When you have a dog, it means you should likely have a dog crate. When you're gone from the house, you might need the dog to go into his or her crate, especially if you are still training your dog not to go to the bathroom in the house or not to chew up certain items. Whatever the reason, a dog crate is an excellent investment

However, if you've looked at the dog crates available at local pet stores, you'll find most of them are disgusting, ugly metal bars that look more like prison cells than an area where a dog can feel relaxed and happy. It also stands out like a sore thumb and just doesn't look all that good. Thankfully, you don't need to settle for this kind of crate. Instead, you can make your own. 

With just a handful of tools and some spare time you'll make a dog crate that all your friends will be asking you about. It becomes not just a dog crate but a show-off piece. The only downside to making your own dog crate is everyone asking if you can make one for them.


What Is a Dog Crate?

The dog in an open crate
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A dog crate is an area where your dog will stay usually when you are not there. The crates you purchase from stores typically are made of metal bars with a plastic base. There are more expensive crate options out there, but these are often made from plastic. A crate you make at home will be constructed from wood. It will smell better, it will look better, and it will be of a higher quality construction. Some dogs can break free of the metal as it is not held together all that well.

The dog crate doesn't need to be a punishment area where dogs go when they are in trouble or when you are gone (or sleeping). These crates should be comfortable and inviting. It should be a place where your dog feels at home. In fact, many dogs like crates that are a bit darker and have more of a solid top and thicker walled areas to it. There are breeds of dogs that like to feel as if they are in a tunnel or a darkened area. It is their own personal space, away from everyone and everything. With a well made dog crate, you might find your dog spends more time in there than in other areas of the house. 

Supplies Needed

Supplies Needed
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You can make your crate as basic or as sophisticated as you like. It's up to you. You can change the kind of wood you use, and you can alter the visual appeal of the crate. It all comes down to how elaborate you want to make it, how much skill you have, and also how much money you want to spend. If you are newer to working with wood or you want to keep it basic before focusing on more elaborate designs, follow this shopping list and crate building instructions.

The supplies you need are:

  • 1 24" by 36" plywood (3/4"), MDF or Pine Project Panel
  • 5 1x3 boards, 8 feet long
  • 1 1/4" sheet of plywood
  • 4 1x2 boards, 8 feet long
  • Set of hinges
  • Latch
  • 1/4" pocket hole screws
  • Wood glue
  • 7/8" wood screws
  • Wood filler
  • Primer, paint, paint brush
  • 120 grit sandpaper
  • Tape measure

The equipment you'll need to make the dog crate includes:

  • Drill
  • Circular saw
  • Sander
  • Drill bits
  • Kreg Jig

How to Build the Crate

Dog in a crate
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To begin you'll need to cut out all of your wood. As you cut the wood, separate everything into different groups to help keep it organized. You can write on the wood with pencil if it helps you as well.

The cut list you need to follow prior to construction is:

  • 21 1x2 at 6" (for the rails)
  • 6 1x3" at 30.5" (for the side boards)
  • 4 1x2" at 26.25" (for the side legs)
  • 4 1x3" at 26.25" (for the end legs)
  • 1 1/4" Plywood at 17.75 x 33.5
  • 1 1/4" Plywood at 17.34 x 21
  • 5 1x3" at 18" (for the door frame and back boards)
  • 2 1x3" at 17.5" (for the door top and bottom)
  • 2 1x2" at 15.75" (for the door sides)
  • 3 1x2" at 15.75" (for the door rails)

Making the Screw Joints

If you've never used a Kreg Jig before, it will come in handy here. The Kreg Jig will help you cut into the sides of the wood the indentations where you'll insert the screws. You will want to cut in 2 on each end of the wood beams, except for the wood designated for the rails. Just make sure to keep all four indentations (two on each end) on the same side. You'll have the indentations pointing toward the interior of the crate.

To make the pocket holes, you'll want to use a 1 1/4" drill bit and the 1 1/4 screws for this.

Construct the Side Railings

Take two of the 26.25" beams and three of the 30.5 beams for the side boards. Using the 1 1/4" screws connect one between the bottom of the two 26.25" beams, then one at the top. Now, measure 17.75 inches up from the bottom, and mark on each side of the vertical beams. Here is where the top of the third 30.5" beam will go. This will leave you the six inches for the 6" beams designated for the side rail. You'll need eight for this. Using wood applied to the top and bottom of the 6" beams, insert the beams equally spaced between the top and middle 30.5" beams.

Take one of the 17.75 x 33.5 plywood boards and place it on the side railing along the bottom. It will run up and cover the middle board, ending right where the rail beams begin. Using wood glue, secure this in place and allow it to dry.

Repeat this process to make the second side.

Making the End

To make the end of the dog crate, use two of the 26.25 inch boards, two of the 18 inch boards and five of the rail beams.

Use the Kreg Jig to insert screw points into the sides of the 18" boards. Now, Position one 18 inch board between the 26.25 inch beams at the bottom, securing the wood together with the wood screws. Then, secure the second at the top of the 26.25 inch beams. Measure six inches down from the bottom of the top 18" beam, and place the third 18" beam here.

Mesure 1.25 inches along the middle 18" beam and position the first six inch rail beam. Then, spaced two inches apart, place the next six inch rail, and repeat until all five beams are in place.

Take the 21" by 17.75" piece of plywood and secure it under the rail beams. Keep an inch space between the edges of the vertical beams and the plywood. Use wood glue to secure the plywood into place

Making the Door

For the door, you'll need two 18" beams and two 26.25" beams. Place the 18" beams at the top and bottom of the two vertical beams, then secure with wood screws.

Use the 15.75 and 17.5 inch beams for the door and the three for the door rail. The 15.75" beams are the vertical beams. Place the 17.5" beam on top and secure with wood glue, then repeat with the second beam under the vertical beams. Now, place the three rails in the opening and secure with wood glue.

Flip the frame and the door over. Place the door in the frame. Now, install the hinges on the right side of the door, connecting it to the frame. Place the handle on the opposite side of the door.

Putting It All Together

You now have four walls. It's time to put it together. The door frame and the side wall will sit flush against each other. Connect the two with screws at the top and bottom. Repeat this with the opposite wall. With the walls and door frame in place, now you need to assemble the rear of the crate. The rear will sit flush against the walls, so now you can install using the screws at the top and bottom of the wall.

You can now either take the top plywood board and install it, or you can sand off the dog crate first. With everything in place and secured you're now able to sand it down and add primer, then paint. You can also use a wood stain if you'd rather have a natural, stained wood instead of a paint job. Give it plenty of time to dry and it'll be ready for your dog.


It will take work, but in the end, you'll have a beautiful dog crate for your furry friend. All you need to do is follow these instructions and then paint it as your own. It'll stand out and look beautiful, no matter where you put it. If you decide to not put a base on it, it even becomes easier to clean and take care of.

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