DIY pet food tray

March 17, 2014

I shared some of my favorite feeding station ideas for animals a couple months ago. Although I don’t have anything that cool, we did need something to corral the dog and cat food bowls.

We used to keep their food in the mud room but when I built the bench we ran out of room. I moved it to the kitchen and for some reason when I did that our middle cat started messing with the water bowl. 

Maybe she was mad? I don’t know but she still does it occasionally – we’ll fill it up and a few minutes later we’ll hear her thwap thwapping in the water and she gets it EVERYWHERE. 

So we’ve kept the water bowl on the rug by the back door to keep the spilled water from sitting on the floors. Fun times!

Anyway, long story short, I’ve been wanting to put together a tray for all of their stuff, hoping it would contain the water a bit. I started with my favorite…scrap wood:

DIY tray

The black wood is actually mdf that was a shelf in our laundry room now mud room. Normally mdf isn’t great with water but if you paint it well the paint will prevent most issues. Our backsplash is mdf beadboard and it’s held up great for years with a coat of semi gloss paint.

So it’s incredibly easy to make a tray like this – I measured the bowls to see what size I needed and I ended up with 30 inches by 12 for the base. Remember when you’re cutting your pieces for the trim that you want to make sure they are measured from the inside cuts, not the outside:

DIY pet food tray

So if you’re trim is supposed to be 30 inches long, that 30 inches should be from the inside cut to the inside cut, not the longer edges. Does that make sense?

I used some wood glue and my nail gun to attach the pieces along the sides:

DIY pet food tray

And then because I wanted this to be somewhat water tight I caulked the gaps:

caulking a tray

I gave it two coats of the same color I used on the kitchen island (Jubilee by Sherwin Williams):

And then broke out the FrogTape® to add a little bit of fun:

painting stripes on tray

I didn’t measure anything out or make sure the lines were crazy perfect – I mean, the animals are the ones looking closely at this and I really don’t think they care. :) I did use a piece of the tape to space them out evenly, as you can see above.

I used the yellow delicate Frogtape since the tray had just been painted. (Don’t put it on too fast, make sure it’s good and dry.):

painting stripes on tray

I did the stripes after it was put together on purpose – I knew I’d be caulking everything so I wanted to paint the stripes after that was all done. If I was doing a basic tray I would most likely paint the stripes before I put the whole thing together.

I used a green paint I had in my paint pile for the stripes and they came out great! I added a coat of polyurethane when everything was dry – this will keep it even more water tight and make it easier to clean.  

I think it’s pretty darn cute! It’s extra nice to not step over the water bowl when we take the dog out back. :) So far the trouble kitty has left the water alone on the tray…we’ll see how long that lasts: DIY pet food tray

At least if she does it will be somewhat contained. 

Someday I’d love to have a fancy pet feeding station (because I know we’ll always have a bunch of animals), but for now, this is cute and it works!:

Everett long sofa table

And I love seeing the transformation of a scrap pile of wood:

DIY pet food tray

To something useful!:

DIY pet food tray

This one was free for me but to make one this size (or even longer) would be about $10-$15 for the cost of materials.

I’ve made a few trays in my day, including this tray with leather handles, and this Lego hideaway tray. You could add some handles, use a stencil on the base, whatever you want – the possibilities are endless! :)

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  1. Love how it turned out. Missed Friday's post, but after reading will say...been there done that. And, at times it can be scary eerie! My book club read the book, "The First Phone Call from Heaven" by Mitch prompted a lot of discussion regarding such things.

  2. Hi! I love this idea! I'm not crafty enough to replicate it, but it's so pretty. Where did you get your feeding bowls?

    1. Hello Kayla, we got the two lower bowls from HomeGoods and the taller one from a local dog bakery.

  3. After putting down the frog tape, wipe it down with a damp rag. It will seal the edges so paint doesn't run under.

  4. I have the same problem! Thank you for sharing your free/cheap fix. I'm off to gather my scap wood.

  5. I love this tip… Thanks for sharing such awesomeness my friend. HUGS and have a blessed St. Patricks day

  6. I always get excited when I see Kristy spelled the same way as me and it took me just a second to realize that not only was it spelled the same way, you were talking about me :). HA! That gave me a smile this morning.

  7. What a cute idea! I think I need to make one for my little furry guy.

  8. Oh my gosh, I love this, and never thought of it. I like it so much better than the bowl stands. This will keep the water and dry food contained much better. I knew there was a reason I haven't picked one up yet. Thanks!

  9. I need to make this for our house. We serve the pets on place mats since they have a set feeding schedule but this would at least contain the water and dry food we leave out for the pack of creatures I live with. PS - Why are cats such jerks sometimes? My youngest knocks over the dog food all the time.

  10. i have to get some trays for the food its a great idea.i have two cats and one of them puts her front paws in the water dish and pulls it and moves it across the floor,why she does this i dont know.i have had other cats and they never did least the tray will keep the dish from going to far.unless she decides to move the tray .i will give it a try.

  11. Such a good idea! It's been on my list to find a pet food tray for weeks. I'll just go to the garage for scrap wood now:). Thanks for sharing this terrific idea:)

  12. I really like this idea. I might try to do this. I have a question though. Do you keep your cat's food on the tray with your dog's food? Does your dog leave the cat food alone??? Just curious. I keep moving my cat's food around trying to find a place where he can get to it but the dog can't.

  13. I just recently read somewhere that the reason cats slosh their water around is because their water bowls are too small -- they don't like their whiskers touching the sides when they drink -- so they slosh the water out so they can drink it off the ground. The solution is to use a shallow bowl that is extra wide.

    Love your tray!

  14. wow how come I never though of thaaaaaattt!! so so simple yet looks so quirky! love it...will try it with chevvron stripes!!

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  15. This is such a great idea! Ineed something like this for my dog because she is such a messy eater!


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