Every bed we’ve ever bought for our Rat Terrier Angel, our American Staffordshire Ana has managed to squeeze herself into by morning. What Angel needed was a space of her own. I just happened to have a cardboard box lying around the house.
The box I had was a lot bigger than the house would be, so I cut it down and used the extra for the roof. If you have a box big enough for the house as is, have a second box for the roof. Total time for construction was about a half hour.
Other than a box, I used:
a drywall square: great for quick measurements and easy straight cuts
glue: I used Gorilla Glue, but any old glue would do it.
binder clips: to hold together flat-glued pieces
1. First, I cut the flaps off the top of the box. Then I cut the doorway. I left a flap that looks kind of like a doormat, though I think it has no real practical use. I sized the doorway by the height of Angel's chin and two inches wider than her shoulders. This way Ana won't be able to fit inside, but Angel can get in and out with ease.
2. Instead of leaving the doorway just a hole in a box, I added a cardboard header. It's essentially the same as a header over a doorway. A rectanguar piece of cardboard glued above the hole would be fine, but I decided to leave an extra flap to fold over the other side. Binder clips held together the pieces until the glue set.
3. For the roof I cut a piece of cardboard that would lay three inches over the front and back edges, and six inches on either side. Then I made a cut halfway through the piece lengthwise so it would bend easily.
4. Having a peaked roof is nice, but you have to keep it up somehow. I cut a triangular piece of cardboard to fit the angle I wanted and taped them together. To get the angle, I laid the house on its back and set the roof on the floor.
Then I did a sort of scribe with my hand to get a rough picture of the angle before cutting off the edges. To fudge a scribed line, I held the marker of pencil tight in two fingers, then held the third rigid against the surface angle I wanted to approximate. Then I marked the line following the path my finger dictated.
It looks a little hokey, but the cuts turned out just right.
The cool thing about a project like this is that it's all right to mess up a little bit. When it comes down to it, this is a cardboard box fitted up nice for a dog. Angel will still love me if it turns out ugly or lopsided, so there's no stress. And besides, I get a little practice with measuring and planning and working with cardboard, which isn't a hole lot different than plywood or drywall (just different tools to cut, shape and fasten it).
When everything was taped I put some blankets inside and set the roof on top. Ana was curious immediately curious, and had the same look in her eye as when we bring home a new bed for Angel. She tried to shove her way in but couldn't get more than her head through the doorway. Angel went inside and lay down, and seemed happy with her new home.
Now, how can I decorate it so it looks better than just a cardboard box...