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How to Build a Doghouse Tent

Make a canvas-covered doghouse to give your pet some shade and shelter.

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  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty



Step 1: Construct the Floor

Using a chop saw, miter cut 2x4s on edge for a 24" x 36" floor base (Image 1). Use 3-inch wood screws to attach at the mitered corners (Image 2).

Cut the plywood to size and attach it to the floor base using 3-inch wood screws (Image 3).

Drill the holes in the plywood for the copper tubing posts. For the corner posts, use a 7/8" paddle drill bit to drill holes on all four corners 3/4" from each edge (Image 4). Then drill a hole at the mid point on each side (lenghtwise) for the side posts.

Apply a coat of sealer to the wood to help preserve it.

Step 2: Cut the Copper

Cut copper using a pipe cutter.
12 pieces at 18-3/4" (vertical uprights)
2 pieces at 22" (front and back cross bars)
4 pieces at 23" (sides)
12 pieces at 1-1/2" (couplers for fittings)

Fittings (for 3/4" copper pipe):
12 each "T" fittings
6 each 120-degree fittings
3 each 90-degree fittings

Clean ends of tubing and inside surface of all fittings using sandpaper or scrubber pads.

Step 3: Assemble the Frame

Assemble the frame. Insert the 18-3/4" post into one of the corner holes. Insert a 1-1/2" coupler on top of that, then add a "T" fitting (for the horizontal side pieces). Next, insert another 1-1/2" coupler than another "T" fitting (for the horizontal cross bar). Add one more 1-1/2" coupler then a 120-degree fittings on top of that (for the angled roof). Insert a 18-3/4" piece into the 120-degree piece then put a 90-degree piece on top of that. Complete the opposite side by repeating the process in reverse. Remember to add the horizontal cross piece. Repeat for the other two frame pieces.

Step 4: Cut the Canvas

Cut canvas for the front and back walls of the house using the assembled frame as the template. Use a straight edge to mark the canvas and leave four inches of excess around all the sides. The canvas should be doubled over before you cut so that you cut out both ends at the same time. Cut out the canvas using a sharp razor knife.

Step 5: Soldering the Frame

Flux and sweat all fittings and pieces for frame. Apply a light coat of soldering paste or flux to the cleaned end of the copper. Use a flux brush or an old toothbrush to spread the flux. Place the copper fitting on the pipe after thoroughly cleaning and coating with flux. Using a soldering torch (Image 1), place flame all around fitting to bring up to soldering heat. Then, concentrate the flame at the center of the fitting. After properly heated, apply the solder to the heated area. The solder will flow into the seams of the connection. Keep melting solder until it appears completely around the fitting. Do this for all fittings of frame (Image 2).

Step 6: Cover the Walls and Roof

Back wall and middle (interior) wall - place the canvas onto a wall frame making sure that the wall of the canvas is on the outside of the frame, holding it in place with a clamp at the crest of the roofline (Image 1). Fold the edge of the canvas over about one inch and then fold the excess over the tubing to meet the wall of canvas. Using a drill, make 1/8" holes in the canvas every six inches along the wall; these will be your rivet points. Place the rivet into the rivet gun and rivet the canvas (Image 2). Make sure the canvas is pulled good and tight all along the wall, as it will stretch over time.

Roof and side walls of tent - cut a piece of canvas to 56" x 90" – drape over the frame, centering the canvas on the roofline (Image 3). Roll-up the excess material at the base of one side of the structure. Attach the canvas to the base/floor of the house with 1-inch wood screws at the rear corner and at the center pole on one side and then pull the canvas tight over the house and repeat the process on the other side.

Step 7: Create the Awning

To create the awning effect, use your razor knife to cut the canvas along the center pole from the bottom of the material to the bottom of the roofline. This awning can be tied up for nice weather or down to help protect your dog from the elements.

The front roof section is attached to the frame the same way the walls were attached, folding the canvas over and riveting it about every six inches.

Cut a slit in center of interior wall for door to create the door.

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