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How to: Make a DIY Modern Raised Dog Bowl

by on Sep 10, 2014

My friend (and Curbly blogger extraordinaire) Capree loves dogs. I, myself, being hopelessly allergic to them… have a like-them-from-afar kinda relationship. But I love Capree, and I love making stuff out of wood. So! Knowing I couldn’t show my affection in the the normal way – like, you know, petting them – I set out to make a cool-looking, modern dog-feeding station as a gift to her pups Smash and Wrigley, 

A small dog is standing over a tray of food.
To pull it off, I teamed up with Minwax, makers of great wood finishes. I think it turned out kind of awesome, yeah? Read on for complete instructions on how to make your own. 

Two cans of wood stain, four metal parts, four tapered towels, four dog bowls, two blocks of wood and a blue paint roller.

Materials and Tools:

  • 1/2″ plywood, cut to size. Ours was 17 x 7″.
  • 1×2″ lumber for trim, at least 48″ long. We used maple. 
  • Metal dog bowl insert, such as these
  • 4 pre-turned table legs and brackets. We got ours at
  • Minwax Wood Finish
  • Minwax Helmsman Spar Urethane
  • Wood glue and small nails
  • Painting and staining tools: brush, rollers, etc
  • Sandpaper: 220 grit
  • Miter saw or miter box
  • Jigsaw or hole saw and drill
  • Measuring tools: compass, ruler, tape, pencil, etc
  • Non-toxic paint (optional)
  • Safety glasses and dust mask
Two upside down small glass bowls on a piece of wood, a pencil and an orange tool making a circle on a piece of wood, a jigsaw cutting a circle on a piece of wood,and a piece of wood with two circles cut out of it.

1. This project begins by determining the right size platform for your dog(s). I designed this one to be about four and a half inches tall, using two small bowls for one small dog. This page on DocaPet is great resource for determining size. Use your bowl inserts to lay out the size, making sure to leave enough space for the leg brackets. Cut (or have cut) your table platform to size. 

2. Measure the width of your bowl, not including the lip. Use a compass to translate the circle onto your plywood. Feel like you are in second grade, learning how to use a compass again.

3. Cut out the bowl recesses with a jig saw or a drill and hole saw, then sand them smooth.

"Measuring Wooden logs to make Dog Bowl"

4. Next, measure your 1×2″ trim piece to wrap each side. We used miter joints to connect ours, so the internal dimension of each 45° cut was the same as the sides: 7 and 17 inches. Make your cuts, checking for a tight fit. 

5. Spread wood glue on the edge of each side and all trim pieces, and attach with small nails to hold everything in place while the glue dries.

Foam brushes sit in the lids in front of five different stains.

6. While our glue was drying, I wanted to test some finishing options. I got a couple small cans of Minwax Wood Finish and tested them on the leftover length of the maple 1×2″ trim.  I got a variety of stains, which added some rich color and a great finished look. I wiped away the excess stain after 10 minutes, and found I really liked the contrast between the Natural (209) on the far left and the rich Cherry (235) next to it. I loved how the natural made the maple grain pop, so I decided to add contrast by finishing all the maple – the legs and trim – and then paint the table top itself with food-safe milk paint. Which, unsurprisingly, made my whole workspace smell like milk 🙂

A split screen shows someone doing paint crafts.

7. Once the glue has dried, follow the Minwax directions to apply the finish to the wood. Finishing objects like the round table legs can be tricky, so I usually use a piece of scrap cardboard or foam to stand them up. Here, I used what was on hand – the leg brackets. I used a bit of painters tape to protect the metal while applying the finish. If you use a colored stain, consider adding a second coat for a deeper, rich color. Just follow the instructions on the can. 

A hand sanding a piece of wood, a green can of wood stain and a paint brush painting a piece of wood with two large holes in it.

8. To protect the wood from water and weather, use Helmsman Spar Urethane to seal the wood. For a really durable coat, sand with 220-grit paper after the first coat and reapply. Allow to dry at least 24 hours.

Insert your bowls…and call your pup for dinner!

A dog looks up from his bowl.

"Bowls placed on a Wooden Table"

A black, wet & short table has a water dish in it.

Note how the finish repels the water, allowing the project to look sharp for many dinners to come. 

Dog eating from bowl on wooden stand on top of black and white concentric diamond rug.

Special thanks to Smash for expert munching services. 

Two metallic dog bowls in a raised dog-bowl holder.

If you liked this project, why not help us share by pinning the image below (or any of the ones you liked)? Thanks!

Two bowls sit inside a feeder made out of wood.

Five cans of wood stain lined up behind a length of wood and their tops holding black painting sponges.

Thanks to Minwax for sponsoring this post. Working with awesome DIY brands like Minwax allows us to create great original content and give it away for free. All opinions are mine alone.