. Some fleeces are admirably water resistant bordering on waterproof.
Testing materials for waterproofing and water resistance

Checking Materials for an Absorbent Layer

If you are checking the performance of an absorbent layer, absorption speed, spread, held volume, and/or hold (if water squeezes back to the surface under pressure) may also be beneficial.

Testing materials for waterproofing and water resistance
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DIY Custom Water/Pee Resistant Furniture Protector Pad

Senior Dog Sofa Snuggles and Struggles

The living room sofa is one of Oli’s favourite places to nest. It’s beautiful and comfortable, but the type of leather finish is not very pet-friendly. It was always covered with layers of dog blankets for protection from scratches, drool, pee, and such.

The sofa protector pad was very easy to make and is a perfect custom fit. Of course, a protector pad isn’t that pretty, so I also cut some material in a similar shade of grey and made a custom fitted single layer fleecy blanket to sit over the top. It has ever so slightly bigger dimensions so I can tuck the edges into the soft to hold everything neatly in place. Protected, comfortable, and much more presentable than the previous method. Dog mad, but presentable. Haha!

DIY Furniture Protector Pad Supplies and Materials

To make a similar pad, you will need a mattress protector of suitable size, binding or material to make binding, suitable thread in a coordinating colour, cutting tools, and a sewing machine. A walking foot would be helpful, if you have one (I didn’t when making these). Everything can be measured and cut with scissors, but a rotary cutter, mat, and straight edges are handy. An iron and ironing board (with pressing cloth if needed) are also recommended, if your chosen fabrics allow. Fusible tape is also optional if you need a little help with the binding.

  • Mattress protector (for repurposing materials)
  • Double-fold binding (or material to make binding)
  • Straight edge (either as a cutting guide or to mark a guide line)
  • Square object (optional to assist with checking corners)
  • Measuring tape (optional)
  • Complimentary coloured thread
  • Sewing machine and general cutting / sewing supplies
  • Iron and ironing board

Sewing the Furniture Protector Pad

✂️ The steps below, other than prepping the layers before binding, are exactly the same as binding a blanket. Once you get comfortable with using binding, the process is easily applied to all sorts of sewing projects. See our DIY dog blanket binding for additional photos of applying binding, turning corners during binding attachment, etc. if you need some extra visuals. Or cute dog blankies.

DIY waterproof and pee resistant custom sized furniture pads

Preparing the materials:

  • Prepare (or purchase) double-fold binding. I made my own binding tape. It’s the same quick dry binding as I used on the dogs new bound fleece and layered dog blankets.
  • Prepare mattress protector material by removing the fitted edges (save for other crafts).  
  • Optional: Ironing is difficult with these materials, but it is helpful to ensure the material is as smooth as possible. Pre-washing/drying, hand smoothing, or low-temp ironing on the fabric side (with a pressing cloth over/under if needed) can help if time and materials allow.
  • Cut to required size. Ensure edges are straight and corners squared. Pin if/as needed to hold. 
  • Optional but recommended: Sew a narrow hem around the edges, within the area that will be covered by the binding. This helps to help secure the layers of material before applying binding. Although these will be sewn during binding, it is easier (especially with materials like this) and likely to give a neater finished project if the materials are sewn together first. Then trim the edges if/as may be needed and proceed to apply the binding. The narrow hem will be hidden under the binding, so feel free to use up odd colours of thread if you wish.  

Binding the protector pad:

When machine sewing binding, everyone likes to do things a little differently. Most methods work similarly if your careful with your positioning and sewing. Do what works for you. It often depends on the materials, project, and person. I’ve tried several different application techniques, and confess that I prefer sewing and top-stitching the top/right side. My still developing sewing skills are tidier on the top! You can read more about making and using binding tapes in our introductory post, including troubleshooting for common binding issues. Additional resources are available on our pet craft help Pinterest board.

As noted in our post on making and using binding, depends. I will usually sew and trim the tails (So Sew Easy has a great visual on this method). For straight binding, I sometimes cheat on the sleeve method and use a little bit of fusible web to “hem” my outer (visible) strip at the joint. 

  • Select a starting point on the edge of the blanket, ensuring it is far enough away from the corner not to interfere with turning the binding (at least two full unfolded widths at minimum).  
  • Unfold the end of the binding and position it at the starting point, right sides facing, so that one raw edge aligned with the raw edge of the prepared fleece.  
  • Depending on your preferred method of joining the ends of the binding when they meet, leave sufficient excess.
  • Sew the binding into place along the first fold line, taking care whilst turning corners. You can find detailed instructions and photos for sewing binding on corners in our introduction to binding and our bound dog blanket DIYs.
  • When you have fully sewn around the protector back to the starting point, join with your preferred method as noted at the start of the DIY project.
  • Trim threads. Turn the protector over, wrap the binding over the edge and position for second sewing using your chosen binding attachment method.
  • Carefully topstitch (or other sewing technique, if/as you prefer) the binding into place, taking extra care to ensure the corners are neatly folded on both sides. As I reach a corner, I like to remove my item from the machine, ensure the corner is folded as neatly as possible (checking both sides) before sewing the turn and continuing.
  • Trim threads if/as needed. 

A little extra tidy up…

Because this cover will be taking a lot of wear under paws, bodies, and bums, I went back and double edged the binding with two stitch lines, as shown in the photo below. I through my topstitching wasn’t tight enough to the edge. I was feeling bold and did a very narrow edge stitch after practising my binding on several projects and it came out great! Practice makes better, but not yet perfect.

Using a matress protector to sew custom sized furniture protector pads
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DIY Custom Water/Pee Resistant Dog Bed Protector Pad

Our recently upcycled matelasse dog bed covers for the office dog beds look great and don’t slip and slide about on the carpet like some waterproof fabrics. The boys love snoozing together while we work. They’re actually they’re on the beds together behind me right now).

To protect the beds and covers, I made two custom dog bed sized protector pads using the same technique as the sofa protector (and material from the same hacked bed protector). The only DIY difference, other than size, is that for the beds I also cut material from a microfiber sheet and used it to top the toppers. It’s simply cut to the same dimensions, layered, and joined when the sides of the protector material are sewn before binding. Prettier, but not really necessary as there is always a blankie or several on the beds as well, other than them hopping on and then refusing to budge when I was putting the pads into place. I think they approve of the upgrade!

DIY waterproof and pee resistant custom sized ed toppers
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DIY No-Sew Water/Pee Resistant Dog Bed Protector Topper

No Sew? No Problem!

If you don’t sew (or want an easy no-sew protector for back-up, like mine), thin laminated-style mattress protectors or incontinence sheets can be cut to fit without finishing the edges. The lamination keeps the edges from fraying.

The downside to these, as aptly demonstrated by Oli when he hopped onto the bed I was using to check size during cutting, is that they are much more likely to shift, bunch, or perhaps even tear than a padded topper. Oli also demonstrated why I need toppers by leaking some pee onto the topper. See below for precautions for use and storage.

DIY No-Sew Dog Bed Protector Supplies and Materials

To make a similar no-sew protector, you will need a basic laminated mattress protector of suitable size and cutting tools. Everything can be measured and cut with scissors, but a rotary cutter, mat, and straight edges are handy if you have them. An iron and ironing board (with pressing cloth if needed) are also recommended, if fabrics allow.

  • Laminated mattress protector (for repurposing materials)
  • Straight edge (either as a cutting guide or to mark a guide line)
  • Square object (optional to assist with checking corners)
  • Measuring tape (optional)
  • Iron and ironing board (optional)
  • Scissors or cutting tools

In choosing a single layered protector material, quality varies. Beware of significant crunching noises. Dogs (and people) may not like the sound.  Toppers laminated with a thin absorbent top layer will helps protect what’s underneath and around the protector, not just have liquid pool or run off the edges. That’s why I hacked a protector instead of using PUL fabric.

Making the Dog Bed Protector 

  • Prepare the mattress protector material by removing the fitted edges (save for other crafts).
  • Optional: Ironing is difficult with these materials, but it is helpful to ensure the material is as smooth as possible. Pre-washing/drying, hand smoothing, or low-temp ironing on the fabric side (with a pressing cloth over/under if needed) can help if time and materials allow.
  • Cut to required size. Ensure edges are straight and corners squared. Done!
DIY waterproof and pee resistant no-sew dog bed toppers

Precautions for Use and Storage

If used as a topper, they’re best paired with an easy wash blankie covering for stability and protection as well as comfort. If you have a fitted flat-topped dog bed bed cover like mine, they also work well when slid into potion sandwiched between the inner mattress and outer cover. They’re great as a back-up layer of protection for the foam if the cover is not waterproof or resistant or in case a supposedly waterproof fabric cover seeps.

It’s worthwhile noting that this type of material is prone to winkling and creasing, so it’s best stored rolled instead of folded if not in use. If using inside a fitted cover, like mine, it can be tricky to slide into place. I find it easiest to work on the floor with the bed backed up against something to prevent sliding. I hold the two corners that will be going to the inside/back, reach my arms inside,  then slowly work everything into place and smooth it all flat. 

DIY waterproof and pee resistant furniture pads and dog bed toppers

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