There are an astonishing array of crates on the market, but some owners still have trouble finding one that fits the bill.
You may, for example, have trouble finding one that is large enough for your plus-size pooch, or you may simply want to avoid the wire-and-plastic aesthetic in lieu of something more tasteful.
But don’t worry — we’re here to help. There are a number of ways to make your own custom dog crate, and we’ll review several of the best options below.
This wooden design from My Outdoor Plans is fantastic for owners who want to make a simple and easy, yet attractive, wood dog crate from scratch.
Even relatively inexperienced woodworkers should be able to build this crate, and it’ll provide a great combination of ventilation and security for your pet through the wooden slat structure.
Difficulty Level: Easy
This isn’t the same exact dog crate you’ll build from the plans above, but it’s pretty darn similar. Accordingly, it may help you figure out any tricky parts during the construction process.
If you would like to build a quick-and-easy dog crate and you care more about function than form, check out these wire dog crate plans from Cuteness.com.
These crates may not look any different than the typical ones you would buy at a pet store, but you can make your dog’s crate whatever size you like, and it won’t cost you very much to put it together.
Difficulty Level: Easy
We can’t find a video of these exact plans coming to fruition, but here’s another concept also based around welded wire panels.
If you want to make a custom dog crate, but you don’t want to settle for anything less than a true furniture-quality piece, these plans from This Old House may be perfect for you and your pup.
This is a pretty pricey project (it is estimated to cost about $300), so it isn’t a great option for all owners, and you’ll need some basic carpentry skills to pull it off (just check out that cut list below).
But, for those who choose to tackle this project, the final results are rather spectacular.
Don’t feel like doing it yourself? You can find similar furniture-style dog crates for purchase here.
Difficulty Level: Very hard
We couldn’t find a video detailing the exact process by which you can make the crate described above, but the video below (filmed by a professional crate-building company) may help you figure things out.
Repurposing old furniture is a great way to give your dog a snazzy crate. You’ll not only help the planet a bit by getting a new use out of an old item, but it’ll save you a bit of time, effort, and money too.
These plans for a dog crib crate from My Repurposed Life is great looking and fully functional – it should work just like a regular dog crate.
MyRepuprosedLive.com doesn’t provide exact plans for this project, as you’ll have to adapt the techniques and materials you use to suit the crib (or whatever item) you decide to turn into a crate. Accordingly, the materials and tools you’ll need will vary, and you’ll need to use your noggin to figure out the best way to finish the project.
Difficulty Level: Hard
The materials you’ll need will vary, but, in this example, the designer used:
Of course, cribs aren’t the only thing you can repurpose and use for a dog crate. Here’s a video of an owner building a dog crate out of an old entertainment center!
These plans don’t actually teach you how to build a crate; instead, Snazzy Little Things teaches you how to build an adorable kitchen table that goes over and around the crate.
This allows you to convert a boring old wire dog crate into an attractive piece of furniture. And because you’re really only building a table, this is a pretty easy and affordable project.
Note: You’ll need to check out this tutorial to learn how to finish the table as shown in the photo.
Difficulty Level: Easy to Medium
We couldn’t find a video explaining how to make this project, but it is relatively straightforward and easy to complete by checking out the original plans.
If necessary, you can learn the basics of using a Kreg Jig in the video below. Many of the projects on this list will require you to use one, and they can be intimidating to wood-working novices.
End table kennels are a great way to use one space for two different things, making them great for apartment dwellers and others living in cramped quarters. You can build them in a number of different ways, but they’re all end up being fairly similar.
We picked a relatively big and robust set of plans from Ana White, which should allow you to build a kennel big enough for a lab- or pit-bull-sized dog.
Difficulty Level: Medium
This video doesn’t show you how to build the exact model detailed above, but it’s pretty close. Hopefully, this will help you get through the project easier.
This set of plans from Adorable Home is really more of a cubby or bed than a true crate, as it lacks a proper door.
However, this thoroughly modern design will look great in many homes and give your pup a comfy and hip place to chill. The original plans don’t call for paint, but we think it’d look even better with a bit of color (just be sure to let it air out for several days before letting your pup climb in).
This probably isn’t a great option for large dogs, as you’d have to make it much bigger than the plans recommend. This may require you to purchase thicker plywood, which would increase the cost of the project and make the finished product much heavier.
Difficulty Level: Hard
Again, this isn’t really a crate per se, but it is a fun project that’ll give your dog a cozy little place to snooze.
No matter which of the plans you decide is right for your dog (or if you instead choose to design your own crate from scratch), you’ll want to embrace a few basic tips to help ensure things go as smoothly as possible.
Crate size recommendations vary a bit, but most authorities recommend that you provide your dog with just enough room to lay comfortably, stand up and turn around.
You can get a good idea of the proper crate length by measuring the distance between the base of your dog’s tail and the tip of his nose and then adding 2 to 4 inches to the total. Then, have your dog sit and measure the distance between the floor and the tippy top of his ears. Add 2 to 4 inches to this figure to obtain the appropriate height.
The width of the crate is correlated with the length. You can check out this chart from the Association of Professional Dog Trainers to see a few common sizes.
For example, most 24-inch-long crates are between 18 and 24 inches wide. Similarly, most 36-inch-long crates are 24 to 32 inches wide. Big crates, measuring 42 to 48 inches in length, are generally around 30 to 36 inches wide.
Proper preparation can mean all of the difference between a successful project and one that fails to come together. Make sure that you have everything you’ll need (it is very annoying to have to stop and head to the hardware store mid-project) before you make the first cut.
It’s also important to make sure you work in a safe, well-lit area – you will be dealing with power tools, after all. Hopefully, you’ll have a garage, workshop, or porch that’s already set up for the task.
And, for safety’s sake, be sure that you keep kids and pets out of the area once you start working.
You can always make adjustments – especially adjustments involving the size of the crate — if the plans for a given crate don’t suit your needs. Go ahead and make the crate 6 inches wider or make the slats 2 inches farther apart, if need be. Just be sure to tweak all of the affected design components when doing so.
This is an old and oft-repeated bit of advice, but DIY novices should be sure to take the tip to heart. Failing to measure carefully will generally result in a ruined board and necessitate another trip to the hardware store.
Although this mantra is usually mentioned in reference to cutting wood, it applies to all materials.
To avoid serious headaches after completing the crate, make sure you think about the place you intend to put it.
You may, for example, need to make the crate a bit shorter to fit it into a nook in your kitchen, or you may need to reverse or reposition the door so that it opens in a sensible way for the location.
Don’t forget to think about things like windows, air vents, and electrical outlets when picking the space. You don’t want to design the crate to fit in a given area, only to find that the sun makes the location too hot, or the nearby AC vent is causing your pooch to shiver.
Have you ever built a crate for your dog? We’d love to hear all about it! Let us know where you found the plans, tell us whether it was easy or difficult, and – most importantly – tell us whether you’d choose the same plans again.
Ben is a proud dog owner and lifelong environmental educator who writes about animals, outdoor recreation, science, and environmental issues. He lives with his beautiful wife and spoiled-rotten Rottweiler JB in Atlanta, Georgia. Read more by Ben at FootstepsInTheForest.com.