Pet Projects

October 16, 2008 10:20:43 AM PDT
We love our pets and we love to pamper them, but sometimes their toys, leashes and food can be a little distracting. Bruce Johnson ? a woodworker and the owner of three dogs and two cats, plus the husband of a veterinarian ? knows what it is like to live in a hectic household. He has some fun ideas for you and your family to help you organize your pet's food and toys ? and add some color and personality to your home.

Make Your Own Pet Bed

Pets, especially dogs, can be hard on their beds ? and buying a new bed for them every six months can get expensive. Bruce will demonstrate just how easy ? and inexpensive ? it is to make your own pet bed to the exact dimensions to fit your pampered pet.

1. Cut a fabric remnant or old blanket or bedspread to the dimensions of the size of bed your pet requires. [Cost: Zero to $2.]

2. Sew three sides of the top and bottom together.

3. Fill the interior with either solid pieces of foam, loose foam, cedar chips or a combination of these. [Cost: Zero to $2.]

4. Seal the fourth side by either sewing it closed or attaching strips of Velcro, snaps or a zipper. [Cost: Zero to $4. Velcro.com]

No More Lost Leashes

Exercise is essential to your pet's health (and ours), but if you can't find the leash, you can't go for a walk. Rather than tearing the house apart looking for a lost leash, you can make your own custom leash rack using an unfinished wood plaque, some colorful stains and a few brass hooks. Bruce will demonstrate how easy it is to add color to your room while organizing your personalized leash rack. And your pet won't mind if you use it for your car keys, too.

1. Lightly sand an unfinished wood plaque or board you already have. [Cost: Zero to $11.99. Wood plaque available from WalnutHollow.com and a craft stores.]

2. Apply a coat of wood conditioner. [Cost: $4.]

3. Sand lightly, then apply a coat of stain of your choosing. [Cost: $4.]

4. While it is drying, apply a coat of a different color of stain to the wooden letters spelling out your pet's name. [Cost: letters .69@; stain $4.]

5. Apply two coats of finish. [Cost: $5.]

6. Drill pilot holes and screw in two or three brass hooks. [Cost: less than $2.]

7. (optional) Use rub-on decals, photographs, stencils or stickers to personalize. [Cost: less than $3.]

Unfinished plaque
Stains
Hooks
(optional) Personalized letters
(optional) Rub-on decals

No More Mess

No one enjoys stepping on your pet's toys ? or storing pet food in their kitchen pantry. Bruce has a great idea for transforming an unfinished and inexpensive child's toy chest into a combination pet food and toy storage box ? which you can also use in your kitchen, mud room or porch as a seat for changing your shoes. He will show you how to add a divider to separate a food section from a toy section, and how to customize the storage chest with your pet's name ? and some fun paw prints.

Unfinished toy chest
(optional) Unfinished letters for pet's name
(optional) Rub on decals
Plywood divider

1. Lightly sand an unfinished toy chest. [Cost: $59.95]

2. Apply a coat of water-based Minwax® Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner. [Cost: $4; wwwminwax.com.

3. Sand lightly, then apply a coat of Minwax® Water-Based Wood Stain. [Cost: $9.97.]

4. While it is drying, apply a coat of Minwax® Water-Based Wood Stain to the wooden letters spelling out your pet's name. [Cost: large letters $2.49]

5. Apply two coats of Polycrylic Protective Finish. [Cost: $6.]

6. Cut a piece of plywood to glue inside the chest as a divider. [Cost: less than $4.]

7. (optional) Use rub-on decals, photographs, stencils or stickers to personalize. [Cost: less than $3; www.PaperHouseProductions.com.]

About Bruce Johnson

Bruce is an author, craftsman and wood finishing expert. He's made guest appearances on numerous television shows on PBS, HGTV and The Discovery Channel and is currently hosting "DIY Woodworking" and "How to Build a Log Cabin" on the DIY cable network. Bruce and his wife (a veterinarian) live in Asheville, NC.

Background on Pet Ownership in US

According to the American Pet Products Association's (APPA) 2007-2008 Pet Owners Survey 63% of US households own a pet. This equates to 71.1 million households. 44.8 million households report owning a dog while 38.4 million own a cat. It's estimated that Americans will spend $43.4 billion on our pets this year.


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