If you don't think I'm crazy yet, how will you feel after I tell you I just made a dog bed stuffed with bubble wrap? (Instructions follow, but to be honest, I just make this stuff up as I go and so the pattern and details are a bit sketchy! If you know how to sew, you can do it. If you are an extreme beginner, get a friend over to help you.)
Yesterday I unpacked five large boxes holding all the displays from CHA. Since there were lots of Mason Jars, glass candlesticks and other breakables, they were packed in tons of bubble wrap. I had a mountain of the plasticky stuff.
I try to recycle and reuse anything I can, especially plastics. However, in Austin you can't recycle film plastic and I knew I didn't have patience to store this much bubble-wrap long enough to re-use it. It would have been a two year supply at least. But, I couldn't stomach the thought of sending it all to the landfill.
At the same time, I needed a new pet bed. When I saw my pile of bubble wrap I wondered, could you use it to stuff a dog bed? Well my friends, the answer is yes!
I first made an inner pillow. It is the same dimensions as the outer cover so you can use this guide for cutting both.
I was planning some french seams on the outside of my finished pillow. I cut a 1/2" allowance for those seams. All other seams have a 1/4" allowance on my guide.
Using your 1/4" allowance, sew the short ends of the smaller rectancles right sides together.
Now that you have the border of you pet bed sewn, pin one of the large rectangles into it. Don't place your pins right at the corners, but about 1/2" in or so. The corner will fit perfectly into the seam of the border.
As you stitch around your pillow, it is important when turning corners to not sew all the way to the edge. Instead, stop 1/4" away from the edge, keep your needle in the fabric, lift up your presser foot and turn.
As you approach the edge, you will have extra corner fabric to the left of the presser foot. As you turn the fabric, it will end up right in front of the foot. Make sure you move it over to the left of the foot again. (If this doesn't make sense right now, it will when you begin sewing. Don't worry, it's simple.)
Go all the way around your pillow, then repeat with the other large rectangle, but this time, leave an opening on one side for stuffing. This opening needs to be large! I only sewed in about an inch on either side, leaving one short side almost completely open.
Now we're going to make our bubble wrap stuffing.
This is easiest done on a large cutting mat with a rotary cutter. Make layers of bubble wrap that will fit into your pillow. Err on the side of too small to fill the pillow. Layer both directions so that all the seams don't fall in the same place. Keep it as even as possible in height. By the way, I used just over 2/3 of my pile.
Before you have too much to fit through the opening you left, stuff the bubble wrap block into the pillow.
Now just fold up bubble wrap to fill in the sides, more on top, etc. In my mix of packing supplies, I also had some foam sheeting stuff. I added it to the top of my bubble wrap to soften it overall and make it quieter. You could use a layer of batting if you don't have any foam wrapping to recycle.
Now stitch your seam opening up and sew the outer cover. I followed the exact same pattern and instructions for the pillow cover, except making french seams (on the outside) and adding a velcro opening for removing the cover for washing.
She loves it and it looks great in our house... right under the table Eric built last weekend. The only warning would be not to let your children jump on it. Their weight could pop the bubbles, but a dog jumping on it won't hurt a thing... unless it's an English Mastiff or some horse-like dog... who would have enough bubble-wrap for a bed that size anyway?
Wow, that wore me out.... time for a nap!
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