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Pet Projects

How to Make a Plywood Pet Bed and Occasional Table

Learn how to construct a three-sided cube that can serve as an end table and a pet bed.

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Courtesy of Brian Patrick Flynn

We used a single piece of plywood to create this cozy, contemporary piece of furniture for pets to perch on. This simple project is perfect for beginner woodworkers.

Materials and Tools:

3/4" 4' x 8’ sheet of cabinet-grade plywood (1)
carpenter's glue
drill, 3/4 drill bit and and trim screws
table saw
jigsaw
sanding block or sandpaper
water-based stain
staining pad
polyurethane
paintbrush
drop cloth
cushion or pillow
tape measure and a straightedge
compass
nail gun and nails

Determine Size

Use tape measure to determine proper height, width and depth for plywood table in relation to the furniture that will surround it.

Tip: The standard height for most end tables is 24 inches and the standard height for most coffee tables is 18 to 21 inches. Sticking with a range between 18 and 24 inches will offer the most versatility. We made our table 22 inches tall.

Cut Plywood

Protect your eyes with safety goggles. Use tape measure, straightedge and pencil to mark a 22" line on plywood. Next, rip a 22" x 8' strip using circular saw.

Tip: If you don’t own a table saw, most home improvement stores will cut plywood for you, sometimes for free, other times for a small charge. This saves time and energy, plus it makes the transporting of materials much easier.

Cut Side Panels

Use tape measure, straightedge and pencil to mark two 18" x 22" pieces of plywood as side panels, then cut with circular saw.

Cut Top and Bottom Panels

Mark two 20" x 22" pieces of plywood as top and bottom panels, then cut with circular saw.

Cut Back Panel

Mark one 16-1/2" x 20-1/2" piece of plywood for back panel, then cut with circular saw.

Note: The back panel is cut 1 1/2" shorter in length and height than the top, bottom and side panels so that it will fit snugly inside of them.

Measure and Mark Circles

Use tape measure to determine center point of side panels, then mark with pencil. Place compass on mark, then use pencil to draw a perfect circle.

Cut Out and Sand Circles

Drill a hole in the center of the marked circle using drill and 3/4" drill bit. Place the blade of the jigsaw inside of hole, then cut circles out from each of the two side panels. Use sandpaper or a sanding block to smooth out the rough edges of the circles.

Attach Side Panels to Back Panel

Use a drill and a 1/4" drill bit to create pilot holes 3/8" in from the upper back and lower back corner edges of each of the two side panels.

Note: The pilot holes will allow screws to go directly through the side panels, then into the back panel, creating a tight fit.

Add wood glue along all four edges of the back panel. Secure side panels and back panel together with trim screws drilled through each of the pilot holes.

Attach Top and Bottom Panels

Use a drill and a 1/4" drill bit to create pilot holes 3/8" in from all four corner edges of the top and bottom panels. Secure top and bottom into place with trim screws drilled through each of the pilot holes. Make sure the screws go directly through the top and bottom panels, into the back panel and side panels, creating a tight fit.

Rip, Cut and Attach Base (Legs)

Measure, mark, then use a circular saw to rip a 2-1/2" strip of plywood from the remaining scrap of the 4' x 8' sheet of plywood. Measure, mark, then cut the strip down into four 17" pieces. Use nail gun or screws to attach all four pieces directly to bottom panel with each piece spaced 2 1/2" inward from the edge of the bottom panel. This inset will give the table a contemporary floating look.

Add Stain and Sealer

Fill nail and/or screw holes with wood putty. After a light sanding and a wipe with a damp cloth, apply stain using stain pad or paintbrush. Once dry to the touch, add sealer using paintbrush.

Add Cushion or Pillow

Ensure that sealer is dry, then place cushion or pillow atop bottom panel.

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