Dog Bowl Stands

Our photo-bombing pooch, Ellie, is getting a little older now, and we notice she sometimes has issues eating from her bowls. It’s like she needs to stretch an arm out and stretch before she can continue. It also could be that she feels that she must gobble her food as fast as possible so that Basil doesn’t snipe it from her…even though we make Basil sit and watch her until Ellie is finished.

I decided it would be a fun project to build the dogs each their own dog bowl stand. As usual, I went and searched out which designs I like, but in the end, I ended up using a side-table design and modified it for the dogs bowls. I did however, use some of the blogs about building a dog stand to understand how to measure the proper height that the bowl stand needed to be. There were varying ways to measure the dogs, and each one gave me a different height, so I used a middle ground and measured from the center of their chest when standing.

Hosted by Howard Ong

Both of our dogs are mid-sized, so the plans below are for medium-sized dogs. You are welcome to use the information below, but I recommend adjusting slightly to customize it to your dogs actual height needs.

What you will need for this project:

  • 1″ x 2″ wood
  • 2″ x 2″ wood
  • 1″ x 12″ wood panel
  • Kreg jig or pocket hole tool
  • Drill (pilot hole bit and robertson or phillips head bit – depending on the type of screw you use)
  • Scroll Saw
  • Mitre Saw
  • Band saw (optional – can use mitre saw for angled cuts)
  • Screws (1″, 1-1/2″ & 2″)
  • Wood glue
  • Wood burning tool (optional)
  • Food-safe wood protector or stain – butcher block conditioner is great
  • 2 – dog bowls with a lip around the edge – 10″ diameter maximum

Cut List:

  • 1″ x 12″ x 22″ – Top of the stand where the dog bowls go
  • 2 – 2″ x 2″ x 22″ – Top frame
  • 4 – 2″ x 2″ x 8.25″ – Top frame and bottoms of legs
  • 4 – 2″ x 2″ x 15 3/4″ – Sides of legs
  • 4 – 1″ x 2″ – Length to be determined (I forgot to take those measurements as I used scraps and just drew on where I needed to cut)

Dog Bowl Plans

I started with what I feel is the hardest part, the top board with the holes cut out for the dog dish. I started by drawing my horizontal and vertical center lines to determine the quadrants that the bowls would go in. From there, I added the vertical center line of each of the two quadrants (the quarter lines of the board). This gave me a reference point for the center of each side of the dog bowl top. I then measured the diameter of my bowls. To determine where the bowl needed to sit in proximity to the edge, I took the 11″ and subtracted the diameter of the bowl, then divided by 2. On the vertical and horizontal lines in each quadrant, I made a mark for where the diameter of the bowl would reach as a reference to get the bowl mostly entered. From there, it took a little eyeballing to make sure it was centered within the half of the board. I noticed after I drew it on, that there was a larger gap in the middle than I would like, so I erased it and adjusted it so that it looked symmetrical.

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Once I had the bowl traced (open side down so the widest area was drawn), I measured the lip of the bowl. From there, I added a smaller circle inside the large one. This is the circle I followed when cutting. If you cut the larger one, then  your bowl will fall through, it is more a reference point to ensure that you have a bench for your bowl lip to sit on. I used my scroll saw to cut the circles out as it gave me the most control. You can also use a jig-saw or a small, flexible hand saw if you do not have a scroll saw. Once cut, I put the bowls into the newly cut holes to ensure it was a snug fit and that the bowls sat flush without wiggling around. You will notice on some of the photos below that on Basil’s stand, I cut the holes a little large and had to add some shims back in for a snug fit on the bowls.

Bowl cuts

Next, I put together the frame for the stand. I started with the top frame that would hold the board I had just cut the wholes out of. I put the smaller side inside of the longer side. I attached the boards using pocket holes on the top side. I chose the top side because the top panel would be attached and would cover those holes. Once the top was done, I was able to create the leg frames, again using pocket holes. I made sure to place the pocket holes in locations that either couldn’t be seen once the piece was complete (like the bottom of the leg), or in a discreet location that wouldn’t be noticeable once the stand was built (facing the inside of the piece).

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I had originally planned to leave it at that, but I felt like it was missing something by the time I got to this point, so I decided to add the cross pieces to each leg, to give it a little more wowza. I had never done these before, and I am sure there is a proper way to do them accurately, but I used good ol’ eyeballing and some clamps. I didn’t take photos of that portion, but essentially, I got my 1″ x 2″ pieces and clamped them onto the leg frame where I felt that it should go. I then grabbed a pencil and used the frame to draw my cut lines onto the clamped wood. I then used my bandsaw to cut the angles needed. My first set fit like a glove, so I used those two pieces as my measurements for the remaining 3 crosses I needed to build. I then used a little wood-glue and some 2″ screws drilled in from the top and bottom of the legs to secure the pieces in place.

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I decided that since I was customizing them already, I might as well go full-customization and added some paw-prints, bones and each of the dogs name to their dog stand. I did this by printing a font that I liked, the graphics and a few variations of size, then traced it onto the wood using carbon paper. From there, I traced the outlines with a wood-burning tool. To finish it off, I used a clear semi-gloss stain on the legs, and a food-safe butcher block conditioner on the top. Basil aggressively cleans around her bowls in case she missed anything, so I didn’t want any sort of chemical stain where she would be licking consistently. The butcher block conditioner really pulled out the grain and gave a nice semi-gloss finish.

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The final touch was to put the stands in place and see what the girls thought. I have to say, I love having their bowls elevated. Somehow it makes our kitchen look cleaner and less cluttered. Basil loved the stand, but it took Ellie a few days getting used to hers before she whole-heartedly used it.

This was a fun project that I will be doing again for friends, family and anyone who is looking for a custom stand for their dogs. After doing a quick check of my materials and time, I can put these together, with a custom name, for less than most dog stands sell for in pet-stores. My dad and I will be going to a few craft fairs this fall/winter, so I think I will build a few to sell at those fairs.


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