Thank you so much for visiting us at One Project Closer for this Mid-Century Modern Dog Crate and End-Table Tutorial.
I’m sure you’ve heard by now that we have a new addition to the family – Chief Hopper. Hopper is a Morkie (Maltese + Yorkie mix), and he is a ton of fun. The girls love playing with him, and I’ll admit that so do I. Getting ready for Hopper, we purchased all the usual stuff – bed, toys, food, bowls, etc. When it came to buying a dog crate, Jocie and I couldn’t find anything that we really liked. Jocie is big on the mid-century modern style, and we wanted something that would serve as an end-table too. You can probably see where this is going. In the end, I decided to build the dog crate.
For this project, I picked up some Maple 1x and a sheet of sanded plywood at the local Home Depot. One thing to remember (because initially I did not) is that Maple is a hardwood and will soak up stain much slower than a softwood. I’m pleased with the ‘two-tone’ look of our dog crate. If you want something more uniform, try to buy all the same species of wood.
Here are the other materials I used to build this crate:
- Kreg pocket hole screws (fine and course thread)
- 1/2″ wood dowel
- Wood glue
- Tapered legs (purchased off Etsy)
- Round metal stair balusters
- Plywood edge banding
- 12″ piano hinge
- Wood stain
Building the Dog Crate
I started by cutting the bottom and back pieces to size from the sheet of plywood. I like to use painters tape especially for cuts across the grain to better prevent tear-out. If you know of other tips, share them in the comments! I sized this to fit the dog bed which is 18 x 30″.
Next, I drilled pocket holes that would allow me to attach the bottom, top and sides.
The sides are made from Maple and the round metal stair balusters. I began building the sides by cutting the rails and stiles to length. Here’s where I could have really benefited from a metal chop saw and dowel jig. Instead I made due with my grinder and drill press.
The stair balusters will be the metal bars for the crate, and I needed to cut three equal lengths from each baluster. With some help from Jocie and a lot of tedious adjustments, we cut the bars and sanded any rough edges.
Next, I measured and drilled 1/2″ holes for the dowel plugs.
Full disclosure – Hopper’s head is smaller than I expected and he can slip through the bars. I spaced the bars at 2-3/4″ intervals. If you’re intending to build this dog crate, consider putting the bars a little closer together for dogs under 6 lbs. I’m hopeful that he will grow big enough that he can’t ninja his way out of the dog crate soon.
The 1/2″ dowel plugs are a very tight fit in the 1/2″ holes so I rounded one edge of the plug and smeared a tiny bit of paste wax before pounding them into place.
After a quick dry-fit, I assembled the two sides with more pocket holes.
LuLu was my occasional helper. She’s so stinkin cute.
After the sides were assembled, I attached them to the plywood bottom and sides.
One feature on this dog crate is that I wanted a sliding pocket door. This enables us to leave the crate open for Hopper without having a crate door swing out into the room. To achieve this I cut a piece of scrap with tenons on both ends. Next, I cut a corresponding slot for the two slides. The crate door swings upward on the piano hinge and then slides back into the crate, resting on the side pieces.
I used a router and chisel to cut a space into the slide for the hinge.
Once I was satisfied with the slides, I built the crate door much just like the sides. I used playing cards to create just the slightest space for the door to move.
I also cut a rounded slot for a handhold.
Next, I cut the plywood top to size. There was a bit of back-and-forth because I needed to account for the thickness of the edge banding on three sides, and I needed to cut some clearance for the top of the door to pivot. At this point I also attached the tapered legs. These I simply routed a shallow circle and glued into place.
Once I had the top in place and the door able to slide as expected, I ripped some more Maple to create a flair trim piece. This was glued into place around the entire front face. You can see I cut some scrap wood to be able to better clamp everything in place.
After going through progressively finer sandpaper, the dog crate was ready for stain. Jocie picked a dark walnut, and we applied two coats. Lastly, I sealed the crate with three coats of polyurethane.
A few days later the poly was dry and the smell had gone. We moved the crate into the house, and I was rewarded when Hopper very quickly crawled into his crate and lay down.
Here’s a quick video showing how the door slides open and closed. I love that there isn’t a door hanging open for me to bang on legs on as I walk by. You know what I’m talking about!