See how to make this easy raised dog bowl feeder that features vinyl backsplash tile and a decorative edge. It’s so easy to clean too!
See it All
Below you will find:
- Tools, Supplies, and Materials List
- Video tutorial
- Step-by-step written tutorial with snapshots
Tools, Supplies, and Materials
See all of the tools and materials you’ll need for this project.
2 x 2 for legs
4′ should be plenty
1 x 3 for aprons
4′ should be plenty
1/2″ – 3/4″ plywood or solid wood for top
Paint – Enamel works great
Stain – for decorative trim
See exactly how I made this raised dog bowl feeder and how to customize it for your dog.
Transcript highlights and images are below the video too!
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Get details with screenshots of the build as shown in the video.
Determine Total Height of Feeder
The first thing you’ll want to do is measure your dog, and depth of bowl to determine the best overall height for your raised feeder.
For small dogs, the top of the feeder needs to be in line with the top of the dog’s upper chest – where the breast bone stops and the throat starts. That way the dog’s mouth can reach the bottom of the bowl.
That is your total height.
For larger dogs, measure how far down the tip of their nose goes comfortably, and that should be the bottom of your bowl. So, add to that the height of the bowl, and that is the total height of the feeder.
Determine Length of Legs
Then, from that total height measurement, subtract the thickness of the backer board you’ll be using.
And that is the height of your legs.
Determine Bowl Radius
Here’s a quick way to determine the size hole you’ll need for your dog bowls.
I think the easiest way to do this is to simply turn the bowl upside down on a piece of paper and trace around it.
Then find the center point of that circle.
Now, measure the distance from the center point to the outside edge.
That is the radius of the bowl to its lip edge.
Keep in mind that you will have a layer of vinyl over the top of your backing board.
While it is thin, it will raise the lip of your bowl up a bit.
If your bowl has tapered sides, you may want to make your circle a wee bit smaller.
TIP: Keep in mind that the radius is half the diameter. So if you want to decrease your total diameter by 1/8” for that lip, then you’ll only need to decrease your radius by 1/16”.
Check Your Bowl Fit
To be sure you have the right measurement, try drawing a circle with your final radius measurement on a piece of cardboard, or a file folder, or some other stiff/thick paper, and cut out that hole.
Then see how well your dog bowl fits into it.
Keep in mind that you want it a wee bit tight, as you’ll have that vinyl layer under the lip on the top, which will raise the bowl up a bit in the hole.
Measure Top Backing Board
To determine the size of your backing board for your top, you’ll want to first layout your two bowls on the tile to determine best placement.
Layout 2 backsplash tiles and mate.
TIP: While you may be tempted to place each of the bowls in the center of the 2 tiles, keep in mind that it really doesn’t matter where the seam between them is. It will be a whale of a lot easier to reference your placement to one of the corners of a tile that has 2 straight edges.
Place 1 bowl upside down so that top and bottom edges are at good place, giving ¾” above/below it.
Position the left edge of the bowl about ¾” in from the left edge of the tile where it will be cut.
Place second bowl about 1.5” to the right of that first bowl.
Measure from the left edge of the first tile to about ¾” past the right edge of the second bowl.
This is the length of your backing board.
Round up or down a bit if needed to make it easy for cutting.
Now measure ¾” above and below the top and bottom of the bowls.
That is the height of your backing board.
Round up/down for ease.
TIP: I drew all of this out on paper first – the backing board and the holes to be cut, just to ensure that I had the right measurements before cutting wood.
Check Frame Clearance
On your drawing, ensure that there is ample room between the bowl edges to clear the framing that you’ll be mounting your backing board on.
Ensure that your 2×2 legs will fit in the corners.
Since the rest of the frame aprons will be mounted in the center of those legs, if the legs fit without touching bowl edges, then the aprons won’t touch either.
Cut the Backing Board
Now it’s time to recreate your drawing on wood.
Cut your board to the dimensions you measured above.
Find Center Points for Holes
Next, you’ll want to draw a center line on the board to use for drawing your bowl circles to be cut.
Draw a center line down the middle of the board lengthwise.
From the end of the board, make a mark for however much edge you want to have from the end of the board to the start of the bowl’s circle.
Keep in mind that this will be the inner part of the bowl, not the outer part of the bowl’s lip.
Mine was ¾”.
From that point, mark the radius of the circle you want to cut on the line.
This will be the center point of the circle that you will cut out later.
This is the center point where you will drill a hole for your circle cutting jig.
Repeat from the other side for the other bowl.
Drill the Holes
You will need 4 holes if you are using a circle cutting jig.
I’m referencing ¼” holes here because that is the size of the trim router straight bit I’m using plus the size of the center bolt for my jig. Adjust your drill holes as needed.
Drill a hole through the center point of each bowl if using a jig that requires a hole.
Cut the Holes
I used my trim router to cut nice, round holes.
But you can use a jig saw for this, and there are circle cutting jigs for them too.
Check Bowl Fit
Ensure that your bowls both fit well into your freshly cut holes.
Sand the Top Smooth
Sand all surfaces of the top backing board, and the inside of the holes smooth.
Be careful not take too much off those holes, else your bowls won’t fit the same!!
Cut the Outside of the Vinyl Tiles
You can use scissors.
But to cut the tiles to the backing board measurements, and to ensure I had a dead straight line, I placed my tiles on one of those self-healing, green cutting pads, clamped them into place, and used a utility knife along a straight edge. And I cut the outside.
Don’t cut out the holes yet!
Mount the Tiles
Carefully stick the tiles to your backing board.
TIP: I only peeled off the backing of one edge and ensured I had that edge, and the sides, dead square on the backing board. Then I peeled off more backing as I pressed the tiles into place.
Cut the Tile Holes
Flip the backing board face down.
Use the circle edges as a guide to cut out the holes in the vinyl with a utility knife.
Check Bowl Fit
Ensure that your bowls fit well into the holes and adjust if needed.
Cut the Legs
Now it’s time to start building the frame.
Cut your 2x2s to length and sand.
Mount the Legs
I used a ½” thick piece of wood to ensure that my legs were situated properly from the edge of the backer board.
You will not actually be attaching the legs. We’ll be attaching the aprons to the legs, and then attaching the aprons to the backing board.
Measure for Aprons
Here’s how I did my measurements to ensure a good fit.
After positioning the legs on the backer board, I literally measured between the legs for an exact fit on each 1×3 and cut to size.
This is my dry fit of all pieces.
Drill Pocket Holes
On each 1×3 apron, drill two pocket holes on each end to attach to the legs.
For the longer aprons, drill pocket holes in the middle to attach to the bottom of the backer board.
Build the Frame
Now it’s time to start attaching the aprons to the legs.
Position one of the short aprons center of two legs and secure into place.
And this is where my Kreg Right Angle Clamp, and Right Angle Drill really came in handy!!!!
That clamp holds the two pieces together so tight! And I can easily get the correct angle for those pocket hole screws with this small drill.
Then clamp that assembly to a flat surface and attach one of the longer aprons.
Repeat this process until the entire frame is assembled.
Attach Frame to Backer Board
Attach the 4 pocket holes (1 in each apron) to the backer board to secure the whole frame to it.
Mitre the Trim
Since I didn’t want the raw edge of the vinyl showing on the edge of my backer board, I decided to use some decorative trim that I had on hand.
But, any ¾” wide trim will do.
And I chose to mitre my edges, but you can also use butt end edges if you like.
Mount the Trim
I flipped the feeder upside down.
That made it super easy to align the trim flush with the top edge of the backer board.
A bit of glue and 5/8” brad nails are all you’ll need to hold it into place.
And honestly, the brad nails alone will hold it just fine if you want to skip the glue.
Stain the Trim
I chose to stain my trim after I installed it.
I used a cheap art brush to paint it on, and I was super careful not to splash it onto the aprons or legs, as that dark stain is tough to hide with paint.
I used a dark walnut stain for mine.
Paint the Legs and Aprons Frame
Enamel paint will hold up better than just about anything for this application.
It’s hard to scratch and easy to clean.
I chose a matte finish, but you could certainly consider a satin or even glossy finish if you want it shiny.
Protective Top Coat
I chose not to seal my trim or the frame with polyurethane, or any other type of top coat.
The enamel paint simply doesn’t need it, in my opinion. And poly can turn yellow on white paint.
But, the stained trim may need it, especially if your dog is a super messy eater.
Mine is not. His head never comes out of the bowl and that trim is as neat months later as the day I put it on.
Do what you think is best.
And here’s our finished feeder!!