Thursday, March 24, 2011

DIY: How to make a suitcase cat bed

I've seen suitcase cat beds on Etsy for years now, and I've always wanted one. They are a little pricey, however, and I never buy something like this that I can make at home. Another project to tackle? I think so!

My friend, Sarah, and I went to the flea market last week, and I bought this blue suitcase for $7! With a quick trip to home depot and the craft store, and with a few power tools, you can have one of these of your own! Here is a simple, cheap tutorial so you can make your very own cat bed. And since you're only using half of the suitcase, you might as well make two, because everyone with a cat knows someone else with a cat! And what a great surprise gift for a friend.

You will need: 
  • a suitcase
  • 4 or 8 legs, about $2 each at Home Depot
  • 4 or 8 heavy duty top plates, to attach the legs to the suitcase, $2 each
  • 20 or 40 machines screws with bolts
  • acrylic paint or spray paint
  • a dremel with a grinding tool attachment
  • safety goggles
  • drill
  • screwdriver
  • permanent marker
  • ruler
  • fabric and stuffing (or a pillow to fit in the suitcase)
  • sewing machine
  • ***the differing numbers depends on if you are making one or two cat beds

Put on your safety goggles, sparks can be dangerous. Using a dremel you will break the hinges. See the picture below for an idea of where to cut. Since this suitcase was Samsonite and over 50 years old, there was no breaking of that pin holding the hinges together. Samsonites don't break ha. I spent about twenty minutes with a chisel and hammer, no luck.

You now have two separate pieces. I left the straps on the left piece but removed the polyester divider on the right piece (it was attached with small screws). It could have been left intact but this suitcase wasn't in  the best condition. Then, I cleaned both pieces very well.

Once you have all your supplies gathered and you return from Home Depot, you can start with painting the legs. I bought these 6 inch legs for about $2 each. Home Depot has an assortment of heights and styles, but these were the cheapest and I liked the looks of them. I opted for light blue paint at Hobby Lobby. 

Clementine sat at my side crying for attention the entire time I was painting the legs.

Open all top plates and place them on the back side of the suitcase. Use a ruler to make sure they are in the right place. I kept 3 inches between each piece (front to back) and butted them up against the trim.

Mark the holes with a permanent marker. 

Using a drill slightly smaller than your screws, drill all the holes. Be sure you go all the way through! You will need to get the screw through the liner to attach the nuts. 

The plates come with standard screws, but you can't use them because the suitcase is hollow. They'll poke through and put holes in the pillow or hurt your kitty's paws. This is why you need the nuts and bolts. Use a wrench and screwdriver to tighten them down all the way.

Attach your legs. Be sure they're dry!

Make a pillow big enough to fit in the bed. I used fabric that was covered in cat hair, so I knew one of them had already liked it and would think it was comfortable. And voila! CAT BED! I had to put Clementine in it and she was a little unsure at first. It took her a minute and she laid down.

She was getting very sick of me taking her picture, but I think it will be used. 
The key: place it in sunshine! 

Questions? Comments?!

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  1. Awesome! That's some pretty fabulous fabric you used too.

  2. Awwwww so cute!!!! i can't wait to make mine now!!! love your blog :)

  3. What a lovely DIY! We've featured you over on the FaveCrafts Blog! :)


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