DIY Basket Cat Bed: Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge

This month’s DIY at Home Challenge is Thrift Store Upcycle – so of course I scoured a few of my local thrift stores just waiting for inspiration to strike and – it did: a basket cat bed!

I scored this cute basket from a local shop for just $6. It seemed like the perfect base for a new cat bed for the office. With four cats, it’s pretty much guaranteed that one of them will be sleeping on my keyboard whenever I want to use my computer.

Maybe I could tempt them away from the apparently super comfy keyboard, and instead into a soft and cuddly bed. Well, mission accomplished!

Now let me say right away, this was a “quick and dirty” sewing project – my cat doesn’t care about perfect seams, and if I can’t see it, I wasn’t going to worry about it.

With that in mind, here’s how I made this cat bed!

First I measured the inside of the basket to determine how big I wanted the cushion to be (17” x 11” x 3”).

I started by cutting two rectangles of fabric, for the main cushion.

  • Top : 18” x 12” (measured size + 1” seam allowance)
  • Bottom : 23” x 18” (measured size + 3″ height on each side + 1” seam allowance)

With a marker I made a small mark 3″ in from each corner on the bottom piece (the larger rectangle).

Now, line up the top and bottom pieces (wrong sides together) along one edge between the to marks and sew them together with a 1″ seam allowance – stop sewing about 1/2″ – 1″ before you get to the edge.

OMG Casey, there’s a huge seam allowance of fabric on the outside of the cat bed!! Are you bananas? I know, I know, just stay with me (and yes, I am).
The seams will eventually be trimmed and will be hidden by the basket.

Sew along the next two edges in the same way, bringing your pieces together between the marker points. I did not sew the corner togethers so they just droop and it starts to take on a bag-like-shape.

For the last edge I sewed in about 3″ from each corner but left a gap in the middle – use this gap to stuff your cushion with pillow filling then sew the gap closed.

The next step is to make the little bumper to go around the edges of the cushion – this is why I made such a weird pillow – I wanted the seam to be at the top of the cushion, not down in the middle.

Measure the inside circumference of the basket and determine how high you want the bumper to be. Cut a piece of fabric based on those measurements and this formula:

(Bumper height x 2) + 2” x inside basket circumference + 1”

Sew the ends right sides together with a ¼” seam allowance to create a loop (make sure it isn’t twisted) and see how it fits in your basket if you need to make it smaller you should have enough wiggle room to adjust.

Fold the loop and sew the long edges (wrong sides together) with a 1″ seam allowance creating a tube. As you’re sewing, pause every 6” or so to add some stuffing (this will make your life easier, believe me). Once you have about a 4” left to sew, add the last bit of stuffing, you can put in a little less to make it easier to sew the gap closed, then squish the stuffing around to even everything out.

Now, this is where those long seam allowances come in handy – with the loop on top of the cushion, sew the two seam allowances together as close to the pillow as you can (I did this roughly by hand).

Trim the excess and place the cushion inside the basket – the seams are now hidden!

Pro tip: if you really want to get your kitty to use their new basket cat bed, sprinkle some catnip in with the stuffing.

Make sure to check out all the other challenge participants and their thrift store upcycle projects!

1905 Farmhouse, Abbots at Home, By Brittany Goldwyn, Creative Ramblings, Cribbs Style, Delicious & DIY, DIY Beautify, DIY Danielle, Dukes and Duchesses, Girl, Just DIY, Happily Ever After, Etc, Health, Home & Heart, House by the Bay Design, Just Measuring Up, Kenya Rae, Little Bits of Home, Living Letter Home, My Family Thyme, Pinspired to DIY, Red Cottage Chronicles, Refashionably Late, Savvy Apron, Shrimp Salad Circus, Songbird Blog, Southern Revivals, T.Moore Home, The DIY Dreamer, The DIY Village, The Frugal Homemaker, The Handyman’s Daughter, Two Feet First, Weekend Craft, What Meegan Makes, Zucchini Sisters

9 thoughts on “DIY Basket Cat Bed: Thrift Store Upcycle Challenge”

  1. This is a neat project, Casey! I don’t sew (well, I did sew some buttons on, once, on the inside of the shirt instead of the outside! And I hemmed some pants, on the outside rather than the inside of the legs!) So you lost me at the words “sewing project”! But I am so impressed by your creativity, the way you anticipate and plan and, most importantly, execute your visions. And I’m glad that your keyboard is now vacant so you can share more of your inspiring projects. I’m a big fan of Flea Market Flip, so this project did capture me.

  2. Your cats sure are lucky! Love the project great idea for re-using that basket. And I agree with the sloppy sewing, sometimes it just pays to get it finished instead of getting it perfect. My style of crafting too 🙂

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