April 25, 2011

D.I.Y Suitcase Dog Bed

For the last five months or so I have been on the hunt for a large vinyl suitcase large enough to make a dog bed out of.  I haven't had any luck until a few weekends ago when I was in Portland with Amy.  She spotted a large blue suitcase while we were at an antique store.  I snatched it up right away because it was the perfect size and I didn't know if I would be able to find another.  I finished the dog bed about a week ago but now that Charlotte has entered the house I haven't had very much time to myself in order to finish posting this blog. 

This large blue suitcase is perfect for the frame of my doggie bed

I really liked the shade of blue but its going to stay in the bedroom and blue didn't match anything else in the room so I bought a can of Behr High Drama red paint to paint the suitcase a color to coordinate with the existing red in the room.  I also bought four legs 4" high to hold up the suitcase. 

4" legs found at the local hardware store

The first step was to remove the top piece of the suitcase.  If you are going to do this, I suggest finding a suitcase that is assembled with screws.  Mine, I found out used a type of heavy duty brad that were very difficult to remove.  I damaged the suitcase a little bit trying to remove them.  So for appearance and time management, I would strongly suggest picking a suitcase that is easy to disassemble. 

A little bit of damage from removing the hardware from the top of suitcase

After semi-successfully removing the top lid of the suitcase I measured where the legs would go on the bottom.  Using a marker I placed dots at each corner where my legs would attach and then used the screw driver to drill my holes for the screws.  The legs I chose already had screws attached to them so after drilling my holes I tightened the legs onto the bottom and then used nuts to keep them in place on the inside of the suitcase.  I also added a little bit of gorilla glue onto the legs so I knew they wouldn't go anywhere.

Pre drilled leg holes

Next came the fun part of painting the suitcase.  The Behr paint I chose already had a built in primer so I did not prime my suitcase.  Being careful not to paint the hardware I slowly applied my first coat of paint.  Because it is a vinyl covering the first coat of paint went on very thin.  Also because I was using red paint the first coat looked more pink than anything.  I let the paint dry for 24 hours and then painted the second coat.  Total it took 3 coats to cover the suitcase completely as well as get a nice deep red.

I used a semi-gloss to achieve a slightly shiny finish

After the 3rd coat of paint was dry I used a small amount of metallic silver paint to go over the metal hardware and give it a clean, new look.
Repainting the hardware updated the look of the suitcase

The  final step consisted of finding a fluffy material to fill the suitcase.  I had some chair foam and an extra pillow that I stuffed inside and than added a matching, soft fabric over the top so puppy will have a nice place to rest her head.

Sock monkey fabric was used as the puppy comforter
I added a new little puppy to complete the dog bed.  She's still a little small to jump in the bed for now.  In a few weeks I know she will be able to get inside but until then she will keep sleeping with mom at night.

Charlotte in her suitcase bed

She loves her sock monkey blanket

Its so comfy she's ready for a nap already

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