2008 diy winners: 1st place!

by Grace Bonney

after 500 entries and thousands of votes, the 1st place winner of the 2008 d*s diy contest is….drumroll, please….kirsten’s vintage suitcase petbed! kirsten’s creative petbed took the lead from day one and held strong throughout the entire contest, coming in with a sizable lead. i’ll have to admit this was one of my personal favorites (which was tough with so many fantastic entries) so i’m thrilled to have kirsten’s work as part of the contest and to award her a $500 gift certificate from and a check for $150. the full instructions for kirsten’s project is below the jump so click here for the full post or just click “read more” below. congrats, kirsten! [want more from kirsten? check out her and where you can buy more of her handmade goods]

i just wanted to send a big thank you again to our generous sponsors this year: , , and . you can visit their sites by clicking on their banners below. and a big thank you to the talented for creating our 2008 diy contest icon this year. thanks, julia!

Kirsten’s Suitcase Pet Bed

-Old suitcase
-4 “feet” (wooden doll heads/these work well because the have a flat side, finials, etc)
-Gorilla glue or other heavy-duty glue
-2 large snaps
-Ribbon or strap material
Optional: two large buttons and upholstery thread and needle


1. Clean that suitcase! Febreeze that musty smell! Repair any damage to lining.

2. Measure for pillow. Using a tape measure, measure the width the depth of bottom suitcase cavity x 2. This gives you the width of your pillow. Then measure the height (from front to back) the depth of the bottom suitcase cavity x 2. This gives you the height. You must add the depth of the suitcase x 2 or else your pillow will end up too small. Believe me I made that mistake the first time!

3. Sew your pillow together. Put right sides of fabric together and sew around leaving about a ½ inch seam allowance. If your suitcase has rounded corners you might want to round the corners of your pillow. Leave an opening for stuffing. Turn pillow right side out and stuff. Sew up opening by hand.

4. Optional: Tuft your pillow. I used two large buttons, heavy-duty thread or upholstery thread and a long needle. Using the long needle sew the buttons on the pillow. Enter the front of the pillow and exit at the back, repeating this over and over. This will make nice tufts and give your pillow some shape and a more finished look.

5. Attach a strap to the back of the suitcase so it will not close on your pet.
Place a mark about 4 inches in from the back of the suitcase on the top and bottom of your suitcase. Open the suitcase and measure the distance between these marks, making sure your measuring tape is taut. Cut a strap using that length about 1 inch. Attach snap tops to both ends of the strap following manufacturers instructions. Now depending on your suitcase this part is tricky. Improvise if you need to, every suitcase is different. Choose a drill bit that will be just large enough for your snap shaft to fit through. Drill a hole on the top and bottom of the suitcase at the marks you made. Be careful of the suitcase lining. Attach the snap bottom to your suitcase following manufacturers instructions. Like I said this can be the tricky part, you might need to use a craft knife to clean up the hole and make it just right for the snap. Be creative. Once you finish this part, you should be able to snap on the strap and it should keep the bed open and not allow it to close on your pet. It can also be removed when you want to travel or close up the bed.

6. Attach feet. Once again, every suitcase is different; you may need to be creative with this step. I attached the painted wooden dolls heads with gorilla glue to the bottom of the suitcase. Clean the area you are gluing very well and sand the area of the wooden dolls head and make sure it has no paint on the point. You may also be able to screw the feet on depending on what you are using.

Don’t forget to improvise if you need to! The main objective is to have a comfy cute and unique place for your pet to sleep in. However you arrive at that goal is great! That’s what DIY is all about.


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