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How to make a cat bed – a sewing tutorial

How to make a cat bed – a sewing tutorial

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How to make a cat bed - a sewing tutorial

How to make a cat bed! We adopted two sweet kittens this fall in a bit of a rush so I grabbed a bed from Target. They loved how cozy it was but as they got bigger, only one fit at a time, so I decided to DIY a second one with a similar feel to keep them happy! It seems like most of the options in pet furniture are either beige/black/brown and boring or neon and cartoon-ish but being able to sew means I can match the cat bed to our decor. Using JOANN’s customizable fabric meant I could pick the perfect color and change the scale of the print so it fit my project; keep reading to see how to make your own and what upcycled material I used to give the cat bed its shape!

This post was sponsored by JOANN, which means they supplied some of the materials and compensated me for my time, but all opinions are my own. Bonus, they have curbside pickup these days!

handmade cat bed tutorial

My kittens needed no convincing to curl up inside, it was a hit off the bat!

how to sew a cat bed cube with hole

It’s a simple construction that anyone can assemble and sew but the bulk of the inner structure makes the final steps a bit tricky for a true beginner. I used a simple linen blend to line it and then made a pillow for the base out of an old wool sweater; my cats love sitting on wool so I thought this would be extra cozy for them.

purple lace cat fabric

Here is a close-up of the ‘cat lace’ print I chose and cutomized; you can choose what substrate you want it printed on and this is the ‘Midweight Linen Blend’. I’ve used it before in my tote sewing project so I knew it had the right weight and drape for this project!

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diy cat bed tutorial

How to make a cat bed

Ready to make your own?


Step 1- First up is cutting 12.5″ squares. Cut (7) of the fashion fabric and (5) of the plain lining fabric; I made a “pattern” for myself from plain paper but you could just measure, too. If your fabric is wrinkled or floppy, consider starch spray and ironing each one. If you think you’ll need to wash the kitty bed often, consider serging around the edges of each square before you sew them together!

Step 2- Layer two fashion fabric squares right sides together and pin or clip around the edges. Then center your bowl (Circle I used was 7″ in diameter) and trace around it.

Step 3Sew right along the circle you drew!

Step 4- Carefully trim around the INSIDE of the circle. This is a really gradual curve so no need to clip the curve.

Step 5Gently pull one of the squares through the hole until wrong sides are together. Finger press the circle’s seam and then use an iron to press the entire thing.

Step 6- OPTIONAL; Open it back up and carefully stitch the seam allowance down to one side. This will help the lining from rolling to the front but isn’t necessary. Press again.

Step 7- The trickiest part of the process is creating a pattern for the ‘stuffing’ around your circle. I folded mine in half and traced and then adjusted as needed.

Step 8- You need your padded mailer layer to fit with a 3/4″ seam allowance roughly around the edges. For the piece with the hole in the middle, that meant cutting two arch-shaped pieces. Then sew the long edges, insert the double layer of arch pieces, and sew again so it is all enclosed, using a 3/4″ seam allowance.

upcycled bubble mailers craft

Step 9- More cutting, this time for an 11.5″ square. Cut (10) from padded mailers; (2) for each of the remaining 5 sides without the center opening hole.

Step 10- Layer each fashion fabric square wrong sides together with a lining square and sew around the edges with 3/4″ seam allowance, leaving one side open. Insert the double layer of mailer square, slide in, and sew the remaining side. You’ll end up with 5 different padded squares that look like this!

Step 11- Next you’ll sew 4 of the padded squares, right sides together, to make a cube. Continue to use the 3/4″ seam allowance and start and stop 3/4″ from the bottom of each seam, as shown.

Step 12- This is what your cube should look like at this point!

Step 13- Next you’ll sew the last plain square, face down so all the right sides are facing each other. I sew each side as a separate seam instead of rotating around and sewing in a full square.

Step 14- Last you’ll sew the opening square on! If you did the understitching in step 6 you’ll want that side with the visible stitching facing OUT as shown. Sew this on and you can be done! If you hate exposed edges, you could enclose them with bias tape at this stage. I preferred to leave mine raw in the event I have to seam rip the padding out and machine wash this sucker at some point.

Step 15- A last optional step is making a pillow for inside! If you make this of felt, wool, or fleece you can just leave the edges out and raw as shown; it is just two 11.5″ squares. The extra seam you can see was because I was piecing together scraps of an old sweater, it isn’t functional. I then shredded up the extra sweater pieces as stuffing and sewed it shut, and I was done!

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Wednesday 12th of January 2022

I love that you used padded mailers in the construction. Genius!

Debbie Brady

Tuesday 21st of December 2021

This is a great tutorial using inexpensive materials and straightforward instructions. To make this for a small dog (we gave 6 lb Yorkie) you could simply change the opening to an arch! Thank You!


Wednesday 9th of June 2021

I’ve been wanting to make my own cat caves! Thank you for the tutorial and instructions.

Stephani Griggs

Sunday 4th of April 2021

This is Great!! I have looked forever for a pet igloo pattern!! I attempted to create my own from one of the old ones I purchased and of course I messed it up so I am Super Happy this popped up!! Thank you!!

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