How to Make a House for Your Dog From Milk Crates

One crate makes a cozy house for smaller dogs. Images

You get a real sense of accomplishment when you can find unique ways to repurpose everyday items, like milk crates. You could make a house for your dog out of them, for instance. If your dog is small, you may only need one crate, but you can stack them together to use as a frame for a house for a larger dog. They'll make a cozy shelter for Rufus, and you can feel good about recycling the crates instead of tossing them in the trash.

One-Crate House for a Small Dog

Step 1

Wrap one milk crate in the weatherproof canvas tarp to create a dog house for a small dog. You only need to wrap it once all the way around.

Step 2

Cut the excess tarp off with the knife or scissors and secure it to the crate using the staple gun.

Step 3

Cover the back of the milk crate with the tarp by starting on one side, running the tarp across the back of the crate and across the other side. This will create a double layer of the tarp on two sides. Secure the tarp into place with the staple gun.

Step 4

Cut the excess tarp off, either leaving a flap to act as a door or just cutting it off at the edge of the crate. Lie the crate on its side so that the open side can be used as an entrance.

Step 5

Slide the 12-by-12-inch plywood piece into the bottom of the crate to serve as the floor of the house.

For the Big Dogs

Step 1

Place the three 2-foot-long pine pieces on the bottom of the 52-by-39-inch piece of plywood to form the floor. Place one each along the edges of the 39-inch sides and place the third pine piece approximately in the middle of the first two. Use the wood glue to hold them in place. Secure them to the plywood using the nail gun, nailing down through the top of the floor to hold the pine pieces underneath. These will raise the bottom of the dog house off the ground to increase ventilation and reduce moisture. If the nails extend out past the surface of the pine pieces, use the tin snips to cut the excess length off.

Step 2

Lay the floor on the ground, pine pieces down, and begin laying out the milk crates to structure the walls. Set three crates side-by-side along one of the 39-inch sides, open side up. Then set three more crates along the 52-inch side to finish the back wall, and complete the third side of the dog house by setting two more crates on the other 39-inch side. Use the nail gun to affix the crates to the floor piece.

Step 3

Stack two more rows of crates on top of the foundational row you just created. The crates interlock as you stack them, so the crates that sit atop one another won't need to be secured together, but you'll use the tie wire to fasten the crates that are next to each other together.

Step 4

Cut 6-inch lengths of the wire from the roll using the tin snips and slide them into the openings of the mesh-like sides of the crates, twisting the wire to secure the crates together.

Step 5

Lay the 52-inch pine piece across the open top of the doorway on the front of your dog house. Use the nail gun to affix it to the milk crates.

Step 6

Lay the 39-inch pine piece across the open top of the dog house. Center it so that it's running down the middle from the back of the house to the front, with one end resting on the back wall crates and the other end resting on the 52-inch pine piece that runs over the doorway. Use the wood glue to secure the 39-inch pine piece to the 52-inch pine piece at the front of the house. Use the nail gun to secure the 39-inch pine piece to the milk crate at the back of the house.

Step 7

Lay one of the 2 1/4-foot pieces of plywood on top of the dog house to form one side of the roof, creating a pitch in the center on top of the pine piece. Start by laying one roof piece, using glue to hold it in place and securing it to the milk crates and the pine piece with the nail gun, then doing the same with the second piece.

Step 8

Wrap the canvas tarp around the sides of the dog house, starting at one side of the doorway on the front, bringing it around the side and back. Finish by wrapping it along the other side and ending at the opposite side of the doorway from where you started. Use the staple gun to secure the tarp to the milk crates along the doorway sides and at each corner of the house. Fold the tarp under the edges of the floor and secure it to the floor piece using the staple gun. Cut off any excess tarp using the utility knife or scissors.

Step 9

Lay the plastic tarp over the roof to waterproof it, bringing the edges of the tarp under the edges of the roof and use the staple gun to secure it into place.


  • Place a pillow or blanket on the floor of either size house to add an element of comfort to Rufus' shelter.

  • The instructions for the larger dog house will fit a medium-sized dog. Measure your dog to determine how big of a house you'll need to make. A useful guide is to make the depth 12 inches longer than your dog's length, 18 inches wider than your dog's width and 6 to 9 inches higher than your dog's height.

Items You Will Need

  • 1 milk crate, 13 by 13 inches for a small dog house
  • 24 milk crates, 13 by 13 inches for a larger dog house
  • Weatherproof canvas tarp
  • Plastic tarp
  • Staple gun
  • Spool of tie wire
  • Tin snips
  • Utility knife or heavy-duty scissors
  • 3/4-inch plywood, 12 by 12 inches
  • 3/4-inch plywood, 52 by 39 inches
  • 3-by-1 1/2-inch treated pine, 52 inches in length
  • 3-by-1 1/2-inch treated pine, 39 inches in length
  • 3 pieces of 3-by-1 1/2-inch treated pine, each 2 feet in length
  • Wood glue
  • Nail gun